#WFH Diaries: Katrina McDonald of Pepsi Lipton

Even as parts of the world begin to open up amid the pandemic, most folks are still working from home. We're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Katrina McDonald of Pepsi Lipton, a joint venture between PepsiCo and Unilever.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Katrina McDonald, senior marketing director for the Pepsi/Lipton joint venture (Pure Leaf, Lipton, Tazo, Brisk), responsible for leading the communication, innovation and strategy agenda for the tea portfolio.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

Bunkered down in NYC on the Upper West Side with my husband and my two high-energy daughters—Lexi, who just turned 4, and Sienna, who is 2 next month—while also being 30 weeks pregnant. 

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?

Its chaos but it’s manageable … the silver lining is I get to spend more time with the family and wear activewear every day. I ordered a desk (and a printer) and am currently working out of our bedroom. The days are full of Zoom meetings. Recently I have been more disciplined and trying not to go on video for every meeting and trying to take at least one call a day while walking.  

Describe your socializing strategy.

My work colleagues are social. We have been having "Tea Time" Zoom breaks where we talk about anything other than work—these 30 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays are keeping me sane.

Lexi's school has been great. Beyond online classes they have also set up Zoom hangouts for the kids to chat, chat, chat.

My husband and I are trying to stay social through Houseparty. We joined a few weeks back, and it’s been a great way to stay in touch with friends in the U.S. and back home in Australia. 

How are you dealing with childcare?

We are fortunate that our nanny is coming in four days a week (we are driving her both ways) and very grateful.

What are you reading?

Embarrassed to say nothing. When I finally get an hour to two to unwind at the end of the busy day once the girls are asleep, I tend to gravitate to the TV, as reading a book would send me to sleep in seconds.

What are you watching?

We just finished Game of Thrones and Ozark (loved both). We are currently halfway through the final series of Homeland. 

What are you listening to?

I listen to The New York Times podcast The Daily every day.

How are you staying fit?

We head into Central Park every day at 5 p.m., the girls on scooters while I power walk behind them.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Cooking. We have had a slow cooker for three years and never used it before March. Now I have added five new recipes to my repertoire. 

Any tips for getting necessities?

Amazon remains my main go-to … even for maternity clothes. 

An awkward moment since all this started.

We were on a leadership team meeting and it was running 15 minutes over. My eldest daughter comes running in at 5:15 p.m., all ready to go to the park and loudly yells, "How is he still speaking?" Of course I wasn’t on mute. Luckily my boss had a good laugh and it was the perfect catalyst to wrap up the meeting.

An aha! moment since all this started.

The way we market products to consumers will forever be changed. How we connect and engage and sell products will need to evolve. Things are changing daily across every area of our business. As an organization, we are closely watching for the safest, smartest and most relevant ways to connect to our consumers.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I think we are WFH the rest of the year … crossing my fingers they come up with a vaccine ASAP.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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