About Cindy Heilman

Cindy Heilman MS, DTR

Cindy HeilmanCindy Heilman has over 30 years of experience in enhancing hospitality, and food service standards. She is the CEO of her own company, Higher Standards LLC, and creator of Kind Dining® Training. Her unique background in restaurant ownership, in hospitality and healthcare food service, in working as a Dietetic Technician Registered and Healthcare Specialist at SYSCO Foodservices, led her to the development of her exclusive program that improves relationships and lives of aging residents through the dining experience.

Cindy has been honored as recognized Oregon Dietetic Technician of the year and she received the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) National Award for Excellence in Dietetic Technology. Cindy holds a Masters Degree in Food and Nutrition Management  and served as ADA’s At Large Delegate: Dietetic Technician from 2010-2012.

Through her graduate research, she recognized the relationship between improved training of serving staff and a respectful dining experience in senior living communities.

Cindy is a national speaker and trainer who’s lifelong dedication to hospitality and nutrition shines in her passion for enriching mealtimes for seniors and servers.  She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Mike, and dog Sunny.

In her own words

Cindy’s Motivation

Where did this passion for hospitality come from? I grew up experiencing meals as defining moments–each one an opportunity to enjoy someone’s company. Later, as a food service director, I realized that we are neither born nor often trained in the knowledge, skills and attitudes that impart authentic hospitality.

As I completed my research and earned my Masters Degree in Nutrition and Food Management, I examined the meal priorities of residents and staff, discovering that my own passion for hospitality could transform server training.

Higher Standards was born from this passion. Kind Dining® is a 9-part training program that begins that transformation.

On Founding Higher Standards: Turning Research into Action

Sharing meals is one of the most satisfying experiences we do as humans. We talk, we laugh, we discuss, and we interact with each other. Meant for relaxation and pleasure, mealtimes offer opportunity to strengthen connections. My graduate research taught me the connection residents make over meals is vital to their happiness and sense of belonging. Working in restaurants, and food service in senior living communities, enabled me to recognize the gap between server and resident relationships. When servers make a genuine effort to spark conversation, show caring interest, and proper serving skills, it creates a much happier experience for all. Servers are not born with this knowledge, they are nurtured, and trained. I felt a calling to change professions and compelled to create a training program designed exclusively for servers in this environment.


Higher Standards was founded to create affordable training tools to optimize mealtime relationships in senior living communities. Working in collaboration with expert staff and resource support from three prominent Continuing Care Communities in Oregon, I developed this one-of-a-kind curriculum, Kind Dining® training, which specializes in turning food servers from all departments into powerful company assets. Each individual is empowered to grow in their job, to achieve higher service standards and shape nurturing relationships with elders and co-workers around mealtimes.

I look forward to helping you attract new residents, retain staff, and outperform your competition. Contact me today.


Professional Recognition

  • At Large Delegate: Dietetic Technician: American Dietetic Association 2010-2012
  • Award for Excellence in Dietetic Technology 1999: American Dietetic Association
  • Recognized Dietetic Technician of the Year 1998: Oregon Dietetic Association

Professional Membership/Activities

  • Honors Committee Member:  2009-2010: American Dietetic Association
  • Fast Track Candidate National Speakers Association (NSA) 2009-2010
  • Member American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Cascadia Chapter
  • Member Education Committee: Making Oregon Vital for Elders (M.O.V.E. coalition)
  • Member Oregon Dietetic Association, Oregon Consulting Dietitians
  • Current Certified  ServeSafe  Instructor
  • Past Board of Directors: Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA): Business Partner Rep: 2003-2008