Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I have always enjoyed working with the elderly. At a young age, I would volunteer a lot of my time at facilities in my hometown of Neodesha, KS. I would love spending time playing checkers, dominoes and finding ways to entertain the residents. I found comfort in the stories they would tell as we would play. I knew then that I wanted to find a profession where I could give back some of the joy they had given me.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
I am responsible for many things including hiring, training, scheduling, budgeting, purchasing, care plans, food committee, inventory control, and most importantly, visiting with residents on a daily basis to make sure they are satisfied with their dining experience.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
I learned early in my career that making a “to-do” list every morning was the best way to make sure I accomplish all my responsibilities. I am also a Post-it fanatic. Post-its everywhere to help remind me of those to do's.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
I had only been with my current facility for three weeks when I started noticing ways they could cut costs. I visited with the general manager and pitched the idea of trying out another food vendor, one that I had experience using in the past. I was able to show them I could save money each month while still providing the best quality to our residents. I also started open dining August 1, 2016. This allows extended serving times, more always available meal choices, and more one-on-one interaction between the residents and staff.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
I started as a Dietary Aide for a facility in Independence, KS.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
Cindy Cothern has always been very supportive. She has always been there to help with any challenge that has come my way. She truly is an inspiration to me. Thank you for always being there for me Cindy!
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Staffing has always been a challenge. It can be very hard to find dependable, hardworking staff.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The wonderful residents that I get to work with every day, my amazing staff, and being able to work for a company that supports and encourages my ideas, allows me to be active in my organization, and always provides me with the resources to give our residents the best care possible.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
I attend seminars and read Nutrition & Foodservice Edge magazine.
How do you envision the foodservice industry in the next few years?
Technology is continually changing. I think that more people will be able to use tablets for ordering. Food allergies will increase and more ethnic foods will need to be made available.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
This profession has many ups and downs. It can be a bumpy ride, but if you have a passion for it, then hold on. It can be challenging, but even more rewarding.