Dietitian Career Spotlight: Robin Berlin RD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on DECEMBER 4, 2012
Empathy and compassion are two of the many traits that have helped Robin Berlin grow her successful private practice. Read on to learn more how this RD jumped into following her dreams of being her own boss and helping others keep their bodies strong. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I first thought about going into the field of Nutrition when I injured my back exercising 25 years ago. I have been athletic all of my life and had never connected the direct relationship to what we feed ourselves to having good health and keeping our bodies strong. As I healed from my back injury, I thought to myself, I would love to learn how nutrition, the body, and the mind all work together in a synergistic way.
Company you are with now?
Owner/Founder of RBRD Balanced Nutrition
Newsletter: Sign up for Robin’s Newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing “subscribe” in the subject line
Follow her on Twitter: @robinberlinrd
Your Job Title?
Registered Dietitian in Private Practice.
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you.
My work starts at home as a mom. The beginning of my day starts out by making sure my teen age daughters have a good breakfast before heading out to school. Some mornings I make lunch for them and for my husband to take to work. I usually go to the gym or on a run after I drop off my 15 year old. Some days, I have early morning clients and other days my first client is at 10:00 am. I go to people’s homes and offices for private, one-on-one nutritional counseling. I must allow for time to drive as the traffic in Los Angeles is unpredictable and often heavy. The rest of the day varies depending on how many clients I have. No two days are ever alike. For many of my clients, I connect with them via email or text to stay in touch between appointments. This allows them to stay connected to me, to remind them of our discussions and goals we set together. This personal commitment I have made to them has proved to be a valuable process in their success. I am asking my clients to be honest, vulnerable and committed to make behavioral changes. I have found that little reminders, or cues help them tremendously in reaching their goals.
I try to protect one day a week for writing, and research in various fields of nutrition. Staying up on social media, nutrition blogs, websites and even twitter takes a lot of time. Working part time allows me to still be a mom, have some time for myself and cook dinner every night. The name of my business is RBRD Balanced Nutrition. I need to do my best to stay balanced if I am teaching my clients to live a balanced life with food and exercise in this busy world we all live in.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I started my private practice slowly. Quite honestly, I was so afraid to begin not knowing how to begin. I Joined the Nutrition Entrepreneur Electronic Mailing List (EML) which served as a huge wealth of information for me. Through the EML and doing some homework, I found myself emailing and calling Faye Mitchell Berger who offers a service for Dietitians going into Private Practice. This was the best money I spent in my first few months. She gave me tools, answered questions, and most importantly, gave me the confidence and support I needed to open shop. The next step was letting people know that I was working and getting the word out to doctors, physical therapists and friends. The referrals started to come in. At the beginning, it was one or two clients a week. This was fine by me, as I navigated working and family life. I decided to take the Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management Course offered by the Academy of Nutrition And Dietetics. This course was a fantastic way to refresh what I had learned 18 years earlier, learn the latest research, and connect with specialists from all over the US in the fields of Nutrition, Exercise and Behavior Modification. A year ago, I attended my first FNCE in San Diego. Connecting with other RD’s, going to lectures, food booths and sponsored NEDPG events – I felt like a kid in a candy shop (no pun intended). This experience was invaluable to me. I quickly learned how important it is to be connected to other RD’s. I stay connected via email, twitter, and the EML’s to many of the people I met during FNCE. I am able to ask questions, answer questions, give support, read articles and feel connected to an incredibly bright group of people.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way and what advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
I believe I was born with the “compassionate, empathetic” gene which has allowed me to be good at what I do in terms of listening to my clients and offering sincere responses. My clients need to know that I have heard them. That I have heard their struggles, their fears, their frustrations and their goals. This is a skill and a necessary tool in order to be effective in what I do in the field of Nutrition. I pride myself on making people feel comfortable in my presence. Before getting a BS in Nutritional Sciences, I got an BA in Mass Media Communications at UCLA. I worked in Advertising, PR, and Special events for years before going back to school. I believe that Verbal and non verbal language is extremely important and my education and experience in Communications have served as valuable tools to be a successful Dietitian. One of the most important skills I have learned along the way is that I don’t have to know it all. There are resources to turn to, there are topics to say: I will need to look into that further and get back to you.” I love learning, I love what I do, and I love helping people feel better and healthier. Children and adults can sense these feelings and I believe that being authentic is a necessary characteristic that has allowed me to grow my practice. Someone once told me that you can not buy a reputation, you have to earn it. By growing my practice slowly, methodically and doing my homework, I have been “earning” a good reputation.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
I get paid for my job all the time. I hear my clients say, “Robin – Thank you so much for Caring.” This is invaluable.
Ok…. I could use a lap top and a new car :) Humor is always helpful.