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FM Profile: Laura Watson

FM Profile: Laura Watson

When I complete my term in office, I will feel I have been successful if our membership has grown and AHF is recognized as THE organization for self-operators in healthcare foodservice.

Our members would like to see healthcare executives recognize the value of self-operated foodservice and see AHF as a resource to help make their leaders and their operations among the industry’s best.

When I ran for president, I promised I would make AHF responsive to member needs, providing them with support and resources like the Benchmarking Express program and our publication, Making an Informed Decision.

My strongest professional role model was my administrator in my first role as a foodservice director. He had confidence in me when I was young and learning the ropes and helped me to to think more strategically, to look beyond just putting out fires.

My first job in healthcare was as a salad maker and dish washer in a small hospital near my college campus.

I think my strongest personality trait is staying calm amid the storm.

The best way to improve the image  of healthcare foodservice is to continue to highlight the culinary achievements of healthcare chefs, as we do in AHF’s Culinary Competition and its partnership with ACF. We also need to promote the cost savings and increased patient satisfaction scores that our self-operated foodservice professionals have been able to achieve.

The professional accomplishment I am proudest of is receiving AHF’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
My most prized material possession is the necklace that my husband gave me on our first Christmas together.

If I could speak to my earlier self  during freshman year in college, my advice would be to take more risks.

The most challenging aspect of my job  is juggling all the priorities. Determining which rise to the top requires a continuous focus on where I can have the most positive impact.

The best professional advice  anyone ever gave me was  that you make a choice every day  to have a good day or a bad day. When I choose to be upbeat, positive and focused it makes for much less stress at work!

Looking ahead 25 years, the biggest trend I see facing healthcare foodservice is an effort to recruit more broadly to bring new leaders into the field. We need to tell our story, emphasizing the importance of our opportunities to enhance client experiences in our facilities and more broadly how we have an impact on our communities.

Beatles or Stones? The Beatles because I could relate to the lyrics. Their songs resonated with my life and relationships.

The most recent book I’ve read recently  was Influencer, The Power to Change Anything.

If I had to select my last meal on earth it would be a BLT with fresh, out-of-the-garden tomatoes.

At a Glance

ASSOCIATION: Association for Healthcare Foodservice

No. of Members: 1400
HQ Address:
455 S. 4th Street,
Suite 650, Louisville, KY,  40202
Executive Director: Billye Potts

Phone: 888-528-9552

AHF promotes, supports and connects self-operated foodservice while developing healthcare foodservice professionals and assuring food and nutrition services are valued as an essential contributor to the healthcare organization’s mission.
Job:  System Director, Patient Support Services, Intermountain Healthcare

Credentials:  MS, RDN, CD
Awards:  2011 Manager of Distinction, Intermountain Healthcare; AHF Lifetime Achievement Award
Earlier Career:  Patient Support Services Director, Utah Valley Hospital; Hospital FSD positions in Houston and Provo, UT.
Master of Science in Nutrition, Texas Woman’s University

TAGS: Management
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