RD Career Spotlight Interview: Robin Plotkin, RD LD
By NUTRITIONJOBS on MARCH 1, 2010
NutritionJobs: You are the Past President of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice group and own a successful practice as a culinary and nutrition communications consultant. You are also an accomplished writer and event producer. Your clients have included Glaceau Waters, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Taco Bueno Restaurants, Sara Lee, Bausch and Lomb, Unilever, Avocados from Mexico, popchips!, Sysco Foods, Fisher Pay Kel Appliances, the American Institute of Wine and Food and DMA & Associates, a produce industry boutique marketing group. You represent an interesting side of dietetics.
Robin Plotkin: I hang out on the food side of dietetics! I have always loved food and enjoy educating others, dietitians included, about foods versus nutrients.
What attracted you to work for yourself? I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. I’m inherently a risk taker.
How do you motivate yourself to keep your business growing, to keep it fresh and relevant? I belong to a MasterMind group that I helped form along with 4 other dietitians. We meet by teleconference every 4-6 weeks. We review our goals together and work on skill sets. I set monthly and yearly goals for myself. I outline specific tactics to meet my goals. For example, I set my national media goal for 2009, created a spreadsheet with pathway tactics, communication logs, etc., and by July I had met my goal. I’m highly motivated by reaching my goals! The MasterMind group process gives me the confidence to run my business successfully.
What advice can you give new graduates wanting to go into private practice? I recommend spending a few years in the clinical or community arena or in a hospital. The time spent developing relationships with referring physicians can save you 5-8 years struggling with a flailing private practice because of a small referral base. One of the reasons I believe I have a successful business is because I was able to develop strong relationships with not only physicians, but social workers, Certified Diabetes Educators, etc. These are people I continue to network with today. I was also able to demonstrate my competency and ability to work in a team environment, which helped build their trust and respect.
What’s your approach to networking? I firmly believe in the power of networking. I also believe in “paying it forward”. I have gained all of my business through word of mouth; either via a personal connection or a professional connection. For example, I have been referred many times to clients by those who I have stood side by side with in a professional organization or association. I am more than happy to refer to others when I am not the right fit for the potential client. I’m an active member of 8 different professional organizations.
Have mentors played a role in your success? I have harvested a team of advisors, or mentors, over the years. Not just dietitians, but professionals in the fields of finance, tax, and law. These are people I can call on and who know me well. They have followed my career and have been a great support system.
How do you juggle all of your work? I like to bring in social media interns, dietetic students, who can help me with my business while they build their career portfolio. It’s a great win win opportunity!