Maree Ferguson AdvAPD, RD, FAND, MBA, PhD
for something nutrishus
Now that we've had one Aussie, it's time for another! As you can see, she has earned many different credentials in her career. Not only have we seen dietitians aiming to inspire the public, but if you've been following the series, you've seen dietitians like Maree that are aiming to inspire and support other dietitians. She has a very unique and important passion and is doing great work for our profession. Before I knew of Maree, I was aware of the #dietitiansunite campaign as I'm working with our Dietitians of Canada brand leadership team on similar initiatives. We need more people like Maree, plus she also added a new title to the list of books I want to read!
Why did you become a RD?
I’ve been a dietitian for 21 years now. I had an amazing home economics teacher at high school who taught me about nutrition – both the science and the practical food aspects. This is what led me to pursue a career in dietetics.
What has been your career path?
I have worked in a few areas over my career. After completing my PhD developing the malnutrition screening tool (now used around the world), I worked in Research & Development and then Marketing (after obtaining my MBA) for a nutrition company in the United States for 8 years. I then moved back to Brisbane, Australia, to take up a management position in a large hospital as Director of Nutrition and Dietetics with more than 30 dietetic staff. I now work in a rather unique role as the founder and director of my own business Dietitian Connection.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I have a MBA and PhD
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Self-employed, nutrition communications/consulting; industry
How would you explain what you do?
Dietitian Connection is an online business, which provides professional development resources, webinars, podcasts, the latest news and research, and events for dietitians who reside in Australia and even those across the globe. We are a small team who aim to inspire and empower dietitians to realize their dreams. And have more than 5,000 members worldwide.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Each day and week is completely different for me, which is why I love my job. Some tasks include hosting events, webinars and podcasts, meeting with my team, responding to email, chatting with corporate clients, planning future activities, and delivering workshop presentations.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
It would be great to see dietitians expanding into novel job opportunities such as personalized medicine, and innovative online businesses.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
Through my work, I connect with thousands of dietitians and what I was hearing was that many dietitians in Australia didn’t have a job. Many were under-employed or underpaid. And others simply can’t make a living. I became aware of this earlier this year. To say I was shocked to the core is an understatement.
We know what a dietitian is, and does. But I am concerned that the public has little idea what that title means – and the value we can deliver. Frustratingly, the public is also getting nutrition advice from non-qualified experts. I could no longer sit on the sidelines and do nothing and hence started the #dietitiansunite campaign.
The crowdfunding campaign was designed for dietitians to contribute funds, which will be used to execute a national awareness campaign to educate consumers on what a dietitian does, and the benefits we deliver.
What is your favourite meal?
Being a typical Aussie (Australian), a roast lamb dinner.
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
The most favorite piece of advice I have received recently was to watch one of Dr Brené Brown’s videos: Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count. I have since read some of her books including Daring Greatly where she shares her research on vulnerability. I highly recommend checking out Dr Brown’s work. We need to have the courage to step into the arena and manage our inner critic.
More about Maree:
Website: Dietitian Connection
Facebook: Dietitian Connection