Interviewer: What is your current position of employment and what are the responsibilities you have in that role?
I currently have a private practice and my responsibilities are everything from beginning to end. I do marketing and promotion, billing, and insurance verification, in addition to the actual consultations with clients. I am also a consultant with a program called Fruit Street which provides an online diabetes prevention program. I facilitate a year-long group lifestyle change program focusing on healthy eating, exercise, and behavior change.
Interviewer: That’s incredible, and I love that the program offers extended support. What was your original career plan and how did that change over time?
I took a non-traditional path. I did my undergrad at the Air Force Academy and served 9 years as a Personnel Officer. After separating from the Air Force, I chose to stay home to raise our 3 children. Once my youngest was about school age, I decided to go back to school to finish up my requirements to become a dietitian. My first job as a dietitian was for the VA medical system doing outpatient nutrition where I gained experience working with weight management counseling as well as their bariatric program. Then I worked for an insurance company for about four years as a diabetes educator. While I was there, I decided that I really wanted to pursue my own practice, and I did!
Interviewer: I love hearing how people get into dietetics and that sounds like such an interesting journey to where you are now. What is one piece of career advice you wish you would have received from someone when you were earlier on in your career?
The advice I give to people that maybe I didn’t necessarily get is that if there is a position that you are interested in, but you don’t think you are qualified for it, don’t talk yourself out of it. Tell yourself that the worst that can happen is, you don’t get selected, but you never know if you don’t apply. I think that’s so important, especially early on, when you feel like maybe you aren’t qualified for something. You never know what you’re capable of. When you’re applying, a lot of places will say that they want a certain amount of experience, and you don’t have that when you’re just starting out. It’s easy to just discount yourself, but a lot of times people will be willing to work with you even if you don’t have that experience.
Interviewer: Yes, let them tell you no, don’t say no to yourself. I think so many people need to hear that, thank you for sharing. Is there a professional skill that you’re still developing or would like to develop or work on in the future?
I’m trying to develop my marketing expertise, especially in terms of social media like trying to develop blog posts, or just different types of social media posts that would help with marketing. That’s an area that I definitely don’t have a lot of experience with that I’m trying to develop more.
Interviewer: Yes, social media is such a huge part of everything right now! What inspires you to continue your work in the field of dietetics?
I get a lot of inspiration from clients that I work with who have changes, especially with their health. I’m a certified diabetes care and education specialist so a lot of the clients I work with have diabetes. When I have someone come back to me six months later who say “wow, my A1C improved to normal levels and thank you, it was because of working with you,” that really inspires me and motivates me to keep working with more people.