Retail Dietitian of the Year Finalists Announced

Retail Dietitian of the Year Finalists Announced

June 3, 2015

Each year the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance recognizes a Retail Dietitian of the Year.  The award recognizes a retail RD who shows leadership in utilizing business skills and industry knowledge to positively impact consumer behavior change through the retail sector.  RDBA is pleased to share the four finalists for this year's award. 

Kaitlin Anderson, RD, LD, Hy-Vee

 Kaitlin's number-one strength according to StrengthsFinder is “achiever,” which means she is constantly asking herself, “What’s next?” She is excited and relieved that she now knows that answer -- Kaitlin is expanding her scope as a retail RD and moving into a community relations role with her Rochester, MN Hy-Vee store.  "I believe I have made the biggest impact on behavior change through community outreach," says Anderson.  She believes "retail dietitians provide a whole new level of customer service, creating true customer loyalty which, in turn, increases sales." 

Kaitlin's supports had the following to say about why she should be the Retail RD of the Year:

  • Success happened when Kaitlin found a way to turn her customer service skills into profit for our store. From my perspective, relationships are at the cornerstone of her success. Her coworkers respect her, our customers value her professional opinion and her business contacts know they can rely on her. She is well - known in our community and that recognition helps create referrals and repeat business.
  • The reason that Kaitlin should be honored with this award is simple – she has opened my mind up to the variety and depth of services a dietitian can offer.  

Alyson Fendrick, RD, LD, CPT, HAC Retail

What struck RDBA's Advisory Board members about Alyson's application is her focus on branding in her role as the corporate dietitian and nutrition spokesperson for HAC Retail.  Corporately, she has her own brand, Alyson Approved. She is responsible for working with every category director to assist in developing, marketing and promoting nutritious choices and healthy alternatives under this brand.  Alyson's colleagues indicate she understands the food business well. She understands that every consumer she helps with their overall health becomes a consumer of their stores and therefore helps the company's financial growth. 

Authors of letters of recommendation for Alyson share the following comments:

  • During her short time with us, she has been a significant contributor to our business.
  • Alyson has been with HAC, Inc. for 3 years and has done a great job in bringing nutrition and health awareness to the forefront of not only our company brand but also our employees and consumers.

Jessica Guarnieri, RD, ShopRite

Jessica Guarnieri is the retail dietitian of Village Super Market’s flagship store in Cedar Knolls, NJ. She is responsible for health and wellness initiatives for customers and associates as well as community members. Jessica has become an integral part of the store and works closely with department managers and store management to increase sales and awareness of healthy items offered within the store. It's clear that Jessica excels at developing partnerships.  She is responsible for planning, implementing and merchandising a meal of the week case display at the store and merchandises a monthly end cap to feature items based on nutritionally appropriate monthly themes. Jessica also works with store and chain management to assess if new items should be brought in or not—she is able to gauge customer interest and applies this when making new product recommendations as well as when meeting with potential vendors.

Authors of letters of recommendation for Jessica share the following comments:

  • Being a retail dietitian is very different than being any other kind of dietitian.  Not everyone possesses the skill traits, drive, and innovation that are required to be successful in this arena.  Some people have it, others do not, and Jessica Guarnieri is definitely one who has it. 
  • Jess understands the business aspect of the super market.  She always comes to me fully prepared with the ideas she has, always knowing item movement and gross profit percentages.  She creates an environment of health and wellness for our customers while still allowing my store to be successful.

Julie McMillin, RD, LD, Hy-Vee

  Julie McMillin is the first retail dietitian to have Vice President in her title.  In her role as the Associate Vice President of Retail Dietetics at Hy-Vee, she oversees 222 stores and four corporate dietitians.  She continually works to improve the clinical programs and future of the dietitian role within the company, and actively grows the role of the retail dietitian setting an example for all retailers across the nation.  After beginning her career as an in-store dietitian and HealthMarket Manager, Julie has a strong knowledge base of dietitians in the retail setting. This knowledge allows Julie to make informed decisions on the role of the in-store dietitians and has allowed her to enlighten the return on investment our company receives by having dietitians in every store. 

Julie’s supporters comment:

  • Julie has been effective in her efforts to grow the Health and Wellness platform for Hy-Vee.  Along with implementing a company-wide strategic plan, she has administered an electronic charting system while vastly growing the business of biometric screenings and other various health and wellness services.  Julie McMillin is truly an ambassador for Hy-Vee’s mission of making lives easier, healthier and happier.
  • Julie is a visionary, paired with her incredible talents and knowledge of nutrition and dietetics has played a key role in developing the educational programs and individual services that Hy-Vee provides.  She has a special ability to connect with people and is innovative in her approach to reach them.  She has effectively led the company in adapting as social media and the ever changing consumer have shifted the retail business.

Winner of the RDBA Retail Dietitian of the Year award will be presented on Wednesday, June 10th at FMI Connect in Chicago and will be announced in next week’s newsletter.