Not surprising, then, that she co-founded the company that puts gourmet-quality coffee and tea cake and quick-bread mixes within reach of even the most timorous spatula handler.
For McCauley, a tireless and outgoing entrepreneur, it’s about having it all, a fulfilling career that allows her to spend time with her husband and children.
The Ohio State University graduate interned with Neiman-Marcus and was employed as a buyer for the May Co. and Kaufmann’s.
She could not have foreseen that joining the Junior League of Canton would become a seminal moment in her life. There, she met someone who worked for Harry London Candies. Two years later, during that company’s expansion, McCauley was hired as customer service manager. By her 35th birthday and then a mother of two, she became the candy company’s sales manager. Frequent travel was part of the job description.
Airports became a second home, where she spent hours she missed with her husband and children. Determined to carve out more time for them, she took a job with Waggoners Chocolates in North Canton, assisting in the startup of its wholesale business.
But the final pebble in her shoe came with the family babysitter’s impending move out of state.
“It was at that point where I had to make a personal decision. I was stressing my family out, and me, too. It was my turning point. I was helping my husband with his business (Northern Mobile Electric), but I also decided to start as a (independent) sales rep. That’s where I met my partner,” she recalled.
She and a Columbus business acquaintance quickly found they had similar goals — satisfying careers and happy families.
The answer? A full-blown business with the flexibility to operate from home offices. Enter The Invisible Chef. Their combined experience provided contacts in packaging and production arenas, and the results are elegant as well as practical. The partners took their favorite tested recipes, known as blends in the marketplace, to a Kentucky fulfillment factory to mix in 1,000-pound batches. So popular was the line of 10 mixes that they soon began filling private-label orders, too.
When the partners went for a fresher look in packaging, a national retailer snapped up the last 15,000 units of the former design. Now each Invisible Chef package neatly fits into a standard loaf pan for gifting.
Today, The Invisible Chef products are in specialty and gourmet stores across the country and are available online as well.
Stuck for something special to serve the in-laws? Artisan-bakery quality Almond Creme Coffee & Tea hostess gift? Why not pair a cold six-pack with a Brewer’s Choice Beer Bread Mix?
There is little time to relax in the McCauley household these days. While Avery, 11, and Zach, 8, are in school, McCauley’s business gets her full attention. After school, she and husband, Rod, chauffeur the children to practices, games and competitions.
Oh, and did we mention she also has run a half marathon?
A friend touts McCauley as inventive.
“Jill can look at something and be able to figure out how to do it herself. Plus she’s fiercely loyal, hilarious and kindhearted.”
Indeed. This year, she is co-chairing the Jackson Relay for Life event June 12-13, grateful that her mother is a cancer survivor. Each fall, the family operates two food concessions during the three September weekends of the Yankee Peddler Festival at Clay’s Park.
The fashion-forward 40-yearold winces, visibly uncomfortable with descriptive terms such as “hardworking” and “overachiever.”
“I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that I’d be in business,” she concedes. “My family always was, and it just seemed natural.”
Now, if only each day were a few hours longer.
MORE ON THE INVISIBLE CHEF
CALL TOLL-FREE: (800) 456-7115
WEBSITE: www.theinvisiblechef.com. Recipe variations online.
AVAILABLE LOCALLY: Ms. E’s Place, 5558 Fulton Dr. NW, Jackson Township