Dietetic Career Spotlight on Hilary Thesmar, FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JUNE 15, 2016
Meet Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, who found her dream job in Food Safety through networking. Just goes to show that who you know can be very powerful when it comes to enhancing your career. Read on to learn about her passion for food science and dietetics. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
In school I really liked biology. I started out as a biology major and as I learned more ended up majoring in Food Science as an undergraduate. I took several nutrition classes and was interested in Nutrition so I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition. I ended up continuing my studies but have always used my nutrition degree and RD credential in every job I have had.
Your Job Title?
Vice President, Food Safety
Company you are with now?
Food Marketing Institute
Other Social Media:
– Twitter: @HilaryThesmar
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
My typical day includes a number of meetings and conference calls, technical support for members, reviewing regulations, writing, and preparing for upcoming presentations. However, my day can change with one phone call if a member needs assistance with an inspection or investigation, or if an agency calls with questions or news that they are about to release some important information.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Through networking. Once I became more established in food safety and also regulatory affairs, I found I was consistently working with the same group of people. When jobs become available, it is important to network and make sure people know what type of job you want and more importantly, what skills you have.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I think I have learned more skills than what I was born with. Fortunately I love science so the scientific knowledge has always been easy for me to learn. I am also fairly organized.
One skill that I had to learn was public speaking. This did not come naturally to me and has been a challenge for many years. I think that the fear instilled in elementary and secondary school really hindered me in college and in my early career. This has been so important that I have encouraged my daughter to take drama classes so that she will not go through the fear of public speaking I had in high school, college and as a young professional. Seeing recordings of me speaking has been the most valuable tool in improving my skills going back to that dreaded video tape in my college speech class. My advice to everyone is to work on those skills early and move past any fear!
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
I am always trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up so I am not sure I will ever feel successful or fulfilled. I am always looking for the next step and how to improve.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Travel! I love to travel and fortunately my family loves to travel also. Deciding where to go is the biggest challenge.