Career Resources

Network Yourself To The Top & Make New Connections At FNCE – Part 1

Sarah Koszyk, MA RD

Network Yourself To The Top & Make New Connections At FNCE (PART 1) 

The Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, FNCE, is the #1 networking event of the year for dietitians, dietetic technicians, and dietetic students! NutritionJobs looks forward to attending FNCE every year. Besides the educational sessions, workshops, and expo, the networking factor is HUGE! FNCE provides people with a time to shine, make connections with others, meet new friends, delve into new job opportunities, and grow, grow, grow as a person and professional. With FNCE right around the corner, having a networking plan is important.

NutritionJobs asked fellow dietitians for their expert networking tips. This is Part 1 of a two part series on how you can prepare yourself for the networking event of the year: 

“First, think about who you are, what is important to you and where you want to be a year from now.

Second, remember to be a connector with people rather than a collector of business cards.

Third, look for what you have in common with people, like your background, nutrition experiences, family, favorite foods. Focus on relationships.  The little stuff creates the big stuff and it is way more fun! The business will follow!”

Chere Bork, MS RDN, co-author of 5 Ingredients For Healthy Living Cookbook

“Ask & Listen: Everyone wants to be “heard”. So ask others about themselves and really listen to their answers. You will be amazed at the connections you can make by doing this – and that’s when the real networking happens.”
Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE, founder/owner of Sound Bites specializing in communications coaching and media.

“Have your elevator pitch perfected so that you can succinctly respond to “what do you do?” and “how do you do that?” My elevator pitches to the 2 questions are:  ‘I partner with professionals ready to move from where they are today to where they dream to be in the future with their career.’ ‘Since everyone has the answers within them, but don’t realize it, I give them the confidence they need to be successful through career coaching.”
Linda S. Eck Mills, MBA, RDN, LDN, FADA, owner of Dynamic Communications Services

“Saying “yes” whenever you can is really an incredible way to network. You never know what opportunities may come your way by being willing to take on an extra project, go to another event, or help a colleague when possible. Going the extra step – even if it’s a small step – to help your colleagues or to become involved can make a big difference.”
McKenzie Hall, RD, blogger and co-owner of Nourish RDs

“Allow equal time for each person to contribute to the conversation. Often times, people are so anxious to get all of their information out that they wind up dominating the conversation without even realizing it. Also, find common ground and start the conversation from that point. You’d be amazed at how many terrific conversations I’ve had when asking someone where they found their necklace or their shoes!”
Robin Plotkin, RD, LD, Blogger for Dallas Morning News Health Blog

“Put your photo on your business card. When I get home from a conference with a stack of cards, I really, really try to remember who’s who, but it’s not possible. If you want to be remembered, don’t put a picture of an apple on your card, put a picture of yourself.”
Jessica Setnick, MS, RD, CEDRD, Founder of Eating Disorders Boot Camp and Author of Eating Disorders Clinical Pocket Guide
*PS: Since FNCE 2012, I (Sarah Koszyk) took Jessica’s advice and put my photo on my business card. My business card only had a logo in 2012. I hope to give everyone a card this year at FNCE and have you all remember who I am!

Get ready to meet many new people at FNCE. Stop by booth at the Expo! We’d love to network with you! Bring your business card and remember to follow-up after FNCE is over! Long-lasting connections are important for building strong relationships.


Sarah Koszyk is founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog focusing on recipes, family health tips, and videos with kids cooking in the kitchen. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach specializing in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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