I just returned from the 2014 annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta and I don’t know about you but I am energized! Most people return home from this conference exhausted, but I tend to return home each year energized. I love all the great people I met, the knowledge gained from the sessions I attended and all the new and fascinating products in the Expo hall.
One of my favorite sessions this year was on branding, titled “Creating Fame: The Power of Branding to Elevate Your Career” presented by Yvette Quantz and Thomas Karam and moderated by Sarah Koszyk. This session was well presented and provided many take away points that I will be incorporating into my professional toolkit. The presentation focused on how to brand yourself as a dietitian, no matter the focus of your practice. The also demonstrated how two simple things, “vocal tone” and your “default look”, can determine whether someone will like/trust you within the first 10 seconds of meeting you. This was excellent information to be reminded of since we, as dietitians, deal with patients, clients, vendors and many other groups of people on a daily basis. The session served as a great reminder of the importance of focusing on making a positive first impression. Because we interact with so many new people on a daily basis, the first impression is key to our success. If we fail to impress, it lessens the impact of the rest of our message.
Another favorite for me this year was the expo hall. Come one, who doesn’t like a place where great food vendors and sponsors showcase their products. This year, I especially enjoyed learning about the new natural food products on the market, and the trend of decreasing processed ingredients and additives that are currently in so many of our foods. This is a trend that dietitians have been focusing on for quite some time. It’s great to see it becoming a more mainstream trend. While I believe there is room in a person’s diet for most foods, I also believe it is important to get back to the basics. Because of this, it was nice see so many companies working with dietitians to produce a healthier product for consumers to choose.
For those who were able to attend the 2014 FNCE conference, I would love to hear about your favorite session(s), as well as your favorite part of the expo. For those of you who were unable to go this year, I look forward to connecting next year in Nashville. Finally, for those who are questioning whether it is worth it to attend FNCE in the future, I would definitely recommend it. Although it is a long weekend, I think you will be surprised at how you leave feeling more energized and excited about the future of our profession.
Talk to you soon!
Carrie Mark, MA, RD, LD
Chief Acquisitions Director
Since the 1980’s, NCES has been creating leading nutrition education products. But, do you know how it all started? I’m sure many of you do because you’ve been right here with us through the entire journey. But, for others, we’re excited to take this opportunity to share with you the evolution of our flagship product, now titled the “Healthy START” series of handouts.
It all started back in the 80’s with the extremely ‘cool cat’, Nutri-Cat! Nutri-Cat had a great job. He was responsible for encouraging people of all ages to eat healthy and exercise, similar to the way a team mascot would cheer on his team. The first handouts, featuring Nutri-Cat, utilized the food pyramid that had carbs at the bottom and fats and oils at the top.
This handout was able to hold on strong for many, many years. However, in 2005, it was time for an update. Based on new research and standards, the USDA updated their base food pyramid to a side-by-side food pyramid with steps moving up the side. At this time, we decided that Nutri-Cat had done his job as we retired him from the series of handouts. We also added more information on exercise as nutrition standards were putting a larger emphasis on exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
In 2011, we introduced the Healthy START handouts you know and love today! In response to the USDA’s updated 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the introduction of MyPlate to replace MyPyramid, we went back to the drawing board and crafted an entirely new educational handout to fit the needs of our health and nutrition education customers. We also thought it was important to provide an acronym that would help readers live a healthy lifestyle, which is where the START concept was born. This simple acronym provides everyday instructions to help reader’s jumpSTART their healthy lifestyle. Coming up with the components of the START concept were easy too. The USDA had just released five topics they intended to emphasize over the next five years. These became the pillars of our START concept.
And that’s how a star is born! These Healthy START handouts continue to be one of our best selling products here at NCES. For almost 30 years, these handouts have brought nutrition education to the masses. With solid information reflecting the most up-to-date research and science behind health, wellness and fitness, these handouts are a great fit in every nutrition education setting. To learn more or place your order today, visit NCEScatalog.com. You can also always contact us. Our on-staff dietitian is here to answer your questions! Before you go, take a second to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our newsletter!
The AND Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) is kind of like Christmas in the nutrition and dietetics community. Four jam-packed days of interesting education sessions, networking and foodie events, and the inevitable attempt to fit as many free samples from the Expo into our bags as possible. But aside from the whirlwind of activity, what has and always will make FNCE the extraordinary experience that it is every year, is the energy, the people and the newfound sense of drive you feel every time you leave.
As part of the Executive Board of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group, our theme at the conference this year was “Declare Your Passion.” I had the amazing opportunity to meet and network with registered dietitians who have found a way to take their passions and incorporate it into a career that is both emotionally and financially fulfilling– I’m pretty sure not many other professions can say that! From supermarket dietitians, to authors, to social media gurus, to research experts (just to name a few!) there was never a shortage of colleagues to talk to and learn from.
FNCE is about celebrating collaboration, not competition. This weekend I saw friends reconnecting, long-lasting business relationships being formed, and students interacting with their mentors. We shared ideas, we asked questions, and we motivated one another. The one buzz word that kept being tossed around to describe the 2012 FNCE experience was “inspired,” and I couldn’t agree more.
In essence, FNCE to me this year served as a reminder of how truly lucky we are to be in a profession where we can make whatever career we want. There are no limits, there are no boundaries–we get to wake up looking forward to going to work every day! I’ve already started outlining my 2013 “career to-do list” inspired by my interactions with fellow dietitians this weekend, and I can’t wait to experience it all over again next year in Texas!
Kristen Carlucci, RD
Nutrition Expert for Pitney Bowes
NEdpg Director-Elect of Member Services