Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I started at Flambeau Hospital as a cook, and was approached about becoming a CDM. I decided to do it because I wanted to have a professional degree that would open more doors for me, and give me more knowledge in foodservice and nutrition. It has been an excellent and rewarding choice.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
My responsibilities include running a zero-violation dietary kitchen. I oversee all aspects of the nutrition services department. Food ordering, budget, safety, emergency preparedness, scheduling, training, patient rounding, patient satisfaction.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
By prioritizing my responsibilities. Because I work at a hospital, the patients come first. I like to multi-task.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
Each month the hospital hosts a special function to raise funds for a Flambeau Hospital group, Living the Mission. The mission is to help those in the surrounding area that are less fortunate. I have implemented many ways to raise funds from creating handmade gourmet chocolate truffles that employees purchase, to a hand-made gnocchi meal and much more.
I take pride in spearheading these functions each month and spend many hours researching and preparing wonderful food events for staff to take part in for a great cause. Thousands of dollars are raised because of these special works.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
I owned and operated a small coffee shop called the Apple Basket for five years.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
Linda Daubner, MS, RD, CDE. She would not let me give up.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Patient satisfaction, because of restricted diets, it can be a challenge making sure their nutritional needs are being met.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Making a difference in the health of a patient through nutrition.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
I spend a lot of time on the internet searching for new ideas, and I refer to the Edge magazine.
How do you envision the foodservice industry in the next few years and foodservice?
I see more natural foods, such as farm to table.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
Never stop learning. Be kind to your customers/patients, and everyone you meet. Stay current on trends.