“Far more than our DNA… we pass on our values and life lessons”, with Gail Becker and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

Dr. Ely Weinschneider
Jun 28 · 6 min read
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We transmit far more than our DNA through our children. We pass on our values and life lessons. Not spending time with our children is a missed opportunity on so many levels. I feel at least my children will make their own mistakes and not repeat the ones I have.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Gail Becker, founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER. Gail began her career as a broadcast journalist, worked in politics/government and spent years as a senior-level executive and game changer in corporate America at such companies as Edelman and Warner Home Entertainment. The passing of her father led her to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps. As a mother of two sons with Celiac disease, she grew frustrated with the gluten-free industry and decided to do something about it. So she left her job and created CAULIPOWER. Since its launch in 2017, CAULIPOWER has leap-frogged over 500+ frozen pizza brands to become the #5 pizza brand in New York and the 8th best-selling frozen pizza brand in America.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I grew up as the child of two parents who came to the US having survived the Holocaust, making me a first-generation American. After serving in the military during the Korean war, the boat dropped my father off in San Francisco, where he started his own business. His entrepreneurial spirit has been a true inspiration to me.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I’m a mom of two boys with celiac disease; I was used to creating my own gluten-free meal hacks. The boys wanted pizza so I made a cauliflower crust pizza. The good news? The boys loved it. The bad news? It took 90 minutes and they wanted me to cook it again. So like any good mom, I went looking for a frozen alternative. Amazingly, there were none so I quit my corporate job and bet it all on a veggie, launching CAULIPOWER in 2017. Seeing the reaction to this veggie-first comfort food inspired me to seek other great veggie-forward meal hacks like SweetPotaTOASTS and our CAULIPOWER Tortillas. You can find them all in the frozen aisle.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I am up at 5 am (at the latest) every day, including weekends. Getting my youngest to school is my first priority but a close second is overseeing the marketing, sales, and operations that we, as a team, need to make every day.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

That is a no-brainer. Like any traveling, full-time working parent I feel that pressure and I am sure it’s real. Luckily, the great thing about my two boys is that they are incredibly closely involved in the CAULIPOWER business. They were the inspiration for it and they are truly excellent business advisors. From Day 1 they have spent time listening to conference calls, advising on social media channels and serving pizza for 10 hours a day at shows and exhibitions. It’s not about balancing your personal and professional life — it’s about integrating them.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

We transmit far more than our DNA through our children. We pass on our values and life lessons. Not spending time with our children is a missed opportunity on so many levels. I feel at least my children will make their own mistakes and not repeat the ones I have.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers some strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

Plan. Plan, and then plan some more. Always eat together. Always at the table and never, never allow phones at the table. It’s all about improving the quality of time. In the car we talk too — we play a game called “News You Can Use” which gets us talking about current events. And, then there is time just to have fun. That comes in the form of shows we watch together or the farmer’s market we scour side by side. A week without a memory made is a bad week in my book.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent? I am just trying to be the right parent for my boys. I want to be there at the right time and the right place with the right support whenever they need it. By engaging them in the creation of CAULIPOWER, I want to show them that it’s never too late to bet on yourself.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

When I left corporate America, I really challenged myself to re-define success. I had become too attached to titles and my work wardrobe. After reaching the top I decided I didn’t like the view: it was time to create a new standard for myself. Today, I view success as changing the lives of people who are simply tired of waiting for their food to get healthier. I think success should be measured by how far you wander outside of your comfort zone.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

The Giving Tree. It taught me as a young parent that there is no better thing you can teach your children than to form relationships and give freely.

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

If you don’t bet on yourself, who ever will?

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

To make healthier options more widely accessible to all. That is our mission… our “vegolution”!

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

About the Author:

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, Clergy, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, managing loss and grief, spirituality, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey .

Dr. Ely is available for speaking engagements, and can best be reached via drelyweinschneider.com.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Dr. Ely Weinschneider

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Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, writer, and speaker based in New Jersey.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.