Please share a little of your K-12 school nutrition journey.
Actually, it was my husband who encouraged me to work in child nutrition, since my background is in Hospitality Management. I started as a substitute, then became a full-time worker, was promoted to manager, then became the first field supervisor in our district and am now the assistant director for the department. I love everything I do, but if I had to pick one favorite area of responsibility, it would be visiting our cafeterias and seeing the smiling faces of students who are excited to eat our delicious and nutritious food!
I joined SNA and the Alabama School Nutrition Association five years ago and have attended every in-person SNA Annual National Conference (ANC) since. I’ve also attended the School Nutrition Industry Conference and Legislative Action Conference the last two years. The most memorable—and most favorite—was my first ANC in Las Vegas in 2018. It was my first time attending a national conference, and it was inspiring and exciting to see so many people from all across the country who share the same passion for school nutrition.
Did you eat school meals as a child?
I grew up in the Philippines, and my favorite school meal was called lugaw. It’s a Filipino glutinous rice dish.
What was your best past vacation and future bucket list destination?
I truly enjoyed a vacation to Ontario, Canada, where I was able to see one of the wonders of the world: Niagara Falls. My bucket list destinations are in Europe, particularly Paris, France, to see another wonder of the world: the Eiffel Tower.
What TV series are you binge watching these days?
“Almost Paradise” (available on Amazon Prime and FreeVee). It is an American-Philippines crime drama, with some comedy. It’s the first American television series filmed entirely in the Philippines, and I feel at home when I watch it.
What’s the best advice you have received?
I was in fifth grade, and I remember my father telling me, “When you are down, get up. And when you are up, be humble.” I will never forget that powerful advice, which reminds me to show empathy and deep respect to others, regardless of their background or status.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Get out of your comfort zone. Take responsibility for things you control, accept what you cannot and stop taking everything personally. Learn how to forgive old wounds, process your anger and let go.
What would be your first purchase if you won the lottery?
I don’t gamble, but if I won, I would buy a business-class plane ticket to the Philippines. There, I would find an island to buy and build my resort. I’d invite all my Elmore County CNP family to come for a vacation!
If you could choose a magical or super power, what would it be?
I would pick the ability to fly. I think I would really enjoy how free I would feel, knowing I could go almost anywhere!
If you couldn’t work in school nutrition, what would be your next dream job?
I just cannot imagine myself doing anything else. Working in child nutrition is my dream job!