Child Nutrition Industry Blog 2010

Past CNIC Chairs Share Conference’s Value

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CNIC is just a few weeks away, and last year’s conference chairs—and repeat attendees—share what they’re looking forward to in January in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Helen Phillips, SNS, SNA vice president and senior director of child nutrition services for Norfolk (Va.) Public Schools, explains that she enjoys the smaller, more intimate atmosphere of CNIC as compared to SNA’s larger conferences. “I know I will always gain some new knowledge or great idea. It's great to have the opportunity to work more closely with other operators and industry from across the country,” she adds.

Phillips is looking forward to hearing Ann Cooper, nutrition services director for Boulder Valley (Colo.) School District and founder of the Food Family Farming Foundation's Lunch Box Project, present her keynote address at the Jan. 11 general session. “It will be interesting to see how she faces the people she has so harshly criticized,” Phillips states.

In addition to seeing colleagues from across the country that she doesn’t seen often, Director of Food and Nutrition for Oak Park and River Forest (Ill.) High School Micheline Piekarski, SNS, says that she always anticipates CNIC’s educational content, “which really pertains to the director level.” This year, Piekarski is looking forward to seeing all of the new items in the marketplace displayed at once, rather than several at a time, as in previous years. She indicates that she’s also glad to have the opportunity to participate in the planned volunteer project to assemble baskets to benefit Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.

What advice do these veteran attendees have for first-time CNIC attendees? “Come prepared to learn a lot and leave with a greater appreciation of the work you do,” Phillips shares. Offers Piekarski, “The first-timers session (to be held on Jan. 10) is a valuable source of information.” She also recommends the pre-conference session designed for major city directors, district directors and supervisors. Attendees will learn about the work of the Council of the Great City Schools and what the Council looks for when conducting reviews of district programs, including foodservice operations.

As an industry member, I am always looking forward to the CNIC conference. This is an event where we get the opportunity to discuss issues and opportunities with directors and other industry members across the country. There are so many great ideas from all the directors from different the states that we get to learn more of what works for some and what does not work. The directors are always looking to hear what success stories we have to bring to them as industry members.
Love the section where we get to talk about specific topics and hear everyones point of view. It reminds us that we need to understand each one of their schools culture.
Mostly, its an opportunity for the directors to continue learning what we as industry members are doing to facilitate and improve our nutrition programs.
Looking forward to see everyone.
Happy New Year!
P.S. We need to continue finding ways to let the media know that we offer high quality restaurant food in our cafeterias and that we take our business very serious.
There are great options for food in our cafeterias (real fruits, vegetables, casseroles, complete healthy meals).
Posted by: Jose Quinones at 1/5/2010 3:07 PM

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