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Thank you to everyone who attended our breakfast series with Rosemary Stanton and Clair Weaver this week. 

I have been a huge fan of Rosemary’s for many years, starting from when I was still at school watching Rosemary on Burke’s Backyard.  I also used to cut out Rosemary’s articles in the Australian Women’s Weekly.  And I wanted to be just like Rosemary!  As I am sure many of you did too!  So it was such an honour to host Rosemary at the breakfast events this week. 

At Dietitian Day last year, we were blown away when more than 90% of attendees who took our survey rated Rosemary’s presentation as “excellent”. Clearly a highlight of that day, we wanted to invite Rosemary back by popular demand! 

The other reason I wanted to invite Rosemary to speak at a Dietitian Connection event, is that I believe Rosemary has been a trailblazer for our profession here in Australia, being the first dietitian and only dietitian in the media for so many years.  And as I found out on the tour, Rosemary was also the first private practice dietitian in Australia. So I believe we as a profession are indebted to Rosemary and I wanted to ensure that the younger members of our profession know Rosemary’s story and the challenges she faced.

How amazing is Rosemary!  Where do I even begin?  I thought I knew her story, but I only knew a sliver of Rosemary’s remarkable career.  Each city we visited, new stories were unveiled by Rosemary.  From working in the sports arena with Hawthorn and hanging on to a sailing boat for more than two hours with Australia III, to working with people with disabilities and eating disorders, to providing input into aged care and prisons, to starting the first private practice in Australia, and of course all of the media work Rosemary has done over the years.  I think Rosemary has probably worked in almost every area of dietetics.  Rosemary didn’t seek out any of these opportunities, they found her by being in the right place at the right time.  For someone who never set out to be a dietitian, instead wanting to be a doctor, Rosemary has accomplished great things for our profession and had a magnificent career.

Key lessons from Rosemary included:

·       Be brave and stand up for what you believe in

·       Know the science – read original papers and check references

·       Be the spreader not the guardian of nutrition messages by proactively working with other disciplines

·       Bring back the joy of food

·       Sustainability is the future and dietitians need to be involved

Joining Rosemary was award-winning journalist Clair Weaver of The Australian Women’s Weekly. A former health reporter, she broke the scandal over celebrity chef Pete Evans’ DIY baby formula that led to a major publisher dumping his paleo cookbook for babies last year. Clair also exposed cancer fraud Belle Gibson, who claimed to have been healing herself of brain cancer with whole foods, and went undercover at an alternative wellness conference to expose dangerous health and nutrition ideology. These lauded investigative features resulted in Clair’s 2015 win for Journalist of the Year. Clair recently also qualified as a “nutritional therapist” in 24 hours to demonstrate the risks of trusting non-accredited nutrition “experts” – story was in last month’s issue of AWW. Clair recently interviewed Rosemary for a story highlighting her magnificent career for the February issue of the Women’s Weekly. So it was fitting to have them both present together.

Clair presented on “Cutting Through the Quackery”: How to communicate with journalists, make yourself heard on social media and set the record straight effectively in the noisy world of diet and nutrition.

Much thanks to our inspirational speakers, Cobram Estate for supporting the AV production costs, Rachael for organising the events and our volunteers: Emily, Jacinta and Laura for making these events such a success!

Here’s a snapshot of some of the feedback we received from attendees:

  • – Dietitian Connection, you’ve done it again! Thank you for yet another invaluable, inspiring, and thought-provoking session. I am so glad I came.
  • – I have now been lucky enough to attend a couple of Dietitian Connection events. Both have been fabulous in terms of speakers, content of talks, networking opportunities and great locations.
  • – Couple the grand dame of Nutrition with one of the best journalists in Australia and you’ve got a fascinating event that was unique and hugely inspiring
  • – I love all Dietitian Connection events as they bring together dietitians in a way that no other organisation seems to do. At DC events, free discussion of topical issues is actively encouraged and they provide a great atmosphere to problem solve with other colleagues from a diverse range of backgrounds and levels of experience.
  • – Dietitian Connection events are great! I’m always impressed with the excellent programs. They think outside the box in educating dietitians to better themselves and their practice.

 

Maree Ferguson, Director Dietitian Connection