Your Future... So Sodexo

Read stories about real Sodexo people who help make a difference in the lives of people like you.

 

 

Mary Gergely

Clinical Nutrition Manager
George Washington University Hospital

 

How would you describe your career as clinical nutrition manager?
Every day's different. That's one of the reasons I love my job. I manage the dietitians and I'm the liaison also with the managers in the kitchen when there are requests for patient diets. I also love mentoring younger dietitians. For several of them, it's their first job and I like being able to work with them and managing their time load.

What's your experience working for Sodexo?
I have two children, and when my second one was born I was able to move to a part time schedule to balance my home and work responsibilities. This was one of the wonderful advantages of being with Sodexo. I feel fortunate to work for a company where you can have a flexibility work schedule while maintaining your longevity, your benefits and vacation.

Melissa Ronis

Clinical Dietitian
George Washington University Hospital

 

How did your career in Sodexo start?
After worked in the Marketing field for a few years I knew it wasn't for me. I went back to school for a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. My goal was to enter Sodexo's dietetic internship program because of the great reputation that Sodexo has. My first job right out of my internship was working as a Sodexo Clinical Dietitian at Shady Grove Adventist Medical Center.

I knew that I had made the right choice to join Sodexo because of support I received from the beginning. During my onboard, I went through a training called “Come Alive With Sodexo” where they introduced me to company and culture. I really felt included and I felt like I was needed.

What kind of impact does your role have on patients?
I work with physicians and with nurses to help suggest different supplements that patients might be interested in trying.

I once had a patient who had very high protein needs. She had some recent surgery, and in order to heal properly and I worked very closely with her on increasing her protein intake from foods and supplements. I visited her frequently to determine if her protein status had really increased. Because it was a success, she was able to take that knowledge with her when she left the hospital to further her healing at home.

Sarah Swaintek

Clinical Dietitian
George Washington University Hospital

 

How did your career in Sodexo start?
The first thing that drew me to Sodexo was the dietetic internship program that they offer. I completed all my prerequisites as an undergrad and the next step is entering a dietetic internship. I was very interested in Sodexo's because they offered a very comprehensive and well-rounded program. They offered a very extensive clinical rotation so you got to see every disease state. You also got a rotation with food service and with electives so you got to kind of experience or build your own experience with things that you saw yourself doing in the future.

Cherylyn Gifford

Patient Service Manager
Nebraska Medical Center

 

How did your career at Sodexo start?
After completing my internship, I interviewed with Sodexo. I wasn't expecting to get into management right away, but Sodexo decided to give me the opportunity to do that. In order to prepare for this management position, Sodexo supported me with trainings to learn how to manage employees and complete required Sodexo audits.

What would you say about working for Sodexo?
There're a lot of opportunities for growth and to try different things and in different environments. There are so many different avenues that Sodexo has; I can go into healthcare, or universities or education. I love working with food and doing anything that helps patients nutritionally. With Sodexo, I really get the opportunity to work clinically with patients and also with food service. I like having the range of being able to do both.

Can you describe a project you worked on?
Once we had a patient who was on gluten free diet and was upset with the limited menu options available for him. He was concerned since he was away from home for an extended period of time and was hard time during his stay. I talked with him and got to know him and then the chef and I worked together to come up with some recipes for him. We really made him happy, not just by giving him food options that he enjoyed, but by letting him know that we cared and went out of our way to make his stay better.

Shana Sporman, MS, RD, LDN

Food Service General Manager
Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

 

“One of the things I love most about the role is how we can cater to the interests of the dietitian. One of our RDs loves giving back to the community. She has provided interactive nutrition demos at local after school programs and local community centers and taught how and why food is medicine. It’s pretty remarkable.”

What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
From an early age, I was introduced to the importance of health and wellness through my parents’ career paths, family medical conditions, our family farm and being an athlete myself.  I’ve always loved leading, inspiring and helping others in school, sports and life.  After a year of general education and “career development” courses at Indiana University, I decided a B.S. degree in Dietetics with a minor in Psychology was the best fit because it embodied my two greatest passions: people and health.

A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
Funny question – there are very few “typical” days which is what makes my work life so fun and exciting – and also requires a lot of deep breaths. It changes all of the time. Most days I try to empower people (clients, patients, hourly staff or co-workers) with the knowledge, motivation and practical tools to live their life or do their job in a more balanced and effective way. 

How did your career in dietetics start?
After finishing my Master’s degree at Boston University, I started as a Sodexo Resource RD filling in vacant jobs or helping new accounts in the greater New England area. I supported eight different facilities while on reserve before committing to work at BIDMC. 

What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born with coaching skills – it’s in my genes as both of my parents are great coaches. With that comes the listening, understanding, motivating and collaborative nature that helps me learn from and connect to others. Along the way I have learned/am still learning to be more organized, to not be so goal-focused that I miss details and slow down in order to enjoy the journey.

What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Follow your gut. Your brain can be too practical and your heart can be too passionate. My gut has given me the patience to wait and seek for the right opportunity and the instinct to seize it. I have been fortunate to have been offered jobs that I could probably do, but not LOVE. I currently LOVE my jobs.

Colleen Klobusnik

Clinical Nutrition Manager
St. Anthony’s Hospital, Colorado

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
As an RD in a management role, I was drawn to Sodexo because of the plethora of resources and opportunities offered to employees to enable them to excel in their career. Once I joined Sodexo in 2011 as a Clinical Nutrition Manager/Patient Service Manager, it became clear how I could choose my own adventure. In only three years, I have been exposed to clinical management, patient services and operations — allowing me to take on general management duties such as unit financials.

In 2013, I saw a posting for a unit leadership position that I was hesitant to apply for. My mentor, an Environmental Services General Manager with Sodexo, encouraged me to go for it, saying “Do not ever disqualify yourself.” I now oversee clinical operations at Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), a multi-institutional healthcare system comprising thirteen hospitals across Illinois and Wisconsin, as the Multi-Service Operations Manager. I firmly believe that when working for Sodexo the only person that can stand in the way of advancing your career is yourself. 

What is the best part of your role at Sodexo?
What I enjoy most about working for Sodexo is that I’ve been offered so much opportunity to grow and expand my skill set through continuous training and networking with great Sodexo managers. Sodexo has challenged me on many occasions to step out of my comfort zone, which I am grateful for.

I am proud to work for a company that inspires me to grow and allows me to inspire others with my passion to best serve our patients, customers and clients.

Jackie Sharp

Sr. Manager Internal Engagement for Health & Well-Being
Orlando, FL

 

What inspired you to go into a career in nutrition?
I’ve been interested in dietetics since childhood. For that, I give full credit to my mother, Caron Sharp, RD, LD. She has been a Registered Dietitian for 34 years and has worked in almost all areas of dietetics. I remember how excited I was to have my mother come to my 3rd grade class and talk about health foods. My mom always partnered with me to create my own school lunches, allowing me to learn how to put together well-balanced meals at a very young age!

What types of projects have you worked on?
I worked with SodexoMAGIC when they launched the Sodexo Mindful program at Disneyland. One of my first projects was to work with our culinary team to customize menus to provide a variety of culturally diverse foods in a “mindful” way. This included training employees and holding launch events at each café.

What is a typical day like for you?
There really is no “typical day” for me! Keeping “healthy eating” exciting, fun and positive is a daily activity that will always be number one on my “to-do” list.

Jillian Butt

Clinical Nutrition Manager II
Trident Medical Center, Charleston, SC

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I knew I wanted to be an inpatient Clinical Dietitian after I finished my dietetic internship at the Medical University of South Carolina, but I had not given much thought to whom I wanted my employer to be. Until I learned about Sodexo!

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?

  • Sodexo supports professional networking and involvement. I was encouraged to maintain membership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Sodexo reimburses their annual dues. This allows me to stay up-to-date on evidence-based practices and network within my profession. 
  • Sodexo helps me maintain my RD credential. I receive several opportunities throughout the year to get free continuing education credits through Sodexo and am even reimbursed for some of the CEU events I attend outside the company. 
  • Sodexo supports career growth and development. One of the annual requirements of a Sodexo Dietitian is to create a development plan, which allows me to reflect on where I want to go in my career and helps create a roadmap for how to get there through Sodexo Learning and Performance opportunities.
  • Sodexo provides rewards and recognition. During my time as an inpatient Dietitian, I received recognition for going above and beyond for a patient with a CARES award. I was also recognized for my accomplishments as a new manager within my area. These moments of praise make me feel appreciated within the company.
Nina Crowley

Bariatric Surgery Clinical Dietitian
Charleston, SC

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I am thankful for the ability I’ve had to move around seamlessly within Sodexo! I knew I wanted to work in Charleston, South Carolina, but was not sold on exactly what type of dietitian I wanted to be. I began with a clinical inpatient position but eventually settled in my niche with an outpatient bariatric surgery program. I enjoyed the flexibility that Sodexo has provided me to continue to find myself while working within one company.

What is your typical day like?
After checking emails/phone messages, I head to the outpatient clinic three days a week to see patients, which can be up to 15-20 on a busy day! I counsel them on pre-operative changes before gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, post-op diet progression from purees to solid foods, and long-term behavior change to stay on track. I monitor patient lab work for micronutrients and help design the right supplement routine.

I also teach three nutrition classes a month and spend about five hours each week addressing micronutrient deficiencies. I work on special projects like the “Bariatric Bootcamp” class, research projects with our behavioral medicine psychologists, writing up research for publications, presenting on bariatric nutrition topics, and working within the MUSC community to educate the staff on all things bariatric nutrition! I love being the go-to nutrition expert for bariatrics and really enjoy being a critical part of the new lifestyle that our patients adopt to get healthier!

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
After finding my place within dietetics, I realized I wanted to return to school to pursue a PhD, but was unwilling to quit my job and attend full-time. Even during difficult financial and economic times, Sodexo has been financially supportive of RDs attaining graduate degrees with the Tuition Assistance program. Not only is the assistance a great financial benefit, it also supports the message that professional development is a core value!

Some RDs choose not to be involved in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, because their employers do not reimburse their annual dues. As food and nutrition professionals, it’s critical that we learn about advancements in our profession by becoming active members in this organization. Financial support to belong to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, state and local chapters, and a dietetic practice group conveys a commitment to professional success! I am proud to say that Sodexo supports research and outcomes studies, and rewards RDs who present research at regional and national meetings with financial assistance and time away from the office. These are enormous incentives for me that enrich and diversify my professional experience.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
I believe that job satisfaction comes from having autonomy, mastery and purpose in your position. Armed with flexibility, tuition support, professional membership and a specialty area well-suited to my skill set, I have found a rewarding position that I can excel in. I have found that working with bariatric surgery clients requires a special type of dietitian, one who is easy to talk with and non-judgmental and who makes patients feel comfortable in discussing their eating issues.

What motivates you?
I am motivated by an internal desire to excel at whatever I do. I want to help my patients achieve success so I will do whatever it takes to reach them and promote health behavior change. I also feel passionate about professional development within the dietetics community, so I work hard as a volunteer with my local, state and national chapters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to support other dietitians. I am also an advocate for nutrition policy and am going to be the South Carolina Public Policy Coordinator for the next 3 years with hopes of pushing nutrition policy forward!

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
For the past 5 years, I have been working on my PhD and now that I have it, I will have to get back to reading for fun! I am also a new mommy, and my new hobby is taking care of my 3-month-old daughter, Andie! I also keep an active social life with the friends and other dietitians here in Charleston. Taking walks with our little family and relaxing and enjoying the Charleston food scene, including our Saturday Farmers Market, are my favorite pastimes!

Wayne Strauss

Senior Area General Manager
Louisville, KY

 

Cultivating and maintaining good relationships is integral to Sodexo’s ability to ‘Make Everyday a Better Day’ for its clients. For Wayne Strauss, Senior Area General Manager for Sodexo Health Care Services, a major part of his role is relationship based. Wayne is responsible for two major hospitals in the region – Jewish Hospital and University of Louisville Hospital, both part of Catholic Health Initiatives at KentuckyOne Health. He also is responsible for driving patient satisfaction and performance improvement for all sites. Listen as he shares how building and maintaining relationships has aided in the success of his career and others he supports. Listen to podcast.

 

 

 

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