My career started at the tender age of 14 when I stumbled upon the profession of dietitian in a careers book and my mind was made up to become one. It sounded like the perfect combination of science and food, both of which I loved. After graduating from the University of Wollongong I immediately spent a few years working as a clinical locum in the UK (and did a fair bit of travel around Europe in between jobs), after which I came back home into clinical paediatrics before heading into early childhood and school canteens health promotion. Then it was into Diabetes Australia for the full NGO experience before taking the leap into private practice, writing and industry consulting, firstly as an employee and then out on my own. I have been lucky enough to have experienced a variety of roles over the years, and I’m grateful to have ended end up exactly where I wanted – running my own consultancy. I’ve always been active in DAA too, in Interest Groups and Committees and such, and found this an excellent way to build my skills, knowledge and networks as well as build our profession.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
I provide nutritional expertise to a variety of clients including food companies, PR agencies, non-government organizations and the media. I help them with nutrition communications mostly, but I also assist with marketing and product development. I have also published four books and they all require ongoing promotion: Eat to Beat Cholesterol, Heart Food, Belly Busting for Blokes and Food Myths. I also write articles for magazines. I’m asked to provide expert comment in the media and I’m active in social media promoting myself, my books and my interests: especially heart health and sustainable eating. In a typical day I read a lot of journal article abstracts and newswire stories which I receive via email and Twitter; I’ll work on a current project – often writing and editing; I’ll share articles and post opinions on social media; and do some business admin such as accounts or marketing. I also have some help from other dietitians to complete some projects so I might also be in touch with them.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I love being a dietitian! I enjoy the variety in my work and I like the autonomy and flexibility of working for myself. I never tire of food and nutrition and all of the challenges, mystery, intrigue, science and art of it. I relish the fact it’s a profession that always keeps you on your toes. And I love the passionate, clever and creative people I work with and the magic of working in collaboration toward a shared goal- whether it be a successful product or campaign, a great article or a good cause.
What would be your number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics?
I’ve done quite a few different jobs and many of them were locums early on. Despite the fact that some were not my dream job, I found throwing myself 100% into them gave me valuable skills and experience as well as a good professional reputation which helped me get to where I ultimately wanted to be. You can never go wrong giving your all to the job you’re in right now.
What is one interesting fact about you?
I love to sing and I’m a member of a choir. And I can do pretty convincing accents from around the world!