RD Close-up: Toni Marinucci, MS, RD, ShopRite of New Rochelle
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Please describe your role at ShopRite.
I provide free nutrition services for shoppers, associates, and members of the community. My day-to-day tasks include diet counseling, cooking demonstrations, supermarket tours, hosting or attending health and wellness events, and conducting nutrition workshops. For me, every day is a new opportunity to educate our shoppers about making healthier food choices.
What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
Before joining the ShopRite dietitian team, I worked for a large hospital where I served as a clinical RD for staff relief and as a patient services manager in charge of the kitchen and its employees. Additionally, outside of my full-time job, I have worked part-time in private practice counseling, and for a Headstart community nutrition program.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
As our store’s resident nutrition expert, I constantly challenge myself to stay up to date with the latest research so that I can pass this information along to our shoppers.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
When I first started, the retail world was new to me, but with the support of my great team, I quickly learned about the ordering process, sales, and how to develop win-win relationships with vendors to help our shoppers get what they need.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
The support of my team, which includes everyone from the management at store level to the RDs at other stores to the company’s corporate leaders. When others believe in you, it’s easier to believe in yourself, which only makes you want to move forward. We bounce ideas off each other and share successes and opportunities regularly, which helps us stay connected to our purpose of helping people to eat well and be happy. I believe it’s important to surround yourself with positive people – and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work here at ShopRite.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives of which you are most proud.
This year I was nominated by my co-workers at the store to be featured on the Cheerios Box to represent our efforts in feeding the hungry. The ShopRite Partners in Caring Cheerios Contest is a friendly competition sponsored by ShopRite and General Mills to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger, and this is something we all take pride in. The ShopRite of New Rochelle was part of the top 40 stores who donated the most food to their community and I had the opportunity to help through food drives, food samplings, and in-store events. As one of the winning stores, our team was able to choose two store associates to be featured on a customized Cheerios box. The fact that my co-workers recognized my genuine desire to want to help people receive nourishment means the world to me. At the end of the unveiling ceremony I received my own box in a plastic case engraved with my name on it…this is something I will treasure forever.
Background: Toni Marinucci, MS, RD grew up in Long Island, NY and received her MS Degree in Nutrition from SUNY Oneonta’s Combined Master’s + Dietetic Internship program. She has been helping the ShopRite of New Rochelle provide complimentary services such as one-on-one consultations, supermarket tours, support groups, weight management classes, kids and adult cooking classes and in-store product samplings since 2015.