We are proud to announce the award winners announced at our annual meeting on May 14, 2018 at Urban Eatery in Minneapolis.
FCS Professional of the Year: This award recognizes or honors a member for her/his leadership in their profession and outstanding service to this organization. This is the highest organizational award a member can receive. This year’s winner was Colleen Zenk.
Colleen has been a champion for the success of FCS Professionals for many years. She is an active member who attends many of the meetings and willingly pitches in where help is needed. Colleen served as Treasurer for two terms and was appointed by the board to a third term in order to complete the legal transition from TC HEIB to FCS Professionals. This transition required a dogged push-through-it effort to get all the paper work done that was required to change the organization name with the state as well as financial accounts and banking accounts. At the same time she streamlined the accounting workbook to make it more efficient. She was also instrumental in the analysis to move away from having a merchant status to using a third party (PayPal and Event Brite) to collect and process credit card purchases). This freed up funds spent on web site security maintenance and shifted that responsibility to the third party partners.
Most recently Colleen spear headed our sponsored conference Beyond the Basics – Trending Topics in Food Safety held in February. Colleen not only coordinated the fantastic roster of speakers but she also used her many industry connections to invite many of those who attended. With her involvement the conference was a significant success and will serve as a template for future similar events. FCS Professionals is fortunate to have someone like Colleen who so willingly shares her wisdom and experience in supporting our organization. Colleen has gone above and beyond in her support of FCS Professionals!
Emerging Leader Award (formerly Making a Difference Award) This award recognizes professionals who are new to their industry, have been members of FCS Professionals for 5 years or less, and have made a notable contribution to the organization. This year’s winner was Liz Sellet.
Liz was well-deserving of this recognition for her enthusiasm for FCS Professionals and for taking on the big role of Treasurer after her first year of membership. She took on this role without having much of a finance background or experience. Her open-mind, determination, confidence, and a can-do attitude helped her have a successful first year as treasurer. She has done an excellent job learning the ropes and all of the important responsibilities to keep our numbers on track and provide budget updates at reasonable times. She has become very self-sufficient in her position, works independently as much as possible, and responds to all inquiries in a very timely manner. Along with all of that, she is a real pleasure to work with and always has a beautiful and bright smile on her face.
Spirit Award: This award recognizes a member that has shown particular championing behavior for FCS Professionals. This year’s winner is Gerry Luepke.
No one expresses as much enthusiasm, energy, and passion as Gerry does! She is always thinking of brilliant and innovative ideas for FCS Professionals to try out for programs and membership. Her mind is always thinking about ways we can better our organization and each other. Wherever she goes she tells anyone and everyone about FCS Professionals and how amazing it is and why they should join. She is our biggest advocate and cheerleader! Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and she inspires others to be more like her and share our passions and connection to FCS Professionals with others. She always goes above and beyond to express her gratitude for everyone’s dedication to the organization and always makes everyone feel welcomed and special at every program and event. She is very generous with offering her time and talents to the organization and even offered up her building to serve as the most beautiful and picturesque venue for our Holiday Tea event. She is always willing to help out wherever needed and follows through with everything she offers to help with. It is without a doubt impossible for FCS Professionals to be such an outstanding organization that provides such wonderful programs and networking opportunities without her.