Patricia L. Fitzgerald 0000-00-00 00:00:00
We’re in This Together We won an award a few weeks ago. Actually, we won two. And when I say, “We,” I am not referring to myself by using a royal affectation. I do mean “We,” as in all of us at SNA. And when I say, “all of us at SNA,” I do mean “all”—staff and members and vendors and friends, alike. Because when Headquarters staff is recognized with an award, it’s a reflection of what you do and who you are. Let me rewind. Last month, we were informed that we won top honors in two categories in the 2012 EXCEL Awards competition, sponsored by Association Media & Publishing. One Gold award was for my article, “The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship,” in the June/July 2011 issue. Of course, I am thrilled to be personally acknowledged for my writing abilities. But I am also genuinely pleased that this article earned recognition, because it showcases the oft-unsung spirit and dedication of school nutrition operators at all levels. (The article begins: “Did you slay a dragon today? School nutrition professionals face so many obstacles in their daily pursuit to serve healthy school meals to students that it’s no wonder that the more fanciful among us who admire them see them as valiant heroes in an adventure story.”) By being read, and rewarded, by a panel of judges outside this field, this article told your story to a wider audience. It opened at least some new eyes to your challenges and triumphs. Our second Gold award was for the “Connect in Nashville” Annual National Conference (ANC) marketing campaign. This award is very gratifying, because is an exciting and dynamic showcase for the professionalism of school nutrition. Just viewing the promotional materials helps to raise perceptions far beyond tired stereotypes. It’s also a meaningful honor, because the development of the ANC campaign involved a tremendous number of staff across multiple departments, with representatives from Communications, Marketing, Meetings, Education, Industry Relations, Public Policy, Membership, Operations and the School Nutrition Foundation all contributing in various ways to the final products. This is important recognition, because, frankly, there aren’t a lot of awards competitions available to spotlight the daily excellence exhibited by all of the staff at SNA Headquarters. There’s no gold plaque for the Service Center staff who patiently help members sort out their certification status. There’s no shiny star for the hours it takes to coordinate a successful webinar or the painstaking code that ensures the database works properly when you register online for ANC or all the other steps it takes to keep a large association humming along smoothly. But there should be. A significant portion of SNA staff have worked here more than a decade, delivering excellence. And that’s because you deserve nothing less. Thank you for your ongoing inspiration. SN
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