Leadership

Our annual election occurs every spring

Are you ready to cast your vote?
The essence of good government is trust - Kathleen Sebelius

Successful governing bodies build trust, set standards, define and delegate. Dallas Dietetic Alliance’s leadership is comprised of a General Governing Board as well as an elected Executive Board. The aim is to govern the alliance and its membership with integrity and proudly represent the alliance in our community and to fellow professional peers.

The Governing Board takes charge of the strategic direction the alliance takes, regulates and establishes beneficial policies for the organization, and directs the alliance’s budgeting and finance activities.

Select members and students serve on the General Governing Board as well. They act as representatives for all alliance members and ensure that a variety of perspectives and viewpoints are included during important discussions and decisions.

Both parties work hand-in-hand to ensure members of the Dallas Dietetic Alliance are the leading source of food and nutrition services. We encourage you to become a member and get involved with the alliance’s governance on any level -- whether you’re interested in the latest trends and developments affecting the industry, shedding light on pressing professional issues, volunteering for a committee, or even running for a leadership position. The Dallas Dietetic Alliance awaits members with open ears and an open heart -- we want to know your ideas, concerns and issues.

2019-2020 DDA Governing Board

Megan Norwood

I have been part of the Dallas Dietetic Alliance for the past 4 years and I look forward to serving as the President for the 2019-2020 membership year. I have been a dietitian for 12 years and this organization has helped me network, but also grow as a dietitian. I hope to lead the board to make great progress this next year. We hope to grow our membership and participation while still providing learning opportunities, dietitian networking, and opportunities to give back to the community. Thank you for joining DDA!

Melissa Mendez

Melissa Mendez is currently an outpatient Dietitian for both Parkland Hospital and Lemond Nutrition. Melissa works with a variety of medical conditions within the pediatric, adult, and geriatric populations. Melissa received both her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Institutional Administration and Masters of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. On her free time, Melissa enjoys rock wall climbing at Summit Gym, training for marathons (she has completed 8 marathons & 1 ultra-marathon), and going to rock/metal concerts.

Sapna Punjabi-Gupta

Sapna Punjabi Gupta is a Dallas-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Ayurvedic Practitioner, nationally–recognized culinary wellness expert and the founder of beSPICED(www.bespiced.com): a company that empowers others with eastern wisdom, western science via speaking engagements, interactive cooking classes, YouTube videos(https://www.youtube.com/bespiced), wellness workshops, heirloom spice products and articles published in several national and international publications. Sapna has more than a decade of experience as a Clinical Dietitian with a focus in the areas of neonatal nutrition and women’s health. She is actively involved with the Academy and part of several dietetic practice groups. She has been the Texas state coordinator for VNDPG for 3 years and involved with other local dietetic networking groups. Apart from her busy work schedule juggling various roles, she enjoys traveling with her husband and their 2 children, Aditya and Mihika. She dedicates her time volunteering at her children's school and is a proud tennis mom. Her best way to relax is to cheer for both her kids on the tennis court when she is not at home creating new recipes or products.

Jennifer Piazza

Jennifer Piazza, RDN, LD, CNSC moved to Dallas in 2001 to complete her dietetic internship at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. Since then, she has gained experience in oncology/stem cell transplant at Baylor University Medical Center and home nutrition support with several home infusion pharmacies. In 2018, she become a Business Development Manager at Real Food Blends. Jennifer lives in Dallas with her husband Greg and dog Lucy. She enjoys cooking, exercising, reading, and traveling.

Mina Zanami-McAnelly

Coming Soon

Meagan Dzekunskas

Meagan Dzekunskas is a recent graduate of the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and continues working as a PRN Consulting Dietitian for the medical center. Meagan graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale before working with ADM in Food Science Research and Development. Meagan has interests in both clinical and community dietetics and is open to the many new opportunities to budding career may hold.

Emily Weeks

Emily Weeks, RDN, LD is a food photographer, recipe developer and culinary nutrition communications expert based in Dallas, Texas. Emily partners with like-minded food brands and organizations on recipe development, food photography, nutrition communications and media spokesperson work. She is often sought after for her recipe development skills and food photography, and has won several recipe competitions and blogging awards. She has been featured on Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post, and won the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016 Media Award. Emily graduated with honors from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in 2012 and completed her dietetic internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She lives in Wylie, Texas with her husband and daughter.

Jordan Palmer

Jordan Palmer is currently the Clinical Dietitian for the Neuro Critical Care Unit at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Oakcliff. In addition, she provides nutrition services for two DFW hospice companies and is the co-owner of a private nutrition consulting business called Smart City Nutrition. Jordan’s previous experience includes 5 years of working in community nutrition, where she provided nutrition education and counseling to low income women, infants, and children with the Dallas WIC Program. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2010 with a B.S. in Dietetics and Institutional Administration and recently became a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC).
Jordan and her husband reside in East Dallas along with their rescued English Bulldog Phoebe Jay. In her spare time she enjoys taking fitness classes (especially her husband’s boxing classes), running in her neighborhood, and walking her dog. She also likes live music, exploring new “hot spots” in Dallas and spending time with her family and friends. Jordan is serving as DDA’s 2018-2019’s Annual Conference Chair.

Katie McKee

Katie McKee, MCN, RDN, LD Health and Wellness Program Coordinator, Dairy MAX
Katie McKee always loved learning about the power of nutrition, and now she has the joy of teaching others about it. With a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arizona, Katie worked as a writer, editor and reporter before returning to school at the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center to earn a Master of Clinical Nutrition. Katie joined Dairy MAX in early 2015. In 2018, she was named Media Dietitian of the Year by the Dallas Dietetic Alliance. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, she now lives in Lantana, Texas, with her husband, Sean, her son and their French bulldog.

Stella Yan

Stella Yan will graduate from UT Southwestern's Masters of Clinical Nutrition Coordinated Program in August. During her graduate schooling, she worked on a research project on evaluating healthy vending, which she will present at this year's FNCE poster session. Within dietetics, Stella is interested in public health and clinical nutrition. She is currently the President for her local Toastmasters club, Richardson High Five. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her fiance and dog. She frequents the dog park and love to run with her canine companion. She has also started woodworking as a new hobby.

Yolanda Cepak

Coming Soon

Jennifer Rodriguez Jaramillo

Jennifer Rodriguez Jaramillo, MS, RDN, LD is an entrepreneur and bilingual private practice dietitian in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the owner of ‘Food is Vida’, where she provides media/photography and nutrition services, respectively, to food-focused companies and adult/pediatric populations within the specialties of preventive nutrition, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, vegan/plant-based nutrition and more. Jennifer completed her dietetic internship at Prairie View A&M and her Master’s & Undergraduate education at Texas Woman’s University, wherein 2015 she received the TWU Simmons Community Service Award for tackling the lead coordinating role of a North Texas fundraising event with proceeds directly benefiting hunger initiatives in our local communities. She continues to serve her community by volunteering with non-profit organizations, the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and serving as Website Manager for the Dallas Dietetic Alliance.
With roots originating in Southern California, Jennifer enjoys all things nature. Among her favorite pastimes include visiting the coastline or mountains of any region, spending time with family/friends and photography/videography.

Grace Rivers

Grace Rivers, RDN, CDE provides diabetes and wellness consulting for individuals and companies. A 1993 graduate from UT Southwestern in Clinical Nutrition, Grace has been practicing for more than 25 years, specializing in diabetes for 17 of those years. She has worked in long term care, renal dialysis, home health and diabetes outpatient care.
Grace is a member of the Dallas Dietetic Alliance (DDA) and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). Grace is a Past President and has served as Chair for Membership Communications, Nominating Committee, Main Event, and Strategic Planning for DDA. She resides in the DFW metroplex with her husband. They both love animals and strive for a greener planet. They also support each other as they practice living a simple life in this busy world. Grace is a firm believer in physical activity for all ages. Along with walking, she attends a core class along with yoga.

Brittney Gross

Brittney Gross recently graduated from Baylor University Medical Center’s Internship and plans to take her RDN exam soon. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Missouri State University and spent a semester studying abroad in Australia. She currently works as a PRN dietitian and has interests in clinical, non-profits, and global nutrition. She loves to cook and travel in her free time and has been to 11 countries.

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