Sheila Musolino: Vice President & COO of Ronald McDonald House Charities®

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Sheila Musolino leads the strategic planning of the Charity’s long-range growth, day-to-day operations, fundraising, marketing and communications efforts to help support the RMHC mission to create, find and support programs that improve the health and well being of children. She is committed to ensuring greater reach for the programs of RMHC and its grants to other global charitable organizations. Her priorities include enhancing the capabilities of lo


cal Chapters, maintaining the highest levels of compassion and care throughout the RMHC system, and deepening the impact of RMHC on health outcomes for more than 8.9 million children and families a year in more than 58 countries and regions.

Throughout her 30-year career with McDonald’s, Sheila has created and executed numerous business strategies, developing strong relationships while leading succession planning and organizational development.  Previously she served as Vice President, McDonald’s U.S. Supply Chain, leading the supply chain strategies for all food and beverage products in the U.S. business. Sheila’s career with McDonald’s began in 1984 as a programmer with the Information Systems Department. Later she worked in Operations Development, Equipment Purchasing, and held a number of positions within the supply chain organization. She led McDonald’s purchasing for the 1996 Olympics, the company’s first year as Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games.

How did you get into the nonprofit industry?

I made the decision to switch to nonprofit work in June 2013 after working on the McDonald’s business for 29 years. Before joining Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), I served as vice president, McDonald’s U.S. supply chain, strategic supply. Through my work there, I became very familiar with RMHC and the great work the Charity does to provide stability and vital resources to children and their families around the world. I was already involved with a local RMHC chapter and wanted to get more involved with the growth and development of the charity globally. When the COO position became available I felt with my experience I could make a measureable impact in helping the organization grow to serve more children and their families.

Tell us about Ronald McDonald House Charities®.

The first Ronald McDonald House® opened in Philadelphia in 1974 and this year Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC) is celebrating 40 years of improving the health and wellbeing of children and families around the world. Today, we’re a global network that spans 58 countries and regions, helping more than 8.9 million families a year and our core programs serve children and families being cared for by 78% of the world’s best children’s hospitals. We have three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House, which serves as a “home-away-from-home” at little to no cost for families with critically-ill children who are receiving life-saving medical treatment; Ronald McDonald Family Room®, which allows parents to rest and regroup while remaining steps from a pediatric or intensive care unit; and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, which offers services that include medical treatment, dental care and health education.  In addition, we extend our reach through a global grants program supporting children's programs worldwide and in the U.S. the charity provides college scholarships to help high school seniors realize their higher education dreams. All RMHC-operated and supported programs work to directly impact the health and wellbeing of children and families around the world.

What partnerships have you created with RMHC and how has it helped your charity succeed?

For 40 years, the McDonald’s System – including individual owner/operators, countless suppliers, employees and customers – has been our Mission Partner and largest corporate partner. Their unwavering support, extending from monetary contributions to volunteerism, has fueled our growth and allowed us to impact countless lives on a truly global level.

Another wonderful RMHC partnership is a result of our relationship with Thirty-One Gifts and its more than 118,000 Consultants. Thirty-One Gifts is a stylish and trendy handbag and accessories company that believes that by empowering women and girls, you can strengthen lives and families. They provide 150,000 “Welcome Bags” to those staying at Ronald McDonald Houses in the U.S. and donate a portion of the proceeds of their Red Wave Thermal Tote to the Charity.

As a charity one of the most important partnerships you forge is with your volunteers. At RMHC we’re more than 300,000 strong globally. Our volunteers support the day-to-day work to help families during critical points in their lives and without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer the services and support we do. They’re truly a part of our family and the fabric of our organization, but we’re incredibly thankful to all our partners, because together their efforts lift spirits and help families cope around the world.

What is your proudest moment you've achieved while running RMHC?

There are so many moments that define my first year with RMHC, above all being the interaction I have with guest families in the Ronald McDonald Houses. They inspire me with their strength and the hope with which they face each day. Led by this inspiration, I worked with our Global Board of Trustees, our network of Chapters, and our global team to define our three year strategic vision and priorities. This plan is so important to our ability to serve our mission.

How would you define a great philanthropist?

Passionate and inspired. Most people will volunteer or donate money at some point in their lives, which is extremely generous and a valuable contribution, but a great philanthropist has a deep-seeded desire to advance a certain cause. They have an emotional connection to their work and use that as a spring board to develop ideas that inspire others to answer their call-to-action. RMHC has been fortunate over its 40 years to have developed relationships with a network of incredible philanthropists who have made valuable investments in our organization to further our mission and work.

Who inspires you to be the best?

I have two people who truly inspire me. First, my Auntie. She raised me and was always there for me no matter what. She taught me so much when we cooked family meals together and she showed me, through her actions, how to put others before my own needs.

Second is my partner, Michael. He inspires me to be my best. I have always been told and truly believe that you need people around you who are supportive, but also keep you grounded, are honest, candid and willing to love you when you aren’t at your best.

Describe a great night out for you.

I grew up in a big family with lots of extended family and friends. So big family gatherings with lots of food, music and laughter is what energizes me the most.

What literature is on your bed stand?

I am all about personal and professional development, as well as challenging myself to learn outside my comfort zone. I love to read books by John Maxwell that focus on leadership and describe how we can inspire one another to learn and work together to get results. In the case of RMHC, this means doing more to serve our mission and help more children and families.

My guilty pleasure though is reading cookbooks! Cooking is a passion of mine because food brings people together to talk, laugh and enjoy each other.

What's next for RMHC?

This is a big year for us. RMHC is celebrating 40 years of keeping families together through an expansive and global network of Chapters and we couldn’t be more excited. Without giving too much away, I will say we’ve got some inspiring surprises and opportunities coming later in the year, so we hope Native Society members will stay tuned for ways they can get involved!