About

ABOUT US

Founded by Beth Johnson in 2010, Food Directions operates at the intersection of food policy where science, legislation, and regulation meet. With health professional credentials, scientific expertise, and a thorough understanding of the interconnectedness of the legislative and regulatory process, we help our customers navigate the cluttered, and sometimes overwhelming, food policy environment to minimize costly burdens and maximize opportunities. Headquartered in Washington, DC with deep relationships within federal agencies like FDA and USDA, and on Capitol Hill, Food Directions can closely follow all issues related to agriculture, food safety, and nutrition policy. At the state, federal, and international level, Food Directions is plugged into the ever-changing food policy dynamic and keeping a close eye on consumer trends.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT US...

Beth Johnson, MS, RD
Principal and CEO

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Elizabeth (Beth) Johnson, MS, RD, founded Food Directions LLC in February 2010. Johnson’s unique experience and skill set helps clients gain valuable insight into the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Capitol Hill. Johnson also has strong relationships with thought leaders at NGOs, food associations, and consumer groups, which help Food Directions gain a diverse perspective on food issues. Johnson is regularly tapped to speak at food related conferences and events.

Prior to starting Food Directions LLC, Johnson served as Executive Vice President for Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association where she oversaw government affairs, public policy and communications for the organization. In 2008, Johnson was named Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA where she lead and oversaw the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), USDA’s public health agency that ensures the nation’s commercial meat, poultry, and certain egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. In addition to her service as Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, Johnson was deputy chief of staff and senior advisor for the Secretary of Agriculture at USDA, where she focused on agricultural trade, animal health, food safety and nutrition. She joined the department in 2002 after nearly four years at Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., where she was a vice president with clients in the food and agriculture arena. Her previous experiences include positions as a senior professional staff member at the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; a nutritionist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and a research dietitian at USDA. Johnson also worked at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as associate director for food policy.

Johnson is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), serves on the National Food Policy Conference Advisory Committee, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) host committee, and on Dunkin Brands’ Nutrition Advisory Board and is a Food Cowboy Advisor. Johnson has been quoted in numerous media outlets including USA Today, HealthDay, Supermarket News, Food Navigator USA, AdWeek, Washington Times, Politico, and The Hill, among others.

Johnson holds a BS in Dietetics from Ball State University and an MS in Nutrition from the University of Maryland. Johnson lives in Maryland with her husband Bill and daughters Hanah and Sara.

Want to connect with Beth?

bethjohnson@fooddirectionsdc.com | 410.353.6032

Maggie Sommers Gentile, MS, RD
Vice President of Food and Nutrition Policy

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Maggie Gentile joined Food Directions in 2011 as the Senior Director of Food and Nutrition. Maggie manages day to day client needs, executes client projects, participates in food industry coalitions, and monitors all activities in the food space. Until May 2011, she worked as a Senior Account Executive supporting Edelman’s growing nutrition and food policy and promotion activities. Prior to this role she worked alongside Beth Johnson at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) where she maintained issue expertise for their Food and Healthy Living program at Federal, state and regulatory levels and communicated the NRA’s position on emerging nutrition public policy issues to key stakeholders.

Gentile is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the Institute of Food Technologists. From 2012-2015 Gentile has served as the Public Policy Coordinator for the D.C. Metro Area Dietetic Association (DCMADA) and participates as an Advisory Council member for Common Threads, a program focused on teaching low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals to prevent childhood obesity.

Gentile holds a BS in health and sports studies at Miami University (Ohio) and earned a MS in the Dietetic program at Loyola University Chicago. Gentile lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C with her husband.

Want to connect with Maggie?

maggiesommers@fooddirectionsdc.com | 630.878.1461

Lindsay Yarabek, MS, RD, ATC
Senior Director of Food Policy & Scientific Affairs

Registered Dietitian and Certified Athletic Trainer, Lindsay Yarabek joined Food Directions in September 2014. Prior to beginning at Food Directions, Yarabek spent time gaining valuable nutrition policy experience working for two offices within the Department of Health and Human Services: 1) on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans within the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and 2) developing nutrition and health promotion communications strategies with The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN). In addition to HHS, Yarabek expanded upon academic experiences teaching two courses as adjunct professor within the Marymount University Malek School of Health Professions.

Prior to making the move to DC, Yarabek was an Assistant Nutrition Educator through the Drexel University SNAP-Education Program. She taught nutrition classes and after school cooking clubs within the Philadelphia City school system – mostly at the middle and high school levels. She additionally held positions as Research Assistant and Nutrition Interventionist within the University of Pennsylvania Center for Weight and Eating Disorders working as a member of the nutrition intervention team on multiple diet and weight loss studies.

Yarabek is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), serving on the board of AND’s DC section from 2013-2016, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), serving on the board of IFT’s DC Section as Member at Large (2016-2018), and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). She completed her BS degree in Sports Medicine at the University of South Florida and her MS degree in Nutrition at Drexel University. She currently resides in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Northern Virginia.

Want to connect with Lindsay?

lindsayyarabek@fooddirectionsdc.com | 941.716.4551