Tracy Pawelski

This entry is part 42 of 54 in the series

Pawelski_TracyTracy Pawelski

Ahold USA
VP, External Communications and Community Relations

Years with company:  Seven years



Education degrees and professional and volunteer organizations:

  • BA, Political Science
  • BS, Economics
  • Chair, FMI Communications Committee
  • Chair, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Communications Committee
  • Member, Professional Ski Instructors of America

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career?
I have benefited from exceptional mentors throughout my career both during my years in politics and government and today as a member of the food industry. I believe in paying it forward and try to dedicate the same energy and goodwill to others as has been generously provided to me.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
Moving from retail politics to retail food was a defining moment for me. I love the fact that our business is all about people. Successful grocers have a treasured relationship with their customers and communities. That relationship gives us an opportunity, I would even say an obligation, to make a positive difference in their lives. We help our customers find affordable healthy foods to serve to their families, we support local farmers with our buy local leadership and we donate millions of dollars and tons of food to help in the fight against hunger. Our influence on the daily lives of our customers is enormous, as much or more so than any political post or public policy decision.

Most challenging part of your job:
The home/work balance. I suspect that is true for all of us who love what we do.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
A positive attitude is the difference in life between success and failure. We teach this to our children but sometimes forget to apply it to ourselves. It’s not about body-blocking all of the challenges that come our way because life throws us many curveballs. The answer is in how we choose to respond to those challenges. Positive framing begets confidence and confidence is a magnet. When I was a ski instructor, I used to tell my students that their smile was their secret ingredient. So I always try to lead with my smile. The rest often follows.

Adventure traveler, skier, travel writer and mom.