To run a successful school nutrition program, an understanding of three key areas is needed—the customer, the product and marketing. Each day of SNIC is devoted to one of these important topics, so attendees have the time to understand the full breadth of each component. The next day then builds upon the previous, as the three focus areas are intertwined and vital to a program as a whole. SNIC will feature a full panel of speakers, including an overall conference facilitator, Dr. Douglas M. McCabe, who will offer their wisdom and expertise in these three areas of focus.

Each general session will feature a facilitated discussion, encouraging a high level of audience participation in the key topics of the day that affect the school nutrition profession. The final session will also offer an overview of the conference as a whole from Dr. McCabe, ensuring that you leave SNIC with the key takeaways, ready to return to your district and ensure your school nutrition program thrives.

Program Facilitator: Dr. Douglas M. McCabe
McCabe is a professor of labor relations, human resource management and organizational behavior at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Washington, D.C. He has authored more than 200 articles, papers, monographs and speeches, and is an active domestic and international consultant. An expert in his field, McCabe has been interviewed on TV programs such as “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and CNN’s “Crossfire.” He has been quoted in Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.

Furthermore, Dr. McCabe is a premier executive education professor. He has conducted more than 300 management development programs in the area of employee relations. Also, he is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.



In the First General Session, the focus will be on your customer, the student. Training and development expert Jim Knight will be on hand to share his expertise in creating an environment that focuses on serving the unique needs of your customers.

Knight, former senior director of training and development at Hard Rock International, has expertise in facilitating a variety of interactive topics, including sessions around organizational culture, world-class service and employee branding. He cut his teeth in the training field in the hospitality industry, starting out as a restaurant employee for Olive Garden and Hard Rock Cafe. He eventually became the head of the School of Hard Rocks, running point on all global training and development functions for Hard Rock International.

Knight has put his experience and creativity to work, consistently developing cutting-edge training concepts, and he has been recognized by Training magazine as representing one of the Top 125 training companies in the world out of all industries and businesses. He is a long-time member of CHART (The Council of Hotel & Restaurant Trainers), previously sat on the Certification Governing Board of the National Restaurant Association and started a local networking group with more than 150 active members in Central Florida to share best practices and discuss common issues with other industry professionals.



The Second General Session spotlights the product, school meals. As a school nutrition professional, how do you create a meal that not only meets all the regulations, but also makes the students happy? Product marketing expert John Moore speaks on how to successfully create and serve a product that will satisfy your customers.

Moore is a true marketing expert. Intimately involved with Starbucks’ epic growth to a global iconic brand, Moore has helped transform the way businesses look at marketing and branding. His first book, Tribal Knowledge, shares actionable insights into how a business can follow the Starbucks blueprint to building an endearing and enduring business.

Moore continued his out-of-the-box marketing mastery as the director of national marketing for Whole Foods Market. For years, John Moore led Brand Autopsy, a marketing firm that consulted with businesses aspiring to become a beloved brand. USA Today, Best Buy, Kraft and Little Caesars have all benefited from Moore’s marketing expertise. Today, Moore is the chief operating officer at Brains on Fire, a boutique marketing agency known for creating word-of-mouth marketing movements. His newest book, The Passion Conversation: Understanding, Sparking and Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing, was published in September 2013.


The Third General Session will feature an update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Dr. Janey Thornton. This session is vital for both industry members and school nutrition professionals eager to learn the latest on regulations and other important news. An exciting interactive panel will discuss the “landscape of school nutrition.”



The Final General Session focuses on marketing, reaching back to what was learned during previous days and tying it all together. Branding and marketing expert Ira Blumenthal shares his wisdom on how to market your menus and service in a way that appeals to both kids and parents.

Considered a modern day business “Renaissance Man,” Blumenthal is the president of CO-OPPORTUNITIES, Inc., an Atlanta-based consulting company that has counseled world-class clients such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and McDonald’s. His first book, Ready, Blame, Fire! (Myths and Misses in Marketing), was followed by the nationally acclaimed Managing Brand You, focusing on personal branding. Blumenthal has impressive credits in radio, public speaking and education; in 2012, he was named Executive-In-Residence at Kennesaw State University.

Before founding CO-OPPORTUNIES, Inc., Blumenthal was a top marketing executive at The Sara Lee Corporation and served as president of Rymer Foods, an organization he led to quantum leap growth from $90 million to more than $200 million in three-plus years. He is the recipient of one of the highest honors in the food business, The Key Person Award.

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