RD Close-Up: Jonnell Masson, MS, RDN, CD, Dietitian Coordinator at Harmons Grocery
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Please describe your role at Harmon’s.
I am the Dietitian Coordinator for Harmons. My role is to coordinate the activities of the dietitian team, assist in setting priorities, arrange for marketing support, plan and implement schematics for the Healthy Checkout Lanes, advise and assist our eCommerce, Grocery and Private Label teams, and provide nutrition education to our customers and associates.
What's the story behind your experience in retail?
I started with Harmons Grocery just as I had graduated. I was the second dietitian working for Harmons, so I have been here throughout the evolution of our program from “what do we do with dietitians?” to the dietitians becoming an integral part of Harmons’ culture.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
Showing the value of the dietitian role in retail.
What is one thing you wish you had known before starting your career in retail?
It would have been a benefit to have understood the operations and culture of grocery stores in general. This is why I feel it’s important for retail dietitians to act as preceptors so that dietitians coming into this field will have a better understanding from the outset.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
When I first started, marketing support was limited. Over time as our team showed that we are professionals who provide accurate and well-written information, meet deadlines and that we could assist with marketing, our marketing support has improved. This has raised our profile in the company leading to more opportunities.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that help you moved forward in your role?
I am lucky to have the support of Harmons’ Director of Pharmacy, Greg Jones, as he always advocates for the dietitian team and, especially at the beginning, helped me to understand the culture and priorities of our company.
Is there a program or initiative of which you are most proud?
I was on the team that created our Dietitians Choice shelf tagging program. I feel that this really impacts many more people than I would be able to assist on an individual basis.
Bio: Jonnell Masson is a Registered Dietitian who has worked for Harmons Grocery Store since 2011. She is the Dietitian Coordinator and also provides nutrition education to the public in the form of store tours, counseling, presentations and Harmons’ Dietitians Choice Program, a comprehensive program that recommends healthy products based on vigorous nutritional criteria. She is a member of the eCommerce, and the Grocery and Private Label Better Basics teams, where she advises on ingredients and nutrition.