Some of the biggest questions I had when I was a student were- how do I know if a certain career path is right for me? AND how do I know what opportunities are available to dietitians?
If this sounds like you, make sure to read on... One of my biggest goals with this page is to help future dietitians gain exposure to some of the unique and amazing opportunities available to them. So, to start off with our awesome RD Spotlight, I'd love to introduce you to Nicole Jackson!
What does an industry dietitian do?
Where do you work? I currently work as a Certification Specialist at General Mills Canada, in the Labelling and Regulatory Compliance (LRC) division. I recently transitioned from a Labelling Specialist position, working primarily on the breakfast cereal business. Essentially this means that I create the information that feeds into food labels (NFT, ingredient list and claims). What was your path to get there? I have always been interested in business. During my graduate internship as part of the Master of Foods and Nutrition program at Brescia University College, I actively sought a rotation in a food industry setting. I was given an internship at General Mills, and during that placement, I was fortunate to be offered a 6-month contract position within the company, working on an e-commerce nutrition data project. Near the end of my contract, a permanent labelling position in LRC opened up, and I have been in this role for the past 3.5 years. What do you love about your job? I love acting as an in-house advocate for the public, ensuring that nutrition information and messaging on cereal packages is accurate and not misleading to consumers. In addition, I believe in General Mills' mission of being a Force for Good, through focusing efforts around four pillars: Food, Planet, People, and Communities. General Mills is an extremely inclusive and engaged workplace that strives to improve the lives of others. It is evident on a daily basis that General Mills employees want to support each other and help one another grow professionally and personally. What’s the hardest thing about your job? The most challenging, yet most exciting, part of my job is navigating the grey space of the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations. Not everything is clear-cut. I work creatively with the business team to develop messaging that complies with Canadian regulations, while also meeting the needs and vision of specific brands such as Cheerios, Chex or Nature Valley. What’s one piece of advice for students who want to pursue a similar career? I highly recommend doing an internship placement in industry, if given the opportunity. Also, I suggest reaching out, via LinkedIn, to individuals who work in a particular area of interest and learn about what they do, and the path they took to obtain their current role. It is important to understand the culture of a workplace, to determine whether or not you will like a particular place of employment. The majority of our days, weeks, months and years are spent working, so it is important to find a workplace where you love what you do, where you do it, and the people you are doing it with.
Are you a student who wants more career and personal development content just like this? Make sure to join The Dietitian Project private student Facebook group!