I remember during my Senior Year as an undergrad dietetic student, I came across Jenny Westerkamp’s YouTube videos on how to prepare for your dietetic internship interviews, tips on writing your personal statement, and several other videos. I thought, HOW COOL of her to make all of these videos for RD2BE’s! Then I found out she had an entire business for dietetic students and getting matched to an internship. Let’s just say Jenny instantly became a role model of mine. Her spirit and entrepreneurial enthusiasm is contagious and the dedication she puts into being a Registered Dietitian is admiring. She shows others that it IS possible to put yourself out there and do what you love! I hope you find her answers to my interview questions helpful and inspiring. Jenny, many thanks for agreeing to do the interview with me!
In a nutshell, describe how you got where you are today.
Well in a nutshell, I took a lot of risks, exposed myself to a bunch of different types of projects, created opportunities, and formed a consistent personal brand. This allowed me to have a career I have loved every single day since day 1! My full story and the lessons I have learned so far can be found here: http://jennywesterkamp.com/my-story/
What are your success habits?
First, I keep a GOALS note and a COMPLETED GOALS note in my phone and look at them every day. I think it is important to look at your completed goals from the past as a source of confidence to continue reaching goals in your future. Second, I keep trying to improve skills. For example, to improve my public speaking I took an improv training course at Second City comedy club! Finally, don’t own a TV, which I think really helps me accomplish a lot more with the time I have every day. 🙂
Are there any books you suggest is a must read?
Success Principles by Jack Canfield – It’s amazing. I read it right as I was starting All Access Internships and it confirmed for me that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and be a good one too! I reference it all the time, and it is great because you can just open it up and read a principle. Certain principles also help at different times and with different situations, so it’s like the book that keeps on giving!
What do you like to do on your free time?
I enjoy workout and brunch dates with friends, bikram yoga, and going to sports games. A couple family members play college football, so my extended family is pretty obsessed. I also like going to Chicago Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bears games. I’m not athletic at all, but I have 5 brothers, so I have become an excellent spectator!
What are the most important character traits you think a student or intern should possess?
You have to promote yourself! This is a skill you should learn very early on in your career, and it has a lot to do with self-confidence. As dietitians we are selling our advice and selling ourselves as people that should be trusted and valued. If you can’t successfully promote yourself to your client, a company, or the public, then you will have a hard time feeling like you are getting the most happiness out of your career. It stinks to feel underpaid or under appreciated, and often dietitians will settle for that feeling rather than taking control of the situation and doing a better job of promoting themselves and getting what they deserve. Teach yourself about how to improve your marketing, negotiating, and most importantly, self-confidence.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud of my business, All Access Internships, for what it has done for me AND what it has done for dietetics students. I started it when I was still in college, and have grown up with it, really learning as I go and building it from nothing to a team of 17 coaches, a marketing assistant, coaching manager, and a social media team. Also, the fact that I have helped thousands of students through a really stressful time makes me feel like all the effort on nights and weekends is worth it! It is awesome to get emails from students telling me how much AAI helped them make their dreams of becoming a dietitian come true.