Developing The Leader Within

School Nutrition Education Program

Developing the Leader Within

USDA Professional Standards Code- 3230/3450/4120/4130/4140

Guests:

Bart Christian – Nationally recognized speaker in the school nutrition industry
Beth Wallace – Executive Director of Food & Nutrition of Jeffco Public Schools Denver, Colorado

Where do you see the industry going and what are you doing in your district that’s going to build that leadership within, and that power that everybody has within that sometimes people feel powerless but they’re not?

I think our industry as stated, I think that we still are in for some challenges going forward. We’ve got our food service team, returning everyone will probably be in person. When we start looking at the school year 2021-2022, there’s lots of pressure coming on us to increase our participation.

● We’ve got things facing us like nutritional guidelines that we’re all talking about right now.
● We’re expecting some key announcements for those coming forward.
● We were trying to keep the morale high, just as we talked about our superheroes today. I know this is all on everybody’s mind; how are we going to do this? How are we going to transition? and how are we going to feed our kids in the school year, 2021-2022?
● I think we’re just going to have to continue with patience, resourcefulness.
● I depend on my colleagues here in Colorado. We get together frequently, we have calls; what
are you doing? How’s it going in your district? Those types of things, I think we’re going to have to continue that, because I don’t think we’re ever going to be back to normal.
● Keep it simple, stay persistent and do not give up, buckle up.

What are you really passionate or obsessed with at the moment, or maybe it’s an item in your
personal life, or your work career that you really feel that you just excel at, and just are super passionate and enjoy doing?

I’m pretty passionate about school nutrition, it’s what I love. Are you asking me about my business world, or are you asking me about my personal world? So, there’s two different things, and my business world consumes a lot of my time and passion right now, I can talk about that a little bit. Right now, I’m pretty passionate about two big things that we’re looking at; our budgets, what are we going to do with our budgets?

● Not all, but a majority of our school districts have faced devastating times. My district is a little unique in that you usually don’t find a large school district. The size which are usually bigger city districts that are the lower free and reduced. So, Jeffco is only 30% free and reduced, and we depend heavily on our all-cart sales. So, that’s $5.5 million on a $26 million budget.
● While we talk about where we may get some relief here and this on reimbursement and that,
there was never any discussion on what we do with districts like ours, they depend heavily on
all-cart sales, what our students pay for our meals. So, I’m very focused on how we’re going to make this budget work moving forward and how we get ourselves out of what we’ve looked at
the past few years.
● Many districts have completely diminished all reserve funds and have nothing left to operate on. We’ve got to get back to being self-sustainable again. We’re very focused on every minor detail of our budget, and most people would know me pretty well. That’s always been something I have a passion about, is the budget and how we make it work and making sure we’re being good
partners with our district.
● Along with that, when you’re not your district is helping to pay for your child nutrition funds.

Along with that is coming the passion of our staffing. How are we going to address in Jeffco, over a hundred vacancies, we have over 400 plus employees, and we manage to work it through this last year with these vacancies and it did help in our budget situation, but now it’s time to buckle up and go, as I said, and now we’ve got a hundred employees to get hired and get ready for August. We’re not finding them coming out of the woodwork. So, we’re having to really think creatively out of the box on how we’re going to get this done.

How have the extension of waivers impacted your district over the past several months?
Well, the extensions of waivers have been extremely helpful, because there’s a higher reimbursement operating under the summer food service programs. So, we are hopeful that we get to continue with those waivers into the school year 2021-2022. We’re hoping that we hear some good news on that here in the future, but it has really been essential given that we are not getting any revenue from all-cart sales to the sustainability of our program.

What are some things that are maybe a little unique this year as you’re planning that you haven’t considered or taken into the equation in years past?
When you think about uniqueness, I guess one thing that everyone was in this transition to speed, scratch more speeds for scratch, cooking, that type of operation. As we came in fresh foods and what-not, and then we came into this pandemic, and everything had to be pre-packaged. Everything had to be shifted to sanitation, over sanitize, and be sure everything is safe. So, I would say that’s the uniqueness that goes into next year. I think we’re still going to continue to see sanitation. Still be a key issue with our customers. We have to be sure that our students are safe and that we’re following those practices. I think we’ll still be looking at pre-wrapped items and focusing on that aspect of our program.

What are your training programs and kind of continuing education for your employees that it’s going to be looking like in this upcoming year?

To be candid and honest with you, some of the things that we typically have in place are our professional development that we have each year for our staff and whatnot, that’s just kind of gone out the window because of the situation we were in.

● We definitely already had our SLPs in place for safety and sanitation, we would take copies of what we had in place and reiterate them, and we would send them out in paper format. We
have not been able to bring 400 people together like we normally do every year for hands-on and fun type of training that we typically do.
● So, we will try to re-engage, this year, in what we usually have in our, one day all employee training session, where we will refocus on that. Of course, we will still be virtually. Doing that, just getting 400 employees to understand how to virtually come together and have a meeting and talk, is worth an all-day training in itself. That’s some of the challenges of being a bigger district.
● We had to get the equipment out to them, we had to get cameras out there, we had to get
headphones, we had to get things like that, deployed. We had to teach staff how to log on, and
how to turn their speaker on, and how to turn their camera on, and make sure they were looking
at the camera. Those have been great learning curves for us this year. So now, we think we’ve got them, so we’re hoping we’ll get some more of those professional training that we value very much.

Tell us a little bit about a success over the course of this past year, just an area in which you and your team at Jeffco have really just excelled.

So, I’m going to go back to the success, just watching my team, and literally every single day it might be different methods of serving, and they were just so successful, how can I help?

How can we do this better and successfully? I mean, one day we might be serving outdoors, the next day we might be serving indoors, the next day we might be asked to serve out on a bus, the next day we might be told, I need three of you to go to a different location. They just moved without a blink, doing everything we asked. I will say the highlight, we actually served the number of meals that we normally serve on a given day when we weren’t in the middle of Covid. When we hit that number, we were all cheering over here, because participation had dropped so low, and when we saw it come back to that level that we know we should be at, there were cheers across the district. That was pretty awesome.

What did your serving process look like? Were you doing multiple days’ worth of meals, or how did that work?

So, we served outdoors. We served indoors. We serve grabbing go, and typically that was how all of our meals were. We served on a bus. Some days we serve one meal, some days three meals, some days seven meals, breakfast, and lunch.

One thing that I really want to call out about Jeffco, I am very proud of this, from the beginning we partnered with our nurses and our safety and security.

● So, everywhere we were serving, there was a nurse there to answer any parent’s questions.
There were safety and security team members there, to make sure our staff felt safe.
● We partnered with our foundation and sometimes we would give out gift cards, they would put
them in the bags. It was such a joy to sometimes get out of the silos, we followed them and
started working with other teams within the district. I can’t tell you that I work every single day with safety and security, that wouldn’t be a good thing, that would probably mean something bad was going on. We were having a lockdown or something.
● So, it was so great to work with those people and with the foundation, and to partner with other food advocate groups, we had meetings with them regularly. It felt like such a big family, just trying to do the right thing for our kids and our families.

What advice would you give to directors about how to maintain the prominence and the visibility that challenges have now been given?

● Absolutely. I have always been a big advocate of being at school board meetings. You need to
know what’s important going on in your district while it may not affect you, you still need to be aware of what’s being talked about within your district.
● As this went on, I had the chief curriculum officer, the chief financial officer, people talking to me left and right about how we solve this problem. That is the key to being successful in your district.
● One of the things that I am always an advocate of, being from a big school district, is we have supervisors, and those supervisors have twice yearly meetings with the principals.
● We have to connect with that side of the house, and they have to hear from us, and we have to listen and hear from them, what’s your challenges, what’s going on? How can we collaborate?
Principals now have my cell phone, and they just call me left and right, because I was having to serve meals from their campus. We were talking two or three times; they just have my cell
phone. So now, they just call me and it’s just incredible the relationships that have come out of this, and I certainly don’t want them to end, we need to continue on.

What do you think about managers participating in principal meetings, because there is a teacher meeting, not principal meetings, rather than when the principals have their weekly or biweekly staff meetings with their teachers and whatnot? What do you think about them participating in those meetings?

I think if we can make that work, that is absolutely essential to a good relationship in your particular campus. It is essential and good principals do that. So, the challenge becomes sometimes they’ll have those admin meetings say at 7:30 in the morning when the manager’s trying to get breakfast together, it’s always a timing issue, but when it works, it works beautifully.

How has your marketing changed and just some different strategies that you potentially utilized over the past several months to really get the word out about the creative ways that your team was serving meals? Are there any that are going to carry on into this upcoming school year?

When you’re in a large district, you usually have the benefits of big communication departments that can help you with a lot of your communication and your brainstorm.
What we did have one new unique way to communicate that I’ll mention at the end, but I think what we did was just start utilizing where we had all these tools, newsletters, monthly push-out to families, to the principals, e-mails that came daily from the district. We use Twitter and Facebook and all of these different ways to get the message out. We have new partners now, so we now have churches that are getting messages out. We now have some advocacy groups that are messaging out our message to our families. The one that I will tell you was very helpful; I think it also stepped up, telling the media world.

We had called probably a resource that’s at our disposal, but we were able to get that out there and it really made a difference in some of our communication and getting our messaging out.

Do you anticipate any changes in the way that those particular in-person style meetings will be held?

We talk about this as you can imagine a lot, and our SNA meetings and calls and whatnot. I do think you’re gonna see a change, but I do not think in-person meetings will ever go away. People love to connect that they thrive on that connection with other people, and we miss that desperately. I do think there are some minor meetings that used to occur that now can be handled virtual away, but I don’t think you’re going to see any of our major meetings or conferences ever go virtual. Everyone’s clamoring at the get-to-get back to in-person meetings.

Who is someone in the school nutrition association, or just in your life in general, who has really impacted your career path?

Yeah. I can call out a few names. Lena Wilson, Rochelle Sharon, Melanie Kahn, Arik, Frank Omni, April Compost, was my first real boss in child nutrition, and I still talk to him today. Of course, my mother and my brothers and my husbands are all supporters and leaders and my sounding board, those people have had very strong influences when I go back to my colleagues within this, Lena, Rochelle, Melanie, and Frank, whenever I run into a problem, they are the first people I call. They’re the ones that I’m like, okay, how do we solve this one? We’ll just start laughing, have you had this one? No, that’s a new one. Okay.

How are we going to solve that? You have to have those people in your life. Otherwise, I don’t know how you get through successfully without hearing about your successes and your failures, because the failures are just as key as any success.

Learn really along the way, that is how you handle those failures that speaks volumes about moving forward. You need to learn to handle your failures well, that made me go off and cry in the corner and get it all out. You have to handle it well and move forward. Pick yourself up, get going again.

What is the piece of advice that you might give to a child nutrition director out there?
Wow. Piece of advice, I don’t know. I hate to say that I know it all because I don’t. A piece of advice I would say is being a lifelong learner.

● Be open to change, be an active listener, listen to what the person you’re talking to is really trying to say, sometimes some people speak articulate things very clearly, and others, you have to listen so carefully to really understand what they’re trying to say. I wish I had gotten into this profession. When I started my early career, I wandered through a few places and I wanted to be Betty Crocker. When I say that my favorite classes were making jelly at Texas A and M or making wine, the wine class, or when we had a dairy, and we had to work in the dairy and the bakery, I loved all that. I wanted to be Betty Crocker. It took me a while to get to the school nutrition.

Wow, I wish I had gotten here earlier, because it’s a great profession.

● There are many challenges, there are days I have cried endlessly, but there are also so many
rewarding opportunities here, and just be a lifelong learner; continue to seek those
opportunities that are out there for you.

What advice would you give to a brand-new director of somebody? What would you tell them?

● The first thing you need to do is get involved with your state association and the national
association, that is going to be your life support, that’s where you’re going to find your best training, that is where you’re going to learn to be successful, for sure. You’re going to meet your colleagues, you’re gonna meet other support members there. I would also recommend, and it’s what I do with everyone that comes and works new. We have new supervisors.
● Read those regulations and understand those regulations, they’re boring, they’re dry, but when you have that knowledge behind you, you are much better prepared to be that lifelong learner to keep asking those questions, why are we doing this? Why is this occurring? To continue that learning path. Get to know your team, go in those kitchens, work with them, be side by side, with them as their challenge.

One of the things, if you never know very much about me, I love making an employee’s workspace the absolutely best workspace it can be. I love kitchen design and remodel, I love working in there, because what I feel like where I might not be able to pay them a million dollars to be in that kitchen, if I can give them a great work environment to be in, then I’ve done what I can to help support them out in those schools. That’s why I believe in being out there and talking with those employees and listening to what they have to say.

Did you also find that new directors tend to think that you go back to that silo concept? Do you think that’s important?

Absolutely. That’s why I go back to your brand-new state, say, no one gets involved with those
associations. That’s why I said that. Those are going to be your colleagues that you aren’t dependent on and go-to, if you know any of those people, those girls were with me from the beginning in Texas and I depended on them, and just still to this day depend on them, so that is the key to reaching out to others.

Cultivating Positive Change

School Nutrition Education Program

Cultivating Positive Change

USDA Professional Standards Code 2640/3450/3510/3520/4120

Guests
Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

Mr. Kern Halls, Ingenius Culinary Concepts

Tell me how you got started in the food service business.

Since I was five years old, I can remember with my aunt and my mom, I was literally with a chair. I have a stove and I’m from the Caribbean originally. So, I was just like sitting there over the stove and just helping them make food and I was always in the kitchen and I loved it.

• I love cooking and I’ve always been entrepreneur. So, like literally by the time I was seven or eight,
I was washing cars and things like that and just trying to make extra money and try and do things.
• And by 13, I had a long business, but I always came back to food. I always did. So then when I went to the military, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
• Then I kind of waited and I became a culinary specialist in the military. I just totally immerse myself in that food and just your food and beverage.
• From there, I went to culinary school, when I was in the military, then come and work at Walt Disney World, of course, that was so huge. We’re working at Pecos book cafe and Walt Disney world was so huge because it was probably the second business pro busiest restaurant at Walt Disney world altogether, and be with that data probably did about $18 or $20 million in sales.
• We’re talking about burgers, fries and wraps like all day long then like after I left work, I ain’t eat burgers for years after I left this forever, but it was so instrumental just working with food and beverage and especially at Walt Disney World with was just imaginers and the creativity.
• So that really helped me spur getting into ingenious, color concepts, sustaining food, and
beverage. Tell me a little bit more about your time at Disney and the military and what can school nutrition professionals learn from the work culture and the work? I guessthe motivation and the drive that’s kind of put into you in the military.

Yeah. The great thing about it growing up, I had a great work ethic going into a military, so we’re people see the perfectionist. I want to make sure that everything is right. We always exceed everyone’s expectations in anything that I do no matter what. When I went to the military, again, you see me expectations, I went to culinary school, I finished first in my class, so I got accelerated advancement. I was at advanced early.

• One of the things that I learned really quick is that when I have this 19-year-old kid, there are leading people that have been in the military, 10-15 years more than I have, and now I got to lead this ship of 4,000 people. One ship I was on Netherland was two 50 and it taught me a lot about discipline, but also just making sure that fear there’s not an option.
• In the military, were sworn to protect the country from enemies, foreign and domestic. When
you’re overseas or wherever you at, you’re making sure that you can’t fail because in a day we’re protecting our nation as a whole. So, we can’t have any lackadaisical efforts, we have to make sure you take care of your ship mate, next to you. Or we are also stationed to have Marines on our ship where we all work together as the ball to make sure that we were successful. No matter where we’re from, what we did, we always had a mission. We took care of our, our mission and that’s what we did in the military. So, it taught me a lot of, even more discipline in the military.
• Then transition to Disney world, it’s a little bit more different. I had a learning curve. Because in military, you follow your last order. It’s like black and white, no questions asked. Then you go into the corporate world of Walt Disney World, sprinkle some pixie dusts, everything is happy flowers. You’re trying to make sure that all these people are doing their jobs correctly to execute, but it’s the same thing at Walt Disney World, it’s like you have to execute like there is no excuses.
• I take all of those different experiences. Now put that into school, food service, when I go to a client or wherever it is, I give it 110% to make sure that failure is not an option. So that student that didn’t have a meal for that on Friday and come back on Monday.
• They don’t want to hear that the truck ran out of food or the ovens broken. Figure it out, you got to feed that student come Monday morning. Come hell or high water, excuse my friends. You have to feed that student. So, I take that same passion with me every single day, when I worked for a genius coloring concepts.

What’s one of your favorite projects to work on?

I love working on, well, number one, I would say talking to students, because I love doing the focus groups because I hear so much. So, I’ll give you a quick example.

• Some years ago, I was doing a focus group with students, and I really found out before like the Instagram, Snapchat, all that stuff came out. I already knew when students were fleeing on
Facebook years ago, literally a year and a half before it even happened just by talking to the
students, but I would say with talking to the students.
• Tie that is doing cafeteria makeovers, because I love taking something that might be just a walls or people say like, I don’t know how this is going to look, and you going there to do graphic design, you do a painting and you put new chairs and seating and the students are looking like, oh my gosh, this is a totally different area.
• Participation goes up, like you’re coming from math class science class, and now you’re looking to Warsaw and now you’re going to Warsaw in an environment that that’s really friendly. Just use services great, food is great, and it just makes it a good time really to go hang out at lunch.

So those are couple of things that I really enjoy doing.

Would you say that that’s one of the most notable things that is a result of what you do and just the environment change?

Yes. I definitely think environment change because we do so many school make-overs. We partner with manufacturers and we do the tables, we do the graphic designs, we do all those things out there. Once we get them all done and inside of the cafeteria, not only the students really like it, but then I find out that the staff likes it and then the superintendent sees it. Then they started having meetings in the cafeteria. We did a large project out in Oklahoma City.
That was huge, two high schools. It was literally from a floor up and it was a great project we did with Kevin Ponce and Shaun Hall out there.

What are some things that districts can take away from what you did at orange county and applied to this upcoming school year and maybe the next year, once we do start doing, the cafeteria, eating again?

• First thing, get out the office. Sometimes a lot of directors and personnel they’re in the office, they’re bogged down. They let their emails and let all the work, bog them down. They never truly get a chance to go into the field and see the sites and really just have lunch or talk to the students out there.
• Some of the successes that when I was working in a school district is that talking to the students,
like I knew a lot of students literally by their first name, even with 23 high schools.
• I had groups of students that I would talk to and interact with them. So, talking to the students
and knowing them, talking to the staff and knowing the staff as well.
• I know that was kind of hard for me because believe it or not, I work in orange county with 200 something schools, like I was just focused on high school, I never got a chance to go to all the middle schools and elementary schools, but we just build a rapport.
• Also, with that kind of like the military, where we had training and also Walt Disney World
professional development is so huge. I can’t say that enough that, every month I would make my
managers go through some kind of one-hour professional development and building blocks.
• This is before the CEOs, I made sure that our managers, what we did is that I put them through professional development that would have built them up themselves because a lot of the
managers, they had like low self-esteem of themselves and thinking that they were basically kind of thrown to the side, it was a school then a school food service.
• Once I build out the professional development and I turn them loose. I told him, don’t call me unless you got a problem, because I’m saying like, you’re the manager at school. You know, this better than I do.
• I didn’t want to hear about the school. I just want to hear about themselves. I want to make sure that they were empowered and they did a lot of good things like that. So, I would definitely professional development get out there in the schools and talk to the students, build a rapport. I made sure I knew all my principals, the AP’s and their staff as well. I’m a big person on giving.
• I would just keep thank you cards around me. If I saw somebody doing something good, I write a thank you card and give it to the staff member. That’s more than a staff, whatever it is like, thank you, I know you, and I would just try to recognize people for doing some great things in all the time.

So those are some of my strategies that I’ve used, and I think that different writers can use as well. In your opinion, what’s the most important takeaway that school nutrition professionals should pay close attention to?

It’s so funny because it’s nothing new for me. When I worked at Walt Disney world, here’s required, we had a whole diversity department, and if you had four managers in a restaurant, everyone had to get a chance of basically being charged of diversity each month.

• Talking about diversity, I definitely think it’s a conversation where number one, you need listen. I can’t tell you how you feel, and you say no, once you shouldn’t feel that way. No, I can’t tell you how you feel. I think you have to listen to what people are saying and just have honest and open conversations.
• I think that sometimes we just try to be too “PC” and we don’t have honest conversations.
• With diversity it’s all different because a lot of times people get offended by things, but you have different cultures. It’s just like me living in the south. It’s a totally different culture than living up north or in California. When I travel these different places, I have to know how to navigate that culture.
• So that’s why diversity and just inclusion is so important to make sure we understand it. Don’t take it as the person dislikes you. It’s just, maybe they just have a different opinion on what’s going on. Going into this upcoming school year, what advice would you give school nutrition professionals? They might be feeling discouraged or lost due to some of the things that are happening in the world with the pandemic. What advice would you give to them?

I’m a person also, I don’t watch the news, especially in the morning to get my day started.

• So cut the TV off, read or listen to something positive, and just move forward. So, the thing about this yet it’s a really bad situation, but if you’re alive and still pushing through, we’re going to open, like you still have a breath of fresh air. You can go ahead and try to see how can you talk to your neighbor in school district, how can I call somebody and see, like, what are you doing and what your plan is and how do you merge that plan together to be successful in your school district.
• So basically, we got to get schools back open. They’re going open sooner or later, so you better have a plan, because you don’t want to open those doors, then you don’t have a plan together.
• The advice I would give them, sit down with your team and say, let’s think of realistically, and that’s the great thing about having different points of view. Let’s write down a blueprint of say, okay, what’s going to be your phase one, your phase two, your phase three.
• If the second wave happens. Here’s what we’re going to do in case those emergencies. I made
sure that this happened, this happened.
• I want to encourage them to really come up with a strategic plan. And this is how you move
forward. And this is how you’re going to have to be able to pivot during the year, just in case anything happens.
• I would say the silver lining in cloud with this pandemic is that we’ve figured out how to do a lot of stuff. And most importantly, us as human beings we’ve figured out what’s important.
• Spending time with your family, make sure you’re safe has become a top priority for people and biggest show you’re safe.
• So now when you go back to school, get a mission of these students are safe because those
students that don’t have access to these meals. That’s got to be a top priority. I’m fortunate
enough that my kids don’t have to worry about that. I had free lunch growing up. I didn’t have all the amenities that my sons have.

Is there anything that you’d like to leave our guests with before wrap things up?

I just want to say thank you all for having me on the show. I’m really flattered, thank you so much. I’m really humble to be here.

If anybody wants to get in touch with us, our website is www.ingeniouscc.com. Our social media handles are at ingenious CC. You can reach out to me any instances in time that you want to. We answered a lot of questions, like we don’t charge you for them. Like you have any questions, but the one thing I would leave if you’re interested in doing some redesign your cafeteria, you just want to talk to the students to get some answers or just see how we can feed students better. Please reach out to us and kind of go from there. I want to make sure that even though in spite of this pandemic, we’re going to get through this.

We’ve been through a World War, we’ve been through great depressions and as a country, we’re just great, and so we’ll get through this together and not separate, but get through this together. As long as we keep the reach out to each other, give each other a big hug, with your face masks, go on though. But you know, and, and we’ll, we’ll keep it going. Thank you for the opportunity and again, congratulations and good luck all school food service professionals, when y’all get back into your schools and as the industry, and as well as the directors, narrow-body on the front lines.

Changing The Image Of School Lunch

School Nutrition Education Program

Changing the Image of School Lunch

USDA Professional Standards Code- 3110/3130/4120/4130/4140

Guests:
● West Christian – CEO of Food Handler Solutions & School Food Handler
● Bart Christian – Nationally Recognized Speaker
● Maria Eunice– Director of Food and Nutrition at Alachua County Public Schools

Tell us a little bit about the Fain Golden’s Food Service Director of the Year Award experience and that had to be something special for you.

It was a fantastic honor and I think one of the more special things is that some really wonderful people recommended me for that award. Beverly Girard, who I look up to, a director that I have known for many years and a mentor of mine. Joanne Kenzie and David Kaplan recommended me and that was a big one of the more special parts of the fame award and after receiving the award, to be recognized nationally and all of the recognition that came in following the announcement and the wonderful fame award ceremony was just very special. I do want to always try to make sure I mentioned my team because they are the ones that truly do the work, so I share that fame award with them. I was watching when you received your award and the video, they made you and the things your team said about you.

I know that you’re the director of food nutrition services at Alachua County public schools which is Gainesville, Florida and a really big district in terms of child nutrition.

I think we’re kind of considered a mid-sized district. I always say we’re a perfect size district because we’re not too big and not too small. We have enough in our district office about 15-16 people in our district office to be able to have enough resources to pull off what we do every day. Not so big that we can’t manage it. I think we have a really great size at 30,000.

What are your thoughts on those people who don’t really appreciate the value of being involved in the associations on a state and national level sometimes?

I think it’s very important to be involved in those state and national associations. I have always been involved and the more years that I have in food and nutrition, the more I feel like I should give back.

I have been the professional development chair for the state association. I feel like it’s really important that I work with the state team and try to come up with the very best sessions for the conferences.

I think that they become more valued for the state and the participation grows. I think that’s very important to do the best you can for making the sessions valuable to the staff, for the managers and for the supervisors and directors.

I noticed that you said this quote: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim is fulfilled.” It’s clear that you have a high value on your team.
I do.

I think it’s very important to empower your team and to listen to them. Truly listen and make sure that they feel heard to make sure that you are lifting them up and appreciating them.

I think we have a very strong team for that reason. I’m kind of a shy person. I have always been growing up and I like to get input from my team, and I think that I do my best to hire the very smartest people and they make us look great every day. I am just trying to be the person that’s coordinating and keeping it together. My team is all rock stars at the district office and out in the schools.

You’ve been married to the same man for 25 years. Your high school sweetheart, you have two
children, a dog named duke. You won the gold award for girl Scouts, which is the equivalent to an Eagle scout in boy Scouts.

● Yes. Yesterday was my husband and I’s 25th anniversary wedding anniversary. I’ve actually
known my husband since I was 10 years old. He was my brother’s best friend. I’ve known him for
many, many years. We’ve been married 25, but I’ve known him for many years. He’s wonderful.
My support. Scouts are a huge part of my life growing up. It really taught me some basic
wonderful life skills. I earned the gold award in scouting for girl Scouts and it’s equal to the Eagle scout in boy Scouts. I raised both of my boys to be in this Scouts and they are both Eagle Scouts so, I’m very proud of that.
● It’s a great organization. I’m tremendously supportive. I was actually the leader for Cub Scouts. Then my husband got involved as the awards chair for the boys Scouts. We were all involved as a family.

Is there anything else that you wanted to add now, Maria? I love hearing your story and hearing a little bit about your girl scout involvement and your marriage. Tell me just a little bit more about a major influence in your life, someone that has really impacted your career and your life.

I’d have to say Jane, when she was the director in Broward County that hired me and got me started in the child nutrition program. She was a tremendous influence for me. She was a great leader and Broward County is a very large district over 200 schools and she managed that district extremely well, taught me many things about staffing and being a great listener, being a great support as a leader and she was a tremendous mentor for me. When I got married and moved to Gainesville, she helped me and supported me. Many times, I’ve called her in the past and asked her questions, asked for support. She was always there for me. She is no longer with us, she’s passed away, but there’s an award in her name in Florida and I think it’s a great tribute to her. She was a special, special person in my life.

What was it that really grabbed a hold of you about child nutrition and really jug you in?
Actually, I kind of fell into it by accident. I was working in the hotel industry food service, and it was a lot of hours, a lot of weekends, a lot of nights. I just happened to hear about an interview in Broward County and I went for the interview. This is when Jane hired me and it changed my life. I started working as a supervisor in Broward County and she taught me so much and I worked there for four years under her, and she guided me and taught me some of the great foundations of what I still use today.

Have you had any specific challenges that maybe you’ve been able to successfully overcome either personally or through your team in the past 12 months that you’d like to highlight?
I think one of the larger challenges for us in Alachua County and I guess some of the other districts around the nation is we are given these waivers and the opportunity to feed the community.

● Sometimes the waivers come a little bit up against the deadlines so that’s been a challenge for
us that we can’t plan long-term. I think they’re doing a better job with that. We just got
information yesterday that we are able to feed through the school year next year, under the
summer feeding program. That’s going to be very helpful, but to be able to pivot and be flexible
has been definitely an attribute that has been necessary for me and the team here because
sometimes they come out with a waiver a little bit past when we need them to plan long-term.

● We started off the school year and we’re feeding under national school lunch and we had about a week and a half into the school year. We had to change gears and feed under the summer
feeding. It would have been great if we had waivers approved a little bit, just two weeks earlier would have been significant. I know they’re doing the best they can like we are but that’s been one of our greatest challenges, to be able to long-term plan with the information, the waivers that we’re getting.
● Also, the supply chain has been a little challenging. To get all of the products that we’re planning on our menus. The supply chain to get pre-packaged meals for the curbside service has also been a challenge.

Let’s talk a little bit about planning for this upcoming school year and some of maybe strategies or things that you’ve been taking into consideration that maybe you hadn’t taken into consideration in years past.

● That’s a good question. We are planning right now. Since we’ve gotten that information and
we’re trying to make decisions on how to approach this upcoming year differently, staffing has
been an issue keeping employee health, keeping employees at work and making sure that they
are healthy and being fully staffed is a challenge. I know districts all over the nation. In order to.

To plan going forward for the opening of school, we are going to be staffing working on filling the positions that are open right now. We’re going to be bringing in even more equipment and we will probably narrow the number of sites that we have at curbside because in Alachua County, the students are actually coming back more than some other districts. We are at about 75% brick and mortar. The district is doing a big push to have more students back in their seats coming in the fall. We will probably have less sites offering curbside service, but we will be offering that service so that the families that are digital learning and virtual learning will have the meals available to be picked up.

● To have the equipment, that’s also been a challenge for us, for the student, for each of the
kitchens they’re not really built for holding in the refrigerators and freezers the number of meals that we have been distributing because we do that twice a week. We have Tuesday, Thursday picks up for Curbside, digital academy students. It’s a lot of meals in a lot of cases. Some of our walk-ins are very small so we’ve had to bring in extra reach in coolers and reach in freezers to be able to hold that equipment.

Do you think, in essence, what we’re doing over the next year is we’re now providing universal meals on wheels?

● We are and that’s another huge advantage of this waiver that was just approved yesterday.
We’re able to feed the entire district for free and that’s so helpful to many families. We’ve gotten so much feedback that they’re so grateful that we’ve offered this service to them during this time with. Hit the ground running March, 2020. We haven’t stopped since we are at 6.4 million meals in Alachua County and we only did not feed for two weeks this entire year, seven days a week so we’re proud of that.
● The staff has been tremendous and making sure that we pull that off.
This is from a budgeting perspective. Do you think the increased reimbursement rates, which are having under the new waivers are going to help to make up a large part of the shortfall?
● I think the key is taking advantage of these programs and that’s what we’ve done in Alachua
County. In order to make sure that you are offering these programs for the families and making
sure you’re staying financially solvent, you have to take advantage of the programs.
● We now are offering breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper at curbside. We are also doing that at brick and mortar. We are having breakfast. We can have meals. We are doing weekend meals for the brick-and-mortar students. We actually have that going on where the students can take a weekend package of meals at the after-school program as they leave on Friday. We are at the
bus stops offering those meals for the weekend for the brick-and-mortar students, as well as,
parent pickup. We’re trying to take advantage of every program so that we can make sure that
families that need this food it’s available, but also to make sure that we are being good stewards and keeping the program financially solvent.

What are some strategies or tips that you could offer to people out there about really keeping your employee morale high and I guess really just empowering your employees in general.”

● I think what I do more than anything else and what I’ve learned over time is just to really listen to staff, listen to them, the management team and when you listen, you have to really make sure that they know they’re being heard. Don’t just listen, but go out and show them that you’re out there, show them that you are appreciative of them.
● I often when I’m making a decision, like we are for the summer, pick up the phone call, some of our managers and say, “Are these times I’m working for you?”, “Is your staff willing to work during these times?”. When we’re deciding on the curbside times and I get their input and the same thing with a district office team here we have weekly staff meetings. I’m always asking for their input. One person I don’t think can think of all the things that affect every decision and I think it’s really critical to make decisions as a team. I think that’s been effective for me and for our team.
● I think listening is key and going out and just showing your appreciation jumping in sometimes.
● Our district office team has to sometimes go out and fill in staff positions and every once in a while, I’ll go out and show them that I can do this as well, and make sure that they see me doing it.

Tell us a little about the little things that make so much difference.

Yeah. This was one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever received. I did some interviews with General Mills and I may put my name in my picture on the Wheaties box and of course I wanted to include my team on the back and the T-Mobile excellence, we put them on the back. This was a really special gift. It means a lot.

We’re going to do some things for our staff, the data, I think May 7th Day. We are planning right now to give a little gift. I don’t want to give it away but we’re going to give them a little gift to show our appreciation. We’re gonna all up at the district staff will go out and make sure that we are out telling them how much we appreciate them. I think that’s key.

● We’re also on social media asking the community to participate. It’s very special that the
community gets involved during the pandemic. At the very beginning, the kids would put signs
and job pictures and put them on the cars for our team. They were sending pictures in and those types of things are really special to our team as they’re on the curbside, given out meals. They really mean a lot and they’re making great relationships with the community, with the parents and that’s one of the really special things that have come out of this pandemic. If anything, positive things are coming out of it. The fact that we are really making these nice connections with parents, with the community, that’s truly been a bright star in our district. We’ll no doubt.

● We have always tried to work with our district about changing the image of school food service and I think this has really taken care of it for us. We are on social media and we often have parents and community members that if somebody gets on and posts something it’s not true or something not kind, we have people defending us for the first time ever and it’s so wonderful.
● We were in school; food service was in a time magazine. That was significant. It shows that this time has really allowed our program to shine throughout the nation.

What type of things do you think that we can do as an industry to continue this positive shift for the image of school lunch?

I think one of the things that the industry can do is to continue to show that we’re not what people used to be, what they remember us to be years ago. We have amazing programs in Alachua County.

● We have a farm to school program where we are serving our students organic lettuce. Produce
through our farm to school program where we’re working locally with our farms and bring it into our hub and deliver it to each and every one of our schools. We’re not what people remember.
● We have customization bars at our secondary schools and the students and the faculty at the
schools are that’s really changed our entire program by setting it up kind of like the restaurants where you like to politely or most to be able to offer, produce and protein and grains on the line and students can individualize their meal. That’s really been a game changer for us.
● The fact that we are not what people remember, if the industry can help us continue to get that word out and make sure people see that we are changing. We have a food truck also in Alachua County. We’re doing all kinds of different things that have never been done before.
● We still work on how to change this image and get the message out in a bigger, bigger way to the community. We’re doing social media; we do all kinds of different outreach. This pandemic has really helped us get that message out.

What’s your plan for the upcoming months to really continue that connection and spark additional participation as school’s over?

A lot of counties have a program called the “Your choice fresh”. Actually, students helped us name that.

The tagline is for students by students, they help us do taste testing. We make sure that we are involving the parents and through this pandemic, we have a thing called UYC or your choice at home, where we are sharing recipes with parents and families.

● We have actually a label that we have established where the QR code, and we put this on the
packages at the curbside and it lets them directly get to our menus to our recipes and the very fascinating thing about us sharing with them is that they’re also sharing back to us and we’ve had a number of parents and families share videos of coming up with different recipes with the products that we’re sending home. But also we are sharing videos and recipes with them so it’s a nice relationship and it’s something that we never had before but because we are able to do this curbside service and have this relationship with the families, it’s sparked this new, these new innovations that we’ve had where someone in our office actually did this really cute charcuterie board that you can see on our social media, where she took everything that we have in the curbside Neal and she put it on a board and made cute little, flower out of the different items and faces and out of the food and displayed in this really beautiful way. It gave the families a different kind of a different way to look at what’s in the bag and how they could use it.
● We’re just trying to be innovative and trying to show them that you can have fun with this food and with this program.
● I am kind of a risk taker. I kind of jump in, maybe not thinking through every single detail. I think that my team knows that that’s how I am and they definitely hang with me and support the decisions but we do talk through things, but I think being a risk taker and really taking advantage of all the programs and like I said, listening to your team and making sure they’re feeling empowered is really important and I would advise districts that are struggling to do some of those things and just make sure you are supportive of your team.

Do you have any suggestions on maybe a good first step that districts could take to maybe implement something like this in our district?

I think you have to build support with your administration at the school board and I do that regularly. I communicate with my boss regularly and make sure I have the support from the top.

I think that’s really key to keep them in the loop to communicate and to make sure that they’re there to allow you to do the programs that you want to do. I think that would be my biggest advice is to just make sure that you have that support. Jump in and try it to make sure you have a supportive team and that you listen to your team.

How has that training process changed in the past year and what do you anticipate your training program looking like and this next step in the coming school year?

● This has been a big shift for us and everyone around the nation.
● Doing virtual meetings
● We’ve implemented cameras and every one of our managers offices to make sure that we’re all
safe and not having a big group of people together.
● We do our management training.
● We have done our entire staff training. We have almost 300 staff. We did that when they were in groups at the schools.
● We are offering training virtually but also in real small groups.
● We have actual in-person learning.
● We have culinary training and we make sure that we have CPR available.
● We have a chef that offers knife skills and we just do those in small groups where we make sure that the staff are safe.
● We make sure that we clean surfaces and socially distance. Everybody’s very careful about
wearing their mask. I think just being cautious of the precautions and making sure that they
know that you are conscious of that you are making sure that they are staying safe, but also kind of being flexible with offering the virtual training if someone is unavailable. Sometimes we do both because there may be somebody that has a high-risk population at their homes so they feel more comfortable just doing the virtual meeting and then we do the other stuff there in person. We try to be flexible but we have continued to do training. We’re not doing exactly to the same level but, we are offering quite a bit of training through the pandemic.

Is there any advice that you would offer to child nutrition directors as we begin looking at summer? Is there any advice that you’d offer to anyone as they’re planning, getting ready for summer feeding or preparing for this upcoming school year?
● I think my main advice would be to take advantage of the programs that are being offered to us.
● The waivers to make sure you stay flexible and be prepared for what programs you’re offering.

Make sure your staff adequately and supply them with enough equipment to be able to hold and
execute what you’re asking them to do. When the pandemic started, we started purchasing
coolers for the buses and for the curbside service. We bought every cooler in the county so we
moved to those big bins that you can buy at the different stores and we put ice packs in the
plastic bins and used those on the buses and they ended up being better than the coolers.

● You just have to kind of be innovative and try to make do when you run up against something
like that, but just be prepared, think ahead and jump in would be my advice.
Is there one piece of advice or one tip or strategy or one thing that you wish you had known when you were first starting out as a director that you would say to an incoming brand-new director?
● I think my two main pieces of advice are to make sure you’re a good listener. Make sure that the staff know that you’re being heard, that they’re being heard.
● Be flexible and make sure that you’ll take advantage of programs, don’t hold back and make sure you are a little bit of a risk taker to be successful.
● Take advantage of every single thing out there. I think the government is being very generous in what they’re offering and it’s an opportunity to recoup and rebuild and I think we should take advantage of it. Some of us are reluctant to do that but this time is a little different.
● I think it’s served us well to take advantage of all the programs. We just support your team and then they’ll be right there with you giving them, given everything they can to make sure they feed the community.

As we wrap up today’s show, is there anything that either of you would like to leave our viewers today?

● First-off Maria, God bless you and your team, child nutrition, superheroes, and the job you’re doing in your community every single day. It’s being mirrored in communities across the nation. And my hope and my goal and I think my mission over the next year and a half is going to be to really fight. To be sure that people keep that visibility, that elevated visibility of childhood. I’m gonna encourage everybody to take advantage of every single program they possibly can because this is you talking about a pivot point in history. This is a pivot point in history for child nutrition, where we go from being in the back rooms to being in the boardroom. I think that’s where we have our opportunities here in child nutrition.
● I think with school food service, it’s really allowed us as a nation of school foods providers to really shine.

Change, Challenge and Mental Health

School Nutrition Education Program

Change, Challenge and Mental Health

USDA Professional Standards Code- 3450/4120/3430

Guests:
● Bart Christian- Nationally recognized School Nutrition Speaker
● Dr. Ericka Goodwin- CEO of Goodwin Wellness Enterprises & Goodwin Medical Associates

In your practice with working with children primarily, what’s been going on with the pandemic inCovid-19 that affects the children from your perspective, in what you’ve seen?
Well, there’s so many layers that I’m so glad that you all decided to have me come, and I feel like we could probably do this show in like five episodes, because there’s literally so much going on when you unpack everything.

● But one of the biggest things is number one, just as adults have dealt with losses and change due to Covid-19, so having young people, it’s a lot of change. They’re still dealing with a lot of uncertainty as you all are kind of dealing with schools from other ends.
● Month to month or quarter to quarter, no one’s quite sure. Are they going to be there or are
they going to be virtual? Are they hybriding? Those things are constantly in flux then for the
children that have already gone to school that they’re used to that in-school experience, which is not going to be the same with virtual.
● Just the fact that their schedules are so different, and for some of these children depending on who was in their neighborhood, if they’re in a bubble or anything together that was their social time. So, they’ve lost a lot of the time where they’ve been able to interact with peers of similar age and young people, especially when you look at younger children. So, teenagers have a pretty good sense of time, but like those younger children, I’m sure if you have kids, you know how sometimes 10 minutes for them seems like literally forever.
● So, when they left school, a lot of these children went home to virtually learn in the spring.

When they left, they had no idea that they wouldn’t see their friends or their favorite teacher for so long. And for a lot of them, they don’t know when they’ll see it, and for us, we still, as adults, have some sense of time. These younger people, they just don’t. So, there’s also that stress of not being able to spend as much time with their friends. They’re not doing those play dates they used to do. They’re dealing with learning in different ways and all children are not going to necessarily thrive in virtual learning. That may not be the ideal modality for them.

● And then just dealing with the stress of there is a pandemic. So, children do have some sense that something’s wrong and you have to explain to them by wearing masks, so they know there’s something out there they can catch. So, they’re spheres around that.
Have you noticed anything as far as development in young kids and kind of that pace at which they normally progress, is that in your experience slowed down at all, and if so, what are some things that parents can do at home to really keep their kids engaged, whether they’re doing hybrid type learning, where they’re in at home, half the day and then maybe an in class half the day, or maybe it’s all remote for the time being. What are some things that parents can do to really keep their kids engaged and continuing on that development track?

Well, I think you bring up a huge point, because there are a lot of dynamics here, because you have families where either the response work responsibilities are so high or they’re still working outside the home where you have people making this decision or whether or not, especially for these younger kids, these little munchkins that would normally be in daycare or Montessori are going to be home, where there are some that are home because there is no other option. There’s some that are out because their parents still have to work and there’s no other home childcare.

● But I do think one of the things that is challenging is just as parents, parents around to be parents. Parents were not specifically educated on how to be a substitute in Montessori daycare. It’s just a very different role.
● And I think one of the biggest challenges really is from the social aspect, that there is typically a significant social construct that comes with daycare, Montessori, preschool, and those kinds of things, which are not necessarily the same. And right now, even if you’re home with your children, the average adult is not like they’re home and they’re singular focus for the entire day, it’s just working on their child’s development.
● The average adult is still either working from home or trying to find another job because they lost a job. It’s just a little bit different than when you have trained personnel that their only thing is to work with your child and your child’s development.
● So, I think the challenge is really trying to find what are some educational or developmental activities you can do at home. What are some ways to still have significant social interactions with them, even if like for two-year-olds is a little bit more complicated as far as doing some virtual play dates and those kinds of things, but it’s still kind of a theory on ways to still keep them engaged, to still do things with them. Not necessarily get tired and just park them in front of the TV all day or with different devices and find ways in real time, still interact with them.
● One of the things I tell people is there’ve been people that have been doing this home-based
learning and things like that for years. And instead of trying to reinvent every single wheel, we have the internet. I don’t tell my age, but I assume we all at least of a certain age remember when there was no internet, when the only way you’re going to find something is go through the card catalog and grab a book, and right now there’s so much information out here. This is one of those times social media comes in handy.
● There are a lot of social media groups that are parents that have been homeschooling or are
doing developmental things at home that you can tap into these resources that people have
already done when this is your first time. So, I would say one of the biggest things is to continue to stay engaged with your children and look for new things to do with them, so that they’re not necessarily four, but they are also significantly stimulated.

How has technology really changed the way that children interact with their friends and families?

Well, I think this is kind of exploiting something that was a potential weakness that was there before, because as you’re mentioning gaze with those pixels, when I was young, the game that came out with Palm, and it was that one line that went up and it’s just very different.

● I think it just brings to light the importance of, number one, I’m a big fan of monitoring children’s screen time. I’m not a huge fan of children going off being on tablets, computers, and video games, unmonitored all the time, because there are so many different components to them, especially with how they’ve done video games now, because when we were doing video games
where you’re younger, you weren’t chatting on a video game. The only question you were
playing with a video game with was, whoever was in the room with you, because there wasn’t an
internet. So now, they’re connecting people.
● On one hand, you want your child to still learn critical thinking skills to have social skills, know how to actually interact with people and have tactile experiences and other things other than everything revolving around a screen.
● I know it’s difficult in this environment because children typically are a little bit more
homebound than they were before. You’ve lost a lot of the activities that they were doing due to social distancing, and it’s just such a new world. Even going outside is just a little bit different than it was before. Then you add that a lot of times, as we were talking about before, parents may be working from home at the same time, or there are multiple people doing virtual learning and they can’t be with one child all the time. There is a temptation for kids to have more screen time. It translates similarly to how it still happens now, but especially when a lot of us were younger, instead of it being video games, people spent time with the TV.
● And I think it’s important to not let all these things that they can do on a screen, become
surrogates for how to use time. I think it’s important to still seek out activities that use their imagination. I’m a big fan of reading. Just have a variety of activities from them, helping you cook or prepare meals. Just a lot of things rather than being screen-based. Number one, all of that, like can be overstimulating and impact your sleep, but also there’s just so much, because we started this conversation, I’ll talk about video games, but if you will look at what these young people are doing on their screens. It’s everything from YouTube to watching other kinds of videos to social media. It’s just a lot of information, so beyond just the fact that they need social skills and how to interact with people real time, that’s not texting shorthand and just single-handedly destroying the English language, which is a whole another tangent about how people don’t know how to make full sentences with full words anymore. It’s important because you don’t want them to have unlimited exposure to too much information and be overstimulated, because there’s just so much information on the web.

● Now the one flip side, and I realized I’ve been talking literally forever, is that for some of the video games, when they have headsets, one of the things I’ve noticed is some of the boys don’t feel socially isolated, just because of that particular activity. Girls still do it, but significantly more boys than girls do. Some of them don’t feel as socially isolated, because when they’re gaming, they’re hanging out with their friends or having conversations or talking to their friends. So, they’re still hanging out with their friends like they’ve worked before.
● The thing that is interesting for people to have girls and boys or one child that is video games and one that is not is, it’s a lot more intentional to help the other ones still have peer interactions. The ones that play games, especially the ones with headsets, they’re still chatting and hanging out with their friends because they do it over the game.
What type of tips or structure could you offer to them as a guideline for what is an appropriate amount of screen time and how would they potentially limit that screen time for kids if they do have to leave the house and work, in an office or be out in the field for instance?

Well, the great thing is with a lot of social media devices, there are so many facts and ways to know what someone is doing, which is excellent because it’s probably how I grew up, as my mother said, nothing’s private, nothing was mine if it’s in her house.

● So, I probably also said that children and young people need to be monitored, but some of the main tips is, I realized it’s a little bit more complicated when you aren’t home and they’re home.
● One way to help deal with things when they’re home and you’re not home, is giving them other
tasks or other things to do. It’s virtually limiting their free time, like kids need a schedule. So one of the things that I think is helpful regardless, is to actually have a schedule and schedule everything kind of like you would do if you’re a busy business person, it helps draw like boundaries. It also helps people have some level of certainty, because things become predictable because you have a schedule, and then you start scheduling in, when is the screen time? When should they actually be reading a book or playing a game? And when their meals are kind of, what’s going on for the day when it’s family time.
● I think the other thing is there are ways to occupy your children where you’re actually engaging with them. It ends up making for a more rewarding experience.
● One of the things I think is important right now is to make memories together. So this doesn’t feel like it’s the last year and nothing good happened this year. We can still have quality time and make positive memories.
● But the short version is, I think it’s important to have a schedule. The next thing is it’s important to have limits to not say, “Oh, just get on it whenever for whatever.” Maybe you do an hour here, an hour there, instead of it just being well, anytime when we aren’t doing something together, you can be on the skinny side, and you can be on whatever it is just religiously.
● I think it’s important to start by setting some limits. I’ve been a fan for about an hour or so. Sometimes it gets a little longer, but the other thing is just kind of having an idea of what your children are doing, most of the cell phones now. You can pull out almost at least there with their cell phones and tablets and know how much screen time they’ve had for a week, and I think that’s good to know, so you know what your baseline is, and then start working back from there.
● But the main thing is just not having all of this unsupervised time, because there’s so much
information out there, there’s so much going on in the world right now. Just think of how it is as an adult, when you’re even looking down your social media feed and all this stuff is coming in from what’s going on with racial injustice, to what’s going on with Covid to elections, to everything and how much discernment it takes as an adult to figure out what is appropriate information, what is fact-based information, or what is it going to make you emotionally overloaded?
● So, by people being totally unsupervised, it’s very easy for them to become overstimulated,
because there’s just so much information out there, and some of it quite, frankly, is just not
appropriate for the children.

Any tips you got, because I’ve heard that from several parents that their kids’ grades decline and they are doing what they’re supposed to do, but they’re just not comprehending the information like they did before?

Well, you’re bringing up a humongous point Bart, which is that virtual school is not for everyone. To be honest, the way we’re doing virtual school is still different from the curriculum they were doing in traditional homeschooling, so it’s a very different environment. And the other thing is, all this stuff is not happening in a vacuum. So, these children are still trying to deal with emotionally regulating themselves in this new environment that can change so frequently while managing virtual school, especially depending on how a child learns that this may not play to what their strengths are. Sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, some children just aren’t going to do well with it, because it’s difficult as
adults. Most of us don’t like doing it, but we do because we know we have to, but it’s just hard.

● I think some of it deals with learning styles. Another is, some of these children are really aching for the social component of in-person school. That just isn’t the same in this virtual learning environment, it’s just very different.
● The other thing is that quite frankly, and I’ve talked to a lot of parents, it’s when their kids are in virtual schooling, especially these younger kids. It’s like they’re being held hostage too. They have to sit there with the kid, it’s just stressful. So, I think part of it is, on one hand, it’s the learning house, a child learns. It’s just very different, getting it this way, then they’re missing that social component, just the stress of kind of managing it because it’s a lot going on.
● There are times, especially if you have family, you have multiple children that everyone’s just trying to figure out where their spot is, because a lot of people’s homes. There are people that are in higher socioeconomic status that may have multiple children. Everyone has their own room; they have enough computers for everyone to have the same computer. Everyone has good internet access, but there are a lot of families that’s not the case.
● So, instead of being three kids and a mom, I’ll let the kitchen table with laptops out three or in different classrooms and the other, the parents trying to watch them and work, so it’s just a different immersive experience.
● For some of the kids that they’re just emotionally dysregulated, because everything just feels so foreign or difficult. I’d say the first tip is to be patient and have grace for yourself as an adult and grace for your child, that they’re trying to learn something new, especially if they’re not like a kindergartner. They have learned that school happens a certain type of way and they’re used to school being that way.
● So, adjusting to this new way is very different and it’s also giving grace to the teachers, because most of them never taught in this format. So, it’s a learning experience for them to learn how to teach effectively and keep these children engaged in this format.
● The other thing is, these kids aren’t getting exactly the same lessons, the same way as they were getting before. So, part of it is just being patient. These schools have a lot of resources, but a lot of times these people aren’t going into the school, they don’t tap the resources. So, make sure you’re checking all better, and we can have those conversations with their teacher too, and possibly problem solve to see if there’s some other ways to supplement the information in a way that they’re going to actually retain it better.
What are just a few things that a parent can be on the lookout for, to see if there is a significant mood change or are depression occurring in their kids, maybe two or three things that they can just really be on the lookout for.

The first thing is, if you have children that are now tantruming and are tantruming a lot, you’ll also see those tantrums around, kids just refusing to do school. And the next thing is, you have a child that previously was more interactive that now doesn’t want to do anything with the family and wants to spend all their time in their room.

The next, if you notice that they’re not really sleeping or they’re having a lot of nightmares, crying all the time. But I know a lot of people think about sadness, but also kids can get really irritable. If you notice that this kid is just yelling a lot or snap at everything. I think that’s also something else huge. It’s just
looking for changes, like changes in sleep, changes in appetite. So, you just look for changes, because you know who your child is, you know when your child is not acting like itself.

How do these mental health issues differ between kids and adults?
Well, one of the first things is, as adults, depending on your emotional intelligence, but usually adults may have better language to describe how they’re feeling, especially when you’re dealing with younger kids. They may not necessarily have all the language to describe how they’re feeling.

I think on that end, it’s a little bit different, and the other thing is, with children, a lot of times you will see even more irritability than frank sadness or the way an adult would describe anxiety. For anybody, any emotion can look like your ability. Sadness can look like irritability. Nervousness looks like irritability, being mad is irritable. But kids are particularly prone to become irritable. To me that’s another difference, but a lot of it is just as they may not be able to talk about all the details as much, which is one
of the reasons that a lot of us that see kids have done things that have to do play, but especially for younger people and even teenagers. Sometimes they’re ready to tell you how they’re feeling, sometimes they’re not. You have to kind of come sideways or distract them, so it’s one of the reasons why a lot of times you can get some information, your color, or your plan with them, or you’re eating, you’re doing something else, because then they’re not totally focused on not telling you what’s going on.

What are some tips that you have for parents, educators, and professionals going back to the
workplace to really decrease that stress and continue with the same productivity that they were putting out before the pandemic?

Well, I think one of the hugest things is just as it’s important for kids, it’s important for adults to have a schedule. As most of us know, I know for me, if it’s not on my calendar, it may not really happen, but it’s important because number one, it lets everyone in the household know exactly what’s going on.

● It also helps you make sure that you do the thing that sometimes will let it go if it wasn’t written down. So, you put everything on there, you put every single person in the household there from when everyone’s in school, work, meals, exercise, if you meditate or do some type of quiet time, family times, bedtime. You’re literally putting everything on there.
● It also makes it so that you will hopefully do those self-care things, because I think one thing that’s been very obvious here is there’s been such a blurring of everything that happens at home. Before the homeless home for a lot of people, there were some people that worked from
home, but even when they worked from home, everybody else wasn’t home with them. Now it’s
just a very different environment, so it’s very easy for everything to kind of blend into each other.
● So, there’s never like this time where you’re done working or you’re totally focused on family, it’s just everything is scattered, and I think one of the reasons it’s important to have a schedule is to kind of start planning, when is family time and when is work time, so that you can set some boundaries between all of it. Otherwise, people end up feeling just run down and exhausted.
● The next thing is, make sure you give yourself some grace, no one is going to be perfect right now. People in general aren’t at their best right now. There’s just so much going on too.
● It’s important to cut yourself some slack and cut other people some slack. All we can do is the best we can do, and a lot of times the solution that worked yesterday or last week, might not even be a solution for the next week because things are changing so quickly. Give yourself that grace and that flexibility.
● I think the next thing is, everyone’s schedule is different, but carve at least five to 20 minutes where you do something that is just free, that it’s not someone else wanted to watch this TV show or do this other activity, and that’s why I put in as little as five minutes, because if you have a busy family, you may not be able to carve lots of time, but you just want a little bit of time that is solely yours. I know people with busy families, because I know there are lots of people with families listening to some people. The only place I can get a little piece of quiet is the bathroom or the closet. If you gotta go there, go there and just have a couple of minutes to yourself, because I think it’s important just to be able to reset.
● If I say something else, and I’m trying to pick out things that you wouldn’t just see on every single list, because everyone talks about drinking water and eating healthy and getting sleep.
● The next thing is that, during this time because things were so changing, you’re going to need to probably go to the table multiple times and renegotiate what the task delineations are in your household, between the adults and even the younger people, because in a lot of families, the kids are old enough to help out with some things around the house. One of the things we’re seeing is that this is taking a huge toll, especially on women, because as the kids end up at home, then they get those tasks alone, everything they were doing before, and it ends up just too much.
● I think it’s important, especially for couples and families to continue to have conversations about how we are going to dig up all these things that need to be done? So, there’s not an unfair load on the front person, so that everyone can actually still be emotionally present because otherwise someone just ends up totally drained and it ends up being, you’ll hear these stories and I’ve had patients and other people talk about it where one, you have two professionals that are together, and then they have all these kids that are virtual schooling, and the mom has virtual schooling. Then the mom’s still trying to work, the mom’s doing everything in the house.

Then the husband does his work on the side, and then he’s working out and living his best life, going to the mountains, chilling out.
● People have to communicate what their needs are. I think it’s really important to kind of look at that again, so that things end up a little bit more active.

One of the things you didn’t mention that I know that is big on your list is that goal setting and making sure that you visualize where you want to go, and I think that’s a big thing too. I think sometimes I talk to some of these people, children, and their whole world has become wrapped up, and like you said, this blurring of the lines of this time that we’re going through and they’ve lost sight of two things, this is going to pass, number one.

● And the second thing is, what are we going to do once this pass? What are the goals we have?
And I don’t want to belabor this because I know we’re at the end of the show, but you have a
thing we’re going to put some links on the show notes.
● One of the things I really encourage people to go check out is your five-day visualization
challenge, because I think that’s such a key thing during this time is to be able to visualize
yourself on the other side of this, and not only be able to see where you’re at, but visualize
where you’re going and where are you going to be?
● In my opinion, I think that what has happened in the past few months has stolen a lot of
people’s visions from them for a short time, or either it’s closed their vision and made it where they can’t really see down the road any longer.
● I just encouraged him to do that, that’s one thing that I really recommend. I know you and I
know how passionate you are about this, so I’m sure that that’s going to be a great program for everybody. Also, go check out your Facebook page, because I love the fact that you built your kind of brand around butterflies and the metamorphosis. That’s really what I think we’re going through right now. I think as a culture in society, we’re going through a metamorphosis. We’re going to emerge on the other side, more beautiful and stronger than we ever have been, but sometimes it’s a little painful and a little ugly when you go through that. I think that’s kind of where we are, I don’t know if you agree with that or not. That’s how it felt about things later.

I agree. I feel like I just need to keep you in my back pocket and just pull you out periodically. I totally agree because this time period, for me, it’s marked by a period that’s been marked by a lot of focus on survival.

● When focusing on literally just surviving, it’s kind of like everyone’s in this perpetual crisis and naturally in the middle of a crisis, you’re focused on how to get through the crisis. You’re not necessarily focused on what happens after the crisis or anything particularly long-term, you’re kind of looking at how do I survive in this moment?
● And I think you’re bringing up a huge point, which is the one that is number one, there are some cognitive and other kinds of tools that can help people feel more grounded, utilize gratitude and other kinds of strategies, so that you can literally emotionally feel better in this season, because as you said, we’ll make it through it.
● It is a season, but I do think it’s important to still have some level of vision or wants or desires outside of survival. I think that’s a principle, a lot of us use a lot of ways. I use it even in my tele-psychiatry practice. When I tell people the goal isn’t to get you to a point where you’re just surviving, it’s to get you to a point where you’re thriving and you’re able to really enjoy your life and I think that’s one of the reasons I put together.
● This challenge was to put a little time and energy into thinking, what kind of things do we want for the rest of the year and through the next year, so that you have this space of not only hope, but also a space of a goals, visions, desires, and things that you can still move towards. So, you don’t feel like all that you have is literally right in front of you.
What are some things that you may use, whether they be tools, books you read, meditation apps you participate with, exercises that you do, just really help stay at the top of your game, mentally sharp and physically prepared and ready for each day?

I have to say one of the things I was blessed to have when all of this started is, I have lots of coaches. So, I think the first thing is, number one, I have not been trying to survive the season on an island by myself.

● One of them is being able to ask for help and utilize resources. I think I have a total of four coaches right now. So, it’s having all of these people that I can kind of pull through to help me figure out the best way to kind of have a mindset.
● I think for me, I also did a lot of mindset work over this period, but I just decided when, Covid hit and I got start hearing everything and as a physician, we’re in all these groups, so you’re in the inside colleague groups getting all the back end information I decided I made a conscious choice at the very beginning that I was going to come out of this better than I went in. Over the first couple of months, I lost about 20 pounds because it finally clicked. I was like, I’m making a conscious decision to do this handful of things. So, one was just having a mindset that I was not going to let this turn my life in the other direction, that even though its adjustments things are different.
● I was doing contract work; I actually lost a bunch of contracts at the beginning. I just made a decision, where I really lost weight just eating very clean, I didn’t buy any junk food. So literally there was no temptation in my house because it didn’t exist in my house.
● I had this Peloton that had been gathering dust. So, I started riding my Peloton five days a week.

That Peloton has been a God sent, and then I went on the road for a while and then it gathered
dust again. And when it started gathering dust again, I realized, staying active is very therapeutic and then I have to start doing some other workouts.

● Exercise has played a huge part. Eating healthy has played a huge part. I meditate daily. I have Calm and Headspace and they’re both good, but I am totally in love with the Peloton app
content, and they have so many great meditations from five minutes to significantly longer ones.
● To me, one of the things that’s made it really easy is that instead of saying, I’m going to meditate for 10, 20, 30 minutes. I do five-minute meditations, not even 10 minutes. I do a five-minute meditation in the morning. If I’m having problems going to sleep, they also have sleep meditations, I’ll do those.
● I’ve done a lot of reading, so I think the other thing is I discovered audio books. I’d always been like, I’m not listening to a book, and I finally tried it and fell in love with it. At one point I was going back and forth between Atlanta and Chattanooga. I started listening to all these books, and one of the books I listened to was hell L-rods the Miracle Morning. I highly recommend it, and when I listened to that, I started actually doing his miracle morning. So now I actually get up at four-thirty in the morning and I do it in the morning and it’s the hallmark of it is something they call SAVERS. So, the S is for silence like gratitude, meditation prayer, A is for affirmations, V is for visualizations, E is for exercise, R is for reading and S is for scribing, journaling or writing because none of those had an S and he needed an S for an acronym. I felt like it just gave me so much more clarity and focus.
● For me, the other end is I kind of threw myself into a lot of self-development, and the other thing is my closest friends. We actually have a standing zoom. I have found ways to still stay socially connected, even though I’ve been rather conservative with dealing with this. My best friend lives in town, we live a couple miles away. I’ve only seen her maybe four times since March. I don’t really do people right now that much, but I’ve just been purposeful about staying connected with people.

Is there anything that you’d like to leave our listeners with and viewers with for this week? Any words of encouragement, final thoughts, recommendations for reading material, anything along those lines?

We’ll do a quick list, recommendations for reading material. There are two that I feel like can be life-changing if you’re open, because that’s the other thing is everyone has these moments where either you’ve read that book and it seems like the greatest thing, or you watched Oprah and you feel so excited, and then nothing happens.

● So, if you’re ready to actually do something and it’s no judgment, because I’ve read plenty of things and didn’t actually do any kind of action. As I do highly recommend the Miracle Morning and the Miracle Equation by How L Ron, there’s also this little booklet that’s like if a pamphlet could be folded, I think it’s 36 pages, it’s called the 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan, and it literally is about how to literally get rid of procrastination. I was a master procrastinator and perfectionist, and it helps you get through it because I think right now, you’re always trying to steal time and the faster you can get through work stuff, the faster you can get back to your family. I feel like that’s what everyone wants to get to. You want to be able to spend time with your friends and your family to have quality time with your loved ones and some quality time with yourself, because you yourself gets to be counted as a loved one. So, the more efficient you are with all that other stuff, the more time you get for all the fun stuff. So, those are my three book recommendations.

● I think we’re all going to get through this with love, grace and hope. What I typically tell people is my prescription is to call at least one person that you love and tell them that you love them. You have to keep calling people till you get one person on the line. It can be audio or video, text. If they don’t answer the phone, it doesn’t count. I think it’s important because number one, it’s important for us to actually tell people how we feel, because no day was promised even before all this happened, but I do think it’s something simple you can do that also helps get people socially engaged with people.
● The other last thing I would say is it’s important to ask for help. If people ask you how you’re doing and you say, fine, people are going to assume you’re fine. You have to be able to let people know that you need help so that they have permission to engage and assist you. I think Bart already mentioned that I’m on social media.

Bringing Staff and Customers Back Safely

School Nutrition Education Program

Bringing Staff and Customers Back Safely

USDA Professional Standards Code 2620/3410/3420/4120/4130/4140

Guests:
Bart Christian – He is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.
Josh Seguin – Director of People at True Food Kitchen.

Tell us about what it is like working in that type of high-pressure environment and very competitive markets? Tell us little about that.

I think the way to describe it is certainly high pressure for sure. I think that in those environments, you’re really only as good as your last review. I was fortunate to work alongside. In my opinion, one of the most talented chefs in the world, John George, when I worked for the Mercer Kitchen, we were right across the street from the corporate office. Everyday George would come in for breakfast and we’d have an opportunity.

We’ll have some one-on-one time and certainly speak. It’s just that environment, it’s certainly very competitive, especially in an environment like New York. I think it’s one of the reasons why I think I was able to certainly grow my career very quickly. I’m in Arizona, which is a much different environment I would say, but part of my heart is definitely still New York, for sure.

What type of things are you guys doing at True Foods to kind of be prepared for re-openings as we look forward to that in the next couple of weeks?

It’s a great question. I think really what’s just as important to think through is kind of how we got to what we’re doing right now. When we first started going through a lot, the Covid kind of phasing , we made the decision as a brand to shut down the restaurants and this was March 18th. I remember for the rest of my life, for sure, and it was certainly not an easy decision to make, but one that we felt was necessary because we really wanted to make the right decision. I think there’s a lot of gray in what we’re doing.

As an industry, I think we’re trying to do the best we can with the information that we have, but one thing that was really to us was that we wanted to take a step back and say, “All right, let’s close our restaurants for the moment, but know that we’re gonna look at our service model. We’re going to look at what we can do to protect our guests and our team members when they report back to work.

What are some things that we need to do to adjust? It really took us a good two weeks to think through our service model and think through some of the things that we’re doing right now and that continues to evolve as well.

● I think that you have to be comfortable in this environment with adjusting and constantly
changing.
● You know what you’re doing to make sure that you’re staying current and doing everything you
can to protect anyone that walks in your building.
● One thing that we thought through initially was kind of recreating our service model. So still wanting to make sure that we are focused on hospitality and providing great food for our guests but also kind of focused on the social distancing aspect of what CDC and local health
recommendations were.
● There were health department regulations and one thing that we looked at was how can we
create that social distance within a restaurant and the obvious piece being, you can create six feet of distance between your tables to start.
● But even taking a step further, we wanted to make sure that we were limiting the interaction
between our servers and our guests as well. We created a process where we were able to have
guests write down their orders on the menus, have our servers come collect the orders, make
sure they’re reviewing any requests or allergy accommodations and really minimizing that initial context.
● We’re prior, our servers would spend the first three minutes going through a menu, explaining who we are, and we’ve kind of taken a step away from that for a little bit just to make sure that we’re really protecting our guests and our team members, but also making sure that people feel comfortable in our environments as well.

What are you doing in that area to make sure that your employees maintain a safe distance from each other and practice social distancing?

I think, when you look at the front of house in a restaurant and you look at even the prep spaces, we’re fairly fortunate to have pretty large areas in those departments, but where I think we have the biggest challenges is certainly what you consider to be the wine.

● From grill to sauté, to walk to even out pantry cooks, it’s certainly difficult to create that six feet of distance. We’ve done everything we can to create as much space as possible, but what’s important to us too is we want to focus on some of the other things that we can control and some of the other things that we can do to even take it a step further.
● All of our team members are required to wear masks when they report to work, and they come
to our restaurants.
● Our backhouse, everyone’s wearing gloves, really what the CDC is saying right now. Close contact would be anyone that spends more than 15 minutes within six feet of distance.
● We really try to limit those instances as much as we possibly can in every instance and I think really what we’re able to do right now is since we’re operating on a smaller team, even our line positions, we’re able to maintain that distance and maintain at least distance as much as possible.

What type of things are you all planning on doing as far as temperature checks? Is there anything as far as guests are concerned or maybe employee’s safety? What’s True Foods’ response to some of the new things that are being talked about in?

That’s a great question too. And I think really what we want to focus on, um, as a brand is making sure that we can always say that we’re following CDC and local. Department regulations as well or recommendations. Every decision we make is focused on that piece.

● What we wanted to do in the essence of keeping our team and our guests safe is we’re really
instituting a zero-tolerance policy for any team member, reporting to work second. We’ve
encouraged all of our team members, even if they have a simple cold, if they have a sore throat, a cough, anything that they should not report to work.
● I think, where we may have been a little bit more stringent with our attendance policies. We
definitely laxed a little bit to make sure that our teams feel comfortable to take that time that they need to focus on themselves and certainly focus on their health. That being kind of our first step.
● We’ve actually instituted a wellness check. Before our team members report to work, they’re
asked to complete a wellness check, which just basically asks three questions. The first question being have our team members come in contact with anyone that’s COVID positive, are they experiencing any COVID related symptoms, and have they been tested positive for COVID? If the answer is no to all of those questions, they’re able to report to work.
● We’re also asking them to take their temperatures before they report to work as well, just as an over precaution. Although the CDC and health department have said in many cases that not all people that are COVID positive experience fever, but again, it’s just one more precaution that we can put in place.
● When they come to clock in for their shift, the answer is a simple question that’s on our RPOs that just says, ‘have you completed your wellness check today?’. I think that our team’s constantly talking through that and just asking themselves those questions. I think it limits a lot of the potential for people to come to work sick.

How is the wellness check being performed? Is that a written documentation, a text message, something that’s on your website?

We didn’t want to create the necessary documentation. What we ended up doing is we actually:

● Ask our team members to create, or to this process before they come into work and then when
they come into work, they actually answer our question on the POS that says that I’ve completed my wellness check today. We want to make sure that people are following through, and then there’s always that constant reminder.
● I think when it comes to looking at different HIPAA violations or laws, there’s a lot of regulations around protecting information if you choose to document it.
● We want to make sure that we’re sending that constant reminder to our team, but we also want
to make sure that we’re not creating unnecessary documentation either.
● One thing is that we are recommending our teams take temperature checks as well when our
employees come into the restaurant. What we do in that case if 99% of the time and really actually a hundred percent of the time so far, we’ve had team members coming to work and they’ve tested it, or their temperature has been under 100.4 degrees, which is what CDC saying constitutes a fever, anything above a hundred 100.4.
● What we want to do, if anyone tests above that, is certainly make sure that we’re protecting their confidentiality. We’re not having team members line up at the beginning of shift to take their temperature just more as people come in.
● It’s recommended it’s not something that we’re strictly enforcing or making it mandatory but for many of our team members, it’s almost been kind of this comfort that we’re taking this extra step to make sure that we’re keeping safe. We certainly haven’t had any pushback in terms of us taking temperatures either at this point.

Do you see people demonstrating symptoms after they’ve already passed the wellness check?
For sure, and I think that’s an excellent point. What I think through in that instance, you have team members that have, in some cases been out of work for a couple of months now. It’s hard to tell someone that they have to stay at home if they’re experiencing any symptoms, but we know that.

● It’s necessary to make sure that we’re keeping our team safe and certainly to take every
precaution to keep everyone safe. I imagine that as we go through the next few months that we’re going to have team members that are really trying to push through and thinking that they just have maybe a common cold or a sore throat or something that is seemingly not a big deal.
● We certainly know that it is given that that could be one of the first signs of Covid in some cases.

I do think that our teams will continue to probably monitor each other. We hope that our team
members and even our guests too, will certainly know that it’s the responsibility in this case to make sure that we’re doing our best to keep everyone safe. We hope that they’ll continue to solve problems.

Does it concern you seeing your team come back to work, especially those that have been out for the past couple of weeks, months, and the enhanced unemployment benefit? Is that something that you’ve seen that is going to affect maybe reopening certain areas? What’s your experience with that so far?

● For sure. First and foremost, I am really happy that I think our government has been able to
provide this extended benefit to many of our team members who, again, have maybe missed a
month to two months of work at this point. I feel like that benefit, if you use the right way it’s a good benefit.
● I’m certain that in some cases people have different risk tolerance levels. Being just a married guy, no kids, just the dog at home, and families on the east coast, I think that my risk level might be a little bit more tolerant than others.
● We have individuals who have elderly parents where they have children or maybe health
conditions that they’re on, that they have to monitor for. My theory is that, without those benefits that they would be forced to come back to work sooner than they’re ready or comfortable to be able or comfortably able to come back to work, I definitely want our team members to feel comfortable when they’re ready to come back. I do imagine that those benefits will probably delay some people from wanting to come back right away. That being said, in some cases being forced to look at external hires as well and kind of work through that process.
● Our restaurants are actually a little bit busier than we anticipated. And in thinking through, some of our markets thought that they might open up at 25%, some of them have gone to 50% right off the bat. Kind of working through some of the staffing challenges. It’s part of our new normal to some extent. I think that will subside,
● I think, especially towards the end of this month. I feel like even in June we’ve seen a lot of our team members start to come back a little bit more willingly and I think it’s partly because we put these safety practices in place that they feel comfortable to come back to. I think as we move into July and August, I think people are going to be eager to come back to work. I agree that the benefits are a great thing. I agree that there are it has saved our lives in so many ways, but I’ve heard from a few of my friends in the food service business that have said that they’re actually these employees that they’re having a little trouble bringing back that they’re being forced to replace it, because there are people that want to work now and want to come back to work and their fear is that they’ve got some people that were really valuable team members that are going to maybe drag their feet a little bit in coming back that may find themselves not having the job at the place they were before.

Do you see this kind of reward that your former employees come back willingly?

● For sure and that’s really important to think through. If we look at operations right now, most of our restaurants are operating between 25 and 50%. In my opinion, we may, by the end of this year, get back to 60, maybe 80% but I think we’re going to be operating at a limited capacity for some time now. We look at some of the teams I think have struggled to bring people back and we’ve given our team members almost an option of when they’d like to return.
● It’s, ‘Hey, I’d like to return immediately.’ ‘Hey, I’d like to return sometime in June.’ ‘Hey, I’d like to return back sometime after June.’ We’ve actually sent out a survey to our team members to gauge when people were comfortable with coming back and many of our team members had responded saying that they were looking to come back sometime after June.
● In my heart, I want to make sure that we’re keeping a space for all of our team members that
were with us. As we continue to hire and bring those people and maybe even hire externally, I
know that we’re not going to have enough space in some cases if we’re forced to hire externally.
● We’re certainly encouraging your team members to come back if they can. We’re just hoping that as we kind of work through the next day, it will continue to get busier and we’ll be able to bring more people back, which would include our team members that are currently not at work right now. I hope that helps answer your question a little bit.

What have you found to be successful? How do you communicate with this very large number of
employees you have?

For sure. You know, it’s funny. If you asked me that question probably a month ago, I probably would have said that we did a great job communicating and making sure we get to everyone. In hindsight, I think that there were probably some opportunities in the way that we communicated, especially to the hour level.

● A lot of our communications went directly to our managers which then were passed on to our
hourly team members. I feel like at the very beginning of our shutdown in March, our
communications were spot on. I think as we’ve worked through, I think the last few months, I
think that we were certainly distracted with reopening and getting our teams back to work.
● I think that some of the people are still out of work and have been out for some time. I think that we could have done a better job communicating with those individuals and providing them at least with information as to what we were doing to reopen how we were planning on keeping them in our guests safe.
● I think that we knew those conversations were happening when people came back to our
restaurants, but they weren’t necessarily happening with the people that were out of the
restaurants. In hindsight, that’s something that we probably could have changed and done a little bit better.
● I definitely have that piece, I think with our brand right now, and it’s funny that you mentioned that we’re a large organization and we’re kind of in this awkward teenage phase of being a large company and being a small group with 33 restaurants open right now or 34, actually with our Las Vegas location.
● I think that we have a lot of resources, but we don’t have quite the number of resources that a restaurant group like Jordan would have. I think that we find ourselves sometimes challenged with having enough bodies to get things done, but we do have good resources and one of those resources being used is an LMS called Wisetail. That’s typically our platform communicating with our hourly team members. Then we use Hot Schedules as well. Between those two platforms, email communication, we’ve tried to really get as much communication out to our management team members to our hourly team members as possible.
● Now we’re kind of at the stage where we’re almost to a point where we’re getting ready to bring as many team members back as possible. It’s working through surveys to see who’s comfortable coming back at this point. You’re working through other communications with our managers to make sure that they know what the protocols are for you and when it comes to safety protocols or response protocols to Covid. All those pieces are all important right now for us, for sure.

How are you planning on addressing training with your staff? How do you handle getting this new information out to them and making sure that they’re completing it?

For sure, I think that we’re pretty fortunate to have a great group of team members. Both in our leadership team, our regional team, and then our in-house manager team, each of the restaurants as well.

● I think for us, and one thing that we really have to look at as a brand is how we train long-term now. Well, I’m hesitant to say, this is our new normal, I think it’s our new reality at this point.
● One thing that we had worked on pre-Co-Vid is we’re actually looking to create regional training stores so we really focus our training efforts. One store where we knew that we could send all of our management teams to train and get consistent training and that might not be possible at this point. It might not be possible for some time now.
● I think we’ve been really forced to think through a lot of our training efforts and how we can create a really strong training program. We can trust our team members to fall through within the store as well, and not just for our managers, but for hourly team members too.
● I think part of that is, I think structuring the way that you communicate with your teams we’re definitely a group that likes to send out a lot of communications. Sometimes if you send out too many communications, things get lost in the mix and so we’ve really tried to strategize how we introduce things.
● We’ve come up with a weekly communication that we send out to our teams. We call it true
nation news, and are we to get, or are they really to get the information that we want to get to the teams? So, they have a week to digest it, talk about it with their teams and kind of work through that process.
● I think for other training efforts too, I think that having daily conversations, especially around safety protocols is critically important. When it comes to maintaining safety protocols, having daily lineups with your team to talk through what our current protocol is and talking about what we’re reinforcing mass squaring, especially during times where maybe employees are taking breaks.
● That was kind of a weak point for us too, where it’s like, you can have the best safety protocols in the world, and then your team goes to sit down, they take their mask off, they have lunch, but they’re not practicing, social distancing. Thinking through those points and making sure that we’re having those points of conversations with our team members to make sure that we’re just creating that awareness and continuing to maintain that focus is important.
● I think for you to know other training, I think one thing that we’ve thought through is like an external hire, so you have someone that doesn’t understand our brand, that is coming in brand new. We almost need too. We’re reverting back to our training efforts that we had in place prior to Covid.
● We also have to make sure that we keep in mind that they don’t know any of our safety protocols too, and that stuff’s not in our former training. At least Covid related. Kind of working that back into the training too is important and just thinking through those things it’s definitely a lot of moving parts for sure. I think it’s something that we’re still kind of trying to figure out day by day.

How are you communicating that to customers when they walk in the door or when they come through the door that you all are doing these things?

Yeah, I do think that a lot of how we’re managing Covid right now is related to how you manage
perception. You can again have all the safety protocols in place, but if a guest walks in, in the first team or they don’t have a mask on, I think you lose all credibility. What we try to do from the moment our guests walk in is really set the stage and even more. I used to tell everyone that they’re on stage when they serve, or when our guests walk in the building and that’s even more true now.

● When our guests walk in, we’re looking at really, what does the guest see first? And they’re going to see, our tables are all spaced out six feet apart and between every table, there’s a sanitizing station. They’re going to see all of our team members wearing masks. We’re hoping that our guests see our team members on, we have this thing called the 30-minute drill.
● Every 30 minutes, our team members both front and back of house, go to wash their hands.

They change your gloves out. We go to wipe down any high traffic areas. Like door handles,
workstation. So, all of those things, the guests are seeing those things every time they walk into our building. We’re hoping that’s how we communicate to the guests. What we’re doing is really just communicating through our actions.

● I think we have sent out some communications through our social sites and through our website and stuff too. But now for me, especially now, it’s so important that you set that stage for the guests when they walk in the restaurant.
What type of strategies are you planning on implementing from a personal standpoint or maybe from an organizational standpoint to really keep your employees engaged and connected with each other in this age of social distancing?

I think what we’re looking at when I think can be the biggest driver and engagement is communication and that’s definitely something we’ve learned over the last couple of months. Even if you think you have the best communication in the world, it can still improve. We really want to work through it, I think.

● How are our leadership team and what we call it true central: it’s our home office, communicates down with the field, and making sure that our team feels like they’re part of some of these decisions that they feel like their voice is being heard.
● If there’s any concern we’re working through those things. In every instance, in conversations like that with team members, I feel like right now they feel comfortable. They feel like we’re listening and we’re really putting their safety first. We hope that’s translating to our guests as well.
● I think that, for me, over the next few months, we really want to make sure that we’re focused on communication with our team and really creating great practices, great training. it’s streamlined, it’s efficient, it’s easily digestible. It’s something that we’re constantly talking about.
● It’s really easy to take your foot off the pedal and lose ground. I think that you just have to continue that conversation and keep pushing forward.
● The good news is that no one has the perfect answer right now. No one has a clear path forward.

All we can do right now is do the best we can with the information that we have. And again, it
goes back to making sure that we’re following and staying true. I think what guidance we’re being given from the professionals such as the CDC, local health departments, if we continue to follow those things, I think it gives us some sense of comfort that we’re doing everything we can to protect our team members and our guests, which is important to us for sure.

Do you see takeout or business picked-up as new? Is that going to be something that’s going to stick with us for a while? And how’s that going for you?

I think one thing that we’re really fortunate with, I think over the last couple of years we’ve actually been focusing our takeout. I think we’ve been able to build a really strong clientele when it comes to takeout and delivery service as well. I think we’re going to struggle if they don’t have them behind them because I think that more so than ever, our consumer is looking to support convenience, take-out, all of these
things that I think are really becoming important to our culture right now. My wife hates me for this, but I am not personally a big take-out fan myself. I feel like you go into a restaurant. The food is always better when you’re sitting down, when you have great service and you’re experiencing the environment. I think I might be probably one of the few that feel that way in, in some cases most people want.

● For a lot of cases, maybe this isn’t for every case, but a lot of people feel at some point that they want quick convenient service that’s consistent. I think one of the challenges that we’re really going to face this year and going into next year you’ve too is how do we build that consistency?

How do we give consistent service, consistent food quality whether it be take-out or in the
restaurant? I think that those who can figure that piece out. We’ll continue to strive, and take-out and we’ll continue to grow business. I think that the people that may be struggling there are going to have part-time jobs.

● Take-out will continue to grow. I think the quick service will continue to grow. I think the nature of our culture right now, people wanting that kind of fast, efficient service.
● I think that right now our guests are truly patient with us and have been. I think they have the same expectations, which is the challenge, but I think people intrinsically know what we’re kind of going through. I think that people have definitely been a little bit more patient with us and understanding, and our service right now is we’ve kind of worked through this new service model.

It hasn’t been perfect. We’ve definitely hit some bumps in the road and luckily.

● I think we have great team members that really focus on hospitality. I think that sometimes I can overcome some service challenges. If you look at a lot of the stuff that’s going on, it gets walking in and looking at your safety protocols or thinking about your service you really have one chance to get it right.
● I feel like right now, if it comes in and they don’t have that perfect experience, or you don’t feel comfortable in your environment because you’re not following certain safety protocols. They’re going to go onto the next place. We’re doing everything we can to protect the support of our guests.
● I think that it’s just so important to just really focus on that consistency, but also stay true to who you are. You don’t have to change your brand to be successful during this time. I think that you just have to adapt to and make some small changes. I think I can maybe help sustain this period of time until we get to what will be our normal moving forward.

Benefits of Reading Books: How It Can Positively Affect Your Life

Medically reviewed by Heidi Moawad, M.D. — Written by Rebecca Joy Stan borough, MFA on October 15, 2019

In the 11th century, a Japanese woman known as Murasaki Shikibu wrote “The Tale of Genji,” a 54-chapter story of courtly seduction believed to be the world’s first novel.

Over 1,000 years later, people the world over are still engrossed by novels — even in an era where stories appear on handheld screens and disappear 24 hours later.

What exactly do human beings get from reading books? Is it just a matter of pleasure, or are there benefits beyond enjoyment? The scientific answer is a resounding “yes.”

Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health, and those benefits can last a lifetime. They begin in early childhood and continue through the senior years.

Here’s a brief explanation of how reading books can change your brain — and your body — for the better.

Reading strengthens your brain

A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind.

Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed Trusted Source that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.

In one study Trusted Source conducted in 2013, researchers used functional MRI scans to measure the effect of reading a novel on the brain. Study participants read the novel “Pompeii” over a period of 9 days. As tension built in the story, more and more areas of the brain lit up with activity.

Brain scans showed that throughout the reading period and for days afterward, brain connectivity increased, especially in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to physical sensations like movement and pain.

Increases your ability to empathize

And speaking of sensing pain, research Trusted Source has shown that people who read literary fiction — stories that explore the inner lives of characters — show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.

Researchers call this ability the “theory of mind,” a set of skills essential for building, navigating, and maintaining social relationships.

While a single session of reading literary fiction isn’t likely to spark this feeling, research Trusted Source shows that long-term fiction readers do tend to have a better-developed theory of mind.

Builds your vocabulary

Reading researchers as far back as the 1960s have discussed what’s known as “the Matthew effect Trusted Source,” a term that refers to biblical verse Matthew 13:12: “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

The Matthew effect sums up the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer — a concept that applies as much to vocabulary as it does to money.

Researchers have found Trusted Source that students who read books regularly, beginning at a young age, gradually develop large vocabularies. And vocabulary size can influence many areas of your life, from scores on standardized tests to college admissions and job opportunities.

A 2019 poll conducted by Cengage showed that 69 percent of employers are looking to hire people with “soft” skills, like the ability to communicate effectively. Reading books is the best way to increase your exposure to new words, learned in context.

Helps prevent age-related cognitive decline

The National Institute on Aging Trusted Source recommends reading books and magazines as a way of keeping your mind engaged as you grow older.

Although research hasn’t proven conclusively that reading books prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s, studies Trusted Source show that seniors who read and solve math problems every day maintain and improve their cognitive functioning.

And the earlier you start, the better. A 2013 study conducted by Rush University Medical Center found that people who’ve engaged in mentally stimulating activities all their lives were less likely to develop the plaques, lesions, and tau-protein tangles found in the brains of people with dementia.

Reduces stress

In 2009, a group of researchers measured the effects of yoga, humor, and reading on the stress levels of students in demanding health science programs in the United States.

The study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humor did.

The authors concluded, “Since time constraints are one of the most frequently cited reasons for high stress levels reported by health science students, 30 minutes of one of these techniques can be easily incorporated into their schedule without diverting a large amount of time from their studies.”

Prepares you for a good night’s rest

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest reading as part of a regular sleep routine.

For best results, you may want to choose a print book rather than reading on a screen, since the light emitted by your device could keep you awake and lead to other unwanted health outcomes.

Doctors also recommend that you read somewhere other than your bedroom if you have trouble falling asleep.

Helps alleviate depression symptoms

British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton once wrote, “Consolation from imaginary things is not an imaginary consolation.” People with depression often feel isolated and estranged from everyone else. And that’s a feeling books can sometimes lessen.

Reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters. And nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms.

That’s why the United Kingdom’s National Health Service has begun Reading Well, a Books on Prescription program, where medical experts prescribe self-help books curated by medical experts specifically for certain conditions.

May even help you live longer

A long-term health and retirement study Trusted Source followed a cohort of 3,635 adult participants for a period of 12 years, finding that those who read books survived around 2 years longer than those who either didn’t read or who read magazines and other forms of media.

The study also concluded that people who read more than 3 1/2 hours every week were 23 percent likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at all.

What should you be reading?

So, what should you be reading? The short answer is: Whatever you can get your hands on.

There was a time when remote regions had to rely on librarians traversing the mountains with books stuffed in saddlebags. But that’s hardly the case today. Just about everyone can access vast libraries contained in cellphones and tablets.

If you’re pressed for time, devote a few minutes daily to a blog on a niche topic. If you’re looking for an escape, fantasy or historical fiction can transport you out of your own surroundings and into another world altogether.

If you’re on a career fast-track, read nonfiction advice offered by someone who’s already arrived. Consider it a mentorship you can pick up and put down when it suits your schedule.

One thing to note: Don’t read solely on a device. Flip through print books, too.6

Studies have shown repeatedly that people who read print books score higher on comprehension tests and remember more of what they read than people who read the same material in a digital form.

That may be, in part, because people tend to read print more slowly than they read digital content.

Bypass the binge-watching from time to time

There’s nothing wrong with watching an entire television series, start to finish, in a single weekend — just as there’s nothing wrong with eating a large, luscious dessert.

But binge-watching TV probably needs to be an occasional treat rather than your main source of intellectual stimulation. Research shows that prolonged TV viewing, especially for children, may change the brain in unhealthy ways.

The takeaway

Reading is very, very good for you. Research shows that regular reading:

• improves brain connectivity
• increases your vocabulary and comprehension
• empowers you to empathize with other people
• aids in sleep readiness
• reduces stress
• lowers blood pressure and heart rate
• fights depression symptoms
• prevents cognitive decline as you age
• contributes to a longer life

It’s especially important for children to read as much as possible because the effects of reading are cumulative. However, it’s never too late to begin taking advantage of the many physical and psychological benefits waiting for you in the pages of a good book. Last medically reviewed on October 15, 2019

Appreciation at Work – Its Power and Importance

Appreciation is one of the principal motivators for any employee at his or her workplace. Appreciation drives employees to work sincerely and to be more dedicated to their employers.

Research has shown that words of appreciation at workplace is directly connected to job satisfaction and happiness at workplace.

Studies show that more than 70% of workers admit that they get motivated to work with sincerity when their higher authorities express appreciation for the efforts they put in.

What is Appreciation and Why is it Important?
Appreciation is recognition of the magnitude, significance, value, or quality of things or people.

Appreciation is one of the basic human needs. An employee responds to the appreciation that his higher authority expresses by recognizing his good job because it positively confirms that his work is being valued.

When an employee and his work are appreciated, his satisfaction and thus his productivity improves. He gets motivated to maintain the standard or to improve it more. Showing gratitude and employee recognition from employers also plays an important role in retaining workers. Employees get attached to workplaces where ethical climates prevail.

Reward and recognition program, employee appreciation are key success factors even at higher management levels. Performers in an organization must always be appreciated. Positive feedback or appreciation at workplace should always be given to those who contribute positively towards the success of the company.

How Can an Employer Express or Show Appreciation towards his Employees?
Money is not the only reward that expresses appreciation. Many employees would feel more satisfied and happy if their employers treated them unexpectedly with “thank you” notes, gifts, lunches, dinners, or snacks. Many would also love a reward like a company sponsored day out or vacation. Even cost-effective means of appreciation are enough to express that the employees are valued.

Means of No-Cost Appreciation might be:

Thanking the employee by name
Involving the employee in decision-making procedures
Particularly stating the trait or job that is being appreciated
Offering lucrative career opportunities
Maintaining the Most Valuable Assets by Appreciation, Not by Compensation:
Compensation is Less Important than Appreciation:
Studies show that most employees leave their jobs due to a lack of recognition and appreciation. Compensation or salary is often the less important factor.

Thus, it is possible for an employer to create and maintain a workplace where workers feel that they are valued, appreciated, and recognized. Because importance of appreciation is greater than compensation. Profitability will automatically grow.

A Culture of Appreciation Makes Employees Do More:
Appreciated employees value their organizations by doing more, staying longer, assisting each other to do more, and thus contributing to the overall development and growth of their organization.

The employees who comprise a workforce should be the most valued assets of a company and money, power and position should only be small parts of the equation when the objective is to take care of these assets.

A culture of appreciation contributes to a culture of passion, power, and profitability as employees know they are important. Appreciation constitutes a relationship’s vitality and a vital relationship is what produces the best that a company has to offer.

Everyone Needs to Know He is Important:
Every human being needs to know that he is important to other people. Although it is not often spoken, people need to be valued, thought about, and noticed. This need is a present and constant one. Appreciation or recognition becomes meaningless if it is offered too late.

Feeling appreciation is not enough. An employer must express and speak appreciation for his valued employees. Employers, leaders, managers, and companies that want people to work for them must understand the importance of appreciation at workplace.

How are Great Companies Held Together?
Appreciation is one of the core values that hold enduring and successful companies together. It is a value that helps a company grow and be powerful.

Employee Appreciation at Work Rules :
Employees should be treated as though they are the company’s most valued assets. A mere verbal expression is insufficient.
Communication should be clear, transparent, and regular. When vital information is shared with employees, they are able to participate with commitment by taking on more responsibilities. If each employee or team member is aware of the direction towards which a department or company is heading, he is able to help the company get there.
An employer gets what he rewards. An employer should be formulating reward programs that would positively influence employees to grow their potentials as powerful workers and committed team members. The company should always be acknowledging the efforts of its workers and offer appropriate rewards.
The employer should listen to everybody in his company. Active suggestion programs should be created. Such programs encourage employees to share their experiences and ideas, irrespective of whether these suggestions have small or big impact on the company and its clients. Employees should be asked questions and should be encouraged to offer feedback. Workers at all levels should be encouraged to connect to the senior management as this ability is priceless. Employees at every level should get the opportunity and freedom to express their suggestions and disappointments in a constructive and regular manner.
Once an employer catches an employee doing something great, he should praise the good act as many times as possible.
The employer or management should pay close attention to their employees’ work environments, making sure that the employees have good working conditions, equipment and furniture.
Successes should be celebrated generously. Time should be set at regular intervals during a year and on completion of a challenging project or day for celebrating the success of a team or department. Acknowledgment should be offered and gratefulness should be expressed for great job done by competent employees. The secrets of their successes and lessons from their disappointments should be learnt and reviewed.
Managers should be encouraged to work for their employees and be the kind of leaders that employees love to work for. An able manager is one who commits to develop his team members professionally as well as personally.
Employees should be encouraged to have fun. Group activities like cultural events and sporting events must be organized or encouraged. Employees can be awarded interesting certificates of excellence that would acknowledge individual achievements. Games and candies awarded now and then can make work fun.
Employers should remember that employees need to be valued just as customers are. Showering an employee with praise can exceed his expectations, surprise him pleasantly, and bring the best out of him.
Treating Employees Right and Appreciating Them:
Employers wanting to grow their business are going to need efficient and enthusiastic employees. Those needing enthusiastic employees must treat workers right.
A business owner spends a huge amount of money and time finding and training efficient team members.

Unfortunately, that investment frequently gets wasted as most owners do not express their appreciation sufficiently. According to studies, lack of sufficient appreciation is the primary reason why employees leave jobs.

Irrespective of the salary, bonus structure, or benefits, the simple feeling that hard work is not getting appreciated or recognized drives employees to leave their jobs.

Is Appreciation Simple?
Anyone who thinks appreciation is simple, is wrong. Expressing appreciation as well as receiving it is challenging.

Learning the Skill of Appreciation:
Use Every Scope of Appreciation:
Expressing and receiving sufficient appreciation at work is an essential skill that most employees and managers should exercise more frequently than they already do.

Fortunately, the opportunity to appreciate is always present. Whenever an employee does something praiseworthy, tell them how much they are appreciated.

Be Genuine and Personal:
While appreciating, one must be genuine, specific, and enthusiastic. Moreover, the gratitude and appreciation must be delivered personally. Instead of emailing “Well Done!”, the manager should personally go to the deserving employee and express in detail what he liked, how much he liked it, and why he liked it.

Such appreciation should not only motivate that employee to continue his good job, but will also enhance his overall productivity.

Appreciation cannot be faked and one should never appreciate mediocrity. This devalues appreciation and makes the employer’s appreciation attempts meaningless and futile.

Make It an Exercise:
Appreciation is an exercise to be practiced. An appreciation exchange program can be organized among the team members. In this program, each member would come prepared with specific messages of appreciation. These kinds of exercises builds morale and motivate employees to work towards receiving appreciation.

Rectify Positively:
Another technique that enhances the feeling of appreciation is by altering the manner in which a team member is corrected or rectified. Nothing offensive should ever be uttered. Instead, a conversation should be started with a positive remark and then the issue in question should be expressed.

A positive comment should never be followed by a “but”, as this word diminishes the original compliment. A “but” should always be replaced by an “and”. This enables employees to enjoy the positive feeling and not get de-motivated with what comes after the “but”.

Is there anything called “Over Appreciation”?
Can there be over appreciation?

Can over appreciation lead to complacency?

The answer is “No”. Nobody stops doing the thing for which he is praised. The behavior or job that is appreciated is continued and recipients of praise also focus on enhanced improvement. There can be nothing such as sufficient or excess appreciation.

Moreover, an employer or a manager gets an opportunity to positively influence someone’s mind and life.

Appreciation Strengthens Employee Relationships:
Every employee remembers every instance when they have been recognized at their workplace. Irrespective of whether it is a simple “Good Job” or a dinner treat, every worker loves to be appreciated and valued.

Appreciation is essential for retention, motivation, and employee engagement. Appreciation and employee recognition can also build special company culture that strengthens employee relationships.

How Does Gratitude and Workplace Appreciation Bring Positive Effects? How does Appreciation Affect the Psychology of Employees?
Numerous studies have been conducted on the relationship between work engagement and gratitude.

A message of gratitude and a word of appreciation drives workers to be more engaged, committed, productive, and successful. Why employees act in this manner can only be explained by analyzing the human brain functions.

Why Does Performance at Workplace Improve with Appreciation?
Appreciation affects the Human Brain:
There are certain areas of the human brain that are positively affected by gratefulness and appreciation. The hypothalamus that controls the fundamental bodily functions like sleeping and eating and dopamine which is the reward neurotransmitter are largely influenced from feelings of gratefulness. Gratitude can have a strong effect on someone’s mind and life as it engages his brain in a positive cycle.

Moreover, these brain boosters can have powerful positive influence in a workplace and in the work-life balance of an employee. A person who is appreciated is less stressed and has improved sleep habits.

Appreciation and gratitude increases metabolism and improves the recipient’s overall wellness. This directly influences employee interaction and work results. Employee appreciation not only boosts engagement and performance, but also improves the employees’ health and well-being.

Appreciation Improves Social Interactions:
Furthermore, expressing gratitude or appreciation towards colleagues creates improved social interactions. By implementing appreciation into the culture of a company, employees are more ready to share their positive feelings with others which might comprise assisting colleagues in a project or recognizing and noticing those who have put in extra effort.

The biggest psychological effects of gratitude and appreciation are the positive emotions like happiness that are immediately felt when praise is received. Appreciation creates better self-esteem, cheerful memories, and good feelings. It makes an employee feel more optimistic and more relaxed.

Positive Emotions Creates Unity:
All these positive emotions create an attitude of togetherness and an environment of encouragement in the workplace, which subsequently makes the organization successful.

Moreover, the dopamine effect encourages a constant cycle of appreciation, if everyone willingly participates. These emotions create unity and bring the best out of the employees.

Conclusion:
An employer, leader, or manager, on understanding the importance of gratitude and appreciation and their direct impact on the workplace, should formulate a positive appreciation plan that would fit the values, culture, and mission of the company and would engage and benefit all employees.

Appreciation at workplace is supposed to be a timely, formal, or informal acknowledgment of an employee’s effort, behavior, or productivity that has supported the goals of the organization and has been outstanding.

escolar No puede conducir 55 a través de la vida

Programa de educación nutricional

escolar No puede conducir 55 a través de la vida

Código de Normas Profesionales del USDA 3230/4140

Huéspedes

Bart Christian, quien es un orador reconocido a nivel nacional y de la industria de la nutrición escolar.
Sal Valencia

Sal es el Director de Servicios de Alimentos, West New York Schools, Nueva Jersey. Ha trabajado 30 años
de experiencia en la industria de servicios dealimentos, ha nombrado a una de las 21 personas curtidas
en la nación como campeón nacional de la Alianza para una generación más saludable y ha sido el
director sobresaliente del año de la región noreste.

Un elemento clave de tener un equipo en el que pueda confiar es un liderazgo sólido:
mantenerse en la cima de su juego y mantenerse involucrado con la industria. ¿Cuáles son un par
de cosas que haces regularmente para mantenerte al tanto de eso?

• Visite los espectáculos de restaurantes para saber qué ha estado sucediendo en el espectro más
amplio, qué está sucediendo en los restaurantes, qué está viendo la gente, cuáles son las
tendencias alimentarias, para que podamos estar al tanto de eso. Creo que eso es realmente
importante.
• Hacer uso de la educación social para llegar a las páginas de la industria de la nutrición
escolar, consejos para las comidas escolares
• Llegar de vez en cuando, conectarse con las personas a través de las redes sociales
• Hacerles saber lo que estoy haciendo y averiguar lo que están haciendo.
Con respecto a las redes sociales en las que las personas piden consejos en diferentes grupos de
nutrición escolar, ¿qué opinas al respecto?
• Hago todo el trabajo por adelantado para poder sentarme y dejar que las cosas se ejecuten por sí
mismas después del tiempo.
• Estaré buscando algo y puedo caer en una de esas páginas y decir, Oye, necesito
esto. Necesito una receta para algo, o necesito nutrir en X y es justo. Minutos antes
alguien me da una respuesta y estoy bien.

Cuéntanos más sobre lo que haces en los concesionarios y qué tipo de clientes atiendes
Concessionaires es una pequeña empresa familiar. Son muy buenos conmigo. Me están dejando
extender mis alas y hacer las cosas que me gusta hacer.

• Tenemos algunas cuentas pequeñas y algunas cuentas medianas
• Lo de envejecer y salir y estar dispuesto a asumir riesgos. Porque a menudo hay pocas personas que
entiendan lo que estás haciendo a tu lado.

Cuéntanos un poco sobre el pensamiento detrás de “You Can’t Drive 55 Through Life”
Generalmente es egoísta porque mi cumpleaños es la próxima semana y voy a cumplir 55 años,
lo que sé que todos ustedes no pueden creer eso en este momento. Voy a cumplir 55 años, pero en lo
que empecé a pensar fue en dónde empezamos en todo esto, dónde empecé todo esto hace 32 años. Y
parecía que, 55 años, si tienes mi edad, sabes que de inmediato, vas a Sammy Hagar.

No puedo conducir 55 y no creo que haya podido conducir 55 y nunca haya seguido el límite de
velocidad tan bien cuando empecé, ¡todos lo hicieron! Éramos un servicio de comida escolar.

Haces las comidas, almuerzas, te vas de ahí. Estás en casa a las tres en punto, se acabó.

Hemos evolucionado mucho a partir de ahí. Solo miras las cosas increíbles que la gente ha estado
haciendo durante los últimos 10 años y, como realmente los últimos 10 años, ha explotado con personas
como Bertrand.

Hay tanta gente en la ciudad que hacetodo tipo de locuras. La gente realmente está empujando ese
límite de velocidad y saliendo a la calle. Y ya no hay espacio para que te sientes y ejecutes este programa
de 55 millas por hora. Todo el mundo está buscando ser el próximo chico en avanzar y es
genial poder ver cuánto hemos evolucionado.

¿Cómo mantienes a tu personal motivado durante todo este tiempo?

Hubo una pregunta simple hoy que alguien hizo sobre las palabras, “gracias”. Son dos palabras
muy importantes, pero solo son importantes si las haces importantes para ti y las haces importantes
para las personas a las que les das esas palabras.

• Mi personal está motivado porque todos nos preocupamos el uno por el otro
• Pasé por un pequeño bache en el camino a principios de este año y tuve algunos
problemas médicos. Y después de la pandemia, quería volver al trabajo y realmente
no se suponía que estuviera allí, pero quería ir de todos modos. Y entré y donde quiera que fui
porque mi gente estaba sirviendo afuera y sentí que lo necesitaban, necesitaba ir allí solo para
decirles, gracias.
• Eso fue realmente conmovedor para mí porque estaba preocupado por ellos y ellos estaban
mucho más preocupados de que yo iba a estar allí y de que no debería estar allí.
• Solo tienes que saber que la gente tiene que saber que te preocupas por ellos o nunca
van a estar motivados.

Desde que llegó la pandemia, ¿qué tipo de cosas ha implementado en sus organizaciones para
mantener realmente a todos en la misma página?

• Mucha comunicación en papel y llamadas telefónicas
• Aprovechamos la tecnología.
• Inscribimos el curso COVID Smart, que fue muy útil, ya que puede hacerlo directamente en su
teléfono. Fue genial porque mis escuelas, todos hicieron su COVID inteligente y todos
estábamos certificados.
• Desde marzo, todos hemos tenido que pivotar mucho, ya sea solo desde nuestra
perspectiva sobre la forma en que hacemos negocios, la forma en que nos comunicamos con
nuestro personal.
• Una de las cosas que creo que también ha cambiado, nuestras reuniones de garaje y mucha más
documentación en papel, y cosas de esa naturaleza es la forma en que nos comunicamos y
realmente motivamos a nuestro personal.

¿Cuáles son algunas de las cosas que has hecho con tus empleados para ayudarlos realmente a
saber cuán importantes son realmente sus trabajos?

• Esto puede sonar tonto, pero he estado diseñando camisas y sudaderas para que todos tuvieran
una sudadera al comienzo de todo esto que tenía una imagen de un corazón con alas de
ángel. Se lo dimos a cualquiera con una sudadera con capucha para mantenerlos calientes.
• Cuando llegamos a cien mil comidas. Cien mil comidas servidas en la espalda en lugar de
trabajador central. Acabamos de llegar a un millón de comidas. Entonces, acabamos de hacer los
mil millones de comidas. Camiseta donde en la parte posterior de lamisma, tenemos, dice, “haz
lo correcto y alimenta a todos”, pandemia del USDA 2020. Entonces, hemos estado tratando de
darles cosas así para mantenerlos motivados.
• Hágales saber cuando lleguemos a estas marcas o, “Oye, estamos en cien mil comidas donde a
500,000 meals. Ustedes están haciendo un trabajo increíble, ya saben, a veces
simplemente voy y digo, ya sabes, ¿tienes alguna idea de cuántas libras de verduras has servido
desde marzo? Y les gustan esas cosas.
• Es interesante para ellos y los mantiene interesados en lo que hacen. Creo que también, y esto
se remonta a algo de lo que hablamos al principio, es que el público realmente ha visto
cuánto hacemos. Tuve una mamá que me llamó. En medio de todo esto para agradecerme por
las empanadas que les regalamos.

Cuéntanos más sobre Project Share

• Project Share es algo que fui extrañamente instrumental al principio, pero no tuvo
nada que ver con eso durante mucho tiempo. Fue fundada hace 32 años con Jeannie Newman
• Su objetivo es traer interacción, reconocer a las personas que viven en las calles, otros
simplemente las ven en la acera o donde sea que estén y ni siquiera las reconocen y el
propósito de este proyecto es traer de vuelta a la HUMANIDAD.
• Primero, reunimos una cena de Acción de Gracias para los hambrientos y pobres en el condado
de Westchester, Nueva York, y nuestra gente de la ciudad de Nueva York. Nos fijamos en un
centenar de personas. Y el primer sír fue increíble. Mis amigos y familiares entraron y nos
ayudaron.
• Los padres vinieron y ayudaron a cocinar. Los niños, jugaron, hicieron manualidades, y
luego todos nos sentamos y comimos juntos.
• Después de eso, dejé ese trabajo. Y perdí a Jeannie. No hablé con unade esas personas durante
mucho tiempo. Y unos 25 años después de eso a través de Facebook, Jeannie me encontró y me
envió un mensaje.
• Ella me hizo saber que la cena que habíamos comenzado hace unos 28 años en ese momento se
había convertido en la cena más grande paralospobres hambrientos en Manhattan. En el
estado de Nueva York para el Día de Acción de Gracias, alimentaban a más de 800 personas cada
año. En autobús desde los cinco condados. Y todo lo hacen los niños de secundaria. Hacen todo
el voluntariado, cocinan la comida, hacen todolo posible.
• Llegamos a los 30 años, hace dos años y fue alucinante para mí lo que esta pequeña semilla que
había ayudado a plantar hace unos 30 años se había convertido en lo que hacen estos niños.
• Este año va a ser muy interesante para nosotros porque. No podemos hacer que la gente venga
a nosotros. Entonces, estamos buscando maneras de llevar a esta humanidad, esta comida, el
compartir con ellos en la calle. Y creemos que lo tenemos todo resuelto.
• Me he comunicado con muchas de mis personas, mis amigos y mi red y servicio de alimentos
para pedir ayuda. La gente está dando un paso adelante por todas partes. Estoy recibiendo
donaciones de alimentos y bolsas. La gente solo está enviando dinero. Es que el apoyo ha sido
realmente abrumador y es bueno,pero va a ser un año muy interesante porque realmente
no sabemos que estamos haciendo comidas, las vamos a calentar.
• Vamos a sacarlos, pero no estamos seguros de cómo va a funcionar todo, pero estoy
bastante seguro de que la determinación de estos niños de secundaria es increíble.
¿Por qué es tan importante para ti alimentar a las personas?
• Creo que todos tenemos en nosotros que queremos ser parte de esa comida.
• Quiero sentarme en esa mesa con ustedes y quiero compartir esa time. Lo que nos
hace un poco extraños es porque no estamos sentados, ya sabes, tenemos que estar a seis
pies de distancia de ti, pero aún puedes sentir el amor entre todo eso.
• Y es justo lo que hacemos. Creo que todos nosotros, ese es el final del día, miras
lo que hicimos hoy y es como, Oye, tengoun montón de niños o, ya sabes, y no lo es, es muy
fácil no recordar cuáles fueron las comidas y recordar las caras y las sonrisas.
• Darles a los niños algo que van a recordar,
• Aportando parte positiva de sus vidas
• Pueden sentir el amor en el, incluso si es una bolsa de comida, el amor que fue, eso fue todo.
Ya que estamos hablando de poner comida y vientres hambrientos, ¿crees que ahora con todo lo que
está sucediendo no esel momento de comenzar a presionarpor comidas que sean gratuitas para todos
los niños?

Estoy tratando de mantenerme alejado de la palabra libre. Entonces, le he estado diciendo a toda mi
gente que las comidas están disponibles sin costo porque hay este tipo extraño de cosas sobre las
comidas gratuitas que no harías,bueno, ¿por qué son gratis?

• Las comidas son importantes como libros y todo debe ser parte del costo del día escolar.
• Ahora es nuestra oportunidad de demostrar realmente que esto es factible y que es moralmente
correcto.

2020 ha sido un calentador para los libros y ha sido muy desafiante en todos los aspectos de la vida. Con
muchos de estos desafíos, podríamos estar viendo a algunos de nuestros directores veteranos en este
próximo año, o tal vez algunos que ya han decidido que es hora de querenuncien y dejen entrar una
nueva ola de directores.

¿Qué consejo puede dar a los nuevos directores que desearía haber conocido cuando
asumió su cargo?

• Si esta trayectoria profesional es para ti, lo sabrás de inmediato.
• Si no es así, ve a hacer otra cosa. Pero si es para usted, trabaje para el distrito de autooperación
y obtenga una pensión. Esas son cosas buenas que hacer de inmediato, desde el principio.
• Sigue lo que crees que es, es el camino a seguir y no dejes que nadie te lo diga. No es así como lo
hacemos en las escuelas, porque podemos hacer prácticamente lo que queramos en la escuela.
Tenemos que seguir las reglas en cuanto a las regulaciones y las otras cosas, pero
realmente puedes empujar ese sobre y conducir mucho más allá de esos 55.
• Realmente tienes que ser capaz de rodar con él y no siempre puedes tomarte tan en serio.
• No te estreses tanto porque como van las cosas en este momento, podría cambiar la próxima
semana.
• Diviértete, haz lo correcto, alimenta a la gente.
¿Cuáles crees que son algunas oportunidades que podemos esperar que puedan surgir de este año
caótico que hemos pasado?
• A veces es difícil ver la luz al final del túnel con todas estas cosas, eso nos está llegando, pero
estás viendo lo que la gente está haciendo.
• Realmente hemos encontrado formas de saber a medida que aprendemos, a medida que
avanzamos.
• Estamos encontrando formas de servir comidas de las queestamos pr oud de nuevo y no lo digo
de mala manera, pero siento que al principio de esto, estábamos sirviendo comidas que
podíamos servir.
• Estábamos encontrando la comida que podíamos encontrar, y la estábamos haciendo llegar a la
gente como cualquier forma en que pudiéramos conseguirla.
• Ahora empiezo a ver gente allí. Están volviendo a ser capaces de hacer las cosas que les encanta
hacer. Hay un distrito en California, sobre el que se acaba de leer, que ha vuelto a la
cocina de rasguño.
• Hay personas que simplemente están dando más frutas y verduras. Estamos volviendo a
eso ahora.
• Espero que a medida que nos adentramos en esto, a medida que nuestra normalidad sigue
cambiando, lleguemos a un punto en el que podamos hacer las cosas que realmente amamos
hacer antes. Porque hemos llegado al punto en el que sabemos cómo alimentar a la gente y
podemos seguir haciéndolo cada vez mejor ahora, a medida que avanza y volver a donde
estábamos con las verduras frescas, con el rasguño, la cocina, con las cosas hacia las que
realmente estábamos haciendo avances increíbles.
• Lo que espero que seamos capaces de hacer como industria es mantener ese perfil y
no permitir que vuelva a ser solo una parte del servicio ofrecido por el escuela, pero
realmente impulsó esta idea de que la nutrición debe ser una parte de la parte de instrucción
de la escuela y no solo algo que hacemos.
• La gente ve que ahora a lo largo de la pandemia, es importante que sigamos adelante, que
la gente entienda que realmente estamos haciendo un job bastante grande aquí y que es muy
importante en la vida cotidiana deestos niños.

Turning The Corner in Child Nutrition

School Nutrition Education Program

Turning The Corner in Child Nutrition

USDA Professional Standards Code- 3450/2230/4120/4140

Guests:

● Bart Christian – Chairman of School Food Handler
● Lindsay Aguilar – Director of Food Nutrition at Tucson Unified School District

What is it that keeps you stuck through all the stuff that we’ve been going through? What is it that is
driven by that passion as who we’ve had to pivot in a new direction?

The passion is just as a dietician, I certainly am very passionate about providing nutrition to children and
helping shape their eating habits for their lifetime.

● I think that’s an essential skill that all children should have the opportunity to be exposed to so
through the federal meal programs and our schools, being able to teach them about nutrition
and provide meals that are represented or representative wholesome meal should look like it’s
certainly part of the passion, but then there’s also just with food insecurity and knowing that the
work that we do provides meals to children that may not receive meals, if it wasn’t for the work
we do.

● In particular, during these challenging times with Covid-19, just so many families that have gone
through some tumultuous times and loss of jobs and furloughs and not being able to make ends
meet just the gratitude that we have received for continuing to provide these services to our
community definitely keep myself and our staff that momentum going and the passion going for
sure.

● I think, just being that we are an integral part of the educational systems and I think I take that
very seriously. I think we’ve this time has definitely brought that to the table for more people to
realize so that’s I guess the long answer to your question, a lot of areas of passion.
I’ve seen you quoted in several things where they’ve called you and asked you about things and how
did you find yourself in that spot?
I think it kind of started just through my involvement with snazzy and attending the LAC conference in
D.C. I think in just some of my networking connections with other directors that are involved at snazz
and at the USDA level. I was approached last year to do an interview with SNA for a piece that they were
working on.

This was all pre-Covid like literally weeks before it all started. Through that experience their public media
relations person has continued to reach out to me, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m willing to do it and
maybe a lot of people aren’t comfortable doing interviews or different things, but it’s been a great
experience.

Over the course of this pandemic, I’ve done quite a lot of different interviews from a variety. Different
publications and it certainly for me that’s another piece of the passion is just spreading the word of the
important work that we do and the challenges that we’ve all had to face and pivot and come out
stronger and better. I love to be able to share our stories.

What are some things that you and your team have been able to do this year but it may be a little?

I think for us, I know every district’s different but, in our district, we are more of the minority in at least
in our state that has not actually opened hybrid. I think in some ways that’s given us a little bit of an
advantage because we continue to kind of operate what we’ve been doing, now for since March, but we
have added some twists to it. I think it was starting to get a little stagnant and then we would have plans
to open up and then it would get changed. What’s something that is one of my favorite things that we’ve
added?

● We started in September as we were running our bus routes like we had been doing but then
our schools started obviously remote. I know a challenge for operators that across the country
has just been, if you’re doing buses or curbside matching your lunches to the schedules of the
remote learning has been very challenging for the accessibility for parents to get to the meal
stops or the schools, if you’re doing curbside to pick up, not correlating with their actual times
that they’re off for lunch for the remote learning because not everybody has the same schedule.
I mean, it’s in our district, it was really impossible to be honest, to set up our lunchtimes, to work
with 88 different locations.

● So, we identified early on that we were definitely losing participation once remote learning
started in August because a lot of parents could not get to our bus stops at the time frame that
was designated because their kids were on blind.

● They couldn’t leave them, or the parents were at work. What we started doing was offering a
weekly drive through pickup of a work, a week’s worth of meals at our central facility. It’s
essentially located for us in our district since we are such a large district, kind of in the middle
has worked well and we started off doing it later in the afternoon, so we were offering like a 3:30
to 5:30 or four to six.

● We’ve kind of played around with the different timeframes. We have a registration process to
ensure that parents are not picking up at the bus stops and the weekly pickups, so we do have a
little kind of anticipation station that they sign off. This has been very successful for us and quite
honestly, it’s way more efficient than the daily bus stops for us.

● Our buses are only able to still physically have the capacity for us to have two days’ worth of
food on them. With the numbers that we do, we’re not able to do a week’s worth of meals on
our buses so we’re running those every day, doing breakfast and lunch and then snack and
supper but the D has been really problematic for us.

● So this onetime event that we’re doing once a week for a two to three hour window, has really,
really greatly impacted getting more participation in our current grabbing meal grab and go meal
program and the response from we really found kind of the niche for the families that really
wanted to take advantage of the meal program, but were at work or couldn’t leave during the
day to go to the bus stop so they’ve been very, very grateful to have a later time frame in the day
that works for their schedule that they can at least set it up, super-efficient.

● We utilize our parking lot; we have two of our refrigerated trucks that are set up. We partner
with our school safety officers and they help us with traffic control or doing about 600 cars in a
three-hour window so we’ve got it down pretty, pretty good without the traffic backing up too
much but we’re doing seven days’ worth of meals, five snacks, five suffers all at one time and so
that’s been something that’s been very successful to just expand our reach.

When you say that you’re doing seven meals, just for clarification, is that what you’re planning on
doing for the holiday season for giving the kids food over that Christmas break?

Yeah. We’ll run; we’re doing it on Wednesday so we’ll run hours on Wednesday prior to winter break that
will roll into the first week of winter break. We’re only going to do one other pickup during winter break
just because our staff, the consensus, we all need a break.

They’ve all been working really hard, but we are going to do one pickup during the winter break to give
us another opportunity to provide meals to our families during that two-week period. Again, I really
think the parents also appreciate it that they only have to come one time. It’s a lot more convenient that
they get all of the same amount of food that they would normally get so we’re doing the seven-breakfast
southern lunch and then when school’s in session, we can do the five snacks and the five suffer as well.

How has this affected participation? I know that you and I had a conversation about how things
somewhat improved over the last few weeks. As far as participation goes, do you attribute this
formula that you’ve come up with?

Yeah, absolutely. The business side, as far as the revenue piece goes, has basically gotten to us to a point
where we’ve been able to sustain our expenses prior to us doing this.

● We weren’t even covering our payroll with our revenue because our numbers were down so
much. We’ve only been serving about 20% of our normal feeding capacity that we do during the
normal school year. Our revenue from reimbursement was down tremendously.

● Doing these weekly pickups definitely addressed a need in our community but that also really
has helped salvage some of our participation, numbers and revenue and as far as operational
costs, at least for us, because we have a warehouse.

● We have refrigerated trucks. I certainly know that this wouldn’t work for a lot of districts that
don’t have some of the same resources that we do but the amount of time and labor that this
takes to pull off in return for what we gained with the more efficient process than the numbers
that we get on our bus stops.

● Our buses do them every day, breakfast and lunch and then our weekly pickup that we run just
once a week does seven breakfasts, seven lunch, five snacks, and five sufferings all at one time.
We give out a gallon versus all of the milk for all of the various weeks’ worth that we’re doing.

● This also really helped us utilize a lot of the foods that we already had an inventory of that were
a little more challenging to pull off on the bus route.

● We have staff assembling chicken patties on a bun or bagging up slices of pizza that we had and
things we’re coming up with. Multiple cups of vegetables in one bag that covers the week and
we’ve really been able to tap into some of our inventory because on our buses, we were
primarily utilizing pre-packaged items but now with this book kind of assembly.

● We’ve been able to utilize a lot of our inventory that had just been stagnant because we didn’t
have the numbers that we had and the type of foods that we needed on our buses. This is
different. It gives us a lot more flexibility and it’s worked well with assembly teams and all of that
to pull this off.

How has your staff retention been and ultimately, how are you handling the staffing and labor costs
for this year?

We have been fortunate that we’ve been able to sustain our current staffing levels as far as it has not
opted to. At this point, consider any type of furloughs or layoffs or anything like that, which is great.
● We have some staff that have decided to retire a little early or resigned just because everything
going on but for the most part, the majority of our staff is still committed to the work that they
do and they’ve been so flexible and all of the shifts that we’ve had to make from one week it’s
like, “Okay, you’re preparing for kids to come back”, “Here’s the plan”, “This is what you need to
do”, and then two days later we’re not going back.

● We need to shift back to the buses and these pickups. Our staff has just been so flexible and
basically, I think a lot of them are truly just grateful that they have a job and we’re able to
continue to do what we do.

● Although it looks very different and we’re serving frozen food, which I know is so weird to them
and not being able to cook food, we’ve been fortunate to continue kind of where we’ve been at,
to date and not have to make any major changes so I’m grateful for that for sure.

What does menu planning actually look like for you this school year and what types of items are you
finding to be successful?

Yeah. Menu planning has definitely been quite a ride as part we’ve got. We have multiple different
menus, so we have our on-site menus for our students that are on site, the at-risk students. We do have
very small amounts of students on our campuses, McKinney, Vento, or foster students, refugees. We are
still feeding those students every day then we have our bus menu, which we’re primarily using
pre-packaged items. Although, we are starting to incorporate some of the items that we’re packaging
in-house on the bus routes.
● I think now that the pandemic has gone on for quite some time. Initially we were for safety
protocols only using pre-packaged items, but over the course of the last couple months, we
started to introduce in bags or containers with our safety protocols for staff following. It’s been
very well received. We haven’t had concerns with that, but I think it was just a matter we needed
to get through some time for our community and families to be open and receptive to that
versus seeing something that’s already commercially sealed.

● We have our bus menu and then we have our weekly pickup menu that incorporates different
items. We have depending on how we’re serving it on a bus or a drive through where we’re
doing bold or on site where they’re actually cooking food. We’ve been building our menus to
correlate appropriately with our needs for service. That’s the biggest driving factor. “What are
you putting it in?” “How are you serving it?”, “Is it hot food?”, “Is it cold food?”, and then
efficiently “How are you bagging everything?”, so we’ve got quite a system down and as in how
many bags can we fit in our crates and all, I mean, it’s all a numbers and down to the T and we’ve
got a very organized system and color coding different pallets but our team has done an
outstanding job of keeping it all organized and assigning everybody there are different roles. For
us to be able to assemble the items that aren’t pre-packaged for us, that’s been another
opportunity that we can utilize our current staffing because our numbers are so low at our
school sites, and then we only need so many staff on our buses every day.
● We have a pool of employees that we have available to us in a way that we can utilize those
staffing hours to assemble things that we already had in inventory, or that are less expensive.
The pre-packaged items that we can go ahead and package ourselves.

Are you finding it difficult to use commodities or is that we get into work?

Yeah. I think there’s been a lot of challenges in the commodity because our allocations were done
obviously prior to Nick, when we had our menu plans, January, February, last year for this year.

● Menuing a lot of the items that we had planned with our commodity allocations, because we’re
not cooking, preparing food on site, or we’re doing the book. We have been able to utilize some
of our commodities but the biggest challenge too, is that our numbers, our current numbers are
down so much that our usage is nowhere near what we had allocated, and I know this is a huge
concern to deal with because it’s not moving the poundage.

● We’re getting the notifications that we’ve got 200,000 pounds of beef that we haven’t utilized
because we’re not making meat sauce right now because we’re not preparing food. We’re
sending frozen items that families can easily heat up at home. I think this is a piece that I was
just on a call earlier today. How can we incorporate some items that maybe we hadn’t thought
about that we can incorporate to help utilize some commodities and other us foods that are
available that just aren’t moving because it’s not what operators are looking for.

● We definitely have shifted to more non-pre-packaged items again because we have our
centralized warehouse. We could make a lot of work, but we also still have that integrity of
quality and perception that we have to deal with from our customers and our families.
How about containers? I know that is one of the things that we were taught that kind of was talked
about early.

Yeah. We definitely have seen improvements in that area. I think that’s been one of the biggest
challenges with planning and menu planning is we have our plan, but then the truck doesn’t show up or
we get, it’s a half a truck instead of a whole truck that we ordered because there’s a supply chain issue
for sure.

Our school safety department has been another key partner in doing traffic control at some of our bus
stops and also at our weekly pickups. Our superintendent has led during this entire time and bringing all
the departments together consistently and planning and connecting. I think I said this the last time, I
have no issues kind of like inserting myself if I have to. I really think that at least in our district, I will say,

it’s been really amazing to see how well the communication has happened and we’ve developed a Covid
website and all the resources and materials and questions for all the departments and working without
family resources. We have these opportunities for free meals and the principals have been marketing the
marquee drivers.

What type of resources are you utilizing?

Our district has some training resources available to all district staff.

What type of work from home opportunities are you offering during these times?

When our school year started the new contract year for our staff depending on what type of employee,
they are 10-month or 12-month at the end of July, beginning of August. Our district identified essential
employees which means those that were required to work on site and not work remotely so food service
staff was one of the identified essential. Employees, as far as the cafeteria worker, can’t prepare food
from home or a bus driver can’t drive a bus from home so we were able to be flexible in the spring under
the governor’s order but that shifted when we started our new contract years. Our food service staffs
have been working on site since the new school year has started.

How are situations like that handled?

We have a district protocol that’s in line with an update as needed with the Pima county health
department and the CDC. I think our district’s done a great job. It’s literally a chart, it’s pretty cut and dry.
It gives you different scenarios.

If you’ve tested positive, if you’ve been exposed asymptomatic, or quarantined for 14 days, depending
on and then we also have our health services department.

What are you all doing in the district when that happens with someone?

Yeah. We have our district through the families first Corona-Virus Act. We have all of our district staff, has
that emergency paid sick leave time that is available to them to utilize for the various scenarios whether
they have to care for a child who can’t be at school or they’re in isolation, or they have CO-VID or a
member of their household, there’s different qualifying factors and then they can utilize that time and
then of course, their sick time or whatever other balances they might have available. Our district has
made that process.

I feel a very pretty simple form that you fill out as soon as you might have. The five for one of the
scenarios that you can utilize those sick hours that are provided to us for those exact scenarios and then
we have the criteria for family medical leaves all apply as well. We have some employees that have
chosen to take an LOA or medical leave.

Is there anything you’d like to close our viewers with for this episode?

I would just want to thank everybody in the industry and child nutrition and from manufacturers,
vendors, operators, staff. We’re all in this together even if we’re in different parts of the country or the
state.

I think the longer this goes on, we’ve all learned so much and I think our each day a little bit better
prepared for the moment but I think the only thing I would say is I’ve been trying a lot how can I best
prepare now that our whole world for the last nine months has been so vulnerable and just shifting
phone call that comes in at seven o’clock at night, “Oh, this is happening tomorrow.”, It’s like, “Oh my
gosh, you know, how am I going to pull this off?”, or so I think I’ve really just tried to come up with some
what are my backup plans? What if this happens, that happens kind of now knowing some of the
unknowns that we didn’t know before, what I’ve learned is how we can have a little bit more emergency
preparedness, I guess you would call it for.

In my world and that I interact with it’s you’re starting to feel that CO-VID effect again and this is all
happening again and it’s surging and it’s affecting everybody’s life again. Just trying to step back on all of
the things that we have so much to be grateful for and thankful for going into the holidays and staying
safe and appreciating what everybody does for sure.

Working Remotely and Having a Positive Attitude

School Nutrition Education Program

Working Remotely and Having a Positive Attitude

USDA Professional Standards Code 4140/4150

Guest

Bart Christian

Mr. Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

What’s a piece of advice you can suggest to people in the food service industry to stay motivated?

• The most important thing that we need to do is to protect is our mind.
• Don’t inundate yourself with negative news.
• Watching the news can be overwhelming, and it’s important to keep your mind healthy as
possible. I suggest not watching the news for 48 hours, and I promise you by that time, 48 hours
later, things are not going to change much.
• Stay up to be a good resource for your customers and be a positive resource for the people around
you.
• Having a positive outlook in life will help you accomplish tasks in a home setting.

What kind of skills do you think would help individuals who are working from home to be prepared
when switching back to office setting?

Spend as much time working on yourself. You’re only as strong as the construction that you create in
yourself in your job. I believe people who work hard on their job tend to be moderately successful, but
people who are hard on themselves and then translate that into working hard on their job, tend to be
supremely successful.

Here are the three top things we need to ponder:
• Delivering communication
• Handling Change
• Dealing with difficult situations

What virtual tools have you been using on a regular basis?

Zoom – I use zoom because it’s simple and convenient to use. I have a friend from New York who has 30
family members scattered across the country. They’ve been doing routine Thursday evening and for me,
it’s a great way to communicate and reach out to people during this pandemic.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of having zoom meeting:

Advantages

• Touch base with people and see them face to face
• As long as you have a good internet connection, you’re good!
Disadvantages
• You can’t talk at the same time
• People don’t know how to mute their mics

I also recommend using Join.me, a free service virtual tool that allows you to do a once on one call, you
can do screen sharing and things in nature.

What tips can you give to people on how to adjust in a new learning environment?

• When you are not comfortable, I think it’s very important for people to understand that it doesn’t
necessarily mean you have to sit there, listen or study facing a computer whole day.
• The reality is, you just have to let it play. If I’m wanting to learn something, I’ll put something on
my computer and just let it play while I’m working, doing something else.
• You don’t have to be formal to learn. You can learn in any environment, as long as you absorb
information and take advantage of them.
• Replace that negative input with positive learning input.
• Revisit powerful information that made an impact in your life – re-read a book, re-listen to your
favorite music, re-study the course you liked
• Going back and hearing something twice, reading something twice for three or four times,
sometimes you might find yourself coming over with a completely different understanding.

How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your family while working from home?

• Respecting space – It’s very important that your spouse respect your space if you’re working from
home. If you’re both working along, I suggest you take shifts in taking care of your children
• Allocating time – During off-work, allocate a time for leisure. Block out a time for a specific task.
Make sure that you both enjoy the quality time and stay on the lighter side of things. Quality time
is important and keeping your attitude right.
• Increase sensitivity – Be sure that you’re being sensitive because stress is inevitable – when we
are frustrated, make sure we don’t translate that frustration to somebody else. It’s about
listening, understanding and give people the space that they need

Turning Difficulty Into Opportunity

School Nutrition Education Program

Turning Difficulty Into Opportunity

USDA Professional Standards Code-4120/4130/4140/4150/4160

Guests:

● West Christian – CEO of Food Handler Solutions & School Food Handler
● Bart Christian – Chairman of School Food Handler
● Michael Miller – President of Smart Systems serving school districts across Indiana, Michigan,
Kentucky, Ohio.

How can the food industry and school food authorities continue to work together and show support for
each other as we start planning for this upcoming school year?

I appreciate the question and you’re a hundred percent correct. I think, to use the analogy that no one
likes to change, but a baby with a wet diaper, it’s so true and we’ve all been kind of thrust into this
situation and we all have been forced to embrace change. If you’re not embracing this chaos and this
change, those are the people that I really feel for.

● I think those of us that are kind of looking at this, taking it day by day, to the degree that we can
is so important for all of us, but I remember back in literally it was at the lake that of action and
conference in Washington, DC and life seemed so normal. Just a few months ago here, we were
lobbying congress for the importance of school nutrition programs and trying to help them
understand the essential nature of school nutrition and literally we got back from that trip.

● On that Friday the 13th, schools across the United States closed, but unlike a lot of businesses
that came to an end temporarily, school nutrition professionals showed up for work that same
day, never went home in some cases, and literally started planning to put meals together and
out in front of their community that Monday morning. Those people who have our school
nutrition professional friends are truly heroes for what they’ve done and showing up.

● You think about it that the unemployment rate in February was the greatest economy in half a
century at three and a half 10, but this last month we lost 20 and a half million jobs.
Unemployment rate is closing in at 15 at and today, I think it’s gone even higher.

● I think the estimates are that we’re gonna be twenty-five percent here very soon. To say that the
situation is unprecedented, I don’t think there’s a better word for it. It’s truly something that I
don’t think any of us ever could have imagined. With that being said, I think your question is
what we can be doing, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think it’s so important for us to all
maintain good communication and to stay engaged.

● The situation as we look back and as I was just kind of thinking about our conversation today,
those first few days. In fact, the first few weeks’ situation was changing by the day and in many
cases, by the hour, we were getting guidance and directions and speculating and wondering. It
was just the constant, just when you thought you had things figured out, they changed the rules
again.

● I think that all of us need to continue to practice good communication but also good flexibility. I
was listening to your show with Joe Pettit last week and just being patient and being flexible are
so important. Again, back to embracing change.

● The key for all of us is to stay relevant and to continue to support and proactive ways because
Michael and I have been share a couple of days we’ve been on phone calls together and one of
the key things I hear is that you have to really trains of thought and one of them is what do we
do and another one is how can we take advantage and stay relevant to our customers and still be
sure that we’re providing them the resources that are timely for this time that we’re in because
this too shall pass but for this time period for us to survive as vendor partners, we have to be just
that we have to be partners.

● I think telling, helping our customers tell their story, I think is also very important right now and
tell you how many people I’ve talked to and that we can say that a hundred percent of our
customers are closed but 90% or more are trying to do the business. Well, 95% of our customers
are trying to serve meals and many of them are serving more meals than ever some fewer than
ever, but they’re all to take the kids in their community and that’s unprecedented and most
people when you start to tell them that they’re like, “Wow, I had no idea that that was going on.”

● I think the news media is doing a solid job of covering the medical professionals and the food
banks that are out there, but I think there’s been a missed opportunity of really focusing on
school nutrition professionals and I think we’re starting to hear that, thank goodness. I think as
industry professionals and as members of the school nutrition industry, I think we could all help
each other by continuing to tell the positive story that’s going on because it is truly good news.
We talked about being made and feet of Jesus for those of us that are Christians and truly, these
people are all of us included are truly being the hands and feet right now in this unprecedented
time.

How do you see or foresee the way that meals are served in schools? How do you foresee that
changing in the summer?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think in listening to what some of our school nutrition operators have
been saying is I think that this syncing plans and requirements that are going to be in there that I think
many of them are anticipating some type of grab and go or grab and serve or go to the cafeteria, serve,
get your meal and bring it back to a classroom could be there.

● I think having some simpler menu items are going to continue, but I also hear directors trying to
figure out how they’re going to be able to serve some of the favorites the kids like and enjoy and
look forward to. I think that while it’s still early, I think many of our food service directors out
there are thinking very creatively and I know having been on a number of SNA webinars recently
listening to industry members that are also trying to do and so back to that communication piece
earlier, the better we understand what the school nutrition professionals need, the better all of
us can respond and I think the exciting things but it’s still so very early to tell what’s going to
happen in a couple of months but I know everybody’s anxious the plan and it’s going to be state
to state and a lot of ways because I think Wyoming is going back to school next week. They’re
reopening their schools.

● If I didn’t read that wrong this morning and you’re going to have people like Michael said, grab
and go. You’re going to see people run. You’ve run a kiosk up and down the hallways, delivering
hot meals. You’re going to have kids go into the cafeteria and get the meals and bring it back. It’s
really going to depend and it’s almost going to be district to district, and I don’t know Michael if
you feel about this, but I don’t really see the USDA or the CDC giving any major guidance on how
meals are served. Other than maybe some type of social distancing will continue to have to be
maintained for a period of time.

● I think part of that is each school, they were never designed to handle this kind of feeding. It
blew my mind that just recently we were talking to a school nutrition director who was talking
about the number of meals that they were serving. They were essentially serving right now, a
week’s worth of meals on a Monday.

● Three meals a day or two meals a day, it might’ve been breakfast and lunch served for the week
but think about the production of that many meals, where do you put all of that cold food when
your cold food storage wasn’t designed for that. This whole challenge has opened the door to
some interesting challenges that these schools have yet to figure out and have developed
procedures around. Being in the cleaning and the food safety and sanitation side of the industry.

● The good from on the positive side, school nutrition professionals have always done a very good
job of teaching, keeping our citizens clean and for many of them, it isn’t but what is important is
making sure that those procedures that have been in place are actually being applied
consistently on a daily basis and I’ll just share this one other anecdote is that recently on our
recent FM weapon, they were talking about some research that was actually conducted in
schools as it related to sanitation and specifically as it pertained to sanitizer buckets and while
the vast majority of people understood the importance of those sanitizer buckets, very few
actually use them correctly and or change them out properly.

● I only share that as a small example of how we’re adapting to this new normal and considering
we’re dealing with a pandemic and a very dangerous virus that the level of awareness. It’s so
essential for our school nutrition professionals and again, back to industry members of trying to
be conscientious and cognizant of that and our role.

How do you see supply chains being affected by the virus, the shutdown, and trade tensions with
China and things of that nature?

That’s a great question and I appreciate it. You gave me advanced notice to think about that, but even
with the advanced notice. Again, I go back to the crystal ball and not being an expert in braid of anything
but I think that just using some Layman’s terms or just maybe a Layman’s approach to this is that I think
that just like we’re hearing about with Tyson, a great supplier of poultry products that if any member of
their human, in this case, they had a number of people that got sick on a plant.

● The impact of that plant was to shut it completely down. The companies left in a tailspin and
meanwhile, the country is what they couldn’t keep up with production. It’s not just Tyson and I
don’t mean to point them out to in any way disparage their name because we know that Tyson is
a great company, but whether you’re a small company or a big company, we can all be affected if
we don’t take care of our people and keep them safe.

● That buy and demand equation, a variable in the equation I should say is that if people get sick in
this industry, it could severely interrupt the food chain very quickly and I don’t have a crystal ball
on what the tariffs are going to do or what China is going to do. I just know and I can speak for
what we’re seeing in our own grocery stores. When you go to cast Sam’s and you see that the
meat aisle has been completely decimated. Why can only translate to that as meaning that we
could have that same trouble in our school nutrition programs with our customers being able to
get access to those great products and food items that they look forward to having and
featuring.

● I’ll also just share one other side note, one of my best friends is a big farmer in Indiana and they
were very scared about this dynamic because they didn’t think about it but if a farmer gets sick
from the Covid situation and had to spend weeks in bed or in a hospital, even worse, who’s there
to plant that field for them when you have one growing season in our market. You think about
what’s the impact on the supply chain. That’s something we’re seeing right now is immediate,
but I think there’s going to be other implications that come in the months ahead that we haven’t
even seen yet. I wish I could say more about that, to the degree that I feel comfortable speaking
about it. That’s what I think is happening.

● I would just add this is that there’s going to be other ancillary things that are going to be affected
as well. People think about food. When you think about challenges, when you think about a food

service operation, there’s a great many other things that are used in a cafeteria.
● One of the things that I see with the serving thing is we’re going to go from having trays and
disposable ones probably haven’t having containers. Where are those containers going to come
from? Schools that are we looking for? Spray bottles and buckets and things like that.

● If they don’t have vendors that are capable of supplying those things, then that could cause an
issue too and we’re all going to be kind of minding those things very carefully and making sure
that people take care of what they’ve got because we really don’t know, like Michael said, we
don’t have a crystal ball. We really don’t know what the future holds for the entire supply chain,
not just food, but everything.

● I think the other thing that we are hearing in our specific segment of the industry is something
that we’ve never had to deal with, but the potential for rations. Because of the demand in the
sanitation industry, as you can imagine, hand sanitizers for journal cleaners for the plastics and
accessories that are being used in them.

● Everyone’s trying to figure out how to take better care and clean and disinfect their operations
from school districts to office buildings. I think that what we’re seeing is that you have rations
that we’re having to may not be able to get the same level of supply that we were a few months
ago, just because of what we talked about. It could be because essential services have been
allowed to work, but then somebody gets half the shut down and, or a voluntary shutdown just
to keep and protect their staff but then you have non-essential services that haven’t been in
business and suddenly they open up and they have a glut of orders that they need to somehow
get caught up with and challenges may be getting the raw materials that are necessary to get
that done.

It’s a very complex situation for sure and the financial crisis is real. What Bart just mentioned about the
financial crunch to the school district, a year, many schools that are providing new meals and new
containers and disposable products that they had never budgeted for so that’s another challenge that
we haven’t really seen before.

What should school food authorities take into consideration when budgeting before they add a new
service drop? What are some things that are important for them to keep in mind?

I would certainly say that supply chain challenges, like what we just talked about, the potentials for
rationing and shortages are essential and back to the first comment, how we started the meeting. I think
communication is so important and I know that our food vendors especially try to get estimates and
numbers for what they think they’re going to need. I don’t know how you can produce anything if you
don’t know what you’re going to need and so all of our vendors are asking for the fact, we’ve already
submitted orders for the fall time. Here we are on May 8th, and we’ve got orders for July and August as
our orders are as manufacturers want to know what they need to produce.

● I think probably from a school food authority’s need, get with drip or get with your vendors and
try to talk about these things so that they can get some idea of what you’re going to need or
what your needs are and while demand is down for some items, it’s unprecedented for others.
Again, you might work with your vendor to find out that the item that you were hoping to maybe
feed on your menu or that piece of equipment that you had really hoped to procure. It may not
be available, but there may be alternate items available that could be just as good that are in
stock. I think reaching out to your vendors and just working hand in hand is really important.

● The last comment you made was if I think about making a switch or tapping a vendor, I would
just encourage all schools authorities to really consider the value proposition that your industry
partners may be the table because their industry perspective and experience and expertise may
be more valuable than ever and switching because of the price of something or getting rid of it
could be a very dangerous move at this time, because you may end up in a position where you
aren’t able to get anything in the aftermath. It’s just so important to work together.

● I think that’s key because everybody’s always looking for new business but during this time,
vendors are gonna be primarily focused and taking care of their existing customers first and so
when you become a new customer to somebody ordinarily that makes you special, sometimes,
and to going forward into this next year, that may not necessarily be 100% the case if that makes
sense.

What type of opportunities do you see that have opened up for school food authorities and this
upcoming gear, whether it be technological opportunities, whether it be training opportunities,
whether it be really increasing participation through great marketing? What type of opportunities are
you hearing from folks that they’re looking into, or what type of suggestions do you have for school
food authorities to look into more?

That’s a great question and I know that we’re probably just as we banter and kick this around, we could
probably think of some more opportunities. I think this is one of those things where I think when you get
into some think tanks and start brainstorming, I can’t underestimate the value of that. Kind of group
mentality could be very powerful right now, but I think what school nutrition operators have done and
whether it’s happened all as a natural by-product of this pandemic is that they’ve proven their essential
role and their stock has increased exponentially right now.

● I think while many food service directors like the idea of flying under the radar and didn’t want
to be on the radar. They’re now on the radar more than ever and so I would encourage every
school, food authority, every food service director out there to take advantage and instead of
fight against this wave, I’d get on top of it and surf it and try to take advantage of the marketing
and try to public promote as much as possible the good things that they’re doing for their
community. I think the others on the backside of this pandemic, there’s going to be an
opportunity to talk about the opportunity to improve their programs, to re-invest into
technology and to new equipment. The things that maybe they’ve been asking for and have
been getting put off might finally come through.

● I definitely think that this is going to drive the need for technology. If you’re a school and we
know out there that many of them have outdated equipment and are overdue for updating, well
this is a great time to maybe look at that. If you have food and your freezers and coolers, and
they don’t have some kind of a monitoring system as an example, the potential for that cooler
and freezer to go out, the dollar volume of that food may be more valuable than ever because
these are dependent upon that food more than ever. These are things that maybe we take for
granted and maybe the school food service director has been sort of going to the business
manager or the superintendent and saying, “Hey, I really need this.” and they’ve been told “No,
well, now may be an excellent time to reposition that.”

● I think for ended members to be looking for that opportunity and trying not to just do it to
self-promote their products and services, but looking for the win-win situation instead of maybe
going for ancillary items that may not be as important right now is to really focus in on the pain
points of the school nutrition authorities that are out there and really try to better position
products and services that truly do have a value and a return on investment and then try to help
that director position it in a positive way that will help their business fix or a superintendent
makes sense of it. I think those are some opportunities that are there right now, but the need for
marketing communication is so important and there are some easy places to begin.

I’ve been talking to directors across the country before this happened since last December about
developing marketing tools for internal marketing, because one of the greatest challenges I see in child
nutrition has been here before. Getting attention for the great job that they do every single day and
getting the superintendents, the school boards, the teachers, the parents, to understand the value of
what they do. Clearly a lot of those hurdles to overcome in the last few weeks, because now parents are
actually getting to see the food that the kids are being served. The superintendents, the teachers are
beginning to see the hard work that these ladies and gentlemen do every single day. In essence that
marketing effort has already been started, I think that school nutrition, operations have been given as a
tremendous opportunity to carry forward and show people that yes, we truly are. Lunch school
superhero day really does mean something.

● I think that is something that I’ve got. The second opportunity I see is that with technology
advancement and what we’ve seen with assumes and with the online training things that have
been done over the past few weeks and people doing at home training, people are beginning to
understand us.

● I think I see the value of developing a culture of training. I think districts that have been doing
these large one time a year congregate meetings, where they do a meeting and have a six-hour
session, and then they don’t do anything else for the rest of the year. I think they’re beginning to
understand they’re not going to go do that, number one. The second thing is that this type of
training really doesn’t carry forward into the year because we both know that if we say
something to somebody in August, come October, November, we’re having to say the same thing
over again. Seeing them develop a culture of training and ongoing cultural training, I think is
going to be something we’re going to see a lot and the use of technology is going to be a big part
of that.

● I think it’s going to be a couple approaches. Before, I think a lot of people may have ignored the
value of online training and even program formats like where it’s a live trainer that may be being
cast over a screen to an in-service audience at a school. All of these things now are going to be
one more tool in the tool chest that I think our customers says too and I think that’s another
value that we can offer.

● I think if you’re a food service vendor to show how you could prepare a menu and how that goes
could be done easily over something like this, a platform like a video training. If you were an
equipment vendor, to be able to show someone how to use your combi oven and or clean it
properly in a video, a thing like this could be very helpful or for us to do things like this because
as you said, you then have the archived file that you can go back to and rewatch. As we all know,
each one of these training lessons are unique in themselves.

● Sometimes we don’t say the same things. Having that lesson captured, I think it’s going to be
important that this is a great way to have a very informal exchange. Maybe when we do training
though, we need to think about having some of it more scripted to ensure that we hit those high
points because when people sit down to watch these training videos, I think it will be very
important to make sure we’re hitting those high points that it is somewhat done professionally
but I don’t think we have to have a video editor and a video shops in our companies. Some of
this, like what we’re doing right now over a laptop computer, or a cell phone might be just raw
enough and professional enough at the same time to get the job done.

● I had one other point I wanted to go back to in four weeks. We moved on to the online training
which we can go back through, but I think back to the opportunities. I think that right now, it
used to be that certainly school food service opportunities or school food programs obviously
had a high participation with the free and reduced categories.

● All right now, in light of unemployment, there’s 25% of the country on the verge of being
unemployed and that doesn’t discriminate. That unemployment number, you have people of all
different socio-economic backgrounds that are now qualifying for free and reduced-price meals.

● I think the opportunity is for our customers to capture a whole new audience that they didn’t
have before, but in a very important way, serving meals that are more essential than ever. You go
back to when the school nutrition program first began as a part of our national defense program.

● Again, if we are truly in a war with an invisible enemy, then these school meal programs are
moreover, and I think that’s the opportunity too. It’s just to get back to maybe some of the
basics here.

What type of marketing or what can these food service operations do to really make their customers
feel safe again eating?

I think everyone that’s going to go out is going to be scared a little bit of this invisible enemy. I think that
making sure number one, that your staff are well-trained, that your food handlers are very well trained
on food safety and sanitation, and obviously precautions for this Covid virus, making sure that people are
wearing masks.

Visually, it’s one thing to go. I wouldn’t go into a store recently, as an example, they’ve provided masks
for their employees, but the employees are wearing them on their chin or on their forehead. What good
does that do and what does it accumulate if it’s there and not in your mouth? It’s no different than what
we’ve been saying about wearing disposable gloves properly.

● In this case, in this era right now, I think it’s so important that they demonstrate good
understanding, they should demonstrate their knowledge and they practice and apply it
consistently.

● I think it is very important that the customers see that because it will put them at ease that this
person that is serving me now understands the risk and cares about me enough that they’re
going to follow it. I think that’s a really key and simple thing that a restaurant or a school
nutrition program could do and also market the use of that.

● If they’re in their social media, in their marketing or whatever they do, maybe have we’re
working on some tools right now that we’re going to roll out next week that are basically posters
that you can put up in a food service operation that show how to properly wear a mask, how to
properly take a mask off, recognizing common symptoms, recognizing common centers, not only
yourself, but other people, just let people know through those types of things.

● We’re not only looking out for you, but we’re also watching ourselves and monitoring those
things. The mask thing, to be perfectly honest with you, I would say no less than 50% of the
people that I see wearing masks out when I’m out and about doing whatever we get to do now
or wearing the mask properly, and the other 50% are doing this the whole time. They’re
fidgeting with it and picking at it and doing something. Those types of behaviors can’t be present
in the food service operation. Whoever runs that operation gets a restaurant or a school has to
be very, very clear with their staff. These are things that we absolutely do not do in front of the
customer.

● We all know that behind the scenes, sometimes things can be a bit off sometimes, but those
habits have to be agreeable. Completely, totally and constantly amongst the staff because
otherwise customers might walk in and they might sit down, they see somebody woke up with
their gloves on their mass, serve them and then as we’re walking away doing this with their
mask, it’s going to send a bad signal and they may get up and leave or they may never come back
and they’re going to tell all their friends and that’s reality. How many of us have.

● Seeing someone not wearing a mask might be just enough to say, “I don’t feel comfortable here.”
That’s the new normal that I think we’re going to be in for a little while. I don’t think it will be,
but for at least the near future, that’s going to be the key to restaurant and foodservice survival
in the next 18 months. It’s going to be the sending the proper signals to your customers because
as we said, or this too shall pass, but the fear and the paranoia will be the last thing to go after
the virus.

● We’ve been trying to patronize restaurants during this time because I know that the impact that
it’s had on their market too, has been unprecedented. As we’ve done this, we have seen both
the really good people that have really implemented good procedures and I feel totally
comfortable, and we keep going back to those facilities and then I see others that haven’t gotten
a clue yet and still don’t get it.

● I think it’s just a matter of time, unfortunately, before it they’re either going to go out of business
or they’re going to get on board with. I just want to say that I am so proud of our school nutrition
industry. I’m proud of our team and I think we’re all paying attention carefully and trying to
adapt appropriately and very quickly. Again, I can’t speak for other industries, and I’ll stay in my
lane on this, but I really am proud of the school nutrition industry and especially our heroic
school food professionals who have just done an amazing job in the light of such tremendous
adversity.

Again, I appreciate you guys having me on and I just tip my hat to all those out there that are getting it
done safely. We got God, y’all stay safe, stay strong. We’re all in this together and that’s the truth and
we’ll all come out of this together. We’ll all come out of this stronger than ever. Just believe, be positive,
be light and salt to the people that you come in contact with because there are a lot of people that
you’re going to come in contact with that are still going to be afraid and I think that the biggest thing we
can do is to share a kind word and a smile as much as we can and as often as we can during this
pandemic.

Web Based Meetings Etiquette -The Do’s and Don’ts

School Nutrition Education Program

Web Based Meetings Etiquette -The Do’s and Don’ts

USDA Professional Standards Code 3230/4140/4130

Guests

Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

We’re going to be talking about this week is virtual meetings and how to really nail a virtual one and
make it a knock out of the park success for both yourself and your team. We’re going to be really talking
about are a couple of really key areas. Some pitfalls that we see people make all the time that you might
actually not even know that you’re making and how to avoid those. Also, we’re going to be covering some
different techniques on how you can really feel confident in front of this one-eyed monster and really
conquer the video format – video meetings.

Share about what people can expect to get out of today’s meeting

The more effective we can get at it and the temperature we’re going to share today with you guys are
going to be there. It really is going to help you.

We’re all using that because I think now there’s about a half a dozen platforms for doing virtual. We’re
going to be talking about today is not going to be specific to any particular, one of those platforms or
we’re going to be talking about today are;

• Techniques that you can apply both before you jump on the meeting, to get yourself set up both
camera lighting techniques that you can utilize.
• Mental things that you can kind of take with you going into a meeting in order to get the most
out of the meeting, if you’re an attendee.
• If you’re a presenter – how to get the most out of your staff and get the most engagement and
the most takeaway because ultimately that’s what we all want.

We want an effective meeting, whether we are an attendee, we want it to be productive. The worst
thing is, and you and I were talking about this earlier, before we started this show, uh, was, you know,
having unproductive meetings and just how damaging that can actually be to both the employees and
the organization as a whole.

Well, we’ve all said in boarding meetings where we had to be there live, but when you have to take time
out of your day and you have to do something that’s unproductive at the study show that, an unproductive
meeting can actually be stressful. In this time and age, what we don’t want to do is create more stress
for our attendees.

What are some different virtual meaning etiquette things that you might actually not know that
you’re maybe breaking or making mistakes?

When you do these things, they’re pretty straight forward, but let’s talk about a couple of them. One
that I see very often is something that is actually been parodied by:

• Saturday night live
• Some other things here recently where people will get so close to the camera. It’s very easy to do
but with utilizing laptops and work from home tablets, cell phone devices being too close can
absolutely happen without even recognizing it. So, I think the first etiquette thing and the first
kind of tip to not being a distraction in your room.

Pay attention to the space in between yourself and your device that you’re working with.

Scenario; I was on a zoom meeting, not too long ago and not one that I was conducting, just one
that I was attending and a young lady had her cell phone. She was laying on the couch and had
her cell phone laying in her lap.

So, you’re looking up as you can imagine and it was 30 minutes of that. I’ve seen people that are
taking their cell phone and they’re moving it around the whole time they’re talking. And I think
that one, the big thing with camera angle is connection.

This is the way that you’re going to connect with each other. If you’re too close or you got a side shot or
you’re too high or whatever, your message that you’re trying to get across is not going to connect first of
all. As a presenter, I find that very distracting as I’m trying to impart information that I think is valuable.
Camera angle is the number one key thing. There was actually a study back in 2014 that was done that
showed that 72% of people that were a part of this particular study had self-confidence issues going into
a virtual style meeting or a video meeting.

How do we set up the perfect camera angle?

I read an article thatsaid the perfect camera angle isthe forehead, about your hairline right in here. We’ve
all seen those camera angles where you look up somebody’s nose while they’re talking, are looking down
like this.

I think that’s the happy medium. Now somebody may say, if I’m doing my cell phone or I’m doing mine,
my laptop, how am I going to set that up? Now I’ll share a little secret with you. I’ve got for a long time. I
used my webcam. I don’t mean more. I’m on my biggest laptop camera. I don’t mean more to have a
different webcam, but when I was using my camera on my PC, I’ve got a box set in under my camera that
elevates it to a level, so that it’s at a good level. It’s not sitting on my desk, looking at my notes. Is that
right?

Last night, my wife and I had a virtual meeting with our son’s teacher. And so, we were sitting
downstairs, we were in my office area where I’ve got cameras and things of that nature.

We were sitting down, whereas a little more comfortable for her and us to sit at the kitchen table,
but we wanted that same kind of good camera. So, in order to accomplish that, we just got some
books and stacks of books on top of each other. And there’s a couple of magazines actually in the
mix as well, but just so that we can get it to that right height so that we could both be in the
picture.

It was far enough away that we were both in the shot, but it was also at that eye level so that we felt
confident going into the meeting and made a good first impression because this was actually, we’ve got a
two-and-a-half-year-old is the first time we’d actually met the teacher without masks on it.

We wanted to make a good first impression. Going back to that, feeling confident in front of the camera
comment, the first key piece is feeling like you’ve got your camera ankle down because the right camera
angle not only gives you confidence, knowing that other people are viewing you in a positive manner, but
it also gives you confidence that you’re looking your best and bringing your best to the meeting.
Wearing of Business Casual Attire in Virtual Meetings

Looking your best is a big deal. I know that’s one of the things we’re going to talk about, but I did a zoom
meeting for about 50 people, with motivational talk for a business group last week I had on a nice, clean
shirt. Like I’ve got on a day. I had a pajama bottoms and bedroom shoes.

I didn’t feel my best, even though I looked good, so I followed that ended another meeting with that and
you know what I did? I put on a nice pants, I put on some dress shoes. And even though I was sitting in a
chair talking all the time, I felt good about me.

That’s just going to be different for him, for everybody, obviously. But for me, it was important for me to
– to look my best for me so that I could be my best for them. If that makes.

It might actually not be that too different for everyone because there’s been a couple of different studies
that have actually shown that the best attire to wear for virtual meetings is business casual attire.
Business casual attire is not only the most widely accepted virtual meeting attire, according to studies,
but it is also the attire that gives you the most confidence in your appearance.

In a virtual meeting setting, you’re both comfortable, but you’re also looking professional. You’re sending
the right message to the other attendees, but you also are feeling confident and prepared to receive
information from other Incendies and the presenter, because you actually got ready for the meeting.
It is important to have a connection piece.

People are not turning the camera on. People go to meetings and they’ll have a little placeholder, an
image of themselves from 25 years ago.

That looks nothing like them anymore. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve been to that. You just say
the person’s name. It’s really to have a connection piece. It’s really important if you want to actually
connect with attendees and get the most out of the meeting, you got to turn your camera on it.

I’ve done webinars where I don’t see anybody, I’m talking to a computer screen. I can’t, it’s just literally
me sitting there with a computer just. While they can be effective, it was not any fun. And I wasn’t, I didn’t,
I didn’t enjoy it at all to be perfectly honest. I’ve done meetings in the last couple of weeks where I operate
with two computer screens.

I don’t know about many people; a lot of people do. I know, particularly if they’re in their office and I,
when I did my zoom meeting in the last couple of times for these business groups, I had a, uh, I had my
presentation on one screen and I had another screen open with the gallery so I could see everybody’s
stuff.

What that helps me to do is it helped me to connect with them. I could do things that were engaging with
them. I could ask them to give me a thumbs up if they understood and gave me a high five, if they liked it,
or do things like that. I think that those little things help to connect.

I think it’s very valuable to be able to see people. And what I’ve done. The last meeting, I did actually, I
asked the group, if you don’t mind, could you please mute yourself and turn your cameras off? Because
I want to see everybody smiling face because that’s how I get my energy.

And like I said, I’d say 53 people complied with that. And it was great. Now people really don’t mind it. I
think that there’s just this apprehension sometime about being on camera.

That’s a great recommendation, especially for other presenters out there, District Directors, Supervisors
that are going to be doing virtual meetings, maybe virtual manager meetings back to school meetings.

I encourage you to ask your attendees, ask your employees to turn their camera on. There’s just something
that happens. It’s so easy. I know from my experience, with just being inattentive. At big, large virtual
meetings. It’s so easy to do other things while you are paying attention, quote, unquote to the presenter.
That’s giving information out.

If you have your camera on – there’s almost a level of accountability at that point where you feel like the
other person’s watching you. And if you’re not looking at them and you’re not paying attention, they’re
going to know.

If you want to get the most out of a meeting from an attendee standpoint, turn the camera on. Just be
accountable to the meeting, get the most out of the meeting and walk away. No one, like we mentioned
at the beginning wants wasted time and multitasking. We’ve talked about this before.

There is no such thing as multitasking. This is statistically impossible that now I’ve got one of my mantras.
I say every day, four or five things I said to myself, every, this I’m going to listen to others and I’m going to
be there when I’m talking to them. And one of the things and we’ve all done this, we all have conversations
with other people.

And as we’re talking to them, maybe something’s going on behind them in the background. And you sort
of shift focus from them for just a second. They’ll kind of pick up on what they’re sending come back. It’s
so easy to miss something and not in that. It takes time. I think that the multitasking thing is such a
misnomer, because what it really is, is we’re not multi-taskers, some of us are just better jugglers than up
because you can’t hold, you can only hold a single thought in your mind at a time.

So, if you’re watching a presentation and then you go on over here and you’re doing something on your
pad or something, and you’re like, You’re, you’re missing things. And if you’re in a work environment
where you’re at a staff meeting, that can mean you could really miss some pretty valuable information
that could possibly either cost you money or money, maybe cause you a little bit of a problem.

You also run into the potential issue when you have people that are trying to multitask where you’ll have
some people that receive the information and understand what you’re talking about, and they’re going
to take it into the workplace and apply it. And then you have other people, and we’ve all had thisin person
meetings where you tell the exact same thing to a group of 10 people and somehow.

Five of them understand exactly what you said and the other five it’s like, you never said anything at all.
And the same thing happens in a virtual meeting setting. And that is a lot of times can be avoided with
the elimination of the ability to do those multitasking things like go take care of your kids, take your dog
for a walk while the meeting’s going on.

You’re technically attending the meeting, but you’re not mentally attending the meeting. You may be
logged in, but you’re not actually there. One of the things I’d recommend to people to go up. I see in the
business or that kind of environment, record your zoom meetings.

Keeping on Track by Recording Zoom Meetings

It’s a simple thing to do. It’s just a button you push on most of the time apps and recorded, and that way
two things happen. You got the ability to go back and review for yourself. If there were questions, I
asked and you didn’t get a chance to get to them, and you want to be sure you go back and talk, I’ll have
offline conversations with those people, because we all know that zoom meetings is the way you have
question answers can turn it in, right.

Sometimes, you got to kind of keep it on track. Usually that opportunity, plus it gives your staff the
opportunity for you. How’s it. Somewhere like a Google drive or something like that. It gives them the
ability to go back.

Being prepared and getting the most out of the meeting.

One thing that I see people do oftentimes is they will be asked to join a meeting maybe by a supervisor
or a director and their mindset going into the meeting. I’m gonna log in, I’m going to put myself on
mute and I’m going to start doing something else. And I’m basically just going to show up, but they don’t
actually come prepared for the meeting.

What I mean by being prepared for the meeting is actually being mentally prepared to speak every
single meeting that you go into.

One trick that I have found extremely helpful is going into your virtual meeting with the expectation that
at any point in time, you could be asked to speak. Go into it with the mindset that some point you’re
going to get called on to read a segment for the entire class.

If it’s a regular staff meeting, or if there’s a particular kind of issue that’s going to be discussed during
that meeting. I love that what you just said, by the way, I love that. And the other thing is going in there
and ask yourself before the meeting starts to ask yourself this question and maybe write it down on a
piece of paper, as you’re, as you’re sitting there, what I want to get from this, what am I looking to get
from this today?

Taking notes to keep engaged

What is what I hope to gain? One of the things I found is – I’m a habitual note-taker. Why do I take so
many notes? Because it keeps me engaged.

It’s not that I really necessarily need to take, three pages of notes on a 25-minute sermon, but I do,
because it keeps me engaged in what what’s being said. And that’s a tip that I’ve learned. I’m a voracious
note-taker. Simply because it keeps me on what’s going on and prevents me from kind of wandering off
in the mist of the multitasking world.

Where to actually look in the meeting?

The last kind of tip that I see is a mistake that I see people make that I want to really kind of point out
before we move on. Cause I want to talk about a little bit more about what we really kind of initially kind
of started touching on, which is really building confidence and looking and feeling your best on camera.

The last thing that I want to point out though, is where to actually look in the meeting. Can I see this
mistake made so often – let’s just use zoom for instance, where you’ve got all the little boxes of people’s
faces? I see. So often that people are looking down at the actual boxes of people’s faces, but the camera
is actually.

So, it looks as though you’re not looking at the people. Now, this is going to feel awkward for people. It’s
going to feel strange to actually look at the camera dot on your computer or your phone. If you have an
external camera, like a webcam, that’s set up instead of looking at the faces on your screen when you’re
speaking and when you’re actually trying to connect with the other people.

Attendance. It’s very important to look at the dot and not look at their faces. It’s very tempting to look
at the faces, but from a connection standpoint, you want to look right at the camera whenever you’re
actually addressing the other attendees. You know, I think that two things that help have helped me
with that is:

1. Being aware –
2. As you got a webcam, you know, you want to be careful with the position. I’ve known a lot of
people that actually put their computer screen behind their webcam so that they can, they’re
looking at the webcam, but they could still see. But when I did my presentations last week, I did
two kinds;

a. I’m standing up talking to people. That was interesting, but I could see their faces
because I had them on a screen behind the camera. I had set my computer behind the
camera. The second kind of regional places where there were slides that slides.

I wasn’t actually on camera and that helped me a lot to get that. And we connected. I have the, I can
talk, I can see the people’s faces on another string and that helped a lot. But one thing is I find people
doing a lot of times is they’re looking at themselves like I’m there and then I have a screen beside her.
Now I’m looking at myself, to make sure I look good and make sure if going my hairs in the right place. I
think that’s one of the things people do the most is they look at themselves they’re not really looking at
the other people, they’re looking at themselves to make sure that everything’s going well. And that can
be distracting.

Going into the meeting so that we don’t have that temptation to just stare at our own picture while
we’re in the middle of a virtual meeting.

Make sure that our setup is right. We’ve already talked about camera angle, but the other one is to do
what is called mirror meditation. Mirror meditation is really ultimately it boils down to preparation and
it gives you the chance to actually look at yourself before you get on the zoom call.

• Just go to the bathroom before your meeting
• Spend about five minutes looking and making sure that you are comfortable and satisfied with
your appearance before you get on the zoom call
• So instead of justshowing up with your hair allruffled up, like you just rolled out of bed and you’ve
got that t-shirt on, that’s got the random coffee stain on the color;
• Take a little bit of time to do some self-care and make sure that you are happy with your
appearance going into the meeting that will avoid the temptation.
• Help you to avoid the temptation of just staring at your picture for the first five or 10 minutes of
the call, which ultimately is keeping you from engaging and connecting with the presenter and
the material that’s being talked about.
• Sometimes you can kind of talk yourself into a state of mind and if you spend that time, when
you’re checking yourself out, make sure everything’s in the right place.
• Just remind yourself how powerful and how effective and how strong you are and how good you
look and how you’re going to do great in this meeting and how you’re going to gain something
from it. That aura comes across in this medium.
• You can do a little mental meditation before going into the meeting. It will definitely help with
confidence going in there.

Making sure you got the right lighting.

What are a couple of tips that you’ve found that have been successful for you?

From a lighting standpoint, and then I’ll share a couple of things that I’ve seen as far as what people have
done and how we can maybe have some, maybe home remedies that don’t cost any money that will get
you the right effect. Lighting might be as something that’s worth an investment in, but if you’re talking
about the zoom meeting, you just want to look here.

• You can take a lamp, a good lamp and set in front of you.
• Don’t set it up and make sure that it’s not behind you because the LIDAR drags you out. They also
make, I mean, I’ve seen them on Amazon for as little as 10 or $15, lower circle lights that are
battery operated that you just clip on the top of your computer screen and it just gives you a little
facial light. It takes the shadow off. It makes you look; it makes you look good. There are elaborate
things that you can do, but that’s my first tip is start small.
• Find something that works and don’t think you got to spend a lot of money that you can actually
take a simple lamp.
Tips with the lamp and shading and that kind of thing to make gliding effective.
• Make sure you do not have hot bulbs in your lamps before you do this, but there are ways to what
is referred to as diffusing light.
• One of the things that you want to try and avoid with lamps is that the lamps can be fluorescent
lights or they can be tungsten light, which can oftentimes give you a different shade on your skin.
So, to avoid that kind of yellowing shade or that kind of giving yourself that goal.
• To look more natural on camera, you’ll want to diffuse the light. Take a pillowcase and set it over
top of your lamp that is sitting in front of you or somewhere in between. Ideally you would want
it to be in between you and the camera, like right in front of you now, obviously out of view of
the camera, but somewhere really close to your face.
• If you’ve got a camera, that’s more of like a can light camera that you can turn and face at you set
up. Pillowcase over top of it, diffuse that light and have it pointed right at your face so that your
whole face is illuminated. That would be an ideal setup, but you can really use any type of lamp
and diffuse that light so that you avoid that kind of yellowing or Golding of the skin, which will
make you look a little more unnatural.
• Another free tip though is, and one thing that I see people do correctly is the use of the natural
light from outside window light is wonderful. You’re natural light. You’re really not going to
artificially. Even if you spend the most money in the world on artificial lights and a full studio set
up, you are not going to be able to replace or replicate.
• The power of natural sunlight. Using that to your advantage is something that is free and very
easy to accomplish, uh, just with your setup and where you are setting up your camera. I see so
many times that people will sit in front of a big window, the window being right behind them and
they’ll set the camera right in front of them thinking that well, I’ve got great, greatlines.
• The problem though, is that you are going to be very dark. It is going to wash you out because of
how bright your background is with a simple switch and just rotate your setups so that the light,
your window light is actually behind the camera facing at you. It will aluminate your face. You will
look nice and bright on camera and you won’t have to have any type of lamp or artificial light to
get the same effect.

Lighting is very important. A good light will make you feel calmer. It’s just a fact, having poor lights, having
shades on your face where you’re going into that meeting and you look good in the bathroom where
you’ve got great lighting, and then you sit down in a dark room and you’ve got this, poorly lit area
You’re not going to look the same as you looked in the, in the bathroom when you did shoot in the
mirror, when you did your mirror meditation. So, make sure that that lighting is right and you’ll feel a
plus going into your next meeting.

Virtual Backgrounds

I see people, they got stars and the moon and they got the golden gate bridge. They got ocean behind
them. And I find that distracting and I find that I read, and then you told me and shared an article with me
that said, most people find that distracting.

If you’re an attendee, I would encourage you not to do that. If you’re a presenter, I would absolutely
encourage you not to do that because you don’t want the audience focused on your message and what
you’re telling them, although what would the information you’re sharing and not the ocean breeze and
the Palm tree flowing in the background.

There are a lot of opinions that are formulated about your choice of backgrounds, whether you like it or
not, you could feel like your virtual background is a really classy and, just an inappropriate background,
but you might have an attendee that does not feel the same way.

In some situations, it might even be offended by something that you’ve chosen and I’ve sat on zoom
calls. And this wasn’t offensive necessarily, but I’ve sat on zoom calls where people had custom virtual
backgrounds that they had created. And it was one, one person had a unicorn and a rainbow over their
head and like a shooting star.

And it was just very distracting. It honestly took my attention. More towards where did they get this
background and what all is in this background, because it’s so complex to away from who was actually
speaking and what they were speaking about. So, avoid being a distraction with your background and
the best way to do that is have a very simple, elegant background.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fancy background. That’s the other thing, make it something natural
in your home, plain wall, bookcase, bookshelf, a picture like you’ve got right now with some pictures on
the background, a couple of books – that’s a really clean background that is going to be very low
distraction for people.

Set Area for Virtual Meetings

That’s one of the things that I think is very important about assuming meeting is you have a set area. I
have a set area where I do my meetings. I sort of keep everything the same. And I, and so when I have to
do a meeting or do a conference call or do a zoom, there’s no stress and where I’m going to be.

That’s one of the things I’ll recommend to you guys is that I, everybody listening is that no, pick a place
and just do it at the same place. You have discipline. If it’s your bookshelves and you’re in your office, just
pick the same place. That way. There’s no stress.

As to how things are going to look, there’s no stress is that, is everything going to be, okay? Is everything
going to be a place? Because now, we live in a stressful time and, and zoom me. These can be stressful,
especially if you’re not comfortable with it. So, I compound that with, with a bad lighting or inconsistent
background or something that you feel like you got to set everything up to make your eye.

What are your presentation tips that would be more geared towards individuals that are going to be
presenting to employees or to a group of people?

• Whether it be slide, construction, mental aspects, but just some different words of wisdom that
you would impart on a presenter that has an upcoming version.
• Keep your slides simple, keep a common theme. Do your slides. If you’ve ever seen me speak my
slides or with black letters. That’s because I don’t want the audience to focus on. I’m trying to
figure out what what’s going on with my slide. I keep my slides very simple.
• Now I’m not saying that you can’t have some kind of theme to your slides, but make it something
simple. Now, make it something simple. That’s not going to be distracting to your message. No
one thought per slide. That’s been my motto for as long as I’ve been speaking. You know, if you
need, you see me talk, you’ll see a slide that will pop up.
• Fascination pops up on the screen. That’s what I talk about now. One thing about doing
presentations online is this. If you’re not a prisoner. You get really got two choices.
There are two paths;
• Put a couple of information on a slide and then, they’re reading mechanically, reading the slide.
What I learned that I actually did this in a meeting, I had slides on the screen, so they couldn’t see
me. I had them written in a screen. But I didn’t read the script. I laid it in front of me so I could
follow it. So, it could be natural in the way I was talking. You can either, you can either read it or
you cannot read it, but if you’re going to read it, you want to have it on, you don’t have simple
slides and have them dominate the screen.
• Pop up blank slots because I want people to get a chance to absorb what I just said. Now I have a
blank slide and then the next slide I’ll have the next thought. So don’t be afraid of that, because
that that’s going to be your point.

Where are you going to let your audience sort of kind of let what you just said, sink in? If you’re going to
be onscreen, if you’re going to be standing in front of a camera talking or sitting in front of the camera,
focused on camera. See that person that I’m like, I still see my family on the other side of the camera. So,
it makes it so much easier for me to try to connect with that person. You’re not talking to a group of
people you’re talking to one person is looking at you. There may be 51. Person’s looking at you, but then
you’re talking to one person.

You want to be sure you connect with that one person. It isso important to be prepared. It doesn’tmean
you have to be a speaker when you can have, you can have notes and you can, as you’re reading, you can
go over things, but don’t make bullet point things out.

If there’s things you want to talk about. If you’re reading the new USDA regulation to your staff and you
want to be sure. Well, then maybe you do want to read that word for word, but if you’re talking about the
importance of customer service or serving kids with a smile or being nice to people are, you know, the
new procedure at wherever you’re at whatever business or for your school or whatever, be prepared to
talk about that in a conversational manner.

Connection is key in this medium – more key than ever and the way you connect this by doing the
fixture positive.

I really feel like that connection piece, coming prepared, and talking from your heart – is really where you
have that connection because you can send out a memo, people can read the information for themselves.

They’re not sitting on a zoom call to listen to your read a memo. You could send that out and ask
everyone a couple of questions about what you send them and get the exact same accomplishment and
save everyone the hour long zoom meeting. If you’re planning on just reading the info, what they’re
there on that zoom call to do is to connect to feel.

• We are all together and that you are speaking directly to them because they are just sitting
there listening to you, but every single person sitting there is in a room just by themselves. And
they feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation with the other person at the end of that
camera.
• Speak naturally, you wouldn’t have you. And I wouldn’t sit down in a room and me pull out a
piece of paper and just start reading. You wouldn’t have a one-on-one meeting in person and
just read a piece of paper to that individual.
• We all realize we’re in this together and we’re all in the same boat. We’re just in different
ways.
• Start off with joke story something to really draw people in, get their attention, and then you
move into it. And the story doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re actually going to be
talking about.
• Icebreaker to get everyone tuned in and connected. And then you go into the material you
want them to receive.

Any parting words, wisdom, advice?

This sums up a lot of people’s attitudes about zooms and being in front of the camera. It says courage is
being scared of them, but silent that be anyway.

I liked being in front of people. I liked talking to groups. I hated this immediately, but I realized that out if
I was going to be able to connect and communicate and still do what I love.

Touching people with information that I had to get used to it. I’ve watched a lot of people blossom at
doing this, and I just encourage you just to do it, just like the Nike thing.

Just do it and you’ll get used to it. And I promise, and you’ll probably find that you might actually
enjoy it.