Dietetic Career Spotlight on Kelly Jones, Performance Nutrition
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MARCH 6, 2017
Learn how Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, “yes” attitude landed her multiple gigs as a nutrition speaker and consultant. Kelly is a go-getter and extremely reliable and personable. I met Kelly through Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group and she is a ton of fun to work with. So thankful to share her career path with NutritionJobs. She has inspired me! – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
My family always valued cooking from scratch and my mom always offered us healthy snacks growing up. However, it was when I was 13 and my mom was very sick that my understanding of food as medicine really developed. She turned down surgeries and medications doctors had recommended and became healthier after identifying trigger foods with an elimination diet and removing certain ingredients from our home. I then noticed that my healthier habits translated into more energy in the pool as a competitive swimmer. I knew as a young teen that I wanted to help others use food to help them feel better and perform their best.
Your Job Title?
Nutrition speaker, consultant, and assistant professor
Company you are with now?
– Kelly Jones Performance Nutrition, LLC
– Bucks County Community College
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
Working as both an entrepreneur and a professor, half of my days are more “typical” than others. This semester I arrive on campus for office hours at 8 AM on Monday and Wednesday before teaching three classes in a row from 10-1. I then check in with my online classes and grade until 2 or 3, before meeting with a client or presenting a nutrition lecture or class with a local group. On Friday, I just come in to teach and if I don’t have clients, call it a week since my other work days are usually more than 8 hours.
Tuesday and Thursday are dedicated to my consulting work with fitness clubs, presenting lectures on sports nutrition, corporate wellness or nutrition and mental health, working on my blog and pitches for publications, and occasional media appearances. I sometimes work on a Saturday in my speaking role with local sports teams and groups.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Since my interest in nutrition is so rooted in prevention, I always knew the hospital setting wasn’t for me. When I was completing grad school, I had faith in my ability to work with large groups and teach, and turned down several clinical jobs before being offered one at the college at which I am still employed while at the same time as being offered one at Shop Rite. While both would give me the opportunity to educate groups of people, I chose the college position as I knew it would give me more flexibility to work as an entrepreneur.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born with a passion for helping others and an ability to talk for hours! I believe my intrinsic motivation and desire for success developed from always seeing how hard my parents worked and due to being a competitive swimmer through college. I worked on my listening skills a lot in my internship. I am so eager to provide information, but being a good listener is crucial to provide the right information for those you are working with. I also put a lot of conscious effort early in my career into feeling confident when outside of my comfort zone – this included work outside of the classroom and networking with both colleagues and potential clients. Now networking and meetings with businesses and companies excite me!
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Early on in your career, don’t be afraid to ask for help and be a “yes” person for a little while. You’ll find other RD’s want to help and support you, not compete with you. You will learn a lot working on some projects that may not be your favorite and find a love for some things you didn’t know you’d enjoy! Then when it comes time, you can be more picky about the jobs you take and work in your passion each day. Finally, ask for what you are worth! It not only increases your salary and confidence, but advances our whole profession.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Airline miles, hotel rooms, and meals at my destination’s most “foodie” vegetarian restaurants! I love seeing new places and when I do travel, do my best to give back to the community or country I am in, with hunger and nutrition in mind.