Dietetic Career Spotlight on Danielle Podesta, Danamark Walnut
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JANUARY 3, 2018
Meet Danielle Podesta, MS, RDN, who found her current job by networking. Who you know, or who you meet, matters and Danielle demonstrates how getting to know others in the dietetic field can make a big difference in one’s career. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I was attracted to nutrition and dietetics as a way to promote healthy, fresh food to the public. I grew up in the most fertile valley in the world, San Jauquin, with farmers as family and close friends. Fresh, seasonal produce has been at my dinner table all my life. Eating a colorful array of different fruits and vegetables throughout the year is a part of my culture; dietetics allows me to promote California agriculture.
Your Job Title?
-Walnut Production Manager
-Clinical Dietitan/CBORD Coordinator
Company you are with now?
-Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehab Center
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
At Laguna Honda, I work on units serving SF county long term care residents on tube feeds, have pressure injuries or in hospice. A typical day is to go through my daily list of residents that I need to assess and interview during the day. In my role as CBORD administrator, I also work closely with our kitchen staff developing new recipes and menus for our residents.
For two months of the year (mid Sept-November), I work with my family on our walnut farm helping bring in the harvest and assisting at our walnut processing factory. This year was a perfect harvest with the weather—no rain! So we could go at an even pace harvesting the orchards. Once walnuts are harvest in the orchards, they go to a huller and dryer, the green husks are taken off, the walnuts are washed and then dried with hot air over night. Then they come to our factory where they are cracked, sorted by size and color and then packaged to be shipped all over the world. I work throughout the day at these different stages that goes into processing walnuts.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Networking! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get to know the dietetic community that you want to engage with and work in. Volunteer your time, go to your local Dietetic Association meetings/events and/or reach out to leaders that you want to connect with in the field.
I met my current boss, Loretta Cecconi, at FNCE in San Diego. Knowing Laguna Honda was a facility I would like to work in and knowing that Loretta would be attending I reached out beforehand and came prepared with my resume for a brief meeting she had agreed to at the conference. I have now worked at Laguna Honda since I moved to San Francisco and always try to keep my RD friends/collegeas in the know if I ever hear of hiring opportunities.
If you reach out to the right dietetic leaders, who also know the importance of networking, they will more than likely take the time to lead you in the right direction or provide you directly with opportunities.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born a loyal, dedicated hard worker. I have learned to be a good communicator.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?