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Caroline Masullo: “Be on time”

Balancing at home schooling while working full time is a true feat of heroism, whether you’re a mom or a dad. If your kids are doing school virtually, like mine, it is a full-time job to keep them engaged in lessons. Going through that experience has made me ever more grateful for my kids’ teachers […]

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Balancing at home schooling while working full time is a true feat of heroism, whether you’re a mom or a dad. If your kids are doing school virtually, like mine, it is a full-time job to keep them engaged in lessons. Going through that experience has made me ever more grateful for my kids’ teachers and the work they do every day. I’m lucky to work for a company that prioritizes parents and encourages us to be parents first.


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Caroline Masullo.

Caroline leads ecommerce marketing team for Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize USA company, which provides digital and ecommerce services to the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

When I was little, I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up. Turns out, I was terrible at drawing. So, I pivoted my love for fashion by doing an unpaid internship at Elite Modeling Agency where I worked for the Director of New Faces who responsible for teaching aspiring models how to “walk the runway” and also as a “Dresser” behind the scenes at shows. During each summer break while at Boston College, I interned for different buying offices for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. This led to me being accepted into the Buyers Training Program post-graduation. I spent almost five years at Saks and yes, the devil wears Prada.

I needed a change, but I didn’t know to what, so I went to grad school at Northwestern to buy myself some time. While getting my MBA — and studying tons and tons of business school case studies — I realized that I really love marketing.

After graduation, I entered into brand marketing and spent near 9 years at Pizza Hut, eventually ending up as Director of Digital Experience. From there, I went to McDonalds and then to TGIFridays. Yes, I am an expert in marketing pizza, fries and margaritas!

In my current role, I lead an ecommerce marketing team for Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize USA company, which provides digital and ecommerce services to the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

I’m a DJ. I have a passion for music. And so, a few years ago, I went to DJ school in Chicago and have been mixing music ever since.

Pre-pandemic, I would do paid gigs at night and on the weekends, but I mostly volunteer DJ at my kids’ school events or other community events.

During the pandemic, while sitting on Zoom after Zoom day after day like everyone else, I started to freak out. I couldn’t sit any longer! I was having a hard time focusing and I was feeling the world start to cave in on me.

Thankfully, my company was amazing early on and helped employees deal with the same issue by implementing what we now call, “The No Fly Zone.” Every day, from 11:30–12:30, we cannot hold meetings or call one another. Everyone gets one hour to do whatever they want that is non work-related. I need to completely disconnect and STAND UP, so I started a Zoom DJ session where anyone in the company can join and listen to me as background music. I love it! I get to see my colleagues’ kids dancing & I’ve been taken on runs by other colleagues. It’s so fun and personally fulfilling!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I joined my current organization one year ago, and I was tasked with helping to build a newly defined division of the company. As a result, I spent my first year really focused on foundational things like developing a team strategy and finding great talent. We are a highly performance-driven company, which I love, but my personal sweet spot brings a bit more creativity to ideas and solutions.

Now that I have been able to build out my team, I am excited have more mind space for creative solutioning. “Big ideas” sounds cliche, but when you’re helping standup an organization at a fast clip, you don’t have time to step back and think about the things we should be doing from a marketing perspective that could really move the needle and garner press and get the attention of competitors. When I talk to my team and our partners about our marketing aspirations, the excitement is palpable. As one of my former bosses eloquently put it, “people like to do cool things, so keep doing them.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I would have a hard time picking one person! I like to say that I “grew up” as a career woman within the Yum! Brands organization. I think people would say that when I’m “all-in,” I’m ALL IN. I learned that from my leaders at Yum.

It was completely clandestine how I ended up there. I was standing in the hallway in grad school at Northwestern waiting for an interview for a job at one of the largest ad agencies in Chicago. This man was leaning up against the wall across from me and he said, “excuse me are you here to interview for Yum?” I said, “no” (I had never even heard of Yum!). He said, “well, you’re in a suit and holding your resume, so after this interview, why don’t you come talk to us?” There was something about this man, who I later learned was the President, that made me feel like I really needed to do what he said.

Two days later, they sent a private jet to pick up 10 of the final candidates and gave us an in-flight challenge: Within 1.5 hours, each candidate had to stand on the stage of the Louisville Opera House in front of 50 top executives and tell a story that would explain why we are who we are.

I had so much self-doubt. How could they have picked me? What did they see in me? Their encouragement and dedication to self-belief and support in others was second to none. The leaders and mentors that developed me throughout my almost 9 years at Yum taught me to believe in myself and that by being all-in, others will come along in support.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Balancing at home schooling while working full time is a true feat of heroism, whether you’re a mom or a dad. If your kids are doing school virtually, like mine, it is a full-time job to keep them engaged in lessons. Going through that experience has made me ever more grateful for my kids’ teachers and the work they do every day. I’m lucky to work for a company that prioritizes parents and encourages us to be parents first.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I’ve encouraged my team to communicate up and out on their personal situations and limitations that each may have at home while working remotely, whether it be needing to take more frequent breaks throughout the day, customizing their working hours, or consolidating meetings to specific days. I believe that flexibility during this time helps to enable psychological safety within teams, and when there is high psychological safety there is high productivity.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

Mom guilt, hands down. The year prior to the pandemic I was traveling 3–4 days every week to the six cities where our companies are headquartered. I missed my kids and husband so much that when I got home, I was all-in to be around them and spend as much time as possible with them in order to compensate for the guilt I had when I was gone. At the beginning of the pandemic I was conditioned that when at home, I was 100% mom Caroline only. I had to train myself to introduce more work Caroline at home and be OK that every moment didn’t need to be spent with my children or as a homemaker. It took a while to get to that balance, but I’m mostly there now.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

Simple things, like telling my children what my day looks like each day, have really helped. I’ve found that proactive communication goes such a long way with my children. Deciding together when our schedules will allow us to do something together gives them a stake in my day. Letting them know where I will be working for the day, and allowing them to come sit with me or be available if they need anything from me helps too. If nothing else, taking this proactive approach to communication and planning gives me moments to look forward to each day.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

I am so grateful that my company has completely embraced the importance of family-first during the pandemic. I am a very routine oriented and organized person and so mornings are when I set the plan for the day and get everyone’s “ducks in a row.”

Now that virtual schooling has started up again, I have needed to adjust my work schedule to start later each day, so I can make sure that my children are set for their day. I’m transparent about not being available from 7–8:30am. Thankfully, it’s respected and people work around it

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

Restless is probably a good word to describe me. I have always needed “scene changes” in my life. I can’t sit or be in the same place for a very long time.

In order to be my best mom, wife and employee during the pandemic, I have created a routine of scene changes each day. I take as many meetings outside as possible. When appropriate, I turn my video off and take my dog on a walk during calls or sit at the dog park with my lap top. I change the room I sit in throughout the day, eat lunch with my kids on the porch or take a family bike ride during my company’s “no fly zone.”

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My dad always reminded me, “Be on time. Your lateness will signal that you think your time is more important than any others, and it isn’t.”

First impressions are important to me and being present and prompt is something I expect from myself, and others, even if it a virtual meeting.

How can our readers follow you online?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmasullo5111/

Instagram: DJCeeDallas

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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