Dietetic Career Spotlight on Elizabeth Shaw, Shaw’s Simple Swaps
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JULY 25, 2016
I originally met Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, through a fellow Nutrition Entrepreneur’s executive committee board member. Elizabeth blew my mind by how much talent, determination, and drive she had. She excels in everything she does because of her go-getter, positive attitude. She’s enlightened me on many subjects from public relations, social media, fertility nutrition, and more. Read on to learn about her impressive career path. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Being a Registered Dietitian is the most fulfilling job I could ever ask for! I love being able to help change people’s thoughts about food and nutrition every day. Whether it be helping someone break free from a dichotomous mentality over foods like chocolate cake or showing them how a simple swap in their daily routines can truly change their total health is unbelievably rewarding.
I chose to become a dietitian because I myself struggled with disordered eating as a very young teenager. I was able to seek help from the multidisciplinary team, which included an RDN, and knew at that moment (I was only 12 years old!) that I wanted to spend my life doing the same thing. Flash forward a few years and I completed my MS with a Gradate Certificate in Eating Disorders and Obesity from NIU. Now every day I get to help change someone’s life the same way that RDN changed mine over 15 years ago!
Your Job Title?
– Owner, Founder of Shaw’s Simple Swaps
– Adjunct Professor of Nutrition at San Diego Community College District
Company you are with now?
Self-employed, Shaw’s Simple Swaps – Nutrition Communications, Wellness Coaching and Food Allergen Consulting
– Twitter: @shawsimpleswaps
– Instagram: @shawsimpleswaps
– Facebook: Simple Swaps
– Pinterest: Shaw Simple Swaps
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I have to admit, this one is tough! I definitely don’t have a “typical” schedule in my day to day routine. Some days it’s more organized than others, but most days it’s a mix of exciting, innovative new projects. For instance, last week I spent my morning working on social media promotion, the midday designing my summer classes for the nutrition courses I teach for the local college, and then the afternoon leading a grocery store tour. I came home to finish up an article I was writing for a national magazine, then topped off the night with a sample wine and food pairing to see which recipe went best with which wine for another piece I was writing. I love it and hate it at the same time! Being an organized nut, sometimes the chaos can seem overwhelming. But, I am great at making lists and organize them very well.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I have worked in a variety of different positions (clinical, food service, food safety, nutrition analysis, geriatric nutrition, the list could go on!) throughout the last 10 years. I truly believe every position helped set me up for the role I hold today. Sure, every job was not rainbows and butterflies (and nor is my job now), but they all helped me become the well-rounded professional I am today. Because of my strong work ethic and desire to always help spread nutrition to the masses in a digestible form, I believe I was, and am able to succeed at my current entrepreneurial role.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I come from a family of three girls, me being the middle child! I definitely don’t have the go with the flow stance my other sisters were born with (or fashion sense!), but have always been very organized, determined and ambitious. That fiery passion led me to complete my internship and masters shortly after I turned 22 years old, and keeps me blazing forward in my entrepreneurial role. On the other hand, I’ve definitely had to learn (am still am) the importance of balance and enjoying life in the now. You can’t always plan for everything, and that’s hard for me to recognize at times. Luckily, I married a great ying to my yang, and he reminds me every day the importance of work life balance.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Find your passion and never lose sight of it, even if you have to take some risks along the way! When I first graduated from my Master’s Program, I worked as an Independent Contractor in Acute Care Facilities across Northern Illinois for 16 months. Though a great experience, it was not my passion and slowly over time I began to lose my drive for the field. Luckily, I have an AMAZING husband who recognized that and supported me to find that spark that got me into dietetics in the first place. Seven years later, I’m blogging about my OWN recipes, seeing clients out of my home office and educating consumers nationwide about nutrition! I like to attribute it to trying out various avenues of the field and knowing in my heart to never let my passion die. If something is not the right fit, recognize it early and know what you need to change to get back to where your passion lies.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Great question! Hmm, I would say vacations! I love to travel with my husband, and think it would be awesome to get paid via a Mediterranean cruise, Tuscany cooking class or something really cool like that!