Successful School Nutrition Industry Conference Wraps Up Today


Beautiful San Diego is the destination for almost 500 enthusiastic school nutrition operators and industry partners who gathered for three exciting days of learning at SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC). With the theme “Building Practical Solutions for School Nutrition” as their blueprint, these K-12 foodservice professionals found a jam-packed conference agenda that addresses finding solutions with a major emphasis on looking to the future of the business of school nutrition.

Two complimentary pre-conference sessions were offered on Saturday, related to business ethics as well as USDA Foods. In her presentation “Business Ethic: Form Theory to Practice,” speaker Wendy Patrick, Deputy District Attorney, Special Operations Division, gave SNIC attendees much to think about with questions such as: “Are you practicing the ethics of making sure your employees are challenged and satisfied with meaningful work?”

During Sunday’s Opening General Session, Futurist Christian Crews had #SNIC16 attendees thinking about creative solutions to current and future problems with a few hands of “Trend Poker.” This unique card game was a huge hit and had attendees brainstorming innovations based on hottest trends in school nutrition: Regulations & Governance, Social, Environment & Health, Economy and Technology. Additionally, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary and SNA Past President Dr. Katie Wilson, SNS, offered updates, clarifications, advice and good news in an information-packed report that touched on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, dietary guidelines and new grants. Dr. Wilson also encouraged the audience to take the School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Exam as it enhances the school nutrition profession and lends credibility as it relates to USDA’s Professional Standards.

On Monday, keynote speaker Millennial and generational expert Curt Steinhorst pulled no punches in describing conflicting styles and values in the workplace. In an entertaining and upbeat presentation, Steinhorst had attendees laughing and cringing in recognition—and doing a little reflection, too.

Throughout SNIC, conference goers attended a variety of education sessions from Innovative Solution Sessions where operators and industry members joined together to find answers to everyday issues that arise in the cafeteria—to specific educational offerings designed to enhance their school nutrition program or operation, such as “The Interplay of Food & Nutrition Trends in the Policy Landscape.” “Preparing for the Administrative Review,” “Goin’ Mobile” and “Foodservice Transformation: Trends Shaping the Industry Through 2020.”

At SNIC 2016 there was also special time for celebration and comradery during the 2016 FAME Awards when numerous school nutrition professionals were honored for their exceptional efforts in K-12 foodservice. Additionally, more fun and fitness was the name of the game when attendees took part in the STEPS Challenge Wellness Walk (wearing matching green STEPS Challenge shirts!) while taking in panoramic views of the city skyline and the Marina waterfront.

This morning, the Final General Session, “Inside-Out Leadership: Discovering Your Personal Leadership Brand,” featured keynote speaker Valia Glytsis, CEO and Founder, The Paradox of Leadership. As she led this interactive gathering, she asked participants if they suffer from imposter syndrome and challenged them to take a hard, honest look at themselves, as they develop their own personal leadership brand.

SNIC 2016 wraps up later today with additional professional development opportunities to ensure that everyone leaves the conference with their master plan for school nutrition success! Mark your calendar now and join us for next year’s SNIC, taking place January 20-24, 2017 in Orlando, Fla.

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