Women We Love: Andie Gonzalez finds her calling educating about health, wellness

When registered dietitian Andie Gonzalez relocated her family to Texas four years ago to work for H-E-B, the move was for more than a job.

“This is where our heart was,”said Gonzalez of her native Rio Grande Valley. “I saw it as an opportunity to come back home and serve my community.”

Abraham Moreno, an administrative assistant with the supermarket chain, nominated Gonzalez for consideration in the Monitor’s Women We Love series. Moreno said he met her on her first day with the company.

Moreno was participating in H-E-B’s weight-loss competition, Slimdown Showdown, and Gonzalez provided the nutrition component of the interdisciplinary support the contestants received.

While Gonzalez has additional help now, she was the only H-E-B dietitian in the border area for three years, Moreno said. He describes her as someone that goes above and beyond, and said other partners refer their family and friends to her.

“She’s basically changed our area in regards to health and wellness,” he said.

Gonzalez works to educate customers, employees and patients about making healthier choices. Recently, she’s switched from a border-region dietitian to a medical sales representative for nutritional services for H-E-B under the pharmacy department.

“In the space of health and wellness, there really isn’t another retailer in Texas today that is doing what we’re doing in regard to connecting with patients in the place where it really helps to make a difference in behavior change — in the aisles as they’re shopping,” said Stacy Bates, nutrition services program manager. “Obviously, she cares even more than someone that’s not from the border region because she’s from there.”

Bates said that poor wellness choices are sometimes due to a lack of education, and Gonzalez brings an enthusiasm for her community to help educate and inform. For these reasons, Bates called Gonzalez’s nomination “well deserved.”

“She’s got a great passion and drive for the work she does,” Bates said.

When Gonzalez started, the focus was on the Lower Valley. It’s since spread west, and Bates sees Gonzalez as essential to the program’s continued expansion.

“Long term, I’d love to see Andie lead a team of four or five dietitians in the border region,” she said, adding that Gonzalez has the opportunity to help grow and shape the initiative. “Andie is just a phenomenal partner.”

Gonzalez said the most rewarding part of her job is when patients apply the knowledge she shares and improve their diets.

“Being able to leave that health and wellness footprint is impactful for me personally,” she said. “We’re servants first.

“When I learned about this opportunity closer to home, I really felt like it was my calling.”

In observance of Women’s History Month, The Monitor is recognizing local women who inspire us. This is the second of eight profiles on those who made our 2018 list of “Women We Love,” a series we’ll publish every Monday and Thursday in March