Helen Phillips 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Ch-ch-ch-changes Last August, when I wrote my first column as your new SNA President, I encouraged you to “Stand Up for Change.” We knew this year would be one for the history books; it certainly has been a period marked by both exciting opportunities and challenging changes—and it’s not even over yet! But while SNA’s leadership has been moving forward, welcoming change in all its imperfections, we may have forgotten to turn around and check to see if people were following us! Most change, by its very nature, is hard to embrace. Even some good changes can feel uncomfortable, especially at first, simply because they are different and unfamiliar. It’s no wonder that our initial gut instinct is to resist change. We all struggle at times with accepting certain changes. Who hasn’t resisted a growing child’s desire for greater independence or chafed under the different approach new supervisor? Change can be hard. And yet, I ask you again to stand up and work with me and the other leaders of SNA to accept the fact that school meals and our Association are evolving. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not asking for your blind trust or unqualified agreement about specific changes. I’m asking for your participation and an open attitude toward working together to make change work for us. It’s important that you know how much SNA’s leaders rely on the input and feedback of members when addressing major decisions and changes that affect our profession and our organization. We conduct member surveys, convene task forces, coordinate listening sessions and more to ensure we represent your needs. But we certainly can do better in letting you know more about the outcomes of that research. For example, many of you may be unaware of the changes made to the job description of SNA’s chief executive officer (CEO). We were fortunate to have ample time to collect feedback from members, as well as current and past leadership, regarding the skills and responsibilities required for this position before inviting Frank DiPasquale to take the job. One of the things we heard was a desire that the new CEO serve as a key public spokesperson; this is quite a change from the past! This role allows for nimble and consistent responses to issues; lessens the travel burden on current presidents; and insulates them from potential work-related conflicts. But this is just one example of how SNA changes might come about. The Board of Directors currently is seeking new ways to improve the transparency of the decision-making process to members. In the meantime, please know that you are always welcome to contact any one of us to share your thoughts, questions and concerns. Stand up with me and with your fellow school nutrition professionals as we shrug off our discomfort and welcome the changes of today and tomorrow. SN
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