#SNIC2020: A Playful Start to the New Decade


Recap of SNA's 2020 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC)Centered around the importance of play, the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC), held in Indian Wells, Calif. on January 12-14, brought more than 600 school nutrition professionals together for a week of education, networking and playful moments.

With fun details like colored pencils, puzzles, building blocks, snowball fights, a conference playbook and other small toys, SNIC2020 brought out the child in every attendee and reminded each of them of the power in play. Plus, the mountainous backdrop of the Coachella Valley paired with the mild winter weather, certainly helped stimulate creativity.

Education sessions at the conference covered relevant topics such as current restaurant trends, implementation of a vision board, cafeteria renovations and remodels, student perspectives on school food, how to quell workplace conflict and much more.

Recap of SNA's 2020 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC)A new concept at this year’s conference was the first-ever SNA THINKubator. Similar to a “hackathon,” which brings top minds together to solve a common problem, the THINKubator challenged groups to answer the question “How can we increase school lunch participation?” Each team was comprised of school nutrition operators, industry leaders and local high school students. For three hours, the groups noodled on the problem and developed inspired solutions—everything from facial recognition software to juiced-up meal carts. Each team then created a short presentation and presented it at a general session, where the audience voted on their favorite. (More to come on the winning team and all of the brainstormed ideas!)

Recap of SNA's 2020 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC)The three general session speakers inspired the audience through thought-provoking speeches and discussions. Dr. Shimi Kang urged conference goers to reconsider play as a powerful tool for any workplace, as she explained that it inspires adaptability. Diversity and inclusion expert Joe Gerstandt had the audience reflecting on how to inspire a diverse workplace culture and challenged them to think about how they would implement the practice. The conference concluded with business analyst Charlene Li, who inspired future-forward thinking. Li detailed that thinking about the future customer, and not the current customer, is what keeps a business moving forward and on top of trends.

Missed #SNIC2020 or want to relive some key moments? Don’t fret! All education session presentations are available through the SNA website. Additionally, Webinar Wednesdays will showcase several popular sessions in a Best of #SNIC2020 series, available through SNA’s Training Zone.

Now that you are charged up from #SNIC2020—are you ready to “Charge the Hill” in Washington, D.C., at SNA’s upcoming Legislative Action Conference (LAC)—March 8-10? We look forward to seeing you there.

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