Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mylan Blogger Summit 2013 - How To Talk to Others About Food Allergies

I was in a conference room surrounded by about twenty knowledgeable, strong, supportive
women who all get "it" in regards to the severity of food allergies...somebody pinch me.  And no, I wasn't dreaming.  
Mylan EpiPen Summit - Photo by Noel Malcolm

Heidi Bayer - Brooklyn Allergy Mom, Ruth LovettSmith - Best Allergy Sites, Missy Berggren - The Marketing Mama,
Caroline Moassessi - Grateful Foodie, Kelly Rudnicki - Food Allergy Mama, Laura Kashtan - Mylan Specialty L.P.,
Jenny Sprague - Multiple Food Allergy Help, Joanne LaSpina - Food Allergy Assistant, Sloane Miller - Allergic Girl,
Elizabeth DiBurro - Easy Breezy Life, Sarah Chuck - Get Allergy Wise, Dr. Ruchi Gupta - The Food Allergy Experience,
Lindsey Steffensen - Frugal Food Allergies, Kimberly Pellicore - The Food Allergy Mom, Irene Chu - Get Allergy Wise,
Cybele Pascal - The Allergy-Friendly Cook, Lisa Rutter - No Nuts Mom Group, Libby Ilson - The Allergic Kid,
Tracy Bush - Nutrimom - Food Allergy Liason

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an exclusive EpiPen Summit at The Strand in New York City, thanks to Mylan Specialty L.P.  There are so  many things that I'm very excited to share with you about this fantastic meeting but for today I'd like to focus on one thing in particular.   Confident Communication.

Sloane Miller of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc gave a speech that really hit home within myself and my beliefs about food allergies.  I found myself nodding my head at so many topics that she addressed that I'm afraid I may have whiplash.  No really, kidding aside, this woman not only gets "it" she's redefining "it".  

Sloane Miller - Allergic Girl
at Mylan EpiPen Summit
Photo by Noel Malcolm

Sloane discussed how to effectively communicate to others about food allergies.  Her advice?  

- Be clear

- Be factual

- Be firm

- Use few sentences

- Use neutral facial expressions

- State your needs and change the subject

- Do NOT apologize

- There is no room for negotiation

And the last two are my favorites...

- Your health is NOT a conversation piece

- You have nothing to prove

Is it possible that by using these simple rules that we could change how food allergies are viewed?  If we give clear facts, state our needs, and then change the conversation is it possible that people will actually hear what we have to say and take us seriously?  I think so.  

In my opinion, I feel that many of us allow our emotions to control the conversation.  We get upset, we start telling reaction stories, we get defensive, we attempt to force people to get "it" by talking too much.  Let's stop giving people reasons to tune us out, reasons to think we're overreacting, and reasons to not take us seriously.  It's time to start communicating with confidence.  

Elizabeth DiBurro
Easy Breezy Life
AKA EBL Food Allergies


  1. What a great photo of you all! I wish that I could have attended - a great chance to meet all the mom's making improvements in the food allergy community. Since I missed Sloane's speech, I'm happy to read her recap. Thank you for sharing her words of wisdom.


  2. Thanks Jennifer! I wish you were able to come too. It would be great to meet you in person. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing her speech! I think it's very smart. The point often gets lost when we get too emotional or over-apologize. We don't need to apologize, because we've done nothing wrong.

    1. She had much more to say. However, this is what stood out the most to me. Please stay tuned for more information from the EpiPen Summit.

  4. My head is still whirling from Sloane's presentation. I was in awe. I rushed home to talk to my son about saying not apologizing. So much rang so true. I think back to how many times I approached folks when my son was little as if I was being difficult about a life threatening illness. Can you believe it?

    Thank God we've come a long way and yet, there is so much farther we need to travel. GREAT meeting you! I appreciate how you make life real and give parents like me the space to be real and honest.


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