» Doug Davis, SNS SNA Member Since: 1999 School District: Burlington Schools, Vermont Education: AOS, Culinary Institute of America, New York; BS, Randford University, Washington, D.C. Family: Amazing, supportive and newly retired wife Robyn, three daughters—Kate (25), Tinesha (23) and Quinn (21)—and a son, Harper (25). We live on a farm (in our empty nest!) with our 85-lb. golden lab, Archie, raising pigs, chickens and cows. Q: Did you eat school lunch as a child? A: I always bought lunch. I was a daily school lunch participant, but I never truly understood the fact that there were children who didn’t have enough to eat. My view of child nutrition programs changed completely when I started working in my first school. Q: What has been the focus of your school nutrition operation? A: Everything I do is through the lens of food access. Burlington is Vermont’s largest and most diverse city, I want to ensure all children can access meals in the most socially respectful way possible. We’re constantly revamping and changing our program—offering more choices, more fresh and cook-to-order products. Twenty years ago, I joined the Board of what is now Hunger Free Vermont. I wanted to work to provide food access for all Vermont’s children, especially during weekends, holidays and summer. I’ve also found that my involvement in local and national farm to school initiatives has allowed me to connect with and form lasting partnerships with farmers and community members not previously connected to school nutrition. Q: What school nutrition-related achievement fills you with the most pride? A: I was extremely proud to be part of the team that lobbied our state legislature to eliminate the reduced-price meal category for breakfast and then for lunch. Hunger knows no gender, race or culture. Hunger is the enemy; it impacts everyone and we need keep that fact as the focus of our efforts. Child nutrition programs are the nation’s best defense to combat hunger, and we need to continue doing all we can to keep our students well fed and ready to learn. Q: Why run for SNA President-Elect? A: In my ongoing work on SNA’s Public Policy & Legislation Committee, I have heard the challenges members face, and the achievements they wish to share. I feel confident that, with the help of our Board and the amazing Headquarters staff, I can lead this Association to preserve and protect the programs we’ve worked hard to create. Every day, I say that I have the best job in the world. Together, we serve 50 million meals every school day and so many people work hard to make that happen. I want to help our members, Board and state affiliates continue this amazing work. It’s vital that SNA’s voice is heard so that others recognize the value of what we do. We must ensure we have the funding and infrastructure to run effective, efficient programs. I want to provide strong leadership so our Association can solidify our programs for many years to come. Q: What is your leadership style? A: My leadership style is inclusive and deliberate, with thoughtful steps forward. I try to hire people who challenge me. I like to empower my team to tell me what they think and what they envision for our programs. I strive to give people the tools for success, make sure everyone is heard and supported to move forward. There are times where I, alone, make the decision, but in our business, collaboration and consensus are invaluable. I have learned over my 27 years in this profession that SNA is much stronger when we hear everybody’s voice—whether a Board member or a district director or a front-line cashier. When we work toward a common goal, we truly are greater than the sum of our parts. Q: If elected, what will be your primary areas of focus? A: Food access for students remains paramount. It’s also important that we find ways to connect our schools and communities. We must let families know there are people working hard to ensure their children are well-fed. I would also like SNA leadership to reflect our diverse membership. I would work to ensure all voices are heard, by building task forces and committees with wide representation of backgrounds and experiences. Finally, I’ll work with the Board to create a strategic plan with a long view that puts us on great footing to go far beyond where we are today. Before you vote next month, get to know SNA’s candidates for President-Elect from their unique points of view. » Linda Eichenberger, SNS SNA Member Since: 2004 School District: Oak Hills Local School District, Ohio Education: BS, College of Mount St. Joseph, Ohio; MS, Miami University, Ohio Family: Wonderful husband Bill, twin sons Bill (and expectant daughter-in-law Megan) and Frank (28), daughter Beth (26), eight siblings and my father (91) who still goes to tailgates. Motto: “Be kind to people, stay active and love life to the fullest.” Q: What led you to school nutrition? A: I took a Home Ec class as a sophomore in high school and I told my mom how I much I was enjoying the nutrition part. She suggested I might focus on that in college, and I set my mind to it right then and there. When I was looking at colleges during my senior year, Mom suggested the College of Mount St. Joseph. What I hadn’t realized was that she was a dietitian who had gone to school at the Mount! In fact, my freshman chemistry teacher even taught my mother! I didn’t realize she was setting me up until long after the fact. Q: What has inspired you most throughout your career? A: I had student workers when I was a director at a different district and I worked hard to teach them a trade and, hopefully, make a difference in their lives and pass on the passion for this profession. Years later, at an SNA of Ohio meeting, I met one of my past students! He was a supervisor, remembered me and told me I was an inspiration to him. That is when I realized I was making a difference. It is so heart-whelming to know that you have affected even just one child. Q: How does mentoring play into leadership? A: I’ve had some of the most wonderful mentors—whether or not they know it. When I was first on the national Board, I was so impressed with [then President-elect] Sandy Ford. She helped me in so many ways, as did [Ford’s predecessor] Helen Phillips, and both 2010-11 President Nancy Rice and [2014-15 President] Julia Bauscher gave me so much confidence. Without their support, I never would have served and run for office. I just love to mentor people; when I see that someone is motivated but lacks confidence, I take time to talk with them, encouraging them to believe they can step up. Sometimes, people just need a nudge. Q: What is your leadership philosophy? A: My leadership philosophies include dedication, dependability, efficiency, honesty, integrity, respect and fiscal accountability. I have matured in my leadership and administrative skills, allowing me to both follow and lead equally well. I have learned the value of collaborative teamwork, with open communication and spirited negotiations, because these inspire fresh thought and the best solutions to problems. Most importantly, I enjoy being a part of a team with a common goal. I always try to make everyone feel welcome. I work at demonstrating a warm, friendly, easygoing attitude—one I take with me wherever I go. Q: Why do you want to be SNA President-Elect? A: I’ve devoted my life to child nutrition and the advancement of SNA at the local, state and national levels. I have a true, true passion for the profession—not just the Association—and I want to share that, along with my energy, drive and enthusiasm, with others. What we do, feeding children, is so important. We make their lives a little better. Q: If elected, what will be your primary areas of focus? A: I will continue to work for school nutrition programs to be recognized as a valued component of the instructional day, where our programs are acknowledged for improving students’ health, well-being and academic success. I want to encourage members to try new things, such as a mentorship-type program to develop new leaders. We want new people to be involved; they’re the next generation of our Association. Such an initiative would be a tremendous reward to me, personally. I believe the growth of our Association is critical, and, by providing professional and educational resources that are viewed as essential, both current and new members will benefit. I would like to continue to expand our support to the state affiliates and to further establish SNA as the national leader for up-to-date, evidence-based information, best practices and future trends in school nutrition. For bios of all the candidates standing for election and details about voting, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snaelection
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