Top accomplishment this year:
Successfully implementing the Clean Label Initiative, removing more than 35 possibly harmful ingredients from products and recipes, and reaching more than 10,000 downloads and a 5-star rating for the school nutrition app

What would you say you excel at over more seasoned employees?
I feel that I am passionate and hyper-focused on creating a premier dining experience for all of our customers. Food is social, emotional and psychological, and I want every student in our district to feel comforted and happy when they eat with us. School lunch shouldn’t be chaotic and rushed. It should be enjoyed, looked forward to and remembered well.

What experience have you learned an important lesson from?
I think it is important as a leader to surround yourself with people who have different strengths than you, and sometimes different views. This will challenge you to get outside of your comfort zone.

Why do you think the noncommercial market is viewed as a less-attractive career path than the restaurant business?
Because I think it is generally viewed as a “boring” part of the industry. I completely disagree, and think this area of foodservice has the most room for growth, change and innovation. Our programs not only are ripe for new and fresh ideas, but with success we can also improve the health of our children.