Dietetic Career Spotlight on Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE of SuperKidsNutrition.com
By MELISSA HALAS-LIANG, MA RD CDE on OCTOBER 6, 2011
By Sarah Koszyk, RD From Clinical and Critical Care RD to Creator of SuperKids Nutrition. Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE and her Super Crew Team is “saving the world one healthy food at a time.” Learn more about her Super Crew Team and her journey to new ventures.
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?:
I enjoyed helping people live better, healthier, happier lives. I found the human body amazing –and enjoyed anatomy and physiology in high school. The courses on behavioral change, microbiology and nutrition sciences seemed like a good fit for my personality.
Your Job Title:
I’m President and Founder of SuperKidsNutrition.
Company you are with now:
SuperKidsNutrition.com, which is a website and business that provides nutrition content, outreach and health messages to parents, schools, kids and health care professionals. We work with more than 200 registered dietitians and nutrition scientists nationwide to provide nutrition education and healthy eating tips through multi-channel platforms both on and offline. Our mission is to create future healthier generations by promoting good nutrition. SuperKids Nutrition Inc. was founded in August 2006 to save the world one healthy food at a time™.
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
As any business owner can relate to, it’s a lot of work. In addition to SuperKids Nutrition Inc, I teach via www.nutritioned.net, precept, consult and am a spokesperson for the California Dietetic Association. For SuperKids Nutrition, I edit, write and consult for a variety of nationally recognized organizations, businesses and partners, as well as provide school newsletters, curriculum and parent Q and A to over 3,000 schools in 35 states. I also blog for http://blog.superkidsnutrition.com/, and update our social media pages: http://www.facebook.com/SuperKidsNutrition and http://twitter.com/#!/FitNutrition. I film nutrition educational DVDs, conduct presentations, partake in media appearances and work with a national distributer for Super Crew posters in addition to currently designing a line of Super Crew education resources.
I really enjoy that I get to be creative whether it be creating a brochure for AICR or reaching moms with motivational healthy messages. Right now I’m getting ready to film a DVD aimed at young teens. It’s great to be making a difference at work.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?:
10 years before starting SuperKids Nutrition Inc, I was a critical care dietitian and clinical nutrition manager. I loved teaching physicians, pharmacists and dietitians about insulin and electrolyte management in nutrition support. But I always worked side jobs to keep my skills diverse, teaching diabetes classes, which lead me to my CDE credential, volunteering in the community, counseling and teaching. All this provided the skills I needed to start a business. After having a child, I saw a need, had a creative idea and felt like I was on a mission to solve it! The need to influence moms to feed their kids healthier, show them the light, so to speak, and the tremendous physical and mental benefits a child and family can achieve through living nutritionally fit. The goal was to “save the world one healthy food at a time”. As a new mom, watching other moms give their kids 10 am snacks which consisted of alphabet cookies (“aren’t they so cute”), fruit roll ups (it’s fruit right?), low fat girl scout cookies (they’re only 110 calories -they must be good?) at play group and music class I was saddened. I wanted to inspire moms and teachers to feed their kids right from the start of life. As a RD who taught, functional foods I wanted each mom to know magically all that I did – how lutein and xeanthanin are in the retina of their children’s eyes and that green leafy vegetables provide this important nutrient for sight.
From this idea I set out to start a mega website. Then I created the Super Crew kids who get their powers from healthy foods. Soon after this, I started getting contacted from organizations around the nation. The following has been organic –I appreciate that we haven’t used advertising yet and it’s been word on mouth.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?: I’m naturally outgoing, organized and embrace change. I love hearing about people’s dreams and life goals –I consider that a skill. This helps when starting a business. I’ve learned all the tedious “stuff” through different jobs along the way, like applying to grants, technical writing, balancing budgets etc.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?: Follow your passion, pursue it with integrity and enthusiasm. Volunteer for experience or to help others with similar pursuits –it could lead to your best paying job. But that isn’t why you should do it! Do it because you love it, or are interested and you’ll be surprised at how much you learn and grow.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?: I had a theatre scholarship, but knew it wouldn’t work with the lifestyle I wanted. I would like to act on stage. Or if I had the body intelligence, filming work out videos. But watching me do P90x could be likened to a Saturday Night Live skit. I love exercising. If I had time to work out 2 hours everyday and get paid for it, that would be great. After all, our bodies are made to move!