Dietetic Career Spotlight on Lainey Younkin, Nutrition Communication Specialist
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MARCH 19, 2018
Meet Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, who shares with us, “If you can’t find the job you want, create it yourself.” Which is exactly what she did when she graduated from her internship. Freedom, education, and helping people is the best. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I always knew I wanted to be in a helping profession. I started as a psychology major in college but after one semester I switched because I couldn’t imagine being a school counselor, and I didn’t want to go to two years of grad school – ha! I wasn’t much of a science person, but I loved learning about the human body. My mom was a personal trainer, and my parents ran marathons when I was growing up so there was a lot of fitness talk in our house. There wasn’t much talk about nutrition though so I decided to switch my major to nutrition. It was the perfect blend for me – learning what fuels the human body while also being able to help others.
Your Job Title?
Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Communication Specialist
Company you are with now?
I am self-employed at Lainey Younkin Nutrition. I have a virtual private practice in Boston, MA, where I help people manage their weight through a non-dieting approach. I also lead corporate wellness workshops; consult with the food company, Benecol USA; freelance write for EatingWell.com; and work for Rise – a photo journaling app that allows people to receive daily feedback on their meals. I love that every day is different!
– Facebook: www.facebook.com/laineyyounkinnutrition
– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laineyyounkin/
– Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/laineywy/
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I love the flexibility that private practice offers. I had a baby 16 months ago so at the moment I stay home with him two days per week. One day each week I work at Benecol, and the other two days I see my coaching clients, freelance write, and catch up on administrative work. At Benecol, I get to use my M.S. in Nutrition Communication to work on outreach to other dietitians and healthcare professionals, plan trade shows, develop blog partnerships, write email newsletters, manage social media, and serve as a nutrition expert for the team.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
When I couldn’t find the job I wanted after grad school, I started my private practice. My first consulting position out of school was leading a corporate wellness program for hospital employees. I got the consulting gig after being turned down for a full-time job at the company. That was the best thing that could have happened to me though, as it allowed me to network with other consulting dietitians who encouraged me to start my own practice and helped me get other consulting work along the way.
I got my consulting position at Benecol simply by returning a phone call. The general manager called and left me a message, and when I returned his call, he said I was the only dietitian in the area who called him back!
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I’m a natural people person and thrive off of nutrition counseling and coaching. Writing comes easily to me, but it’s definitely a skill I’ve had to hone along the way. I’m also constantly working on being more organized and consistent in work and life.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
If you can’t find the job you want, create it yourself. Call everyone back. Go to every networking event. Be nice and professional to everyone – the dietetics field is small! I don’t know who said this but comparison is the thief of joy. It’s really easy with social media to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and how much money everyone else is making. You don’t have their life and they don’t have yours. You do you. Spend money and time on the things you value.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Food, travel, or clothes! (Is that too many?)