Emily Abbott

Emily Abbott, supervisor of Nutrition Services at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, was hired as a nutrition assistant delivering room service meals, but she immediately demonstrated leadership skills and was promoted to a department lead.

Why Selected?

Kris Schroeder, administrative director of support services, says: Emily was hired as a nutrition assistant delivering room service meals. She demonstrated leadership skills immediately and was shortly promoted to a department lead. She sees an issue, takes ownership and actively implements solutions.

Some of the recent projects Emily has led include developing a communication plan and template to share information on items such as operational issues and staff shortages, which has greatly improved cross-shift communication, and reevaluating the standard for thickened food items after noticing inconsistencies and training the staff on the new standard.


Supervisor of Nutrition Services, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA
Age: 29
Education: B.S. in nutrition and foodservice from Central Washington University, Ellensburg
Years at organization: 2

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

I take diet tech students as interns. I love educating people. They come in and they don’t know a lot about foodservice and I get to expose them to this huge kitchen.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

A fresh look. When you’ve been in foodservice a long time, you get used to how thing are done. Also, I’m never afraid to say I don’t know how to do something.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Don’t sweat the small stuff and how you do one thing is how you do everything.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

I look young and I excel as a leader, so I tend to be in roles that typically people who are older than me would be in. I think people are taken aback when they see me as the supervisor because I am young and I look even younger.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

When someone needs help and I get to help them accomplish something. For example, if a patient has a restricted diet and is struggling with what they can eat off the menu, I love talking with them and helping them make that selection. I can open their world to what we have available. We have a very extensive menu, and sometimes patients don’t realize what we can do.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Managing Your Business
studient orientation

When an alma mater and an employer are one in the same, it can be a win-win for both the employee and the school. Here’s how two students’ experiences with campus dining—one positive and the other negative—led them on a path to their current jobs.

A Feast to Remember

NC State University’s main campus in Raleigh, N.C. was built on farmland given to the state by Richard Stanhope Pullen; every spring, students gather to celebrate those agricultural roots through Farm Feast, an outdoor celebration with food and music. Design major Christin King remembers her first Farm Feast vividly: “...

Ideas and Innovation
nutrition facts label

Despite operators’ attempts to communicate nutrition information to guests via cards and labels on the food line, many guests still feel they have no clue what’s in their food. University of Illinois food economist Brenna Ellison shares a few guesses as to why consumers ignore these signs following a recent study on their placement in dining halls.

Q: Who is most likely to read the cards?

A: Students who were already exhibiting more healthy behaviors. So those were the students who track their intake using an app or a food diary. After the first week, we found the rates of people...

FSD Resources