Sarah has been a private practice dietitian since graduating from Monash University in 2009. The last seven years have been an amazing journey for Sarah. She never imagined that from her beginnings consulting two days a week at a gym could transform her into an entrepreneur with a strong business mind, and who would become the finalist of the Telstra Business Women’s Award, Victorian Young Achievers Award, Career Kickstart Award and semi-finalist of the Health and Wellbeing Award. Her entrepreneurial mind never slows down and she is ready to launch an edible seaweed range, Alg in early 2017.
The love of food runs in the blood of Sarah’s family where everyone in her family has their own forte. It is especially important for her to show her love through cooking and this has become one of the core values and mission Sarah wants to inspire her clients with. She believes that knowing how to cook and understanding food and nutrition not only improves one’s health but it also helps to create better connections between people, creates happiness and on a larger scale, creates a healthier and better community.
Describe a typical day for you
No one day is typical because being a business owner with so many other commitments, this is just the way it is. However, I like structure and plans. I have an ‘ideal week’ timetable that I keep in my diary and try to follow to prevent me going off track and keep up with my productivity. For example Monday is always business development. That includes meetings with my team who I outsource my tasks, review financial and marketing reports and create a to do list for the week. Tuesday morning is my personal time doing ballet classes then I spend the afternoon in consultation. Wednesday morning is consultation, then more meetings and business development. I usually spend Thursday and Friday doing non-Healthy Energy work, e.g. my side projects and working for La Trobe Uni and working on Alg. On Saturday, depending on which weekend it is, I can be consulting, working on Alg or if I am lucky enough to have both Saturday and Sunday off I like to go on a little road trip with my family and switch off from work.
What do you enjoy most about your job
I definitely enjoy the flexibility of owning my own business the most. I like the fact that I can plan my day according to what’s important to me and having the control over it.
I also like the creative part of my job from creating programs with other therapists to creating a product that fills a need in the market.
Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics so far
In the last seven years, I have explored different areas of private practice. Through professional development, I became a sports dietitian and am currently teaching nutrition at the National Theatre Ballet School in St Kilda. I have spoken at large and small corporations on nutrition and have done over eighty cooking demonstrations across Victoria. Thanks to the Work Safe grant couple of years ago, that’s opened many doors and experiences for me to see the culture of other industries. I have also had a taste in media commentary and working with PR companies; and that’s really fun!
In 2014, I went to the annual conference of the Institute of Functional Medicine in San Francisco and got to meet many enthusiastic doctors and dietitians working in the integrative medicine field. I was quite inspired and wanting to bring back something different to my career. In August the same year. I opened Healthy Energy’s Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Centre in Glen Waverley, Melbourne, working synergistically with a group of therapists offering holistic and natural therapies such as clinical hypnotherapy, remedial massage, yoga, Chinese medicine, reiki, osteopathy and one-on-one cooking classes (a.k.a ‘Cooksultations’).
Now that the clinic is able to run smoothly without me being heavily involved, I spend some time on my side projects like food photography, styling and blogging (@capturingyumminess on Instagram), some contract work with La Trobe University, work with a herb and spice merchant and develop Alg, .
Why did you choose dietetics as a career
I am sure like many other dietitians, the reason stems from the love of food and/or cooking! Back then, I simply just wanted to be trained as a healthcare professional and to help people get healthy.
What would be your number one tip for someone starting their career in dietetics
Keep an open mind about nutrition science and never stop learning. Take some time to experience and think about a special interest you may have. Nothing is more satisfying in working in an area you are passionate in.
What is one interesting fact about you?
Thirteen years ago, I came to Australia when I was fifteen without knowing much English. I remember the first novel I had to read was To Kill A Mocking Bird, that was REALLY challenging. Every time when I look back to what has happened over the last fourteen years, it still feels like a dream.