Dr. Donna Chlopak was born in 1950 in Trenton, New Jersey. She grew up in Hightstown, attending Walter C. Black Elementary School and Hightstown High School.

After graduating from high school in 1968, she went to Douglass College and majored in psychology. At Douglass, she started the Big Brother/Big Sister pairing program between Rutgers and Douglass freshmen and upper classmen. She graduated from Douglass College in the Class of 1972.

Chlopak attended graduate school at Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology in 1976. She began her career as a professor at Seton Hall University, teaching management for three years. She then taught marketing at Baruch College for two years. From 1981 to 1985, she worked as a staff manager at AT&T. She served as a vice president at Citibank from 1985 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995, she ran her own consulting business called Reactions Inc. From 1995 to 2009, Chlopak worked at Gallup Consulting as a developmental marketing leader. Since 2009, she has worked as the managing director of Business Reactions, in addition to teaching courses at Montclair State University, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Stevens and Kean. Chlopak is the author of Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century: Navigating Career Waters to Find and Land a Choice Position.