July 17, 2013 – Yesterday, broadcast journalist Lisa Ling received a standing ovation from the audience at the second General Session at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, Mo., after a riveting speech focusing on thinking about the consequences of actions, as well as taking the time to get to know the story of the people around you.
Ling, who said her career was influenced by other broadcast journalists such as Connie Chung, offered a number of anecdotes about children, including boys armed with machine guns in Afghanistan. It was experiences like these that evolved her career goal from “a desire to be on TV to have a better life to wanting to tell these stories,” she said.
Although Ling’s talk mostly focused on her adventures as an international journalist, she touched on the importance of the work of SNA members. “I truly applaud all of you for being here and taking the health of our children so seriously.” During a question-and-answer segment, Ling also admitted that her favorite school lunch foods growing up were the least-healthy options, such as sloppy Joes. “It just goes to show how things have changed enormously,” she added.
As for Oprah, with whom Ling works closely, as she show appears on the Oprah Winfrey Network, “Oprah is cool,” Ling said, getting the question out the way early in the speech. “Oprah said to me once, because you have the welfare of so many kids in your hands, ‘Now that you know, you can't pretend that you don't,” she said.
But it wasn’t just Ling who gripped the SNA membership -- Janey Thorton, USDA FNS deputy under secretary, provided a USDA update, during which she both acknowledged the challenges of the evolving regulations and praised school foodservice professionals. “Thank to your hard work … our reputation has changed, not just nationally, but internationally,” Thornton said. She cited that as of the end of April, three-quarters of school districts had applied for 6 Cent Certification, while 50 percent were certified. She gave a special call-out to Colorado, which achieved 100 percent certification.
ANC wraps up today, Wednesday, July 17, with the Closing General Session, featuring keynote speaker Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the installation of the 2013-14 SNA president and board of directors and the final event, featuring country-rock singer Darius Rucker.
Can’t get enough ANC excitement? Join SNA on Facebook and @SchoolLunch on Twitter to be part of the conference buzz—or simply add hashtag #ANC13 to your tweets and be part of the conference Twitter stream.
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