This year was a big year for the ARC Health and Wellness Community. What began as the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) transformed in September to expand our reach beyond retail dietitians to include other health and wellness professionals who influence the health-conscious consumer.
But that’s not all that happened. You, the health and wellness professionals, were busy behind the scenes at work, providing nutrition education, program development and online resources, offering personalized counseling and engaging with the community, collaborating and communicating with various departments, staying up-to-date on industry trends, creating specialized initiatives and much more. We were fortunate to highlight 11 dietitians throughout the year, one each month, through our RD Close Up series. These articles feature professionals in the industry who have made significant contributions to health and wellness. They spotlight RDs’ unique career paths and showcase their roles in various companies, sharing insights into their experiences, challenges and achievements.
This year, their stories emphasized the importance of aligning personal interests with career choices, continuous learning, versatility of skills and the ability to adapt to changes. These leaders have positively impacted consumer behavior, demonstrated adaptability and contributed to the growth and innovation of the dietetics field. We pulled the most interesting pieces from each profile and put together this end-of-year culminating article.
Here’s to celebrating the end of 2023… and celebrating each and every one of you in our community.
LeeAnn Kindness has an unconventional career journey, from working in ecommerce and marketing for a jewelry store to becoming a nutritionist for Wawa. This article highlights the importance of aligning personal interests with career choices, and the value of continuous learning and adaptation.
Bridget Wojciak’s transition from being the director of nutrition at Kroger to leading digital merchandising strategy for owned brands in the ecommerce team showcases her versatility of skills. This article emphasizes the value of diverse perspectives in retail and encourages other dietitians to explore unconventional roles, contributing to strategic leadership and long-term innovation within the organization.
March: Taylor Newman, PhD, RDN, LD, Director of Nutrition Kroger Co.
Taylor Newman’s unique challenge is being her own subject matter expert, striking a balance between dietetic knowledge and business expertise. Newman’s emphasis on the importance of developing a business case, and the support from a mentor and a passionate team, offer insights into the complexities of working in the retail industry.
April: Elisa Sloss — 2023 Retail Dietitian of the Year
Our 2023 Retail Dietitian of the Year, Elisa Sloss, was acknowledged for her outstanding leadership in utilizing business skills and industry knowledge to positively impact consumer behavior change in the retail sector. Her achievements, including overseeing private brands and spearheading initiatives, showcase her significant contributions to the field.
Mariely Rosado is the only certified retail dietitian in Puerto Rico, and she emphasizes the importance of adapting strategies culturally in this article. Her commitment to community engagement, strategic alliances and innovation, as well as her role in expanding the profession in Puerto Rico, makes her story compelling.
Emily Massi’s journey from being an in-store dietitian to having a role focused on merchandising reflects the limitless opportunities for growth and development in the grocery industry. Her emphasis on navigating the complex grocery business, building relationships and prioritizing health in merchandising provides valuable insights.
Kristi Sanders’ commitment to providing personalized nutrition guidance, conducting consultations and developing wellness programs reflects a holistic approach to supporting overall well-being. The expansion of her role since the pandemic to include more online resources and virtual programs demonstrates her adaptability to meet customer needs.
Marilyn Mills’ dynamic role involves a combination of store interactions, educational initiatives, customer consultations, community outreach and adapting to changes, especially during the pandemic. Her ability to create a “movable classroom,” conduct in-store demos, host virtual classes and collaborate with different departments demonstrates the versatility required in a retail dietitian role.
September: Beth Eggleston of Meijer Specialty Pharmacy
Beth Eggleston had a non-traditional path, transitioning into retail dietetics after working in various public health positions. A significant accomplishment was building her pharmacy’s nutrition website from scratch, which has almost 400 recipes and 200 downloadable resources, and demonstrates her commitment to providing valuable resources for patients dealing with specialty medical conditions.
October: Jessica Siegel of Gelson’s Markets
Jessica Siegel had a unique journey, from being a picky eater during her childhood to becoming a passionate foodie and the only registered dietitian at Gelson’s. Her initiatives, such as creating a web-based nutrition resource, themed newsletters and shopping lists, showcase her commitment to making a positive impact on customers’ health and well-being.
November: Amy Preston of Hershey’s
Amy Preston’s challenges in bridging the gap between nutrition professionals and the business, especially in a “candy company” setting, highlight the importance of showcasing the positive impact of nutrition expertise on consumer behavior and business strategies. Preston’s ability to effectively translate science and nutrition policy for non-technical business partners is a key skill that has contributed to her success.
Stay tuned for our last RD Close Up of the year, set to publish the last week of the month!