Dietetic Career Spotlight on Kerri Hawkins, Wellness Campaign.org, Dietitian Drive
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on APRIL 3, 2017
Kerri Anne Hawkins, MS, RDN, LDN, CPT, is an inspiration to many. She is true to her heart and follows her dreams. Not only has she personally created all three of her jobs, she has a strong determination to keep moving onward and upward in the dietetic industry. I have had the luxury of working with Kerri on the board of Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group and she is a dietitian to know to get the job done. Read on to learn more about Kerri’s career path. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
In 8th grade I did a career report on sports medicine, and little did I know the nutrition and dietetics seed was planted at that moment. My freshman year in college I was enrolled in an athletic training program and never even knew what a dietitian was. I was taking our required nutrition course which opened my eyes to a whole new world of improving health and athletic performance through what you eat. From there, I was hooked. I realized I could combine my passion for health, athletics and food all in one career. There are not many things all humans have in common, but food is one of them. The idea that I could make an impact in someone’s life through what they eat, such a common experience that had such great potency, is what attracted me to nutrition and dietetics.
Your Job Title?
Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer
Co Founder of Wellness Campaign.org
Owner: Dietitian Drive
Company you are with now?
– Instagram: @dietitiankerri
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dietitiankerri/
– Twitter: @dietitiankerri
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I wear 3 hats in my professional life, which is why I love dietetics. There are infinite ways to use nutrition in your professional life.
(1) Family Practice Group – I have integrated myself into a family medicine office as a full time dietitian and personal trainer. I am part of a model know as Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). Here I am what I call a “nutrition generalist” as I see all cases from infant to elderly that my medical colleagues send my way. The patient population I work with are very well-educated and well-informed so my role is using motivational interviewing and coaching techniques to help them implement what they know and create sustainable lifestyle changes. I see about 10-12 clients per day with a variety of medical issues from GI, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, weight management, underweight, food intolerance, etc. The list goes on and on. This is wonderful because the variety keeps me on my toes. Also, being integrated into a practice, I am able to work as a team with medical assistants, behavior psychologists, social workers, case managers, physician assistants, and family medicine doctors.
(2) Co-founder of Wellness Campaign.org: Though my work at Family Practice Group, I met a wonderful physician Dr. Wayne Altman. We developed a successful wellness program utilizing group visits that are co-led by a dietitian and a physician. We have been utilizing this model for over 7 years. About 3 years ago, we launched our non-profit Wellness Campaign.org. We were seeing such great success with our patients and ourselves professionally, we wanted to create a way to disseminate our program to the masses thus the creation of our nonprofit.
My role here I do a variety of things, but the area I have enjoyed the most is training my colleagues on our wellness programs. We currently have 5 additional cites implementing the program. In addition, I have learned a great deal about grant writing and writing scientific papers, which our first will be published this calendar year.
(3) Dietitian Drive: This started as a blog I did for fun but over the years, has evolved in to a Telehealth Practice. This is my “project job” and I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I feel the future of nutrition will be utilizing telehealth. I have a very small telehealth practice on Mondays where I see about 5-7 clients. I am growing professionally from this job as I am learning about creating webpages, billing, marketing, etc.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Networking… none of my jobs ever existed. I have created every single one from networking and teaming up with colleagues who would benefit from having me and the services I offer. The toughest things for me to learn was how to “sell” myself and tell people why they needed me, a dietitian. From there, it has all been about developing relationships and being/asking for mentorship.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I am naturally optimistic person, so when I see a challenge or barrier it does not create fear but rather motivates me and creates excitement in my life.
Patience is a skill I have been working on and will have to work on for the rest of my life. When I want to accomplish something, I want it to happen yesterday. By me practicing mindfulness, I am learning to be more in the moment and enjoy what is happening right now, rather than always worrying and waiting for what’s next. This has helped me work with clients better and enjoy my day and profession more.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
You are never done! I have come to realize that I keep looking for the “end” game, the perfect job, but does that really exist? I keep saying, well once I hit this “milestone” or once I land that job, I will be satisfied and “successful.” But the thing is, I am growing and changing as a person every day, thus my career and personal aspirations are evolving with me as well. Start to find fulfillment in your day to day, and when that is not happening, then it is time to look for a change. Whether that is a new job, adding a new responsibility, or maybe taking some personal time for you. Whatever it is, for me, letting go of this idea of a “perfect” job and following my passions and interest at the same time, has created more fulfillment and a feeling of success.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Travel! I love my job, but I love to take adventures to new countries and locations.