Why did you choose a career in school nutrition and what do you love about it?

I have always found a certain satisfaction in health and wellness and knew I wanted to make it my career path. The most amazingly wonderful part of my job is that I get the awesome privilege to create healthy, delectable meals that not only meet nutrition standards but also appeal to our most important customers: the students. I also enjoy providing professional development training for other child nutrition professionals. I’ve been a member of SNA for 10 years.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

Sleeping in, enjoying morning coffee and daily devotion and then spending time with my mother.

Where is your happy place?

Sitting in the recliner next to my husband, enjoying dinner and a movie together, with lots and lots of laughs.

Name three foods you could happily subsist on if marooned with a lifetime supply.

Strawberries, mango and French fries.

What is the best vacation you’ve ever enjoyed and what’s still a destination on your bucket list?

Hawaii! I ziplined over the most majestic natural landscape a person could ever imagine. I could retire there. I look forward to traveling to Paris with my husband one day. Since childhood, I’ve been captivated by the beauty and rich culture of Paris in the movies. I want to experience it all for myself one day.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I remember the first time my mother told me, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Back then, I didn’t understand, but she said, “Keep on living, you’ll see after a while.” Let’s just say Mom was right after all!

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

You are beautiful, gifted, strong, caring and important. One day, you’ll see how all of your life’s experiences—the good and not-so-good—will culminate in a masterful plan that serves a higher purpose.

If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be?

1) End food insecurity worldwide; 2) Grant my children the most wonderful husbands; 3) Be able to read people’s minds.

Who would be among your dream dinner party guests?

Oprah Winfrey tops the list. I love her philanthropic work and would be very interested to learn more about it. Martin Lawrence, because I love to laugh. Rachel Ray—I’d love for her to prepare the dinner! Also Bishop T.D. Jakes, because he inspires me, and I would love to glean his spiritual wisdom and guidance in person, one to one.

What is the strangest food you’ve ever tried?

I reluctantly tried sushi once at my family’s insistence. It was at a Hibachi Grill, and I was surprised to discover I liked it.

SNA member Keba Laird

Keba Laird, MBA, RDN, ACSM EP-C, SNS

Child Nutrition Supervisor

Clinton, Mississippi

Clinton Public School District