A Day in the Life of a Marketing Coordinator
Stefanie Dove, RDN, SNS
School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator
Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia
When you put your passions behind a purpose, it makes finding dream job possible. That is what led me to my position as Marketing Coordinator for Loudoun County School Nutrition Services. As a second career, Registered Dietitian, I knew that I wanted to work in an area of nutrition that specialized in childhood nutrition while also embracing my creative nature since my first career was in the fashion industry. At the time, I had no idea that this type of position existed and it was not until my food service rotation during my Dietetic Internship where I was exposed to the world of school nutrition. From my first day, I knew this was the area of dietetics that I wanted to pursue.
Since I oversee all the marketing and promotions for my department, I check social media each morning when I get to the office. After sorting through social media, if I don’t already have posts scheduled for the day, I will knock a few out and then tackle emails. I spend a lot of my time out at schools whether it is in the classroom teaching a nutrition education lesson or harvesting lettuce with students in one of the gardens so we can talk about why you should eat your vegetables and what parts of the plant you can eat. I make it a point to stop in to the cafeterias at our schools for breakfast and lunch so that I can capture some pictures of our meals and sit and chat with students about what they like and don’t like. I believe it is important to practice what you preach, so when I am in a school, I will always grab a meal. When students, parents, administration and even the school nutrition staff see members of the central office enjoying their food, it not only provides a sense of pride for the staff, but it also helps encourage more to eat school meals.
Digital marketing is a major portion of my daily tasks, so I spend quite a bit of time on my computer whether it is developing new campaigns for social media, editing a video or creating some new posters and graphics that will be displayed in our schools. I also work with teachers and community partners on a regular basis to help them with lesson and program planning so that they feel empowered to include nutrition education into their daily activities with students. My position has also granted me the humbling opportunity to speak locally and nationally on topics such as food allergy management, childhood nutrition, school gardens, farm to school and brand management and marketing.
My Top Five Tips for Marketing Your Program
- Don’t overthink– it is easy to hold off on creating a social media account for your program, because you think everything must be perfect. Just go for it and learn from your mistakes along the way.
- Share your story or someone else will– school nutrition programs are easy targets for negative press. Use marketing to share the wonderful things you are doing in your program.
- Start small– it is easy to compare your district to others, but just know that all their followers, social media accounts, and campaigns did not happen overnight.
- You can’t go wrong with smiles– the best way to promote your program is through highlighting the smiles of your students, staff, parents, and administration enjoying your meals.
- Work with your students– from graphic design to video development, students have endless courses they can take, use that as an opportunity to collaborate with teachers to help you achieve your goals, while providing the teachers with meaningful projects they can have their students do.
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