A Message from SNA President Leah Schmidt

August 9, 2013 – As I begin my year as SNA president, I’d like to tell you how fortunate I feel to be leading the Association, which is fresh from a transformative year under the leadership of Sandra Ford, SNS. Sandy has helped guide me toward the position I now hold, partnering with me to serve the members and advance the mission of SNA.

As I think about the word, “partner,” particularly in the context of this year’s theme, “Positive Partnerships for Healthy Results,” I continue to be appreciative of SNA’s powerful and impressive partners. They include a wide base of extraordinary school nutrition operators and industry members, as well as SNA state affiliates, state agencies, USDA and the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI), the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), and other allied organizations including the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Share our Strength and the PEW Charitable Trusts. It’s through the cooperative efforts of these integral partners that it is possible to achieve the healthy, successful results that we all desire for our nation’s children.

As I look to the upcoming year, I am excited about what lies ahead. In particular, I am looking forward to additional opportunities for enhancing our existing partnerships with the recent addition of legislative and lobbying counsel Barnes & Thornburg, LLP. As we move ahead, we should continue to remind ourselves that SNA’s commitment to our policy positions and advocacy efforts never wavers—and with this, our strong partnerships and a solid plan, we can realize meaningful and healthy results for our school nutrition programs and the students we serve.

As we gear up for Child Nutrition Reauthorization in 2015, the Association is in the process of developing a comprehensive three-year legislative strategic plan—a road map for the near future, of sorts—so we can continue to advocate for our child nutrition goals. However, I must ask for your involvement, too. During the course of the upcoming year, I challenge each of you to develop and strengthen different partnerships throughout your community and state. When we each rise to this challenge, we work toward the outcomes of the five pillars of our strategic framework.

  • Education and Public Image: By encouraging professionalism at all levels of your operation and making every effort to enhance the public image of school meals and the professionals who serve them, you help to strengthen our position that school meals are integral to educational achievement;
  • Advocacy and Community: By strengthening your relationships with legislators, allied organizations and other potential supporters, you will create new and lasting community ties and position yourself to be a more effective advocate for your program and the students you serve; and,
  • Membership: By encouraging your colleagues to become members and invigorating your relationship with other SNA members, everyone wins, supporting one another in the challenges and achievements of this business.

I consider each and every one of you my partner in school nutrition, and it is truly an honor to serve as SNA president. Already, I see the Association and its allies working together as a team, embodying the spirit of this year’s theme. I look forward to working together with you, so that we achieve the best for our students, for one another, for our communities and for our Association.

Leah Schmidt, SNS
2013-14 SNA President

Related Link

2013-14 Annual Plan: Positive Partnerships for Healthy Results (pdf)

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