A Conversation with…

Kristy Caraballo, BS’97, MBA’99

What are your fondest memories of your student days?

Sports played a big role in my experiences at FDU. I was a member of the Devils women’s basketball team and I helped to start the women’s soccer program at the Florham Campus. Now, we weren’t the best soccer team at the time, but I have very fond memories of reaching out to students across the campus and recruiting members. We recruited anyone who was willing to play, even members of the basketball team. It’s great to see how the program has blossomed over the years. I formed a bond with my teammates and learned the value of working together. I’ve carried these lessons with me into the work world.

Additionally, my semester at FDU’s Wroxton College in England was one of the best experiences of my life. The trips to Ireland, France, Spain and Africa – as well as having the chance to live and study at the Abbey and make new friends – all helped to shape my adult life.

What was unique about being an FDU student? 

The small class size and professors who cared and went the extra mile for their students. When you learn from someone who really cares, it carries over after you graduate. Because of this, I’m now better able to understand what my teams need from me and I know the difference I can make in their professional lives.

I learned a lot from Dr. Ron Heim (Associate Professor, Silberman College of Business). I received a fellowship from the University which gave me the chance to work alongside Dr. Heim as he and others were working toward AACSB accreditation for Silberman College. I was tremendously grateful for this opportunity to help Dr. Heim put Silberman on the map.  He would often share his theories on business and marketing with me, and I still use his advice and tips today.

Karin Hamilton (former Adjunct Professor, Silberman College of Business) also made a big impact on me. Her lessons had clarity; she made them meaningful and relevant to the real world. She is also a natural mentor. I remember a time when I was unsure of what my major should be. I had a couple of options on the table and needed the advice of someone who I felt could point me in the right direction. I turned to Karin because I knew her advice would produce the guidance I was craving.  She sat down with me after class and spent well over an hour talking me through my dilemma. By the end of our conversation I had clarity. The faculty at FDU care about students and student success. I’ve stayed close with Karin and Dr. Heim, and we get together whenever we can. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It’s a dynamic work environment. No two days are ever the same. I’m constantly learning and growing, building on my ability to think and plan strategically and to come up with creative solutions. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who has influenced you the most?

By far, my mom. She’s the hardest working woman I ever met. She taught me the importance of education, keeping a positive attitude even when times are tough, and the value of rolling up your sleeves to get the job done. My mom is an entrepreneur; she has owned successful restaurants and catering facilities most of her adult life. One of the reasons why her employees have always respected her is because there is not a job she won’t do. If dishes are piling up in the kitchen, my mom joins the dishwasher in getting the pile clean. If the floors are dirty and the staff is busy with other things, my mom grabs a broom and sweeps them clean. She is a true team player – a leader who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. I’ve witnessed her do these things my entire life and I now follow suit in my career. This behavior has continued to help me earn the respect and admiration of my peers. 

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Juggling career and family. It’s hard to find balance. Just trying to get home in time to read to my children and tuck them in bed at night can be a real challenge. My key to figuring this out is to be present when you’re home. Put down your phone – work emails can wait – these things can be taken care of later at night once the kids have gone to bed. Quality versus quantity is my mantra! 

What’s your philosophy on life?

First of all, do what you love. Don’t love it? Make a change. Second, bring balance to everything. Moderation is the key.

About Kristy Caraballo

Kristy Carballo is an Executive Vice President, Managing Director at McCann Echo, a full-service healthcare advertising agency located in Mountain Lakes, N.J.  She has worked in the McCann Health network for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she began her advertising career at Digitas in New York City. 

She received two degrees from FDU: a BS in marketing in 1999 and a MBA in marketing in 1997. As an undergraduate, Caraballo was an honors student and a Presidential Scholar, played on the Women’s Basketball Team and was Captain and founding member of the FDU Devils Women’s Soccer Team. She received a fellowship to work in the Silberman College of Business during her graduate studies.

She has served as an adjunct faculty member at both Centenary College and FDU and continues to find great satisfaction and personal reward in teaching and coaching others. 

Finally, and most importantly, Kristy is a mother of 2 energetic and happy children, ages 6 and 4.