PAND Member Spotlight on the PA Academy Media Spokespeople
By Julie Stefanski MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDE
PAND PR/Social Media Chair

So You Think You’re Passionate About Social Media?

In 1982, the year that the American Dietetic Association first added national spokespersons, the job of these professional media representatives was likely very different than the role today!  Thirty years later, The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Spokesperson program is still going strong and relies on carefully selected nutrition professionals representing each national media market in the United States.  The program’s main goal is to bring the Academy’s messages of healthful eating and nutrition to millions across the world via every form of media.  Our Pennsylvania spokespersons include Heather Mangieri, Libby Mills, and the newest addition- Caroline Passerrello.  

Mangieri-010-1Being a media spokesperson has many challenges, including last minute deadlines and staying abreast of brand new research.  For the past six years, Heather Mangieri MS, RD, CSSD, LDN who owns Nutrition CheckUp, a nutrition consulting practice located in Pittsburgh that specializes in sports nutrition, weight management and disordered eating has served as a spokesperson. In her practice, she provides nutritional guidance and expertise to casual exercisers and competitive athletes so they can maximize their training efforts to reach their fitness goals. She also coaches clients interested in weight management and wellness to improve their life with nutrition and physical activity in order to feel better and prevent disease.   

Mangieri is the sports dietitian consultant for the Carnegie Mellon University Athletic Department and consults with student health services.   Heather’s three children have increased her awareness of both children’s and now adolescent nutritional needs.  Most recently, Mangieri authored her first book, Fueling Young Athletes, due to be released in December 2016.  Heather shared one of the biggest challenges of being an Academy Spokesperson, “It’s constantly a challenge to find fun, exciting, sexy ways to promote evidence-based nutrition information so that it is heard over the competition that do not hold themselves to the same professional standards.”  

Libby kichen picLibby Mills MS, RDN, LDN a professional speaker, writer and cooking/nutrition coach from West Chester, agreed, “It is an honor to be the voice of the Association and the RDNs and DTRs in so many media outlets.  Nutrition is health and I enjoy sharing how RDNs and DTRs are the experts but at the same time make healthy fun, tasty and simple for people!  In this role, I’m constantly challenged to communicate the evidence based positions of the Academy in light of the constant unfolding of new research in such a way that it is easily understood, meaningful and motivating. I never know which interview might change some’s life.”  

Libby is a graduate of Saint Louis University, where she obtained an undergraduate and master’s degree.  As an expert in restaurant and retail food industries, including food safety, restaurant nutrition and culinary practices, Libby often focuses on the importance of making the right food choices for managing special dietary needs. Libby also teaches nutrition at Neumann University and is the host of “Libby’s Luncheonette,” a weekly Philadelphia radio show. She has written for consumer and trade publications and blogs at digineatup.com.

Caroline Passerrello and daughterAs Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN steps up to increase her recognition as a national nutrition expert she is especially excited to contribute to increasing the visibility of our profession,  “Helping the public recognize the RDN as the best source of food and nutrition information can ensure that more of the messages can focus on the relevant and actionable healthful eating information.  The Academy has a best in class infrastructure in place to bring relevant and actionable messages on food and nutrition to millions of Americans. As an Academy Spokesperson I will make meaningful contributions via traditional and social media resulting in a measurable increase in the overall visibility of the dietetics profession and the Academy.”

Caroline is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where she received bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and clinical dietetics and a master’s degree in Wellness and Human Performance.  She worked as a clinical dietitian at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and is a recurring guest lecturer and adjunct faculty for the various graduate nutrition programs at University of Pittsburgh in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.  

Caroline regularly counsels adults on weight management, behavior change, and practical meal planning for the diverse family nutritional needs of today, incorporating both technology and mindfulness to deliver successful results.  Caroline also has a passion, thanks to her daughter, for pre and post-natal nutrition and introducing the joy of eating to babies and toddlers.

Never having dreamed of being a dietitian early on in life, Caroline has come to love her role in nutrition, “I sort of stumbled upon the dietetics profession late in my undergraduate work in psychology – so I added a second major and my motivation at that point was to begin working as quickly as possible! I continue to keep my eyes and ears open to opportunities – both in my personal life and when working with clients.  I am passionate about finding practical solutions to ‘problems’ and continue to be motivated by opportunities in my surroundings.”

Being immersed in nutrition media may grow tiresome for some, but not Libby, “I am still motivated by the field of nutrition. New evidence keeps dietetics evolving and our new dietetic professionals keep it exciting.  I am still discovering, experiencing, creating and sharing for the greater good.  I’ve always supported others, especially new professionals in dietetics.  It is exciting to see emerging visions of our professional futures through the aspirations of our newest colleagues.  Helping them has energized my own endeavors.”

Caroline also has a positive outlook on tackling this next challenge.  “I can’t think of anything in my professional background that won’t help me in this role. My many areas of specialty, work and volunteer experiences, from strategic development to individual counseling, position me as a subject matter expert.”  Caroline added that her positive attitude, easy going demeanor and motivational interviewing skills will help to effectively build rapport with clients, colleagues and media personalities.

Volunteering certainly has many rewards.  Heather agreed that beyond the obvious benefits, making connections with colleagues in our field is well worth the time investment, “As an Academy Spokesperson I have an opportunity not only to tell others how to live a healthy lifestyle, I get to show them. My other favorite part is the friends and colleagues that the position has allowed to be make and develop over the years. The friendships are invaluable! The other dietitians and members of the media relations team within the Academy spokesperson program are part of my family.”

Much thanks to these ladies for being great representatives for our profession!  If you too are passionate about social media and would like to volunteer to help with our PAND media team please email Julie Stefanski at stefanskinutrition@gmail.com