Karen Meleta

This entry is part 27 of 33 in the series

Karen Meleta  Wakefern Food Corp.Karen Meleta

Wakefern Food Corp.

Years with company: 11 years

Current position and your immediate supervisor:
Vice president of consumer and corporate communications. Immediate supervisor is Joseph Sheridan, executive vice president



Education degrees and professional/volunteer affiliates:

  • Rutgers University, M.B.A.
  • New York University, B.F.A.
  • Komen for the Cure, North Jersey Affiliate-Member of the Board of Directors
  • Community Foodbank of New Jersey-Member of the Board of Directors
  • Food Marketing Institute, Sustainability Executive Committee-Vice Chairman
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)- member




Mentors and how they have assisted you in your career:
I’ve had a number of mentors throughout my career; many of them have been outside of a traditional mentoring role. There are people who have influenced how I lead and manage my staff, plan for the future and approach the work I do every day. I find that sometimes the best kernels of wisdom are passed on in the most unexpected of circumstances from people you least expect. One of my mentors was a college professor who I continue to connect with to this day— his insights were invaluable at the early stages of my career and he continues to offer advice only a lifelong mentor could provide.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements or a defining moment of your career to date?
The one accomplishment that is most significant for me personally is my role in continuing Wakefern/ShopRite’s commitment to fighting hunger. Our company has a long history in working with regional food banks and local hunger fighting charities and I am very proud to work to continue that commitment into the future. Our ShopRite Partners In Caring Fund has donated more than $24 million to the cause in the past decade. My hope is to keep it going for years to come.

Most challenging part of the job:
I don’t know if it’s the most challenging part, but it certainly is the most interesting — and that is that every day there is some new challenge or issue we have to address. Being in consumer and corporate communications, a wide array of issues comes across my desk — from rising food prices to new government regulations or legislation to sustainability trends and issues. Navigating those issues and understanding their impact on our customers and our company keeps my division busy – the days go very quickly.

Thoughts or advice for upcoming younger executives:
It’s a wonderful opportunity to grow in a company and be given increasing responsibility, but make sure you love what you do — that you’re passionate about it and that you work with great people. A great career, without great working relationships, comes up short at the end of the day.