We welcome Kate Franken as the new Board Chair for the National WIC Association! Check out our conversation with Kate to learn more about her relationship with WIC and her vision for the future of NWA.
I got started with WIC 11 years ago! Before becoming NWA Board Chair, I was a Representative in the State WIC Director section, as the Minnesota WIC Director. My career has always been focused on public health nutrition in different ways, as a Registered Dietitian. I’ve also always been involved and interested in community nutrition programming and resources as an avenue outside of clinical nutrition. With community nutrition, you’re able to improve the lives of neighbors, friends, and families, which led me to WIC.
When I first came to WIC, the passion that I saw people bringing to this work made me want to stay. I fell in love. Understanding the effectiveness of the services WIC provides makes you want to connect as many eligible families as possible to these services.
This is because of the way WIC is designed with a wrap-around approach to serving families. Not only does it provide access to nutritious food, but it also provides education about those foods, breastfeeding support, tips about feeding children, and more. Overall, I love the comprehensive services WIC provides to families, the ability to create ongoing relationships, and supporting families through different stages and seeing them grow.
My favorite part about being an NWA member is the opportunity to meet other people in WIC from around the country. It’s so exciting to network, get support from others that is needed to refresh, and take what we’ve learned at conferences and from WIC colleagues back to our own programs. NWA is also staffed with an incredible team, and every encounter I have with them is positive, exciting, and inspiring.
Being the new NWA Board Chair, I look forward to helping continue the path my predecessors have been involved in. For years NWA has been a critical support in the WIC program.
We’re very much involved with the modernization of the program, and it’s a great opportunity and time for us to make the most out of the resources available right now to build out the program, and innovate as much as possible. I’m excited to be at the table for those discussions as well as listen to WIC colleagues from across the country about their needs and challenges and how NWA can continue to support folks the best way we can. I also look forward to increasing representation so all voices are heard. I’m excited to be a part of making that movement forward to best serve the WIC program.
Outside of work, I love being outside throughout all the seasons in Minnesota. We have a really fun winter, and I love to snowshoe during the winter. I also enjoy cooking, reading, and hanging out with my family. I consider myself a lifetime learner, as I’m always interested in continuing to expand my perspective and see what I can learn through different stages.