Dietetic Career Path Spotlight on Erin Healy, Booz Allen Hamilton, Framingham State University
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JANUARY 15, 2018
As a second career dietitian, Erin E. Healy, MS, RDN, LDN, is rapidly accelerating in her new role as a nutrition consultant and lecturer. Erin shares with us how one can use their previous experiences to enhance their current job and find success in the work they do. Read on to learn more how Erin inspires us all to have a career plan and take action. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
As a former spokesperson for the President of the United States and communications advisor at the Pentagon, I realize becoming a dietitian seems out of the ordinary. When my career in Washington, D.C. came to an end, I gave myself permission to explore new interests. I started paying attention to the headlines that caught my eye in the supermarket check-out line and the bookstore magazine aisle. I noted the blogs and websites that I visited most frequently. As a migraine sufferer, I also observed how certain foods impacted my health. Eventually a pattern emerged. I was drawn to health and wellness and the powerful role nutrition plays in preventive care.
Your Job Title?
Consultant and Visiting Lecturer
Company you are with now?
Booz Allen Hamilton and Framingham State University
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
My work with Booz Allen Hamilton is contract based so it all depends on the client I am working with at the time. I recently completed a project with the U.S. Navy to redesign a program that helps Sailors improve their health and manage their weight so that they can continue serving our country. In addition to meeting with the client on a daily basis, most of my time was spent researching, conducting interviews, and writing. Once the program launched, I visited Naval stations to help trainer-the-trainers on the new curriculum.
In the evenings, I typically catch-up on grading for the online graduate course that I teach or work as chair of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Second Career Dietitians Specialty Group.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I started working at Booz Allen Hamilton as a strategic communications consultant prior to becoming a dietitian. I was fortunate to remain with the company during my time in graduate school. After becoming a dietitian, I combined my professional experience with my RDN credential to support clients as a nutrition communications expert.
At the time, it had been a while since Framingham State University had offered a graduate course in nutrition communications. I ran into one of the faculty members at FNCE and pitched the idea of me teaching the course. I am currently teaching Public Health and Nutrition Communications for the second time this fall.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I am naturally empathetic, and I was born with the ability to communicate. Because full consensus is rarely reached in Washington, I have learned the art of compromise. As someone who is inclined to hold out for perfection, I remind myself that an 80% solution has value.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Recognize your uncertainty. Confront it head on, so you can eventually move on.
- Make a plan. Outline the specific steps you need to take to succeed.
- Take action. Sign up for an online class, build a website, hire a business coach, etc.
- Don’t complain. It’s never as hard, bad, or scary as you originally think.
- Stay flexible. Deviating from the plan is acceptable as long as it is done with purpose.
- Keep moving. There’s no right or wrong path, only your path. Trust it.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Time with my grandparents. They were a big part of my life growing up, and I miss them. It would be interesting to get their take on the world today.