Meet The Team

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Morgan Barden

Lead Coach

PLN represents much more than just nutrition to me. I firmly believe that nutrition affects every single aspect of one’s life and is the foundation of our health and happiness. It affects everything, from how we perform, how we feel (physically, mentally and emotionally) to how we portray ourselves.  At PLN we are focused on the long term solution of health and so am I. There is not a single person on this planet who does not need to eat everyday and who does not wish to be healthier.  I simply seek to help others achieve success and enhance as many lives as possible through support, education, and nutrition. To me there is no place in the world like PLN. It represents community, family, faith, education, health, fulfillment and enrichment. In one word PLN represents PROGRESS! In every aspect of life, continuously improving, learning, and growing. It gives me the opportunity to connect with others, build relationships and enhance lives. The foundation of PROGRESS is fueled by nutrition and I AM a weapon of mass enhancement!

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Jessica Specht 

PLN-Educator

Throughout my life I’ve used food as my drug of choice and like any addict, over time I began to need more and more to satisfy my addictive desires. Life slowly became unmanageable and I was miserable to say the least. Food affected every single aspect of my life and eventually it came to the point where I knew I couldn’t live my life the way I had been. Everyday I was in survival mode, just trying to make it to tomorrow and praying for a miracle. I dove head first into learning all I could about nutrition and addiction. Slowly but surely I was able to put all I was learning into action and my life was forever changed. I am dedicated to helping others reveal their true potential and thrive rather than to just get by in life. PLN not only provides the nutritional and educational components to do so but, even more importantly, an amazing community. There is absolutely nothing more fulfilling than being a part of changing lives and at PLN we do nothing short of just that!

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Joe Trinca 

Creator of Opportunities

From adolescence and throughout college I have always considered myself an athlete. From t-ball, soccer, football and lacrosse I have consistently remained active in my daily life. Today I participate in the competitive arena of CrossFit and have never found something more challenging both physically and mentally. The biggest thing I lacked in my regiment of fitness and competition just so happens to be the foundational building block of performance, nutrition. My nutrition has been the most consistent inconsistency in my training, however, with the simplicity and knowledge provided by PLN I feel as though I have regained control of my performance and have broken through barriers that for a long time I couldn’t find the solution to. I am happy to say I am “Powered by PLN”  

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Teri Smith 

Coach/Guest Education Center

Before PLN if someone had asked me what PLN and health meant to me I would have simply said that health means having a good check up at a dr’s appointment and that PLN is some kind of a “meal program.” However, after being a client for almost two years and a part of the PLN family for almost a year PLN and health have developed a more powerful meaning to me. PLN helped me define health on my own terms. It means feeling my very best each and everyday. No sick days or reasons why “I can’t.” Not eating from drive-thru’s or succumbing to fast food convenience. It’s dedicating myself to fitness, making no excuses that will stop me from success. It’s having a sound and positive mindset. It’s being able to help as many people as I can by sharing my own experiences and challenges. It’s having faith and love in my heart. Belief in myself and my dreams. It’s waking up each day being grateful for all that I am, all that I have and all that I aspire to be. PLN gave me the tools, the support and the family I needed to release almost 200 lbs of negativity. The confidence to begin facing my fears and the strength to stand up to things and people that hurt me or kept me small.  By adopting the healthy and positive practices that PLN teaches and represents I have found my life’s purpose. I gained my health back and a love for life that makes me want to jump out of bed each morning and go after my dreams instead of just thinking about them!

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Dana Esposito 

PLN-Educator

I came to PLN after graduating from SUNY Oswego where I studied Health Science and Nutrition. My plan was to go on to get my Masters in Nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian. I thought, what could be a better place than PLN to learn and gain experience working with food. What I didn’t expect was how much I would learn from the customers. I didn’t think customers would be willing to share their stories and invite me along on their journeys to a healthier lifestyle. That has been my favorite part of working at PLN, being able to help people achieve their goals and celebrate with them as they see their results. This experience has had a big impact on me, so big that I’ve decided to make a career change. I now want to pursue a career in nursing to help people in not only nutrition, but in all aspects of their life. I believe taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, should be a priority because it empowers you to achieve your goals and helps you live a healthy and happy life.
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Britney Annis 

PLN-Educator

Having experience working with pediatrics in the medical field, nutrition is important to me for many reasons. It fuels my body to keep working with young patients and families during their difficult times in the hospital and gives me an opportunity to educate children on nutrition based off their dietary plan or restrictions. Off the clock nutrition provides me strength to get through my intense workouts, be successful in recreational sports and elevates my mood. Food provides life and I want to enjoy my life as long as I can. PLN provides an awesome opportunity to tell people about how nutrition can make a person happy about themselves and about life.

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N’Dea Johnson 

PLN-Educator

Nutrition wasn’t always a big part of my life like it is now. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease after being misdiagnosed for 2 years. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease that creates chronic inflammation throughout your digestive tract. I was in and out of hospitals, in and out of operating rooms and forced to medically withdraw from school. I didn’t find nutrition until I was at my worst and quite literally, it saved my life. When you’re living with Crohn’s, Nutrition becomes everything. Anything can be a trigger, especially when it comes to food so you have to be careful. it’s about finding what works for you and staying as far away from the things that don’t. That in itself can get pretty stressful! Since my diagnosis I have dedicated my life to keeping my temple healthy by getting in the gym and eating whole foods. PLN has made it tremendously easier for me to manage my illness because I always know what i’m getting. That is everything to someone like me. Ever since i’ve dedicated my life to learning and teaching nutrition I feel like i’m fulfilling my life purpose AND i’m happy to say I’ve been symptom free for 2 years! For any of my fellow chronies out there or anyone that’s fighting the nutrition fight, you are not alone my friend, I am here for you!

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Lora Catalino

Staff Nutritionist

My love for PLN stems from my love for people in general. I deeply care for people and genuinely want to see the world living healthier and accelerating in life. PLN allows me to be apart of something much bigger than myself and love the world on a bigger scale than I could have ever imagined.

I’ve been reading food labels since I was 10 years old and I’ve always been fascinated with improving my personal fitness. Once I had that pretty much down (although I wasn’t aware of this at first), I was searching for a community. I had built up so much passion, drive, and knowledge for health and nutrition and I was struggling to find an outlet to share it with others.  I see so much deception in the food industry- fad diets, false advertising, flattering speech and worst of all, the despicable food that has flooded our grocery and convenience stores. I know how impactful nutrition can be in life and it kills me to see people blow it off like it doesn’t matter. For that reason I feel obligated to share what I know to be true with anyone and everyone.

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Trisha Williamson

The NuTRISHAnal Catalyst

Failing to plan is planning to fail. I love Project LeanNation because it helps you be prepared so you can succeed when it comes to health. Not enough people are aware of what they are putting into their body and how it is affecting their life. Eating whole foods and practicing a healthy lifestyle has many positive side effects. These side effects include: a boost in confidence, increased motivation, better moods, etc. Project LeanNation allows you to have these side effects by feeding you whole foods and preparing your meals for you. The convenience of these prepared meals, allows people to have more time to themselves and spend more time with their family. I believe everyone should be working on their health in order to achieve optimal happiness. I have had the pleasure of seeing people’s lives change when they invest in our meal plans. By investing in our meal plans they have invested in their own health, and that is a truly rewarding feeling for them and myself to witness.

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Zach Williams 

PLN-Educator

Heath to me is a way of life not just a passion or hobby. I have made it a lifestyle choice to help others with fitness and nutrition knowing that it’s hard to walk that path alone and not everyone can without a helping hand. Project LeanNation has given me the tools to optimize my own health goals as well as the opportunity to guide others.

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Brenna Taggerty

PLN-Educator

Like most, I did not have a healthy relationship with food, I was obsessed with the numbers, and the mirror. This resulted with my body, mind, and relationships in turmoil.  I had to make a change for my own health and well-being. So, instead of feeling shameful about my eating habits, I turned it into a passion. I wanted to become the best version of myself; I read a plethora of self-help books,  learned about nutrition, and began exercise programs that benefited my mind and body. I know how hard it is to have a healthy relationship with food, and body image.  I now strive to help others gain this knowledge,  and learn how to change their lifestyles for optimal health.

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Lori Kalinowski

PLN-Educator

Project Lean Nation holds a very special place in my life.  PLN is so much more than a job, I can’t even consider it one.  I don’t count the hours before I can go home, I don’t dread coming in, I don’t question how I’m going to make it through the day like lots of other jobs.  I love it here, I love my co-workers more than my own family, I love being able to help people in a journey I have already somewhat traveled.  I say somewhat because it’s never over.  I honestly can’t picture myself working anywhere else that I could say these things.  Sure, I could work lots of places and maybe even make more money, but I wouldn’t feel the way I do about Project lean Nation.  Would I work in a restaurant and serve food to people that I didn’t believe in and feel good about it? No.  Would I work in another dental office, burning myself out on something I do 4 days a week already? I wouldn’t want to.  Would I sacrifice my nights bartending, selling something I also don’t believe in? Again, no.  I like working in a place where I fully stand behind the product, the people behind it, the ideals of the company.  When people ask me how I lost weight, or how I’ve gotten to where I am, I say first and foremost, nutrition.  And I am lucky enough to be able to say hey, come see me at work, I think we can really help you, and I do.  I honestly do sit back often and wonder how I got to be so lucky to be able to work here, it’s a place where so many people want to work.  I try very hard to live up to the lifestyle that we promote as well.  I don’t drink, I don’t eat cupcakes and cookies, I live a very fit lifestyle that aligns with what we promote.  I know this is supposed to be short, I’m doing my best.  I also love having almost a “safe place” to be able to be myself, the entire world outside of here thinks I am crazy and “extreme” for living the lifestyle that I do, but people here get it, they get me, they get why.  Now, why PLN for our clients? Because it’s the most realistic place to start on a journey to health.  And it’s simple, it’s just plain healthy food.  I do wonder why the transition is so difficult for some people when it comes to this sometimes.  Why would they rather restrict themselves to 500 calories and give themselves injections? Why would they rather get expensive surgery and eat pureed food for weeks or months? Why would they rather suffer from ailments that could easily be solved by something so simple?  With each person the answer is different of course.  I love what we stand for at PLN, nothing fake in our food, no preservatives, no added coloring, no chemicals like in other “diet plans.”  I love that it teaches people the proper foods, and portions that they should be eating, and I love even more seeing people change.  The change from the first time they come in, unsure, asking for help, to the second time they are smiling, confident, excited because they can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.  I really could go on and on about Why PLN is for me, why PLN is for our clients, why PLN is for every single person, but I was told to keep this to 180 words, and I obviously couldn’t.  In summary, I am the luckiest person alive to be able to work at a place that I believe in, that believes in me, and that I can preach to the world with good conscience, I could probably sell anything, but I think my story and lifestyle is the best sales tactic there is-proof.  Thank you all for everything <3

Lori

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Jenna Lehner

Chief Motivational Wizard

My senior year in college I faced challenges I never imagined I would. Often, I wanted to turn to food and baking for stress relief, but as an athlete, I knew I’d have to do so in a healthy way. I became fascinated by how much the food we eat affects not only our physical well-being, but also mental health.  A nutrient-dense, balanced diet benefits the body and brain in so many ways (i.e. chemically, hormonally, etc.). I have experienced this first-hand; My demons were more mental than physical. I want to help other people feel that they, too, can take control of their health. Most people don’t have the time to delve into nutrition research, and decipher between fads and facts. I want to be a messenger. I want to help people see that eating healthy doesn’t have to be a “challenge,” as it is a chance to show our bodies that we cherish and respect them; a chance to fuel our brains to be the best they can be. Our physical and mental health is truly something to celebrate, and food is one of our best tools to practice self-love.