It Was All About Hot Topics and Cool Connections at #ANC17


It was all about hot topics and the cool connections in “HOTlanta” for SNA’s 71st Annual National Conference (ANC). Over the four-day conference 7,000 attendees took part in learning and networking opportunities that left them energized and prepared to succeed in school nutrition.

Alex Sheen Speaks at SNA's 2017 Annual National Conference (ANC)

During Wednesday’s exciting Closing General Session, the 2017-18 SNA Board of Directors, including new President, Dr. Lynn Harvey, RDN, LDN, FAND, SNS, were installed. Harvey relayed to conference attendees, “When I look at the year ahead, I want everyone to know that “School Meals Matter!’”

Keynote speaker and nationally respected thought leader, Alex Sheen, spoke at the Closing General Session. Sheen shared the emotional story of his father’s sudden death from cancer, which led to his nonprofit organization “because I said I would,” which is dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. His humanitarianism and selflessness inspired the crowd and had many people in tears. Sheen said, “If we don’t teach our children to be decent human beings, what is the point of human society?”

Additionally, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue addressed attendees during the Closing General Session. His visit was highly anticipated, as this is the first time in over 20 years that a Secretary of Agriculture has spoken to an ANC audience.

ANC 2017 Listening Session with Sonny Perdue

Perdue received a huge applause when he discussed the proclamation he recently signed which is intended to help overcome operational challenges in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs created by highly restrictive sodium, whole grain-rich and milk requirements.

Perdue stated that USDA has a new motto, “Do right and feed everyone.” Additionally, he went on to explain that he and the USDA staff will continue to work with SNA and its members because frontline operators know these programs. “We trust you!”

Later Secretary Perdue met with the school nutrition professionals who serve on SNA’s incoming and outgoing Board of Directors to hear first-hand about successes and challenges as schools work to improve menus for students while meeting updated nutrition standards for meals and snacks.

Conference-goers packed into additional education sessions throughout the conference to bolster their work toward Professional Standards requirements and traveled the Exhibit Hall floor to meet with exhibitors, sample both delicious food and beverage selections and gather product information to take home to their districts.

Bakenaked Ladies Perform at SNA's 2017 Annual National Conference (ANC)

The Closing Event Concert was full of fun, laughter and barenaked excitement! Headliners, Barenaked Ladies, delighted and amused the attendees with their light-hearted comedic performance style and humorous banter between songs.

The enthusiastic ANC conversation doesn’t have to end just because the conference is over! Share all of your favorite conference moments with us on SNA’s Facebook page and @SchoolLunch on Twitter. Go to SNA’s Flickr page to see a photo journal of all the lively entertainment! Don’t forget to mark your calendars now for ANC 2018—join us in Las Vegas July 9-12, 2018!

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