Hola, my name is Manuel Villacorta and I am running to be your next elect-chair for the Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics and Nutrition.
Let me tell you a little story about myself. I moved to the United States 31 years ago at the age of 20 and knew zero English. In fact, the first two words I learned were “paper” and “plastic” for my first job as a bagger at Safeway. Like many of us, I came to the USA looking for the American Dream. In the last 31 years, I have run into many obstacles as an immigrant, but was determined to accomplish my goals and kept going through adversity. Finishing my education at the University of California, Berkeley and as well as getting my master’s from San Jose State University was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as a Latino. But, I was still able to establish a successful private practice in San Francisco.
After that, I felt on top of the world, so I wanted to publish my first book. My idea was rejected not once, not twice, but 40 times. As if that wasn’t demoralizing enough, I was told that I would not make it in the English speaking media because I have an accent. That statement was like a knife that went through my heart because having an accent is who I am and had nothing to do with my abilities as a dietitian. Even through all of that, because I never gave up, I am honored to say that I am now an internationally award winning registered dietitian. I have written and published four nutrition, wellness and weight loss books. I was also able to become a successful spokesperson, accent and all. In fact I have been on both national and international TV shows like the Today Show and National Geographic among many other TV, radio and magazine features. I have acted as the national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and currently work with globally recognized brands and represent food commodities as their spokesperson.
So why I am telling you all this? Because I will bring with me all of my experience to help Hispanic and Latinos achieve their goals by overcoming their obstacles. Because if I was able to do it, I want to inspire you to know you can do it. I will help to set you on a path of success. As your Chair-elect I am going to work hard for Lahidan to recruit more Hispanic/Latinos members and empower existing members. I also want to enhance the practice of non hispanic/latino dietitians so that they not only feel comfortable working with them, but that Latinos feel they can trust their advice. I want to empower you with knowledge through our webinars. I want to use our own successful latino members to share their experiences also from how to publish a book, getting hired by the top hospitals with good paying jobs to how to establish a six figure private practice.
I also want all of the national organizations and other dietetic groups to see us LAHIDAN members as the leading experts, so they come to us as credible sources when they need assistance with consulting and educating Hispanic/latino families. We will be a leading group! I feel Lahidan has gone to sleep and we need to wake Lahidan up! So, in February please vote and remember where you want to be in the future.