When I was first considering going to school to study nutrition, there were only a few main career paths you heard about: private practice, clinical, community, and foodservice. With back-to-school season getting into swing, I thought it would be fun to highlight some dietitians doing cool stuff in the field. Today I’m sharing a little Q & A with Edwina Clark, the Head of Nutrition and Wellness at Yummly, where she is responsible for developing new nutrition solutions for over 20 million Yummly users. How cool is that? After admiring her beautiful food photos and interacting over social media, it was such a treat to finally connect with her in person back in July when we were both on a trip sponsored by Uncle Ben’s and Seeds of Change.
I love talking with other dietitians about their career paths, and Edwina was kind enough to share her story with me on here. For any of you guys out there who may be considering a career in the nutrition world but aren’t totally sure where you want to go, there are tons of amazing things you can do in the tech world!
Here she talks about work, life (and finding some balance between the two) and shares some of her expert healthy travel tips!
What inspired you to become a dietitian?
I started running competitively when I was nine so I have been interested food and performance for as long I can remember. My parents were really thoughtful about fueling me for exercise as a child. They would lug a cooler full of tabouli, pita bread, pancakes, and chocolate milk to track meets for me to nibble on between events, and feed me a big bowl of spaghetti the night before a race.
As I got older, I started tinkering in the kitchen and coming up with new recipes on my own. I excelled at science, and loved learning about how the body worked. Becoming a Dietitian couldn’t have been a more natural fit!
When you were in school, what did you see yourself doing as an RD?
I always knew that I wanted to do something outside the box but I didn’t what it would be when I was studying. I liked the idea of working [in] media, but I also enjoyed learning about metabolism, and more clinical aspects of nutrition. I left grad school with a open mind and a willingness to get my hands dirty.
What were your first jobs as an RD? What led you to your current role?
My first full-time job out of graduate school was running the corporate wellness program at State Street (SS) Boston for EXOS. I was one of two EXOS staff members charged with the responsibility of running wellness programming for over 10K employees. In that role, my work included everything from one-on-one counseling, to leading webinars, writing marketing materials, and meeting with senior executives on the State Street benefits team.
After that I moved onto a traveling team at EXOS called the ‘swat team’, and serviced corporate wellness clients all around America and Europe including Google, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and Intel.
While I was working for EXOS, I started getting interested in tech as a means of scaling nutrition education. I slowly got plugged into the Boston start-up scene and eventually landed a job with a company that delivered behavior change courses via mobile. A year later that spun into a cross country move, and a job as Head of Nutrition at Orange Chef. At Orange Chef, I did everything from product work to PR, marketing, social strategy and recipe development. In November 2015, Orange Chef was acquired by Yummly. Almost all of my roles to-date have come from referrals within my network.
What excites you most about being a dietitian who works in the tech and media world?
Every day presents new opportunities, and challenges! No project is ever the same, and the work is really dynamic. I am constantly learning and growing.
I know you travel a lot—what are some of your favorite places you’ve been to?
Tough question! I like so many places for different reasons. Sydney, Australia is home, and will always be my top pick however other places I love include: London, Tuscany, The Algarve in Portugal, and Paris.
Any healthy travel tips?
Yes! Given that I travel often, I am one of those people that seeks out healthy spots and exercises wherever I go. My healthy travel tips include:
- Carry an empty, reusable water bottle to fill up wherever you go: Dehydration is a big energy suck!
- Find the nearest supermarket and a few healthy options around your accommodation: A little bit of research goes a long way! One of the first things that I do when I arrive anywhere is pick up a few healthy snacks to keep hanger at bay and prevent overindulgence when I am out and about.
- BYO snacks on the plane: Plane food is notoriously mediocre so I keep a stash of non-perishable snacks like RxBars, dried chickpeas, dried fruit, and dark chocolate squares in my carry-on.
- Plan to exercise: Whether it’s a gym class, a jog, or even a long walk, incorporate physical activity into your travel plans.
- Pack an eye-mask: The power of a good night’s shut-eye should not be underestimated, and light exposure is one of the biggest determinants of sleep duration/quality.
It can be hard to fit in time for self-care. What do you do when you need to de-stress or feel more grounded?
I was a track athlete in college and running continues to be part of my routine. I interval train 4-5 times a week, and it continues to be a source of happiness and relaxation for me. I am also a big fan of getting a sports massage once or twice a month.
Your food photos are absolutely gorgeous! What are some of your favorite foods?
Thank you! I really enjoy taking food photos but I am still honing my skills. Two of my favorite foods are:
- Avocado: I love avocado on toast, in baked goods, in smoothies, and more. It’s versatility knows no bounds!
- Dark chocolate: I’ve always adored chocolate, but these days I prefer good-quality dark chocolate over anything else.
Any tips for anyone considering a career in the wellness world?
- Think outside the box: Dietitians have an incredibly valuable skill set with SO many different applications. Opportunities exist everywhere— it’s just a matter of keeping your eyes open.
- Educate, educate, educate: Most people don’t know the difference between the rigorous training of a dietitian and a ‘nutritionist’. Becoming a dietitian is not an easy path— it’s competitive, and intellectually demanding. Don’t be afraid to educate people about your skills and training
Thank you, Edwina!
Edwina is the Head of Nutrition and Wellness at Yummly, where she is responsible for developing new nutrition solutions for over 20 million Yummly users. She holds her Bachelors and Masters degrees in nutrition from Boston University, where she graduated with highest honors and captained the track and field team. Edwina is dually credentialed as a Dietitian in both the US and Australia, and certified as a specialty sports dietitian.
Prior to working in tech, Edwina worked in corporate wellness for EXOS, serving clients such as State Street Bank, Google Europe, and Intel. She has worked as a wellness coach, spokesperson, writer, and consultant for everything from Fortune 500 companies to high performance athletes and early stage startups. Edwina regularly contributes to the media, and has been featured in SELF magazine, Women’s Health, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and others! She is a proud board member of the Bay Area District Dietetic Association and a San Franstralian. In addition to her other commitments, Edwina also maintains her own health and wellness blog, edwinaclark.com.
This has been another installment of the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.