Career Mentor – Jorie Janzen
25 successful years, 25 career mentors
Jorie Janzen [BHEc (Nutrition)/02] is one of 700+ Career Mentor volunteers who devote time to meeting University of Manitoba students. Each year, career mentors share their knowledge and advice to guide the career plans and contribute to the success of students. In celebration of 25 successful years, 25 career mentors have agreed to share their career stories and advice…
Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?
I work in sport nutrition where I work with an integrated team to assist athletes/teams to achieve their personal best. My part is performance nutrition to achieve podium success.
I LOVE that what I do is more than assess grams of carbs/pro/fat and hydration status of my clients. I actually provide support and coaching in their athletic careers. Athletes are actually human beings and need to be treated as such. It is easy to assume that athletes are dedicated and a captive audience. They too have real life issues – highs and lows in life, but are expected to perform on demand. More often than not, I am seen more as a life coach than a dietitian. I am good with that!
One of my greatest challenges in my area of practice is educating my peers and other support/medical staff that we need to be mindful of the athlete and not assume that all is well. When a team is more concerned about a body composition test then keeping themselves healthy for performance, we have issues. This has been my battle since starting in sport nutrition over a decade ago.
While you were completing your degree, what experiences and activities helped bring you to your career decision or helped you succeed in your occupation?
Prior to completing my nutrition degree I went to Career Services and did some testing. The area of nutrition came up, so that is where I decided to go. While completing my degree I had no idea that I could have a career in sport. I am not an athlete. There was no sport nutrition course until the year I graduated. I got tired of not knowing what to do. In the course work I had to find a dietitian to interview. I randomly found a dietitian in the yellow pages (internet was just coming out then). We met and I found out she had a private practice as a dietitian working in sport. She took me under her wing and here I am today. It took a ton of volunteer commitment and being ready and willing to learn, and learn independently.
I also found that volunteer experiences were huge in my finding my way to the career I have now. The Women’s Health Clinic had a body image and self-esteem program. I received my training and went off incorporating body image, weight pre-occupation and self-esteem to my studies in nutrition. I also volunteered at a diabetes camp for kids. This was extremely helpful in bringing textbook and real life together. Becoming a student member of Dietitians of Canada and the local continuing education committee assisted in connecting me with the right people at the right time.
Describe your career planning journey. Please include any highlights, bumps or roadblocks.
After obtaining my nutrition degree and gaining volunteer experiences I graduated from the dietetic internship program. I began my career working in long-term care, building a private practice as well as sitting on various committees such as the Sport Medicine and Science Council Manitoba. I also became co-chair of the Dietitians of Canada Sport Nutrition Network and founded the Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network Inc. As I became primarily involved in sport nutrition, I decided to take my education further. I obtained my International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Nutrition in 2010. This is a 2-year part-time commitment program – and was both work and worthwhile!
I have come to realize that working in dietetics couselling and motivating clients is at the heart of what I do. Taking Molly Kellogg’s Motivational Interviewing course as well as the Certified Coach Federation Life and Executive Coaching course has assisted me immensely in how I work with people.
I now work full-time with the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba and still maintain my private practice of writing for others and working with teams and individual clients. Yet, I am forever seeking new learning opportunities to advance not only myself, but others I work with and mentor.
What inspired you to be a career mentor?
I LOVE people. You can’t inspire and motivate others if you do not genuinely want to help people move forward.
I love that others invested in me and continue to invest in me. Helping others in their career paths as much I am able has always been a passion. Whether that be a student, colleague or client – if I can be a part of helping one get to a better place then I feel I have done my job.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in following in your footsteps?
Be willing to put in the necessary time, which often means volunteer in the beginning. Then, time means further education whether it’s another certification, diploma or attending or presenting at conferences. Being an active learner and doer will take you far. Be respectful of others leading you. The community we work in is small. You have to be ok with working your way into your role as a high performance a nutrition coach.
What career advice do you have for university students?
Take your time, but be purposeful while figuring out what you really want to do. And don’t rule any area of dietetics out. I was happy with every work opportunity I was fortunate to take on and to gain experience from these opportunities.
Learn to build relationships with those you aspire to work with or be like. You become who you surround yourself with. I have and continue to surround myself with good people, amazing people – and they are not all dietitians. Many are however leaders in what they do.
Stay tuned for more career mentor profiles! From September 25 to November 2 the Career Mentor Program will be profiling 25 dedicated and wonderful mentors from across several sectors. To view more career mentor profiles and learn about the anniversary event on November 2, 2015, please visit the CMP 25th Anniversary website.