Dietetic Career Spotlight: Amber Pankonin MS, RD, CSP, LMNT
By STACEY DUNN-EMKE, MS, RD on OCTOBER 1, 2014
Meet Amber Pankonin, fellow Nutrition Entrepreneur’s member and inspiring food photographer, writer, social media guru, and university professor. It’s always a pleasure to see all the different hats dietitians wear. Amber successfully shows how teaching at the university while writing/developing recipes and taking food photos can enhance our career and allow our creative side to blossom. Read on to learn more about Amber’s career path. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Food! I have always loved preparing and eating delicious food, but what I really love about dietetics is the role that nutrition plays in health. I also love science, communications, and photography. I love that I’ve been able to turn my passion into a profession.
Your Job Title:
Founder and Adjunct Professor
Company you are with now:
Stirlist and University of Nebraska-Lincoln
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
The best thing about my job is that every day is different and presents different challenges. I try to plan time for writing, researching, developing recipes, photography/editing, and building relationships with current clients or potential clients. I also schedule time for social media, otherwise it can be really time consuming and cut into valuable development time. I also teach part time at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. I love teaching as it’s forced me to stay on top of current nutrition research and trends. However, I have to make sure I’m setting aside time for lesson planning and grading/corresponding with students.
– Twitter: @RDamber and @Stirlist or www.twitter.com/rdamber or www.twitter.com/stirlist
– Facebook: www.facebook.com/Stirlist or www.facebook.com/RDamber
– Instagram: @RDamber or www.instagram.com/rdamber
– Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/RDamber
– Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Stirlist
– Google +: https://www.youtube.com/user/Stirlist
– Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-pankonin-ms-rdn-csp-lmnt/10/18/a2a
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
My first job was working as a clinical dietitian. I quickly realized that I was more passionate about working in nutrition communications, which is why I launched a consulting business. I landed my part time job with UNL because of staying in touch with the department after graduate school.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I have always been a natural leader, communicator, and risk taker. Skills that I have learned along the way include public speaking, blogging/website development, photography/photo editing, and time management.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Be patient, don’t do it alone, and don’t give up. Success doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be willing to work hard and include others in the process. For me, seeking out mentors has been extremely important for my personal and business growth. Being an entrepreneur can be a really lonely place and you want to make sure you surround yourself with a good support system who can push you when needed. Also, don’t believe in the lie that you are not creative. I had always thought that since I couldn’t draw pretty pictures, that I wasn’t creative. Then I discovered photography! This allowed me to use my brain in other ways and access my creative side. I never thought I would be making money by taking pictures of food!
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
In addition to smiles and rainbows, I love all things tech. I am a huge photography nerd, so anytime I can play with new equipment (cameras/lenses) or learn new techniques, I am in heaven!