Zannat Reza MHSc, RD
FOOD & HEALTH STORYTELLER
for something nutrishus
Zannat and I have crossed cyber paths a few times with the clients we consult for. It seems that she was always meant to work in communications with her career starting in marketing and media positions. She loves sharing tips and recipes and has a great focus in her practice: "eat better, move more, stress less, boost brain power & create happy moments." As with others, we see the trend of misinformation around what we as dietitians eat and that we're not judging you aka we're not the food police!
Why did you become a RD?
I’m the accidental dietitian. I was studying biochemistry and switched to nutrition because I like food and I like science. I also wanted to help people live better lives.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Media and communications
How would you explain what you do?
At thrive360, we go beyond food and tackle other health promotion pillars such that we inspire people to eat better, move more, stress less, boost brain power, and create happy moments. This is the consumer-facing part of the business.
The agency side of the business helps organizations with knowledge translation, content creation and media outreach.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
I wake up at 5AM, and work for an hour. This usually means reading the news, replying to emails, and planning out my day. I work out at 6AM, and then deal with kids & school drop off until 9AM. I then get back to work. I try and schedule all my meetings for the week on the same day.
I read up on news of the world, politics, technology, social media, entrepreneurship, business trends and health promotion articles.
What has been your career path?
I was studying biochemistry at McMaster University in my undergrad and decided to change track in third year. I took nutrition courses at U of T so I could apply to the Masters’ in community nutrition program. I got in and took Marketing and Management courses as electives.
After graduating, there weren’t many jobs in public health, so I approached a social marketing firm, Manifest Communications, to find out what type of work they were doing. I got hired. The learning curve was steep as I was immersed in the creative process, advertising and understanding how to run an agency. I was there just under two years, but it felt like the amount of learning you would get in five years.
I then got a position at Dairy Farmers of Ontario as their Nutrition Media Specialist. And by the end of four years, I was their Media Relations Manager for nutrition and marketing activities.
After my first mat leave, I wanted more flexibility with my time, so I went into nutrition communications consulting. I did that for 11 years before launching my food and health communications social enterprise (a business that has a social purpose) in 2016. Thrive360 is a health promotion social enterprise.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I have a Masters of Health Sciences in Community Nutrition (similar to an MPH). I recently completed a certificate in Digital Strategy and Social Media Management at U of T.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Where RDs are in leadership positions outside of traditional roles.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
That we do eat chocolate and indulgent foods. We are *not* the food police.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Misconception that we are the food police.
More about Zannat:
LinkedIn: Zannat Reza