Similar to many other dietetics students, Brooke Wiseman’s education focused mainly on nutrition-based roles in three settings: clinical, food service, and community. But her Nutrition On Demand internship experience helped shatter notions of any limitations registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) faced after receiving their credentials. She met RDNs heavily involved in research, policy, and education on a national level. The experience was eye-opening for Wiseman, who left a career in real estate to pursue one in dietetics.
Now an RDN herself and back at Nutrition On Demand as a consultant, Wiseman brings an array of skills she’s picked up throughout her career. In our Q&A with Wiseman, she discusses her career change, the family member who inspired her to become an RDN, and a unique talent that led to her own Etsy business.
Q: What led you to pivot your career from real estate to nutrition?
After high school, I followed my parents’ footsteps, who were both in real estate. The highs were definitely the skills that I gained: how to work with people, team building, and financial and time management. I started when I was 19 — not owning a home myself, not knowing what an amortization schedule was, and not even knowing what a hot water pump was made the job difficult. And being on call 24/7 was not the job or life for me.
Nutrition was always important to me. Growing up, we always had fresh fruits and vegetables on the table. We ate nutritious, home-cooked meals. But it was when my sister divulged to me that she was struggling with disordered eating and a poor relationship with food that I considered a new career. I was blindsided. I think that happens so often; we don’t understand a person’s internal struggles because we don’t see them. My sister had sought out a dietitian for help. I had no idea what one was, so I Googled it and found out that my love for nutrition and overall health could actually become a career. That’s when I realized that real estate was no longer the job for me. I received my RDN credential in 2021 — and after talking with me about my educational experience, my sister is graduating soon from The University of Alabama’s dietetics program. She inspired me, and I got to inspire her.
Where has your career taken you since receiving your RDN credential?
At Nutrition On Demand, I’m an independent contractor and social media content creator for Cooking Matters [an organization that works with communities across the U.S. to help parents and caregivers develop skills for shopping and preparing healthy meals and snacks on a budget]. I work with a team to create engaging content for their Facebook and Instagram accounts. We look into what’s worked and what’s trending to ensure the content is right for their audiences. We’ve developed content that helps with eating behaviors too — ways to inspire children and parents to work together in the kitchen and how to initiate dinnertime at the kitchen table.
I’m also working with NourishedRx. They’re a startup that blends food security and food accessibility with Food as Medicine [the notion that food not only can prevent certain medical conditions but can also treat them]. I order groceries or meal kits for members of the program. I also provide nutrition consultations over the phone. I get to work with members with chronic diseases. Clients are typically an older population who may or may not be food insecure. We send them groceries tailored to their specific needs, whether they have congestive heart failure and they need low-sodium meals or have diabetes and need a carb-consistent diet.
Prior to becoming an RDN, you completed a registered dietetic technician (DTR) program. How did the DTR credential help prepare you for a career as an RDN?
People had suggested to me that I complete a dietetic tech program to see if this is the right field for me. I worked for a year in food service, then I ended up getting my personal trainer certification. I first got a job as a personal trainer at our local YMCA, and then a dietitian position became available that I was able to fill, since I had the DTR credential. I worked with seniors within a housing community, and we hosted healthy eating classes. We cooked and talked about ways they could eat on a budget. I also took them on a grocery store tour and took them out to lunch and explained menus.
I also did some healthy eating consultations with my personal training clients at the YMCA, but it was difficult because the DTR credential only allows you to go so far. Once I had the DTR credential, I knew I didn’t want to stop there. Part of it was that I didn’t want to be silenced. I wanted to talk to anyone about anything, including medical nutrition therapy. As a DTR, I would tell someone, “I can only talk to you about grocery shopping and healthy eating, and healthy ways to cook food. I can’t talk to you about [how to nutritionally treat] your diabetes or [chronic kidney disease].” I wanted a broader spectrum of topics that I could discuss. That’s why I pursued an RDN credential.
Has your experience at Nutrition On Demand exposed you to a variety of career options within the dietetics profession?
Definitely. What I’ve experienced at Nutrition On Demand is so different from what we learn as dietetics students. In school, we focus on nutrition in the clinical, community, and food service settings only. Seeing this team come together and the partnerships they’ve created, it’s been a breath of fresh air for someone who doesn’t necessarily love clinical work but enjoys other aspects like policy, research, and working with large corporations with a common goal of bettering nutrition for others on a national level. Nutrition On Demand stands out. Now that I see what they do and how impactful it is, it’s definitely been a lot of fun and educational to work with them. The staff all have amazing backgrounds and their willingness to share their experience with new RDNs is appreciated.
What’s one final interesting tidbit about yourself?
I always like to have my own source of income and be a contributing member of my family. Wood burning was something my grandfather introduced to me when I was young. People asked for some signs, and I made a few over the years. Then people kept asking. So, I created an Etsy business. It was lucrative for a while. I did all the signs for a park in Maryland, and my mom would give some signs to her real estate clients as a closing gift. I’ve done baby shower gifts. It was fun. But with a new [three-month-old] baby, I don’t have much time for it these days!
Interview conducted, edited, and condensed by Fred Durso, Jr.