How She Got There: Gail Becker, Founder & CEO of CAULIPOWER

Name: Gail Becker
Job Title and Description: Founder and CEO, CAULIPOWER
College Name/Major: UCLA/BA Political Science, Northwestern/MA Journalism
Website: www.eatcaulipower.com
Twitter Handle: @CAULIPOWERED, @gailfbecker
Instagram Handle: @CAULIPOWERED, @beckergailf

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

GB: A typical day (of which there are few) usually entails well over 100 emails, 5-6 conference calls, several cups of coffee and answering a number of customer inquiries, emails and calls. When I’m traveling, you can throw in a couple of retailer meetings and food shows. Recently, I flew to four cities in five days.

What is the best part of your job?

GB: My favorite part has been reading the moving responses I receive daily from our community. I had always hoped that CAULIPOWER could make a difference in people’s lives, but never did I dream people would be so generous in sharing their personal stories. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously and I usually print out the notes and hang them over my computer for inspiration.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

GB: I started out in local news as a TV reporter in Beaumont, Texas. I sent out lots of audition tapes and the NBC affiliate there was the first one to respond. Local news is tough and I covered more than my fair share of local accidents and chili cook-offs. I once accidentally put a naked man on the air. Long story that wasn’t easily forgotten.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

GB: Beginning at age 5, I rang the cash register in my dad’s store every weekend, earning $20 plus lunch. It was a wonderful seat from which to observe him interacting with people and building relationships with his customers. He could talk to anyone about anything. I remember, one day, a diabetic man walked in and began having a seizure. My dad remained calm as he ripped open a box of chocolates and slowly fed it to him, staying with him until he was stable. The customer tried to pay him for the chocolates, but my dad refused as he helped him up. Be human first. Business and loyalty will follow. I believe there is no greater measure of success in business than having the ability to help others.  

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

GB: I definitely regret not following my passion earlier in life. Staying with a plan, a job or even a relationship is always the easiest thing to do. Getting out of your comfort zone is far more difficult, but also far more rewarding. I wish I had listened to that voice when I first heard it, but better late than never.   

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

GB: Watching the Today show hosts eat CAULIPOWER pizza on the air while calling it one of the best new products was definitely up there. My sons and I watched together while clinking our orange juice glasses and eating breakfast pizza, of course.  

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

GB: I look for people who are genuinely excited about joining this crazy journey and aren’t afraid to express it. As former Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg many years ago, “When you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask ‘what seat?’ You just get on!"

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

GB: Never be afraid to bet on yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.  

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

GB: An unexpected path. I have always been attracted to people who don’t do things the typical way. I once hired someone just because she was an anthropology major. Not only did she teach me a lot about dinosaurs, but she ended up being one incredible employee.