Kathleen DiChiara

This entry is part 20 of 89 in the series

DiChiaria,-KathleenKathleen DiChiara

Community FoodBank of New Jersey
Founder, President and CEO

Years with Company:  32


Education Degrees and Professional/Volunteer Organizations: 

  • BS in Education from State University of New York at Oneonta
  • 8 Honorary Doctorates from colleges and universities in New Jersey and New York

Mentors and how they have assisted me in my career: Nothing in my educational background had anything to do with operating a warehouse.  Along the way I learned to drive a fork lift — know what a pallet and pallet jack were – how to assemble racking for the most efficient picking of orders – I started at ground zero in all of that.  The grocery retailers of New Jersey were my mentors and provided—and still do—all kinds of assistance way beyond food.

Alan Bildner cared greatly about the poor and hungry in New Jersey and was a wonderful supporter and mentor right from the very beginning.  Tom Infusino said yes to my request to “borrow” a reefer when I received a donation of frozen vegetables with no place to store them.  Wakefern and Kings have continued over decades of support and guidance begun by their great leaders.

The mentoring and support from Stop & Shop, Foodtown, Wegmans, A&P and QuickCheck all contribute to our success and growth.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements?  Do you have a defining moment of your career to date? I am most proud of the wonderful staff, volunteers, donors and community partners—they make possible what I get credit for.

Most challenging part of your job: The most challenging part of my job is that despite our growth to a distribution of 43 million pounds of  food and groceries annually, the need is still outpacing us.

Advice for upcoming younger executives: Be passionate about what you do—it makes a difference.

Hobbies: I have little time for hobbies, but I love working in my garden and being with family and friends.