It’s been a wonderful ride working with the media independently and as a Dietitians of Canada (DC) national spokesperson. I am honored to have the opportunity to share a piece of my story here, including how it all began. It is my hope that by expressing my path and sharing "inspired actions," that other dietitians interested in working with media will turn their dreams into reality.
In August 2013, I sat with a dear friend and made an intention map.
What is that?
An outline of my dream life – a visual for myself of what I will have, what I will achieve, and what I will become. It is a bit of a road map or vision if you will. It’s certainly not pretty, but it serves its purpose.
As you can see there are many aspects of life to consider, from romantic love, to personal health, to career. At the time, what I knew for sure, was that I was meant to teach. I always had an interest in public speaking, acting, and performing; so naturally, I wrote “media” on my map as a branch of teaching. I put all my intentions out to the universe through creating this map, and then posted it to the board that greets me as I open the door to my home.
Inspired Action: Share your ideas with the universe. She’s got your best interests in mind.
On October 30th, 2013, I received a private message on Twitter from one of the anchors of Global Calgary News. She mentioned that the station had an opening for a segment on November 1st, two days later. The producer wanted a dietitian to speak about managing sugar consumption around Halloween. Of course, my initial reaction was, “Aaaah – two days to prepare for appearing on national news for the first time – I can’t…”
In retrospect, I learned that two days is actually a lot of time! Since media work was such an important career goal of mine, I committed! It was scary. Over the next couple of days, I don’t think I did much outside of preparing for the segment and obligatory job-related duties. I planned to add a piece about mindfulness and mindful eating, as those topics are near and dear to my heart. Here is how my first segment turned out.
As I watch it now, I smile and remember the intense amount of yogic breathing I did prior to the start of the segment – I was NERVOUS. But I did it, learned from it and was happy with it!
Inspired Action: Know that news shows NEED YOU – they need to fill spots and want to fill them with information that is valuable to their viewers. If you naturally love being in front of people and speaking about messages you care deeply about, step into that sweet spot and reach out to a media outlet. There are not many people in this world who love that stuff. And we, as dietitians, need to represent!
After the segment, I followed up, thanked them for the opportunity and expressed my interest in participating in future segments. The next thing I knew, I was asked to do four or five weekly segments leading up to Christmas. I pitched ideas and key messages for those segments and incorporated eye-catching visuals for each talk (viewers LOVE that). Everything became easier with time and practice.
Inspired Action: Follow up to express gratitude. Also, keep a list of great ideas to pitch.
When I applied to be a DC National Spokesperson, I was excited for the opportunity to leverage my relationships with various news and radio hosts, get backing from our national association, and continue to spread important messages about food, nutrition and mindfulness. I was certainly pleased to hear my application was accepted and I have absolutely appreciated the network of AMAZING spokespeople and the support from Kate Comeau, MSc, RD – Manager of Public Relations and Media at Dietitians of Canada.
Being a spokesperson is different from contributing to media independently. Instead of speaking on behalf of myself, I am speaking on behalf of many other dietitians. As such, I feel a little more pressure to not mess up! I’d be lying if I said that little gremlin – fear – is out of the picture, but I have learned how to deal with it. In the end, I do what I can to prepare and execute each interview to the best of my abilities.
Inspired Action: To manage fear and nervousness, develop a pre-segment ritual. For me, it consists of deep yogic breaths in silence on the drive to the station, a short visualization after setting up and a brief mantra right before the start. Something like, “I know what I am talking about and I have a deeper purpose in being here.”
I am very grateful for all of the opportunities I have had to be involved with communicating nutrition messages to various media outlets, from Global Morning News, to small magazines, to large newspapers, such as the Globe and Mail. This work has allowed me to market myself and dietitians, as well as build a bigger network. And this is just the beginning!
I regularly update my intention map and I have recently added, “speak at TED.” It is bound to happen, especially now that I am sharing it with you! I would love to hear your own hopes, dreams and desires. Let’s connect and support one another!
Editor’s note: Working with the media is the last thing many dietitians want to do but it is such important work (thanks Casey!). Having a strong media presence as a profession can help ensure our reputation as knowledgeable nutrition experts. I hope this post encourages those thinking of working with the media to take that next step. Good luck!
Please share any thoughts, comments, stories or questions for Casey below.