As a young marketing executive, Tom Caporaso was driven to succeed, putting in overtime to rise through the ranks on his way to the C-suite. That was before heart surgery, followed by the premature birth of his twin daughters, rocked his world and significantly changed his outlook on life.
Now age 50 and the chief executive officer of ebbo, a customer engagement solutions company with headquarters in Rocky Hill, Caporaso’s re-examined priorities guided him to write his first book, “Second Chance CEO: How Crises Made Me a Better Leader, Mentor, and Coach”.
“I learned you can do both,” he said during an interview with The Sun. “You can actually have work-life balance. You can watch your son’s baseball game, go to your daughter’s play and take time off with your spouse to go on vacation.”
Oftentimes, Caporaso sees himself in hungry young executives at his company and, while it may be hard for them to hear, his advice is to be patient.
“You got to live in the moment you’re in,” he said. “If you do the right things, good things will happen to you.”
The Masuk High School alum still works hard, while prioritizing health and time with his family and friends.
Tom Caporaso and Michelle, his wife of 20 years, live in Glastonbury with their three children, twin daughters Tess and Grace, both 18, and son Tommy, 16.
“Second Chance CEO” was published by Lioncrest Publishing on May 9 and the book has already become an Amazon Best Seller.
“You are now officially an Amazon Best Selling author,” Ryan Garcia, an author success manager with Scribe Media, a company that guided Caporaso through the process, wrote to him in an email.
“I’m not in it to sell books. I know that sounds weird, but that was not my goal at all. It was just to try to get my thoughts down and maybe help some people.” — Tom Caporaso
Garcia said it is ranked No. 1 in the Amazon category for Outsourcing, as well as Business Conflict Resolution & Mediation. “Second Chance CEO” was also named a No. 1 Amazon Hot New Release in the category for Business Leadership.
“I had no inclination. My publisher was like, ‘oh, we gotta get on the bestseller list,’ and I was like, ‘I really don’t care about that,'” Caporaso recalled. “I’m not in it to sell books. I know that sounds weird, but that was not my goal at all. It was just to try to get my thoughts down and maybe help some people.”
Some of the themes he discusses in his book are leading by example, managing with empathy and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
A hole in his heart
Tom Caporaso Sr. and his wife, Mary, raised their son Tom and daughter Michele in Monroe. Tom’s sister graduated from Masuk in 1988 and he graduated from there in 1990.
Tom Caporaso went on to earn a marketing degree from Central Connecticut University.
“I was always in marketing,” he said. “I got my start at a small marketing agency in Monroe and ultimately moved to a couple different companies.”
For most of his 30 years in the business, Caporaso said he has been involved with marketing, e-commerce and loyalty programs.
By age 29, Caporaso was in great physical condition having completed the Hartford Marathon two years running and never having experienced a shortness of breath, so it was a surprise when he went for a physical and learned he had a hole in one side of his heart, making it double the size it was supposed to be.
Caporaso was at high risk for a heart attack and had to have open heart surgery.
In his book, he said one of the most difficult things was that the outcome was up to the surgeon, and beyond his control. So before the surgery, Caporaso focused on getting into the best condition he could to promote a positive outcome.
The experience also taught him to trust the experts, from the medical team to his team at work.
Every morning, Caporaso sees the scar on his chest in the mirror. It is a daily reminder of his life threatening experience.
Even worse than that, however, was the premature birth of he and his wife’s daughters, because there was a chance they could lose them both. Fortunately, that was not the case.
Now his girls are healthy, happy and going off to college to start a new chapter in their lives, according to Caporaso.
In 2021, Caporaso presented his idea for “Second Chance CEO” to Lioncrest Publishing and gained approval for the book. He started writing at home, at a time when his company was fully remote amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and finished the manuscript a year later.
Asked his advice for aspiring authors, Caporaso said, “just do it. Put your head down and chip away at it and it will happen sooner than you think.”
Since advanced copies of his book were available, Caporaso said some who had also gone through medical challenges in their own lives read it and gave him positive feedback.
“They’ve come over to me and said, ‘hey, I totally understand what you’re saying. I think it put it in perspective for me,'” he said of how “Second Chance CEO” is relatable to people.
Caporaso has been enjoying the reactions of his wife, family members, friends and co-workers since publishing his book. He said his sister sent him “a great note” after reading it and his parents are proud of him.
“That was probably the best part of writing the book, giving the book to my parents and letting them read it,” he said. “They’ve been very excited. I still run with my dad a couple times a week and he brings up things from the book when we run.”
“The day after I gave it to my parents, my mom read it and immediately called me at work the next day and said how proud she was, so that was very cool,” Caporaso said. “That’s been the fun part.”
“Second Chance CEO is available for purchase on Amazon.