Directors Find Something at ANC to Come Back to Every Year


SNA's 2017 Annual National Conference (ANC)

The following is the fifth in a series of news stories exploring the exciting opportunities and events at ANC.

Clara Ware has been a foodservice professional for the past 31 years and at last count she has only missed SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) three times over that time period. She has no plans to miss any in the future.

“Why do I keep going?” asks Ware, supervisor at Durant Public School District in Durant, Mississippi for the past 10 years. “Because I learn something new every year and there is a new experience every year.

“Things are constantly changing in the school foodservice business and I always find new things to bring back to my school district. For example, last year upon visiting one of the vendors at the Exhibit Hall, we found a countertop sandwich maker that was just perfect for our small kitchens. And at ANC [2015] in Salt Lake City, I learned hands-on culinary techniques from the chef at the Pre-Conference Workshop that we use in our kitchen today. Going to ANC is a real learning experience that I almost cannot do without!”

As director of the Butts County (Ga) School District, Nicole James finds going to ANC a vital part of her job.

“I go to ANC because I feel like it’s part of my position as director and it makes me more professional,” says James who has attended the past 10 ANCs. “It helps me be a better leader in my department and in my school system so that I can stay up-to-date with all the new food products, new regulations and the training aspects.

“The networking opportunities at ANC are very valuable to me because I get to talk to directors from all over [the U.S.]. It’s reassuring to know we all have some of the same challenges and then discover how they are dealing some of those same issues.”

Most foodservice directors need approval from their supervisor attend ANC. Do you need to make a case to attend? Debbie Timm, food service director at Jefferson School District 251in Rigby, Idaho finds her supervisors very supportive.

“They think that all the training that I receive is very important for my job and that ANC is a great resource; they know it’s good to attend,” says Timm, who out of the 56 employees on her staff, she brings along about 10 to ANC every year. “[Staff who attend] feel like they are getting information on how to do their job better and easier, which makes for a more efficient cafeteria.”

Added James, “Our superintendent, Mr. Robert Costly is of the mindset that if it is educational, it makes my job better, it makes our system better and will help our students better, he is all for it.”

With all the Education Sessions, Pre-Conference Workshops, and Exhibit Hall vendors, Ware, a veteran of 28 ANCs, finds the General Session speakers one of her favorite highlights.

Register for ANC 2017:

Sound interesting? Registration for ANC is open. For a complete schedule, special event and general session information, hotel and travel information, visit or watch the ANC video. Make your case to attend today!

“There is always somebody who is interesting, you want to listen to and be very attentive,” says Ware, who feels “blessed” that all of her supervisors over the years have approved her attendance at ANC. “I really love the General Sessions because they always have good speakers; I wouldn’t miss that for anything.”

“I can’t wait to hear the [Opening General Session Keynote Speakers] Mark and Scott Kelly talk about their experiences in space,” notes Timm, who has attended ANC the past 10 years. “I think it is going to be very interesting.”

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