Registered Dietitian Spotlight: Melissa Joy Dobbins MS, RD, CDE
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JUNE 18, 2013
Are you interested in media training to help spread your message to the masses? Melissa Joy Dobbins’ expertise & company is set up to provide you with the tools you need to communicate the perfect sound bite. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I always did well in science and chemistry classes, but I really wanted to work with people, so my college counselor suggested dietetics. I wasn’t sure at first because when I volunteered at the local hospital they put me on the trayline and I thought “You need a college degree for this?!” but then I observed the University Wellness Center dietitian, Kate Zager, educating and empowering students to be healthier. That’s when I knew I was in the right field!
Your Job Title?
Owner, Sound Bites, Inc.
Company you are with now?
Sound Bites, Inc. – a nutrition communications biz where my focus is on media and communications coaching for dietitians. I also write a blog that promotes dietitians and shares best practices and insider tips and tricks.
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
Every day is different. However, over the course of 1-2 weeks I will usually present at least one seminar/workshop, coach a handful of one-on-one clients, attend one or two networking or leadership meetings, interview a couple of dietitians for my blog, and conduct several media interviews as an Academy spokesperson.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I’ve been a dietitian for 20 years. My career began in clinical nutrition then progressed to outpatient/community nutrition and corporate wellness, and then I landed a job as a supermarket dietitian. That’s when I really learned a lot about media and communications. From there I went to work for the dairy council as a nutrition communications specialist. About two years ago I decided to leave my full time job to pursue some different career goals and to spend more time with my family. I got back into diabetes education, taught at the college level, and continued my media activities by becoming an Academy spokesperson. During this time of self-exploration and “rebranding” I realized that many dietitians don’t have access to media and communications training. Since I’ve had some of the best training in the business and know that communication skills are key to advancing your career, and I love to teach and empower others, it became very clear to me that there is a need for this service and that I could help fulfill this need!
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I grew up in an environment that was a little “different” – my father is an actor/director and a speech/communications teacher and my mother is an artist, strategic marketing specialist and successful business owner. So, in our house communication skills were very important. I learned to speak up more often and always strive to communicate more clearly. In addition, relationships have always been extremely important to me and I learned that having strong communication skills and relationship building skills are very good for your business and your career! Another thing I learned along the way is that sometimes we limit ourselves by not thinking or dreaming BIG enough.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Try to open yourself to bigger ideas and the endless possibilities this incredible field has to offer. Focus more on what “feeds” or “fuels” you instead of simply what you’re good at. Participate in DPGs like NE and DBC to learn from others and build relationships.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
While financial compensation is nice, I also enjoy the flexibility, variety, challenges and camaraderie our profession offers. In lieu of that, I’d love to take my family on an annual trip to the destination of our choice!