Emily Kean, MBA, RDN, LDN
NUTRITION MARKETING COORDINATOR,
for something nutrishus
Emily was excited to share her story since she was able to create a job from an internship opportunity. I think it's great that she did a joint MBA/internship; I don't think we have that in Canada. Similarly (but definitely differently), we also both work/consult in dairy and sports nutrition. She is an avid runner and obviously passionate about health and nutrition. I was lucky to get to meet Emily recently in person at the SCAN symposium in Portland.
Why did you become a RD?
I’ve always been interested in food, health, science, math, and chemistry. In high school, I attended a Medical Summit at Johns Hopkins University, where I learned that I could major in nutrition/dietetics and make nutrition a career. I knew immediately it was the correct career path for me, combining all my favorite fields. I love being able to apply my knowledge and expertise to promote health through sound dietary habits.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
- Business/marketing: I work for a dairy foods company as their Nutrition Marketing Coordinator.
- Sports Nutrition: I also enjoy talking with runners and other athletes about their specific nutrition requirements.
How would you explain what you do?
- Nutrition communications and research i.e. front of the label messaging, nutrition facts panel, new product research, comparative analyses, attend nutrition conferences, customer service, blog, etc.
- Conduct research and advise company executives on nutrition issues concerning company products
- Consultant to customer service reps and social media manager regarding consumer inquiries and social media messages regarding company products and nutrition
- Provide oversight for product labeling and laboratory testing
- Member of Research and Development team for new product development
- Represent company at conferences and sampling events
- I also do some corporate wellness related work including discussing with coworkers about how to improve diets, and planning interoffice nutrition events.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Every week is different. I’m often working on nutrition communications and fact checking for our collateral such as our blog, commercials, recipes, posters, etc. I also often communicate with Health professionals including RDs, and doctors on the benefits of our product.
What has been your career path?
After earning BS in nutrition and food science, I enrolled in a dual MBA/dietetic internship program. While attending a promotional event at the company, the CEO offered me an internship. At the conclusion of the internship, the company offered me the position of nutrition marketing coordinator.
In grad school, I joined an amazing running group. This is when I discovered I had a passion for running and sports nutrition. My thesis was on female athlete’s diets.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I earned a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science with an emphasis in Dietetics from Georgia Southern University. I completed my internship in the Chicagoland area with rotations in community, public relations, sports dietetics, clinical, and food science. I earned my masters in business administration (MBA) at Dominican University.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
I’d love to see RDs in all food aspects- industry, clinical, research, and general health. RDs should also play more of a role in preventative care. We can also be the first line of defence for many health conditions. Dietitians doing preventative care in doctor’s primary care offices would be ideal.
What would you like people to know about RDs?
RDs are THE Nutrition Experts! We have knowledge and training in food science, anatomy, food production, biology, chemistry, and much more!
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Sometimes strangers or acquaintances want quick advice on how to lose weight, look better, etc. I usually try to give people some quick tidbit like “try eating more fruits or vegetables.” However, there’s no quick fixes. In order to effectively evaluate someone’s current eating patterns for improvement, it can be a long discussion. Personal nutrition and eating is always a WIP (work in progress), always room for improvement! :)
What do people think that you do for a living?
People think I run and eat for a living and I tell people how to do these things. While it's true that I love running and eating, I don’t tell people how to eat. When counseling, I merely make suggestions and encourage dietary improvements.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
I’m passionate about industry transparency. Food companies need to build relationships with their consumers built on honesty. Many companies have their customers’ health on their minds and in their hearts. Behind all companies are real people.
I’m passionate about educating people on nutrition especially on individualizing their food choices for optimal health and performance.
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
RDs have a unique combination of knowledge, training and experience in the science of nutrition, human anatomy and physiology and the effects of food consumption on the body that enables them to customize eating plans to the individual to maximize a healthy lifestyle.
What is your favourite meal?
Whew! It's so hard to chose. I love all kinds of food. But if I had to chose, I’d say any meal with quinoa. Quinoa rhymes with my last name, and is a great source of complete protein! Quinoa makes its presence in my diet at least 3-4 times a week.
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Find what you are passionate about and make it your career! I love living everyday waking up excited to go running and go into the office! As Confucius said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
More about Emily:
Linkedin: Emily A Kean, MBA, RDN
Blog: Kean on Nutrition