What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
I have worked in a variety of fields throughout my career from acute care to private practice. I have always loved working with people, and have especially enjoyed teaching people to make better food choices. When a position became available for a Retail Dietitian with the Sobeys grocery store chain in my city in Canada, I applied for the job and was thrilled to get the position. As a Retail Dietitian, I knew I could more effectively teach my clients about healthier food by offering tours and cooking classes, giving them an opportunity to actually taste these foods. This has increased my ability to help people be as successful as they can be.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
I wish I had known how rewarding it could be to work in a grocery store as a retail RD. For me personally, I feel that this is the first time in my 34-year career where I feel I am making a real difference helping customers improve their eating habits. It has been wonderful seeing customers and staff getting excited about food and to see them become inspired to make healthier food choices.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back? If yes, tell us about this and how you dealt with it.
In the early days, when the Dietitian program was new in the Sobeys stores, customers and staff were not aware of these services. Through hard work in building community partnerships, and educating customers and staff, demands for my services have increased significantly.
Similarly, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
Building rapport with staff at the store and making sure that they knew my role has contributed to my overall success. By successfully building this rapport, staff freely come with questions and willingly taste new foods. We all work together as a team to promote our Eat Better, Feel Better, Do Better movement and can reach more customers in our community.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
One of the exciting initiatives I am most proud of is our connection with the Chinese community in the city. I have been working with families from the Chinese Cultural group, many who are new to our city, and wish to integrate into our Canadian culture. The group consists of 70 families who are challenged with defining what Canadian meals are and knowing how to prepare simple Canadian meals for their families. I have developed a “train the trainer” program for the group whereby 15 people from the group register each month for a cooking class. The menu is agreed upon with the group, based on their needs. They learn about new foods and how they can be prepared. The group is also given the opportunity to taste the food, and they can take the recipes home to teach their families and friends.
Margaret Langille RD has been working as a Retail RD at Sobeys for eight years. She is thrilled to be part of Sobey's Eat Better, Feel Better, Do Better movement. Margaret works at one of the Sobeys stores in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, which has115 employees and is committed to helping customers lead healthier lives.
Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians for 108 years. Sobeys owns or franchises approximately 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces and Sobeys and its franchise affiliates employ more than 125,000 people. At present there are 31 dietitians employed nationally who encourage customers to Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better.