Dietetic Career Spotlight on Rosanne Rust, Nutrition Communications Consultant, Freelance Writer, Author
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on FEBRUARY 25, 2019
Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN, is an amazing dietetic influencer. She is social media savvy and has inspired and educated many other dietitians on how they can enhance their online presence to grow their dietetic businesses. Rosanne was originally featured in a spotlight back in 2012. See how her career has evolved over the last 7 years and why I still call her a dear friend. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
As a teen, I had food sensitivities, hives, and colitis. I realized that what I ate had a huge impact on my immediate and long-term health (of course as a teen, I was more motivated by the immediate impact). So, when my sister-in-law suggested a “food and nutrition” major in college, I went for it! It turns out, that my interest in science and how things work made the field of Dietetics a good fit. I really enjoy relating to people and helping them understand the science, and their medical history, which helps motivate them to make behavior changes to gain better health.
In my early years in Pittsburgh, I worked in both inpatient and outpatient medical facilities which was really valuable. I gained a strong background in internal medicine which helps assess and diagnose nutrition issues and deliver medical nutrition therapy. In my time at the University of Pittsburgh, I also had the opportunity to work at a nutrition data collection center for a national clinical trial on diet and kidney disease. When I moved out of the city, I began my career as a consultant and freelance writer.
Your Job Title?
Nutrition Communications Consultant, Freelance Writer, Author
Company you are with now?
Rust Nutrition Services – self-employed
– Instagram: @ChewTheFacts
– Twitter: @RustNutrition
– Facebook:Rosanne Rust Author
– LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosannerust
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I start the day checking my social media sites to see if I need to respond with any engagement.
I then review my important email, and respond to any clients or colleagues.
I write every workday – some days it may only be the short blurbs I craft for my social media posts. I typically schedule some posts a week in advance, and then do “live” engagement through the day on Twitter and Instagram. Part of my days often include some photography to use for future blog or social media posts.
Other times I may be reviewing and sampling new products that companies send my way. Or, I may be traveling to visit a farm or food company, learning how food is purveyed.
Keeping my social media profiles active and up to date is how I attract clients who hire me to write for them or support their mission in some way. Over the years, after establishing my “footprint” as a nutrition expert and expanding my social media reach, I’ve become an influencer – someone who can reach consumers with new information and food/diet trends.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
When I moved from Pittsburgh in 1994, it was an opportunity to start a fresh career. At the time, I was pregnant with my first child and wasn’t sure if I wanted to work full time or not, but I knew I didn’t want to walk away from my career. Since I had always enjoyed writing, I pitched the local newspaper about writing a regular nutrition column. They liked my pitch, and I began a column that was at first monthly, then weekly, for almost twenty years.
I continued to write, but also worked as an online nutrition coach and an online instructor for a college. I also worked part time as a nutrition consultant in Long Term Care. From 1995 to 2005 my primary goal was to seek part time work that offered a flexible schedule. By 2006 I had created a website, and in 2007 I began using social media (Twitter) to reach people with my writing and to market my books and services. As my engagement and online presence grew, I was hired by food industry clients and trade groups who wanted me to help them communicate the science about controversial or misunderstood food or nutrition topics, and reach more consumers. When I launched my Chew the Facts™ blog in 2012, I resigned from newspaper freelancing to pursue bigger clients.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I guess I was born with the ability to see things differently; to notice what others do not (or that they ignore), and to see the “big picture”. I’m a researcher and skeptic at heart. I like to know “why” and get to the bottom of things. I guess I was born with the ability to write. Writing is a skill that almost anyone can hone if they put the time into it, but it always came more naturally to me. I enjoy telling stories, and writing is an extension of that.
I’m an extroverted introvert! I enjoy my private time, but I am very social and enjoy being around people. Over the years, I’ve learned how to come out of my shell and communicate my true passions, which has brought confidence. The only way to become better (and more comfortable) at anything, is to practice doing it.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Build experience – by taking every opportunity that comes your way, even if it’s not “perfect” (perfect job, perfect hours, perfect pay, perfect time in your life, etc). The more you do, the more you learn, and the more people you can meet with experiences to share. You’d be surprised how willing people are to share their experiences and help you along the way. Then, you can do what you have passion for. You can’t be great (or happy) if you’re bored or frustrated.
It took years to learn that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. As you gain more experience, you realize that you can ask for what you want – whether it’s about money, an assignment, or participation in a project – communicate your needs clearly. Don’t expect anyone to read you mind, nor assume they know what you want, or how you feel a project should be completed. Speak up.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Recognition. Being a freelancer, sometimes feels like you’re on an island. You don’t get the typical recognition you get when you have co-workers or are an employee (even if it’s just a holiday party or small bonus, or a weekly “great job” comment). But sometimes people will comment on what I’ve written, letting me know it helped them feel better, get through the day, or overcome eating/diet barriers. My goal is to get people to that “ah-ha” moment.
And – Flexible time. Luckily, I have that. I can get my work done any day or hour of the week. If I want to take a 4-day weekend, or a random Thursday off, I can work 12-hour days to plan for it. I can also travel with my laptop and work in any location with WIFI service.
***Check out Rosanne’s past Spotlight from 2012 and see how her career has evolved over time.