Angela is a registered dietitian passionate about sharing good nutrition with the public. She is the owner of ABC Nutrition and is regularly invited to share her knowledge in the media.
What do you do on an average work day? He aha tō mahi ia rā, ia rā?
My ‘average’ day varies considerably from day to day and depending on what is on…and it’s busy!
I manage a team of around 10 dietitians who work within the ACC sector across the North Island. This involves day-to-day operations and management of the team, such as managing case loads and referrals, supervision, training and so on.
In addition, I also sometimes consult to food industry about food regulations around nutrition claims as well as helping to ensure optimal formulations for nutrition-focused products.
I also spend some time updating my websites, responding to queries from the media, writing articles based on the latest nutrition evidence, social media posts about nutrition and dispelling common nutrition myths. I must admit I love all the variety my job has to offer!
What did you study at school? And after high school? I ako koe i te aha i te kura? I aha koe whai muri i te kura tuarua?
At school I studied biology, chemistry, statistics, geography, drama and English. I knew I wanted to study Nutrition at university so I tried to focus my subjects at school around that – but I also loved drama. Perhaps that’s where my love of working in the media stemmed from?
After school I went straight to Otago University to study nutrition, with the aim of becoming a dietitian. In my first year, I took some marketing papers ‘for fun’ and found that I not only enjoyed marketing, but I was doing quite well at it too. That being the case, I decided to do double degree in Consumer and Applied Science (Human Nutrition) and Commerce (Marketing Management). It was definitely a juggle undertaking a double degree at university, as my timetables were constantly clashing, but it was worth it.
After completing both degrees, I took a year off before completing my Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics.
Was your study directly related to what you do now? He ōrite tāu mahi i taua wā ki tāu mahi o ināianei?
Yes! The skills I learned through my Nutrition degree and training in dietetics are put to use every single day – whether it’s in the workplace or at home. I have learnt the importance of critically reviewing the bulk of the evidence, rather than picking up on the results of a single study, to inform my practice.
In having my own business, I am very grateful for the marketing and business skills I learnt as part of my Commerce degree.
What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now? He aha āu kupu hei āwhina i ngā rangatahi wahine e whakaaro ana ki tā rātou mahi mō te wā kei mua i te aroaro?
It can be a daunting time starting out on your career.
The best advice I can give is to follow your dreams and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve when you put your heart, soul and mind to something.
When it comes to starting out in your career, decide where you want to work and focus your sights on the business or organisation, rather than the job. When I first started out, I found a company I wanted to work with and started off in a completely un-related role. While it was tough going at the start, soon a position became available in the nutrition team and the rest they say, “is history”.
When it came to my media work and starting up my business, I took the same approach. Regardless of my lack of experience, I dove straight in.
You might make a few mistakes along the way but each mistake is a new opportunity to learn and develop yourself. I’m a firm believer that it is more fulfilling to give something a try, than to sit back wondering “what if”.
What are some of your career highlights so far? He aha ngā painga o te umanga e whāia ana e koe?
I am so grateful for the incredibly diverse career I have and the wonderful experiences I have had along the way. It’s taken me to places I could never have imagined when I started out.
Some of the key highlights include, starting up ABC Nutrition and working with many wonderful clients and a team of amazing dietitians & nutritionists, my time as the Heart Foundation’s National Nutrition Advisor and my media work.
Why do you believe engaging in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is important to New Zealand? He aha a STEM (pūtaiao, hangarau, pūkaha, pāngarau) e whai take ana ki Aotearoa?
STEM is such an integral part of everyday life, whether we are aware of it or not. The more a person is able to fully understand the ins and outs of a specific issue, the better they are equipped to make an informed decision.
Unfortunately today much of the media, especially in the nutrition space, misses the point by not investigating the wider evidence base on a topic or putting things into context for New Zealanders. This can make it incredibly challenging for the general public to work out which messages they should be listening to. For trusted nutrition advice, I’d recommending turning to the experts (such as Registered Dietitians), rather than the paper, an unqualified blogger or Google.
Why is it important to have more women working in STEM? He aha te take me whai wāhi ngā wāhine ki STEM?
Nutrition and Dietetics is probably one of the few professions that is dominated by women – we need more men! All professions should aim to have diversity and equality, whether that be gender, race, beliefs etc. The more diverse the better!
We all have unique skill sets which have been developed through our personal experiences and these can be leveraged to better support the work we do in STEM.
Angela Berrill is a NZ Registered dietitian and the founder and owner of ABC Nutrition. Angela is passionate about educating the public about the importance of good nutrition and is regularly called on to share her expertise and opinions by the media. You can follow Angela on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM.
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