Michigan Academy
2024-2025 Board of Directors Candidates


Leatta Byrd, MA, RDN

I have previously served as President of the Southwest Michigan District Dietetic Association and past MiAND Secretary–Treasurer. I have been the MiAND Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access (IDEA) Director for the past four years. I am an advocate for culturally responsive health and nutrition education programs and I embrace visionary leadership which helps to link team members’ skills and talents with the organization’s vision and mission to bring about higher levels of results. I am the owner of Seraphim Nutrition LCC.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • MiAND IDEA Director
  • MiAND Secretary-Treasurer
  • SWMDDA President

Secretary Treasurer-Elect

Kayla Bridges, DCN, MS, RD-AP, CNSC, FAND

I’ve always strived to demonstrate nutrition leadership through various volunteer roles within ASPEN’s Michigan Chapter and the AND Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group (PNPG), including President, IDEA, and Treasurer roles. During my leadership with MSPEN, we received the ASPEN Award for Chapter of the Year in 2020. I have secretarial experience from my volunteer leadership role for the Michigan-based nonprofit organization Chosen Infertility Group and am experienced in organizing contracts/publications. I’ve volunteered for AND as a subject matter expert and for the national scholarship selection committee, but I’d love to be involved at the state level with MiAND.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group (PNPG) Nominating Committee Co-chair; IDEA Liaison; Publications Chair; Building Blocks for Life Editor
  • Michigan Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutriton (MSPEN) President; Treasurer; Website Director; Membership Director
  • MiAND and SEMDA Member

IDEA Director

Candidate Needed

Membership Director

Meghan Wilkinson, MS, RDN, CNSC

Throughout my career, I have always sought out leadership roles as it is important to be involved in our profession. If we are interested in seeking change, we must be a player at the table. By staying involved, I build relationships and network with my fellow RD’s across the state. Through clear and concise communication, I will work towards providing updates on membership. Using my organizational skills, I will strive to keep accurate records of membership and hope to motivate others to remain members of the Academy.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • MNDI Board of Trustees
  • SWMDDA: President; Secretary

Membership Director-elect

Andrea Lopofsky, RD, CNSC

I am in my second year as the Treasurer for Dietitians of West Michigan. I am dependable, hard-working, and organized. I look forward to working with MiAND

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • DWM: Treasurer

Public Policy Director-elect

Sahar Kraydi, MA, RDN, LD

As a passionate dietitian, I believe that with this role I would be able to voice my patients/clients struggle to have better access to nutrition education to help them ensure a better quality of life and improve their health and well- being.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • University of Michigan, School of Public Health-Dietetics Advisory Board

Professional Development Director-elect

Stephanie Schacher, MS, RDN, FAND

My leadership strengths and skills include empathy and effective communication when working with others leading to successful and collaborative outcomes in a supportive environment. Adaptability is another strength I would use that would be of benefit in this role by adjusting strategies as needed to fit the needs of Michigan Academy. Additionally, I would rely on my  integrity for use in this position to provide consistency in my decisions and promote the Academy’s code of ethics.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • MiAND: Student Advisory Committee; Conference Planning Committee; Member
  • DPGs: Dietitians in Integrative & Functional Medicine; Sports and Human Performance Nutrition; Weight Management
  • MIGs: Religion

Nominating Committee Member

Sarah Eichberger, MPH, RDN

I am a systems thinker and appreciate process, collaboration and coaching others. I have been engaged in my field of public health/community nutrition since 2004 and have worked with diverse communities throughout the Midwest. I have held prior committee positions with the Chicago Dietetic Association and the Hunger Environmental Nutrition dietetic practice group. I have not been engaged in MiAND since moving back to Michigan in 2013. My role at MSU Extension allows me to engage with leaders throughout the state. I am interested in becoming more connected to other Michigan Registered Dietitians.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Helds:

  • Chicago Dietetic Association positions
  • Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Practice Group positions

Kara Lynch, MS, RD

As a long-standing member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I have held a variety of leadership positions both professionally and personally.  With these positions, I bring strong organizational skills that have facilitated program management efforts.  I am well suited to work with a variety of people using my verbal and written communication strengths and feel that I am equipped to recruit fellow members into leadership opportunities.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • Treasurer: Epsilon Sigma Phi, an Extension organization
  • Secretary-Tri-City Dietetic Association
  • Secretary-Michigan Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences

Michigan Nutrition and Dietetics Institute Trustee

Rachel Bessire, MPH, RDN

I am a public health professional that has worked in research for nearly ten years and developed skills such as public speaking, developing research protocols and nutrition standard documents, writing for professional journal publications, conducting literature reviews to identify evidence-based practices, and creating social media posts and educational materials to educate the public in addition to planning educational presentations and health fair events. My strengths are communication, time management, planning, and being detail oriented.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • MiAND Poster Presenter and Member

Diane Cress, RDN, PhD

Having practiced as a clinical dietitian, as a researcher, and as an educator, I have a well-developed set of skills that lend themselves well to leadership.  I am a good listener; I am well-organized and efficient; and, I care about lifting up my profession.  I lead by example, with stress on the importance of competence and hard work.  I have had a wide range of experiences within our profession that I believe places me in a unique position to relate across a wide range of issues.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • Academy/MiAND Member since 1990
  • Education DPG Member
  • Sports and Human Performance DPG Member

Allegra Picano, MS, RD

I am continually inspired by the colleagues who have worked tirelessly to advocate for our profession and, serving as a leader, I aim to do the same. In my current role, I have had the wonderful opportunity to lead and develop the pediatric GI nutrition program at Henry Ford Health. I also served as the SEMDA Nominating Committee Chair in 2022-2023. Both of these experiences have taught me that building a strong community and working as a team is essential for an effective leader. I believe the best leaders are always learning and looking for ways to improve.

Dietetic Association Activities/Positions Held:

  • SEMDA: Nominating Committee Chair
  • MiAND: Member and Annual Conference Attendee
  • Academy Outstanding Dietetic Student Award Recipient (DPD)-2019