Director of Culinary Services Milton McGowian

Like many professional organizations, the foodservice industry has many acronyms. Three of the most important are ANFP (Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals), CDM (Certified Dietary Manager) and CFPP (Certified Food Protection Professional). This year, Sharon Towers’ own Milton McGowian, director of culinary services, had the market cornered on all of these anagrams as the CDM, CFPP Spotlight Award Recipient for 2021 from ANFP.

The Spotlight Award

“The Spotlight Award is one of the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals awards given for incorporating an innovative program or operational change in their facility/organization that has received positive results for the facility, staff and residents,” explains McGowian.

Understandably, the industry is always looking for innovation. During the pandemic, however, many organizations were forced to innovate and to do so quickly. Milton McGowian saw these challenges but chose to turn them into an opportunity to support his staff while continuing to serve great tasting, nutritious meals to Sharon Towers residents.

Going the Extra Mile

A good example of innovation and opportunity is Sharon Towers’ use of vacuum-sealed meals. Many senior living communities chose to vacuum-seal meals as a way to distribute food to residents when COVID hit. Though McGowian saw the practicality of that idea, he also thought it could be done better.

“Just because the times were challenging, we didn’t want the residents to lose the fine dining experience we had established,” McGowian continued. “So, we prepared meals that were similar to those being distributed in other communities, but we marinated the meats, added craft butter and pan searing and included a recipe card to make it something really special. And we did this at a competitive price point. ANFP saw that we took the experience to the next level.”

Supporting Residents and Staff

McGowian is a believer in “relationship before task.” This means that the relationships with – and between – residents and staff come first. If the relationships are strong, the tasks will happen organically. But if staff are merely executing tasks without the relationships, residents will feel like the staff is performing emotionless services. Especially in trying times, it is the relationships that keep the staff motivated and the residents connected.

“Above all, you have to continue to motivate your staff – to let them know you’re on their side. Many of them have been going through tough times with sick family and other challenges. It’s important that they know that the Sharon Towers Culinary team is there to support them,” McGowian says.

Opportunities in Challenging Times

Anyone who has spent more than two minutes with Milton McGowian knows that his outlook is always positive. It’s easy to smile when things are going well. The true test of a positive outlook is staying upbeat in an atmosphere of unease and uncertainty. However, that is where true leaders tend to shine.

McGowian says, “We decided that we weren’t going to innovate to survive. We wanted to innovate to make our residents feel special.” That’s leadership — with a side of positivity.

Sharon Towers congratulates Milton McGowian for receiving the 2021 CDM, CFPP Spotlight Award from the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals. We are proud of the hard work he and his staff have displayed during the pandemic and continue to show us every day.

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