Taking It a Twist at a Time Last winter, I found myself at play with a four-year-old and his collection of Transformers, the popular 30-year-old toy line, in which everyday vehicles and electronic items are converted into fighting robots. I was enthralled watching his fascination with the emergence of a robot from an initially ordinary-looking airplane—especially since the transformation took place one twist at a time. It wasn’t through an easy shift, such as turning the toy upside down or through a magician’s sleight of hand. It was one twist, and then another and then another, building on each other, until the transformation was complete. As you read this issue of School Nutrition, most of you are likely in the throes of operational transformation. Menus are complete and the new school year is about to begin—but oh my, the feelings of challenge and uncertainty about how to navigate the new menu requirements and other changes and obstacles on a day-to-day basis can be overwhelming! Let me remind you of my little four-year-old friend. He didn’t look at the whole process of transforming his toys and get frustrated or defeated. Instead, he just took each twist and turn at a time, one after the other. Can we pause and do the same thing in our school nutrition programs? Instead of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of transformation that our programs face, can we just take one twist, one step at a time? One tool that will help SNA identify each change in the ongoing transformation of our profession and our Association is our new strategic plan. (CEO Frank DiPasquale has offered details about the strategic planning process, the resulting plan and the five pillars that guide our actions in the “First Word” column in the February, April and June/July issues.) In addition, we defined new vision, mission and value statements that will further guide and delineate our collective priorities. Any kind of transformation requires a commitment, and the transformations anticipated for SNA, its members and its programs will require a shared commitment from each one of us. I invite you to join me and commit to modeling the leadership that we want to see in others. And in sharing both the opportunities and obligations, we will work together this next year to transform the blurry picture of what could be to a clear vision of what is possible. I am honored to serve as SNA President this year. I am grateful to the many mentors and friends who nurtured my own commitment and helped me to make one small change after another to achieve this goal. I look forward to the year ahead, as we work together toward transformation. Thank you for joining me.
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