Dietetic Career Spotlight on Shira Isenberg, RD, MPH, Nutrition Consultant
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on OCTOBER 2, 2012
Learn how this self-motivating Registered Dietitian, Shira Isenberg, landed her paid writing gigs to complete her passionate dietetic career. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Growing up, I loved to cook and bake, so when I was trying to decide on a college major, I figured nutrition would give me a lot of time in the kitchen…I wasn’t thinking about what nutrition is really about – health, vitamins and minerals, disease states, wellness, making food healthier, etc. I had no idea — but I quickly learned, although it wasn’t really until I did my Masters in public health that I started to love the field.
Your Job Title?
Nutrition consultant and writer
Company you are with now?
self-employed — Shira Isenberg Nutrition Consultant
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I do a lot of writing these days, so I try to fit it in around my kids’ schedules (I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old). Daylight hours are usually not too productive work wise for me — I’m not able to do much besides check emails and respond briefly, but I will pull some pretty late nights to meet deadlines.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I currently write two regular nutrition columns as well as sporadic health articles in other print media. I got both of my regular gigs through personal connections — for one, I was visiting a friend at her parents and happened to mention my Masters research on orthodox Jews, which interested her dad, who happened to work for a Jewish paper. The other — I read inaccurate nutrition information in another publication, wrote a letter in to the editor who was impressed with my writing expertise and also turned out to be someone I knew from a year spent abroad. I offered my services and sent some writing samples.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
My first job involved a lot of writing — it was email-based nutrition counseling, which was pretty innovative at the time (early 2000s). I worked for a small company and my boss at the time put out a weekly health column. One time, I noticed a grammatical or otherwise minor mistake (don’t remember what it was exactly) in his column and when I pointed it out to him, I became the person who edited all his writing at the office. This was really when I honed my writing and editing skills and also gained media experience to put on my resume.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Put yourself out there. If you have a dream job but don’t have the skills or experience, call the company/organization and ask what you can do for them – volunteer, anything to get your foot in the door and meet the people there. It will look fantastic on your resume and if/when a job opens up, you’ll be in the know.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Frequent flier miles — I love feeling like I’m flying somewhere for free. Or cleaning services for my house – daily would be great!