What You Missed at School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC) 2016

Posted by Pete Belknap on Feb 10, 2016 3:54:59 PM


Heartland’s own Pete Belknap, National Account Manager, shares his experience of the 2016 School Nutrition Industry Conference.

This years’ SNIC conference was held in beautiful San Diego, CA and what a great location it was.  Not only did the weather behave and provide all the attendees with lots of reasons to skip class (none did that I could tell) but the agenda was top notch too.  The topics ranged from a roundtable discussion of the new dietary guidelines and a USDA update, to real life ideas and recommendations on how to deal with employees, staff, administrators, parents and children who span several different generations. 

I found the presentation “Crossing the Generational Divide: Unlocking Strategic Advantages” by guest speaker Curt Steinhorst particularly interesting. During his talk, Curt spoke about the generational divide and explained how having multiple generations in the workplace can impact the way we work. There are still lots of baby boomers out there (I am one of them) yet millennials are a great influence on many aspects of our personal and professional lives.  We all think and act differently, so how do you effectively communicate with people from different generations and make it all work?  This presentation was not only a hilarious reflection on our various ways of thinking and doing things, but it also provided some good pearls of wisdom to help better collaborate and work more effectively with one another.  This understanding can prove invaluable to running a food service department or simply respecting views from older or younger generations.

A round table presentation of best practices was also well attended as various districts from around the country presented ideas and information on steps they have taken to increase their participation.  Emphasizing the various and numerous challenges of the food services environment, these directors offered specific steps they took to elevate their operation in the eyes of their customers and we all know the student is not their only customer.  Whether taking food to where the students are or improving the relationships with principals and school staff to help meet their needs while also increasing participation, there was quite a bit of good information for attendees to take home and implement. 

All in all this was a terrific conference with lots of good information.  I am always able to find one or more “pearls of wisdom” to take back that will help me in my job and I know district food service professionals are able to find even more.

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What was your experience at SNIC this year?  Share your stories in the comment section below.

Topics: Conferences