For our next professional Q&A, I had the honor of interviewing Diane Rice, the owner of Diana K. Rice Nutrition. Diana provides virtual nutrition counseling to both children and adults. Diana’s goal is to help families eat well and stress less.
Q: Do you live in Edmond, work in Edmond, or both? For how long?
A: I both live and work in Edmond. My husband’s job brought us to Oklahoma City two years ago, and we settled on Edmond as the best place to live and raise our family. Shortly after moving to the area, I discovered The Collective, a women-only co-working space in Downtown Edmond, and it became the perfect headquarters for my company. However, the unique nature of virtual nutrition counseling, which is now much more popular thanks to COVID, means that I can work with families from all over Oklahoma, which I really enjoy.
Q: Where did you grow up and go to school?
A: I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from New York University. I stayed in New York City after graduating and worked in media for several years before realizing my passion for nutrition, at which point I decided to become a registered dietitian. I earned a degree in dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado, which I completed via distance education while still living in New York City. I then completed my dietetic internship, a year-long residency program required to become a dietitian, through Cedar Crest College. That internship allowed me to dedicate most of my supervised practice hours to community nutrition, so I had the opportunity to work with government organizations such as WIC and the School Nutrition Program that support young families, as well as non-profits that teach children about cooking and exploring nutritious foods.
Q: What did you do prior to getting involved with your current company?
A: After earning my credentials as a registered dietitian, I held a staff role as the Associate Director of Nutrition Communications at a small nonprofit called The Monday Campaigns, which runs the Meatless Monday initiative. The job was a unique PR role that allowed me to combine my nutrition expertise with my previous work in media. I worked on PR pitches to get our campaigns into the news, served as the organization’s media spokesperson, wrote articles and recipes, and produced nutrition lessons and social media content. It was a great fit for me and really helped me make a lot of connections in the nutrition industry.
Q: How did you come to start your business?
A: Once we relocated to Oklahoma, I knew that it would be unlikely that I’d find a staff role anywhere that combined my nutrition expertise, media skills, and passion for family health. I was also becoming more invested in the Health at Every Size® movement, which is a social justice-oriented healthcare model that works to end weight stigma and dismantle the fallacy that weight is an important determinant of health. This approach is not currently the norm in most healthcare settings, so I took the opportunity to start my own counseling and consulting practice.
I quickly learned that there are very few options for outpatient pediatric nutrition care in Oklahoma, and I am proud that my business fills this need. My weight-inclusive approach is a natural fit for working in pediatrics because it is never appropriate to put children on diets. But, I work with adults as well because a parent’s relationship with food and their own body can strongly influence whether their children develop a healthy relationship with food. I help adults reject the dieting mentality and embrace their natural body size through intuitive eating, which is an important facet of the Health at Every Size movement. I’m honored to say that I’m one of very few Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors in Oklahoma.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Without a doubt, I love that I can set and pursue my own agenda and work toward affecting the changes that I most want to see in the world. I’m not executing someone else’s vision; I’m executing my very own, and I don’t have to dedicate time or mental energy to things like long meetings or staying on my boss’s good side. My life’s passion is fighting weight stigma and helping families embrace healthy relationships with food. I love that I get to work directly with individuals and witness firsthand how our work together improves their lives. I also love that I have the freedom to spread my message however else I like, including through public speaking, media interviews, podcasting, running workshops, and speaking out on social media. Dedicating my time outside of individual counseling sessions to these outlets allows me to reach even more people, utilize my media skills, and stay sharp!
Q: What’s something you’re passionate about in your personal life?
A: I do love to cook and develop recipes, and I also have a vegetable garden. But, something I’ve really enjoyed learning more about recently is podcast editing. I have a podcast about nutrition and well-being for new moms, and I initially assumed that I would hire out the sound editing because that’s definitely not something one learns how to do in nutrition school! As I learned more about it, I realized I’m really fascinated by the way we can manipulate recorded spoken words the same way we can manipulate written text. It’s a hobby I certainly never expected to pursue, but if I had all the time in the world (which I certainly don’t), I’d have a side-hustle, editing podcasts for other people. I love cleaning up a recording, making my guests sound fantastic, rearranging and deleting content when I go off on a tangent, adding music, and etc. I love that this skill allows me to provide content through a medium that is so convenient to my target demographic. Of course, I would find a way to bring it back to my business!
Q: What do you like about Edmond?
A: You know, for a person who grew up and spent the majority of her adult life in big cities, I really enjoy how community-oriented Edmond is. It’s been really easy to get to know so many kind and interesting people through my neighborhood, church, co-working space, and my professional circles. We have so many unique and much-needed small businesses here, especially ones that are dedicated to serving families! I love witnessing the creativity and dedication of my co-workers at The Collective as well as the owners and staff of the healthcare practices in my referral network. I really appreciate that as a New Yorker, I still fit in very naturally here.
Q: What is your number one tip for other professionals, either for work or life in general?
A: Network your tail off! I’m lucky that as an extrovert, networking and talking to people come very naturally to me and fills my cup. I know that this is not necessarily the case for everyone, but there’s no denying how beneficial networking is for a small business. I also think that networking will come easiest when whatever you’re selling is something you’d be passionate about regardless of whether you were doing it professionally. I could talk to you for hours about the reasons that a societal shift toward the weight-inclusive approach to health would be beneficial, and I wouldn’t even be doing it so that you would send me business. It’s just something that I’m always learning more about, and I’m very interested in other people’s perspectives on it because that informs how I can better serve my community. If professional networking is difficult for someone, figure out which aspect of your business is most interesting to you and talk about that, even if the aspect isn’t technically your product or service. Maybe it’s the relief your clients feel when you take a chore off of their plates, or maybe it’s how you’re teaching your own kids the value of hard work through your business. Whoever you are talking to will remember your passion and dedication when it comes time to collaborate with or refer to you.
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.