Minutes of the Annual General Meeting for NTOI Fri 22nd June 2018
Green Isle Hotel , Clondalkin
Linn Thorstensson opened the meeting and welcomed everyone acknowledging the presence of a quorum.
A minutes silence was observed for the late Imelda Finn.
Eileen Hannon presented the Financial Report for the year from the auditors.
Fabrizio Marini proposed a motion to re-elect Linn who just stepped down in accordance with company regulations.
The motion was seconded by Linda DeCourcey
Membership secretary Liz Gale spoke about the current membership numbers, and about the reversion to new membership renewal dates which now run from the start of the year, and explained about the pro-rata fee for student members upgrading to full membership.
Liz also spoke about how important it is for members to keep their online profile up to date on the NTOI web database open to the public and also how plans were afoot to create a digital membership badge which can be used on members online portals signifying authentic membership status, and also how NTOI were planning a new public facing website separate from the practitioners site.
Fabrizio spoke about the importance of product company sponsorship and how crucial it was for NTOI and therefore how important it was for members to actively support sponsors who were laying on training and seminars of educational benefit for us all.
He then spoke about the importance of keeping CPD records up to date on the NTOI website and that members cpd records would be spot tested.
Barbara O’Keefe and Stephanie Scanlon from the NT Week sub-committee told members about the purpose and importance of members participating in the annual event.
Barbara spoke about the important milestones achieved over the past year and how the success of the Social Media team’s efforts to raise the public profile of NT was already bearing fruit with several practitioners reporting increased interest from the public via the NTOI website.
She then spoke about the opportunity for NT’s to collaborate with well known cooking schools for the next NT Week, and how this would garner a lot of publicity and also that there was the potential for a large food sponsor to be involved.
Liz Gale asked if there might be anyone in the audience who had the contacts to connect NTOI with some healthy food company and also with a media company who could help promote the events.
Rhonda challenged the proposed November date for the next NT Week and this led to a show of hands where it was unanimously agreed that Feb was a better months to do it.
Linda De Courcey suggested that the NT Week committee contact local markets to see about a tie up for promotion during NT Week.
Stephanie encouraged the members to step up efforts at using members on social medial platforms to promote NT Week.
Conor Saunders suggests a celebrity led big event might work well to generate interest in NT work and that we could or should be willing to pay to bring over high level speakers.
Linn reminded the audience that voluntary groups were the key to making things happen and therefore welcomes any new blood into the ranks.
Geri Gergana spoke and introduced the SM Group, it’s members, its history and its accomplishments to date and how it operated by majority vote on articles to publish and encouraged members to follow and support the NTOI SM pages on all their channels.
Brendan O’Brien spoke about the importance of each members needing to have a vision about where they wanted to go in their NT career and how that vision tied in with the larger vision being pursued by NTOI and the SM group’s efforts to raise general awareness of our work.
Conor talked about the development of a Public Relations officer for NTOI and how his conversations with the various NT colleges was progressing with some agreement on the need for them to make a significant payment to support the PR function ongoing.
Linn updated the audience on the development of a strategic lobbying group working to project a professional image to official organisations in Ireland
She then introduced Caitriona Fitzpatrick, who is experienced in PR roles and who advised the audience about the new guidelines and pitfalls to be aware of when communicating with media outlets as an NT. This included Caitriona’s opinion on how better to understand the mindset of journalists and how important it was for NT’s in general to develop media skills.
She also spoke about how important it is for NTOI to build relations with many media outlets so as we can convey to them what we are about, since they are at present unaware of us and secondly about the importance of building relations with the dept or health and other health professions like dietitians.
Quoting recent research Caitriona spoke about the general loss of confidence in media in general by the public and also that health was a strong up and coming trend. She then told the audience about recent contact with VHI and that they wanted ‘a lot’ from NTOI in return for covering our services on their insurance schedule. This included NT’s making available to VHI members corporate, geriatric and paediatric facing support programs that addressed the needs of their members.
Caitriona then put out a call for anyone in NTOI who had good technical research skills to step forward and get involved in the effort to have VHI cover the profession’s services.
Caitriona discussed the importance of not engaging negative media messages and instead to use positive message stories to convey our profession and to talk in media about what the public really want.
Linn then closed the proceedings.
Later during the members feedback forum the following people spoke to represent the small groups everyone had broken up into to have their say in future ideas:
Billy Crosbie points were :
- We should make GP’s more aware of what we do as a profession
- We should engage with mental health institutions and share what we do.
- We should make personal trainers more aware of our profession and what we can offer their clients especially in gyms
- That there is a collective negative image of NT as an approach that involves ‘giving up stuff’, and to combat this we should aim to promote the wide range of foods available so as to convey a more positive image of the craft.
- Since NT’s were not necessarily great at food prep it would be great if NTOI made available about 10 therapeutic recipes with preparation instructions that we could all reuse.
Maureen Macentire’s group added that many doctors are stressed and that if they knew what NT’s could do for their patients it would really help.
Ciara Wright said we needed to speak the language of doctors if we want them to listen to us and that although we are all diverse in our approaches, what unites us is that we get people to eat a healthier range of food and that doctors would acknowledge this.
She suggested that we could get our clients to fill in pre and post questionnaires that would easily illustrate to doctors what kind of benefits we can provide for them.
Conor Saunders countered that last point suggesting that inhis experience showing off to doctors what we accomplished with their clients that they couldn’t would only get them defensive.
Magella O’Neill talked about the problem of being seen as ‘unqualified’ and that skulking under the radar needs to stop, instead we should be promoting what we know and be proud of it.
She felt our profession needs a good spokesperson and that colleges should be standing up more for the profession when it is under fire in the media.
Susie Cox expressed an opinion that NT’s are a generally non-homogenous group of people which makes it hard for us as a profession to project a unified image, and therefore we needed to discover who we are before we can properly move forward.
Antonella Butac said she wasn’t aware of the various events being promoted by NTOI. Liz suggested she should check her email is registered with NTOI and she could check on her behalf.
Geri spoke about the need to unite on what we all do in common, despite our diversity and that the way to evolve was to look and to be stronger as a cohesive group so to not lose ground or business opportunity to non-qualified people posing as nutritionists.
Minutes recorded by Brendan O’Brien