Meet Janine Flannery, one of our incredible 2023 Equal Eats Ambassadors.
Marketing, brand management
What are some of your favourite hobbies, interests and activities?
Some of my favorite interests include yoga, tennis, golf, skiing, running or basically anything that requires movement/exercise. I'm also motivated by reading a good book, cooking, baking, and business, marketing and entrepreneurial pursuits.
What countries have you travelled to?
The countries our family has traveled to with our food allergic son include the UK, Ireland and France. Before having kids I’ve traveled to Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.
What's your dream travel destination?
My dream travel destination would be to visit Australia and New Zealand. It has been many decades since I was last there as a teenager. I’d like to bring my family there to explore and experience how food allergy awareness there is embraced a bit more than in the US.
What's your relationship to dietary restrictions? (e.g. you/your child, allergy/celiac)
My teenage son has had multiple food allergies since infancy with a history of anaphylactic reactions, and more recently diagnosed with EOE. My husband is also allergic to shellfish.
What led you to become an Equal Eats ambassador? (why is their mission important to you?)
Until I met Kyle and discovered the ease of using an Equal Eats chef card, I felt lost and unable to communicate my son’s long list of food allergies. The Equal Eats vision is at the core of what our family strives to achieve daily – empowering those living with dietary restrictions to safely enjoy food everywhere. Becoming an ambassador to represent Equal Eats was a natural fit.
Now with my son in his teens, I value how Equal Eats supports him even more as he begins to advocate for himself independently as a young adult. The clear easy-to-understand design of the Equal Eats chef card and the quality of the material shows you’ve invested in your safety and your request requires attention.
What do you find is the most challenging aspect of managing a dietary restriction?
The most challenging aspect is being taken seriously by the staff of a restaurant, and ensuring the appropriate attention is given to your needs. When simply cross contact or a bite of the wrong food could send you to the hospital, you’re trusting that your words and what you are communicating are understood. This challenge creates stress on the whole family in many ways.
What's the one bright side you have found of managing a dietary restriction?
There are many positives of managing dietary restrictions. With my son’s list of many common foods to avoid, our family eats healthy, real food, every day. It doesn’t take fancy ingredients or elaborate techniques to create meals that appeal to a broad audience. Learning how to cook and bake free of the top 9 most common food allergens greatly broadened my comfort in the kitchen and continues to give me confidence.
What's your goal or impact you'd like to achieve being an Equal Eats ambassador?
Raise awareness, raise awareness, and raise awareness about the impact of dietary restrictions and the life saving knowledge to save someone's life. Giving the appropriate attention to someone, to actually listen to their needs has the power to have great impact and extend compassion with simple adjustments to safe meal preparation.
Where can people follow or connect with you?