Kelly Ornberg, R.D.

Kelly Ornberg's ability to balance time between two hospitals has made her a success at St. Charles Health System.

Why Selected?

According to Executive Chef Thom Pastor, Kelly has made an impact on foodservice by:

•Balancing the needs of culinary operations at two hospitals 30 minutes away from each other
•Communicating well with her on-site managers and supporting their authority to manage in her absence
•Continuing to do patient diet consults even though she must commute between two hospitals


Nutrition Services Manager, St. Charles Health System, Redmond, OR
Age: 29
Education: B.S. in nutrition and food management from Oregon State University
Years at organization: 2

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

The floor at one of my hospitals was old and slick, and it was bound to be a safety issue. It was decided that the best plan would be to redo the entire floor at one time, meaning we would not have a kitchen. After many attempts I found a mobile kitchen that was used for forest fires. We had to set up a modified patient menu to accommodate the truck, educate all the hospital staff, move everything out of the kitchen, set up new food storage rooms and still deliver room service meals. It was an incredibly challenging couple of weeks, but my crew really pulled together and the impact on patients was minimal.

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

I embrace change as a chance to make improvements to the current process. 

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

Give yourself and others the permission to make mistakes.

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

Managing my time between two hospitals and making sure that I am able to provide enough support to my employees at both locations.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

When my team and I were able to switch to room service with very few glitches. We put a lot of thought and training into our room service program, so it felt good to see it succeed. But the biggest reward came when patient satisfaction scores increased.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I would like to create nutrition labels for all of the food we serve. I would also like to partner with our wellness program to make it easy to identify healthy choices. 

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

I teach healthy cooking classes in the community and often try to prepare too many recipes for the participants. In the beginning I would completely forget to bring an essential ingredient to the off-site kitchen or would have it but leave it out of the dish. One group was very polite and said that they thought the recipe was pretty good. It didn’t occur to me until afterward that it was missing a key ingredient and lacked flavor.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

When the septic tank company came during the middle of lunch rush to empty our gray water tank in the mobile kitchen. People were not too pleased with the smell.

Under 30

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