Game Changers: Highlights From the FCP/RDBA Workshop

Game Changers: Highlights From the FCP/RDBA Workshop

October 30, 2013
Career DevelopmentRetail Industry InsightsTrends

Retail is fast becoming the “it” career track for registered dietitians, and there are two things dietitians need to succeed in this industry: business savvy and retail industry know-how.  The Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) partnered with the Food and Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) to deliver a first-of-its kind workshop designed to equip dietitians with skills and insights required for retail success.

Over sixty attendees gathered at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas, on October 19 for “Game Changers: Gaining Business Savvy and Retail Industry Know-How,” which took place during the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (FNCE).  The event drew attendees representing retailers from across the country as well as food industry representatives. 

“Our vision is that one day a registered dietitian will be the CEO of a retailer.  In order to make this vision a reality, we must equip them with strong business skills and a deep understanding of the retail industry,” said Phil Lempert, CEO for RDBA.

The symposium featured five dynamic educational sessions delivered by industry leaders:

  • Retail 101 and Industry Trends — Phil Lempert highlighted key trends impacting retail, including smaller stores, health concerns, food safety, social media, convenience, technology, and value.  In addition, he provided an overview of the retail industry, discussing specific characteristics that retail dietitians must understand in order to succeed.
  • Economics of the Supply Chain From Farm to Retailer: The Almond Experience — Molly Spence (Director of North American Marketing for the Almond Board of California) and Jenny Heap, R.D. (Manager of Global Nutrition Communications for the Almond Board of California) provided an in depth overview of the California almond supply chain, providing attendees with a detailed understanding of economic impacts from farm to retailer.
  • Company-Wide RD Integration — Monica Amburn, R.D. (Senior Director of Health and Wellness for Vestcom) and Rob Morton (Director of Healthy Living for the H.E.B. Grocery Company) discussed how to effectively integrate registered dietitians into the retail business structure through strategic partnerships, integrated messaging, engaging programs, internal networks, and vendor relationships.  This presentation included and in depth overview of H.E.B.’s Slim Down Show Down program. 
  • Know Your Foods, Know the Science, then Communicate Effectively: How Food Companies Can Help — Kristin Reimers, Ph.D., R.D., (Nutrition Director for ConAgra Foods) Barbara Ivens, M.S., R.D. (Senior Nutrition Director for ConAgra Foods) shared their expert advice on how retail RDs can gain the business edge and boost sales by 1) using the resources available to them through food companies and 2) communicating complex research findings more effectively.
  • Strategic Planning: From RISC to Reward — Jaime Schwartz, R.D., (Vice President, Nutrition Strategy and Health Influencer Relations for Ketchum Public Relations) and Sarah Unger (Managing Supervisor and Creative Catalyst for Ketchum Public Relations) discussed the strategic planning process and how retail dietitians can implement this technique to design and execute effective and measurable programs.
  • Creating Your Professional Brand — Allison Beadle, M.S., R.D., L.D., (Editor of RDBA Weekl)y and Annettee Maggi, M.S., R.D., L.D. (Executive Director for RDBA) provided an overview of the importance of developing and maintaining a strong professional brand. Specific tactics, such as 360-feedback and working with mentors and sponsors, were discussed to provide retail dietitians with actionable tools.

“We were thrilled with the attendance and feedback received at our inaugural symposium,” said Lempert. “We’re excited about our education strategy and are looking forward to even more opportunities to strengthen retail dietitians in 2014.”