Getting the Close-Up: Zooming in on Brands & Industry – Part 1

PROLOGUE: I just ended my 3-year term as a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and now have my sights set on working as a consultant to the food industry, working with various food companies, brands and commodity organizations. (In case you didn’t know, the Academy has a policy that states, among other things, that an Academy Spokesperson must avoid any conflict of interest, including being a media spokesperson for or endorsing any company, product or service). As a former supermarket dietitian and a former dairy council dietitian, I have experience working with brands and industry – and that experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Yet, the “food industry” seems to have a negative connotation lately, and in this age of disclosure, transparency and criticism over corporate sponsorship, I wanted to talk with some of the RDs who are out there working with brands and industry. What do they want us to know about their role in nutrition communications and the food industry? What advice do they…

Food, Farming, and…Faith

Wow, it seems like I can’t go anywhere these days without hearing something about how messed up the food industry is – even church.  Yesterday’s sermon was one in a series on the environment based on a book by Bishop Sally Dyck called A Hopeful Earth.  The sermon touched on food insecurity, modern farming and the environment.

Show Me the Money: Using Communication Skills to Get What You’re Worth

Communication skills are for more than just TV interviews! Dietitians with great communication skills have more career opportunities, more job satisfaction, and higher income than dietitians with technical skills alone. They have more influence in their organization, are more effective with patients or clients, negotiate better raises or benefits, and have more visibility in their community. 

Work of Art: Jessica Setnick’s Storyline

PROLOGUE: I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica in person when she participated in the Nutrition Entrepreneurs DPG panel discussion at FNCE 2013 in Houston for the joint meeting between the Private Practice subgroup and the Speakers & Media subgroup (of which I am the Specialty Chair). She ‘wowed’ me (and the audience) with her spunk and personality, as well as her sage advice on working with clients in a private practice. Her reputation as an expert in eating disorders treatment precedes her, and she has created quite a niche business and brand. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I have enjoyed getting to know her better!

Cooking Up Some Serious Talent: Deanna Segrave-Daly

PROLOGUE: I met Deanna over 10 years ago when we both worked for the dairy council. She was based out of Philly and I was in Chicago, but we worked together as national media spokespersons for the National Dairy Council and also on various projects that our regional dairy councils combined efforts on. I was always impressed with her work and she became a great mentor and friend. We stayed in touch and, years later after we had both left the dairy council to pursue other career opportunities, she was the first person I went to for advice about starting my Sound Bites biz. Today, she is still an incredible inspiration, mentor and friend, and I hope you enjoy her interview!

Media Nightmares! Stories to Make Us Laugh (and Learn)

PROLOGUE: Having more than fifteen years of media experience as spokesperson for the food, grocery and healthcare industries, as well as a state media rep and an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, I have done literally hundreds of live TV interviews (plus plenty of radio and print). And I have, therefore, had my fair share of media nightmares. I guess it just comes with the territory. With so much prep work involved and yet so much beyond your actual control, it can end up being a recipe for disaster! But I don’t want that to deter YOU (RDs) from getting YOUR voice out into the media! We need more dietitians out there sharing credible, meaningful and useful information with the public! So, I’m sharing a few stories that I hope will make you laugh, but also learn a few things, too. 

Enjoying the Fruits of Labor: Featuring Casey Lewis

PROLOGUE: I met Casey at FNCE a few years ago and enjoyed learning about her role as a nutrition communicator at Welch’s.  I told her that the wonderful taste of grape juice is a memory that brings me back to childhood in an instant. I’ll never forget visiting my grandparents’ house and having grape juice and Wheaties in the morning.  And Spam at lunch.  Yes, I said Spam.  It was a very long time ago!  Anyway – the grape juice was certainly the most enjoyable of the three. Speaking of enjoyment, Casey invited me to attend a lovely dinner with Welch’s and Alton Brown that I blogged about in an earlier post.  What a wonderful time that was, not only meeting Alton Brown, but also grape farmers and research scientists!  And finally, I enjoyed interviewing Casey for my blog, and I hope you enjoy it as well!

Supporting Role: Spotlight on Shelley Johnson

PROLOGUE: I met Shelley when we were both riding in an airport shuttle to the DBC Communications Camp in Napa last March.  We were introduced by a mutual friend/colleague and started talking about nutrition research.  She had me at “epidemiology”!  But seriously, I had been wanting to do a blog post that would include a quick reference sheet for RDs on the different types of research studies.  I learned all of those details multiple times, especially in graduate school while I was working on my thesis, and at various nutrition conferences in the 20+ years since then.  But I have to admit – it’s hard for me to keep it all straight (and I figured I might not be alone in this).  And if I’m not on top of it – how can I translate the research to my clients and also the public during media interviews?  Shelley said she had a great resource to share from the beef council and that led to further discussion about her work at…

Callbacks: Media Pitching Tips from the Pros

PROLOGUE: As a media coach, I’m often asked about pitching the media.  Most people, including myself, seem to dread it.  Maybe it’s that there is no instruction booklet and we weren’t taught about it in school.  Or maybe it’s that even when you have a fantastic pitch, often times all you hear back is crickets chirping.  No one likes to feel rejected!  Or maybe it’s that it can be so very time consuming.  In my workshops and 1:1 coaching I like to explain that

“Food is Fashion!” Putting Your Best Fork Forward

PROLOGUE: Are you familiar with the NPD Group, Inc.?  It’s a leading global market research company.  It was founded in 1967 and provides market information and advisory services to help companies make better business decisions. Using actual sales data from retailers and distributors as well as consumer-reported purchasing behavior, NPD offers consumer panel and retail sales tracking services, special reports, analytic solutions, and advisory services.  Harry Balzer is NPD’s Chief Industry Analyst and Vice President. I have had the good fortune, and the distinct pleasure, to be in the audience for several of Harry’s presentations on behalf of NPD.  He is a phenomenal speaker, and he loves his material.  He loves his data.  In my opinion, he does for food what Freakonomics does for economics.  Shows us the “hidden side” (of what people really eat).  As a registered dietitian, I’m always fascinated by what Harry has to say.  Or I should say, what the data says and how Harry explains it.  For example, take his video about the #1 food…

Child’s Play: Backstage with Jill Castle

PROLOGUE: I met Jill at a FNCE reception a few years ago and really enjoyed learning about her business, brand and niche.  She is so friendly and personable, and she really has a great story to tell and experiences to share.  I hope you enjoy her interview!

Introducing: Amari Thomsen

PROLOGUE: Amari and I met back in August when we both attended a special dinner with Food Network Star and award-winning chef Alton Brown at the incredible Table Fifty-Two in Chicago.  The dinner was hosted by Welch’s and prepared by executive chef and co-owner Art Smith.  Alton was just like he is on TV – only better.  The food was beyond delicious.  Talking with the grape farmers was so inspirational.  And meeting Amari was an unexpected bonus!  I was thrilled to meet a new (to me) Chicago dietitian – especially one with so much positive energy and ambition.  I hope you enjoy learning about Amari and her career!

In the Green Room with Jen Haugen

PROLOGUE: I met Jen at a communications training for dietitians last May and was immediately impressed with her, and very interested in her work as a supermarket dietitian, blogger and media spokesperson.  We had so much to discuss and share!  I so enjoyed getting to know Jen and learning about her work and I hope you enjoy this interview with her!

Spotlight On: Annette Maggi

PROLOGUE: I’ve known of Annette for years – we are both long time DBC members and have a shared interest in retail – but it wasn’t until recently that I met her in person and learned more about her unique background.

Take Two: Career Change Leads to Success and Rewards for Sarah Koszyk

PROLOGUE: I first met Sarah briefly at FNCE 2012 when I had a booth at the Member Product Marketplace next to Stacey Dunn-Emke of, who Sarah does consulting work for.  Then we met again at the DBC Communications Camp in Napa when we had the chance to get to know each other a little better.  Sarah has a truly warm smile and warm personality – so easy to talk with.  I loved learning about her “non-traditional” entry into the world of nutrition and am very impressed with how much she’s done in the field in such a short time.  I am so pleased to share her story here with you!


Thank you for stopping by!
ABOUTI’m the Guilt-Free RD® – “Because food shouldn’t make you feel bad!™”. So, on my Food for Thought blog I’m exploring the secret ingredients needed to enjoy your food with health in mind.  I’m also a “Dietitian Enthusiast” so I’m showcasing interviews with dietitians.  My “How To” Series shares practical advice to help boost communication skills and gain more visibility, influence and success.

I hope you enjoy the show!


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