Today we’d like to introduce you to Robyn Kievit Kirkman.
Robyn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In high school, I became interested in nutrition and nursing but could not decide to go into undergrad. For undergrad, I chose UCONN because of the 4-year RDN program they had at the time and also it’s proximity to home – 3 hours – and a bigger university. I became an RDN in 1994 and saw my first client in a small private practice that same Summer. I worked for nearly two years as a cardiac/HIV dietitian before moving from NJ to Boston. The move to Boston brought work in long term care and outpatient nutrition. During this time, I was weighing whether to go back to school to be an NP or get a Masters in nutrition. I was accepted to a Masters in nutrition program but ultimately pursued the NP degree. I knew by my early 20’s combining these two degrees would help me reach my patients in a way that made more sense to me also provide a combination of care I am still extremely passionate around. Former positions I have had in various clinical environments has enabled me to be where I am now in experience – from patients with differing needs and extremes in illness(es) to work environments. Ultimately, I knew years ago, I wanted my private practice to be full time, but I did not know how or when then to narrow my niche. Nearly 25 years later, I’ve got it down.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think success means smooth. At all. And being your own boss and a small business owner means constantly being on your toes, looking at new and better systems, and having to learn from your mistakes. You must be able to look at yourself and really see – if not, that’s a struggle.
When I was 31, I got divorced and had a 3-year-old son. This was a time when I questioned my own self-worth across the board. It was not an opportune time to further pursue my full-time private practice dream with the authenticity, time or drive that I have now. I also needed a job with benefits and was thinking very far ahead in terms of security for my son and me.
Later, in terms of taking the full-time private practice plunge, it was leaving a major institution. I had been connected to one career wise for so long – from MGH to Boston Public Health Commission to Emerson College – it’s a scary jump and it took me a couple years to believe in myself fully around this concept.
Recently, I was interviewed in another venue ‘WhatRDsDo’ and my interviewer asked a similar question. I gave a similar answer:
Two pieces of advice I was given and did not listen to or take with an immediacy that I wished I did… which leads me to the third:
1. You can do it all, but not all at once (especially women!).
2. Pick your niche and stick to it. You don’t have to be a ‘Jill’ of all trades. 😉
3. You do your best at every moment. Don’t look back because you didn’t fail – you were doing your best. (Also great client/patient advice!)
What should we know about robynkievit? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
What do I do? Currently, I have a private practice in Boston and a second in Concord, MA. My focus is on sports nutrition, eating disorders and psychopharmacology.
Nutrition and food therapy are first and foremost. For those clients who need medicine as it relates to both of these, I also can and do prescribe as an NP (Nurse Practitioner). On some teams and for some patients, I am the prescriber and there is someone else taking on the RDN role. I am very interested in collaboration and the team aspect of care in my private practice. Every day, there are calls/emails with MD’s, other NP’s and RDN’s and multiple therapists. Clients I prescribe medicine for are experiencing anxiety and depression or both (also PTSD, OCD), as this relates to their eating. I prescribe medicines for all of these and work with clients to help reach their best place with food and their bodies.
My typical daily and weekly ‘tasks’ are patient and client appointments – total priority. Then, collaborating with other team members who share these same patients. These two tasks take up most of my time. I have a virtual assistant who confirms appointments and does my billing through two companies, Healthie and Healthy Bytes, respectively. She also sends client receipts for medical patients. I oversee a small business consultant who updates my website and publishes my monthly e-newsletter, Nutrition With Intention. Then, in December, I hired a PR consultant and she manages my social media; we converse nearly daily on email and collaborate using Buffer to plan all posts.
I am most proud of my combination of degrees – this sets me apart. There are a few other RDN’s and NP’s but I specialize in sports nutrition and eating disorders and how these relate to mood. And I can prescribe for mood in these areas is there is a need. I’ve also done a bunch of public speaking at conferences and across media venues and write regularly for these as well. Oh, and I balance this with my family which is a blended one of 4 kids ranging in age from 17 to 5.
Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
Oooh, I love this question.
Famous women – without question, Oprah, Hilary.
In mine and related fields? Ellie Krieger, Joy Bauer, Neva Cochran, Patricia Bannan, Amber Pankonin, Robyn Flipse, Beth Mayer, Jane Powers, Dr. Laura Petrillo, Joan Salge Blake. There are so many women clinicians I work with – my list is so long!
Women have to balance. All. The. Time. We often are balancing work and family and much of it solo. Not all of my mentors or inspirations have kids, but they have the confidence level in being a woman that I look to wholeheartedly.
My aunts. I have 2. They help me balance.
Our childcare provider who mainly helps with our 5-year-old daughter. She is a rockstar. I could not do what I do without being completely confident that when I am not with our child or children, she is in charge.
- Address: I have offices in downtown Boston and Concord, MA112 Water Street, Suite 203
Boston, MA 02109Damonmill 4C
Concord, MA 01742
- Website: robynkievit.com
- Phone: 617-838-4788
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Nutrition.Mentor
- Facebook: NutritionMentoring
- Twitter: NutritionMentor
- Other: LinkedIn: NutritionMentoring