What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
I was first exposed to retail dietetics from my shadowing experience with Hy-Vee dietitian Sarah Sortino, RD, LMNT. I loved my time spent with her and loved the impact she was having on customers every day. I also loved the variety in her days. One day we would be teaching a kids' cooking class and the next we would be out in the community doing presentations to local businesses. I knew I wanted to be a Hy-Vee dietitian from that point.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
The biggest challenge for me has been learning the grocery business and all the business terms. However, it has been good for me to learn new terms and all the working parts.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
I already knew this but I think it is such an important point – go in with an open mind and make the most of any situation. The retail position is what you make of it. It can be very exciting if you are open to doing new things and putting yourself out there.
Has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward in your role?
Having a positive and friendly attitude has been the biggest impact in moving myself forward. The world is full of negative, so if you can be that happy and smiling person every time people see you they are going to remember you in that way. This opens the door for them to approach you and ask for help along their health and wellness journey.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
Not being afraid to fail. You never know what is going to stick and what might flop. You cannot let the fear of failing hold you back because what you think will fail, customers might really like. Never lose, just learn. Also, never turn down the chance to learn something new. That could be something about how another department operates or a new product on the shelf.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I did not originally start this program, but have carried it on – The Driver Wellness Challenge. It is a competition between all the Hy-Vee distribution center truck drivers. They compete for 6 weeks in different challenges such as a week of vegetable domination, water intake, and physical activity. At the end, the winning driver gets all the pool money and bragging rights until next year’s challenge. We also have a team distribution center winner between the three sites. Cherokee has won the last three years! The drivers really look forward to it and view it as friendly competition.
Amanda graduated from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. She then completed her dietetic internship at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. She has been working as a registered dietitian at the Cherokee Hy-Vee Store and Distribution Center for the last three years.