FSNM PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Read how the exciting field of Food Service & Nutrition Management
unlocked unlimited potential for this FSNM professional!
Director of Dietary Services – Albright Manor
President – Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM)
“Never lose sight of the end game. What I mean by this is to make sure that you have a goal.
Goals give you a target to achieve. Keeping the goal firmly within your sights will keep you on the right track.“
Alright Manor: Website
Canadian Society of Nutrition Management: Website
LinkedIn: Penny Zdichavsky
Penny Zdichavsky Spotlight:
If you would have asked me when I was younger what I would become, I would never have said I would Manage a Food Service Department. My road travelled to where I am now did not start in the direction of food. It was after raising three girls, driving a bus and being a hairstylist, I took my enjoyment for cooking and started a three-year apprenticeship and worked my way to a Red Seal.
Upon completing my Red Seal, I worked at an institution for boys, a penitentiary and then a long-term care home. It was here that I was approached by Management asking if I was interested in becoming a Nutrition Manager. I was interested so, while working as a cook I completed CHA Learning’s two-year Food Service and Nutrition Management program and transitioned directly into a full time Food Service Nutrition Manager’s position in the home where I had been cooking. It was a true whirlwind.
In addition to my education and career progression, I am very proud to be active with the CSNM Board of Directors. Six years ago I submitted ran for the position of Examinations Portfolio Manager for the CSNM Board of Directors and I was successful. Being the Examinations Portfolio Manager allowed me to become familiar with the workings of the board and gave me the confidence to put my name forward for the Presidency. I am currently in the 2nd year of a three-year Presidency role. I can’t say enough about how belonging to this organization continues to keep me current and challenge me at every opportunity. The things I have learned, the memories I have and the many friendships I have developed will stay with me forever.
I know that my time on the CSNM Board of Directors will come to an end and when that day comes I will be ready to explore new options. You are never too old to educate yourself, never too old to learn or to try something new.
A little More About Penny:
What is one question to be considered before starting a career as Food Service and Nutrition Manager?
Do you like working with others and always able to put others needs before your own? Being a Nutrition Manager is a selfless job. Not only are we looking out for the needs of our residents but we also have to keep the needs of our staff in mind.
Another great question would be how much HR is involved within the role of a Nutrition Manger?
What were some of the challenges you faced starting out in your career and how did you overcome them?
Being able to have the confidence in myself to do the job. You really have to sell yourself to your staff and they need to know that you are in control. The information needed to be successful is overwhelming and recognizing how to keep things in perspective is also a great help. Network, I can’t say enough about this. Make contacts and be sure to reach out to them when you have questions. I had many questions when I started and I still have questions to this day, but I know that there are people that I can reach out to for help.
What skill/knowledge did you gain from CHA Learning that has been most beneficial to you in your field?
Independent learning is something that I had never done before. I had been out of school for many years (too many to tell) and working independently was so helpful for me in my role as a Nutrition Manager. We work independently in our role having only ourselves to answer for what we do day to day. The course outlines so many areas, all of which were so important to my success today. If I had to narrow it down to one thing, I found that the placement and the criteria outlined within definitely set me up for success and allowed me to better understand where I wanted to become a Nutrition Manager. Your placement is so important. Students need to be aware of how important the placement is.
What is the most meaningful part of your career?
Meeting with the residents and their families. Finding out their nutritional needs and then seeing that resident improve. Hearing from the family how wonderful of a job we are doing and how much better their loved one is. Food can be a great healer and the fact that we can make a difference with what we serve means everything to me.
How do you make room to continue to learn while working/leading/living?
Being a member of CSNM means that I have 8 core competencies to complete each year. Since I am a Certified Nutrition Manager means that I have 16 core competencies to complete. This education that needs to be completed each year is pivotal in keeping me up to date in my field.
Recognizing your weaknesses allows you to focus on your areas of improvement. My mother taught me a long time ago to work like there is someone invisible standing behind you waiting to take your job. I always think of that and know that there is always someone that could replace me, so it is up to me to stay relevant and do the best job that I can. If this means further education then so be it. Learning new things will keep you relevant in your role.
As the sector evolves, what new areas are emerging/will emerge that further illustrate the unlimited potential for Food Service and Nutrition Managers?
Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) is the hot ticket at the moment and many Nutrition Managers don’t just manage the Dietary department, they also look after laundry and housekeeping. Since the onset of COVID there has been a major shift with regards to infection control. Having a good understanding of this along with health and safety will set every Nutrition Manger up for success.
The Food Service and Nutrition Management in Healthcare (FSNM) program enhances students’ knowledge of and performance in areas including food service, business, human resources management, quality management, and nutrition and diet therapy. CHA Learning has been providing Food Service Management training to the health sector for more than 45 years.
FSNM is designed for (but not limited to) individuals with experience in healthcare or food services in front-line, entry level management or supervisory positions.
To learn more about our Food Service in Nutrition Management Program, click the link below to visit the program page.