Around age 30, I began experiencing lethargy, severe mood swings, depression, and sinus and breathing problems. All these symptoms impacted my quality of life. After four years of visiting doctors who could find nothing wrong with me, I finally found an ENT who located the source of my illness: a food allergy to yeast.
I went on a yeast-free diet (yeast, sugar, vinegar, diary, white flour, peanuts, mushrooms), lost 25 pounds, and felt better than I had in years. Eventually, I found that managing my diet created new challenges at events, family dinners, parties, and business meetings. Navigating through the landmines of unknown ingredients and limited food choices was stressful,disconcerting, and exhausting.
As an event planner, I realized if this was a problem for me, it must be a problem for others. Events, restaurants, and workplaces are intended to create an environment of ease, connection, and success. Unfortunately, this is rarely true for people with food allergies who don’t have the freedom to eat every dish without knowing the ingredients in it.
That’s why, in January 2009, I decided to do something about it, not only for myself but for my profession. I entered the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to learn more about my allergy and how to eat, and feel better with food.
Soon afterward, I decided to build upon my 20 years of event planning experience and shift my practice to help companies and professionals address the needs of people with dietary restrictions whether it’s a personal choice, a medical condition, or a food allergy.
Skift Meetings, May 2022 |What Makes Events Truly Accessible
Successful Meetings, April 2022 | Purpose-Driven Food & Beverage Is On-Trend for Events
MeetingsNet.com, March 2022 | F&B Problems: Waiting for Waitstaff
MeetingsNet.com, November 2021 | Reducing Your Food Footprint: You’ve Got to Start Somewhere
MeetingsNet.com, November 2021 | Reducing Your Food Footprint: You’ve Got to Start Somewhere
Meetings Today, June 2020 |. F&B With Tracy Stuckrath: From COVID to Food Allergies and Beyond
Successful Meetings, June 2020 | How to Prepare for a New World of Food and Beverage at Events
PCMA, January 2020 | Thinking About a Meatless Menu? Here’s What to Do First
Successful Meetings, September 2019 | A Food-Safety Management Plan Is Essential for Your Event
Successful Meetings, October 2019 | Food Allergy Facts: What planners need to know when catering to attendees’ dietary concerns
PCMA, July 2019 | Figuring Out Food Waste at Events
MeetingsNet.com, May 2019 | How to Find a Hotel that Can Handle Food Allergies, Special Diets
Special Events, May 2019 | You First: Tips for Serving Special Meals at Events
The Meeting Professional, April 2019 | Making the World Healthier, One Event at a Time
Successful Meetings, April 2019 | How to Reduce Food and Beverage Waste at Meetings
Meetings & Conventions, December 2018 | Is Your F&B a Health Threat?
The Meeting Professional, September 2018 | Considering Disabilities When Designing Inclusive Events
The Meeting Professional, August 2018 | À La Carte: How planners and vendors are working together to accommodate F&B restrictions, preferences and personalization.
Quirk’s Media, July 2018 | Do you plan company events? Keep invisible disabilities in mind
HR.com, July 2018 | Keeping Invisible Disabilities in Mind When Planning Company Meetings
Inside Business, July 2018 | How to plan the menu for your next business meeting
AZ Big Media, February 2018 | 5 Things to Know About Planning Business Meeting Menus
BizBash, September 2017 | How to Accommodate Guests With Dietary Restrictions
Meetings Today, June 2017 | Take 10 – F&B Trends: Forecasts Versus Reality With Tracy Stuckrath
Facilities & Destinations Superbook, 2016 | Due Diligence on F&B
Allergic Living, Spring 2016| Mixing Business & Allergies
MeetingsNet.com, August 18, 2015| Food Allergies & Preferences: A Quiz
Plan Your Meetings, August 10, 2015 | You Asked, We Answered: Nutrition Labeling on Hotel Menus
Humans@Work is a collaboration by Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, CFPM and 10 other authors. Increasingly, HR and business leaders are understanding the importance embracing the human spirit of their employees, and encouraging employees to bring their entire selves to work. This volume discusses these issues of well-being, work/life balance, diversity and inclusion, compassionate workplaces, personal and professional development, and spirituality in work.
You@Work: Unlocking Human Potential in the Workplace is a collaboration by Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, CFPM and 14 other authors. Contemporary HR professionals and business leaders are beginning to understand the importance of unlocking human potential and maximizing performance and innovation by truly embracing the human spirit of their employees. This unique and powerful book explores the nuances of bringing our whole selves to work, and challenges us to shed the outdated notion of asking employees to check their humanity at the door. You@Work is a remarkable collection of insights from 15 leading HR and OD experts, across multiple industries and professional roles. And it’s a must-read for any leader looking to achieve more by putting humanity back into the workplace.
Award of Excellence | IACC, 2022
Smart Women in Meetings: Innovator | Smart Meetings, 2022
Meetings Trendsetters | Meetings Today, 2021
15 Over 50 | Connect, 2021
Top 1,000 Most Influential Event Professionals in North America | BizBash, 2019
Top 500 People in Events | BizBash, 2018
40 Over 40 | Senior Professionals Industry Network, 2017
Meetings Industry Changemakers | MeetingsNet, 2016
Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry | Meetings & Conventions, 2015
Meetings Trendsetters | Meetings Today, 2014
Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), International Live Events Association
First awared to Tracy in1995 and four times since then, the CSEP designation recognizes event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a special event. The designation demonstrates a continuous dedication to enhance individual and professional performance.
Certification, Sustainable Event Professional Certificate Program, Events Industry Council
The SEPC program is for those events professionals interested in accelerating sustainability and social impact in their organizations and global business events. The program provides guidance that will be valuable for reaffirming our industry’s commitment to a recovery that is resilient, sustainable and equitable.
Certificate, ServSafe Alcohol, ServSafe
Certification, Inclusive Event Design, Meeting Professionals International
Certification, Managing Food Allergens & Gluten in Commercial Setting, AllerTrain
Certified Health Coach (CHC)
The Institute for Integrative Medicine and the American Alternative Medical Association grants the Certified Health Coach (CHC) designation for successful completion of a seven-month holistic nutrition program.
Allergen Awareness Training Certificate Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Certified Meetings Manager (CMM), Meeting Professionals International
This certification and resulting designation is bestowed upon senior level event professionals who possess the strategic decision-making ability of leaders and are capable of delivering exceptional meetings and events that drive organizational success. The CMM certification and resulting designation is the most prestigious in the meetings and events industry.
ServSafe®: Food Protection Manager Certification
The ServSafe® program is the restaurant industry’s premiere food safety education and training program recognized and accepted by more federal, state and local health jurisdictions than any other food safety training program. The program covers the flow of food from the time you purchase your products until the meals reach your customers’ tables, and includes topics such as microorganisms that cause foodborne-illness breakouts, proper food storage, and cleaning and sanitizing. In Georgia, food safety certification is not only important – it is the law.
Allergen Training BASICS for the Foodservice and Food Retail Industry is Canada’s employee level education and recognition program that will set the standard for Canadian Food Industry in the area of food allergen education.
Pandemic On-Site Protocol Training, Event Leadership Institute
Designed to provide all front and back of the house on-site event staff – including volunteers, vendors, suppliers, and production crews – with the knowledge necessary to personally stay safe, guidance to identify and suppress risks, and skills to handle, mitigate and de-escalate non-compliance issues should they arise.
GREAT Kitchens: Gluten-Free Training, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Beyond Celiac
GREAT Kitchens is a gluten-free industry comprehensive course teaching the essentials of gluten-free food preparation and cross-contamination avoidance – skills critical for serving celiac and gluten sensitive customers.
The Eating at a Meeting podcast explores a variety of topics on food and beverage (F&B) and how they impact individual experience and inclusion, sustainability, culture, community, health and wellness, laws and more.
Each 30-45 minute Eating at a Meeting episode features an expert on food and beverage who will educate listeners on how to create safe and inclusive food and beverage experiences through their respective lens. The mission is to share authentic stories that illustrate the financial, social, emotional, and mental impact food and beverage have on individuals, organizations, and the earth.
The Host – Tracy Stuckrath
Tracy is an event planner and international speaker with food allergies based in New Bern, North Carolina. She launched thrive! meetings & events in 2010, changing the trajectory of her event planning career to educate organizations on how to feed attendees with dietary needs. She is a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and entrepreneur who drives a mini-cooper convertible, takes her nieces and nephews on experiences trips, and ALWAYS talks to strangers. She has co-authored two books — Humans@Work and You@Work, working on her third (Eating at a Meeting), and has been named Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry, Meetings Industry Change Maker and one of the Top 500 Event Professionals in North America for her work on the topic of inclusive food and beverage.
Guests on Eating at a Meeting are event and meeting planners, doctors, lawyers, farmers, eaters, chefs, human resource managers, and more, sharing their experiences, knowledge and expertise on how F&B impacts experiences and business. As experts in their fields, they can help listeners think differently about food and beverage. We hope to help listeners better navigate their dietary needs, palates, plates at meetings and events, in the workplace and their communities, and across the earth so they are healthier, safer and included.
Want to listen NOW? Check out the latest episodes here.
The Eating at a Meeting Facebook group share more information on the podcast episodes and organizing safe and inclusive food and beverage events.
Listen to the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform. New episodes weekly.