We are thrilled to highlight Alexis Williams, RD and her company Business Skills for Health Professionals in this issue of Eat Well Connect! Alongside Melanie Byland, MBA, MPH, Alexis helps health professionals navigate business settings, career transitions, and skill-building through education, coaching, and connection through a suite of services and programs. Business Skills for Health Professionals serves dietitians, nutrition professionals, nurses, pharmacists, and doctors.

For more resources from Business Skills for Health Professionals, check out their website at this link. In the meantime, read Alexis’s Expert Q&A Feature below to learn more about her career path, the services provided by Business Skills for Health Professionals, and tips for new health professionals.

  1. Could you tell us a bit about your career journey in dietetics? From high school, I knew I wanted to be in the wellness field. I told all my friends and family I was one day going to own a health spa. I was really interested in fitness and nutrition on a personal level, so I decided to pursue becoming a Registered Dietitian. I graduated from my undergraduate degree and then the Master of Applied Nutrition program at the University of Guelph in Canada in 2004. After graduating I worked a variety of outpatient clinical roles and built up a private practice on the side focusing on sports nutrition. In 2007 I got involved with a vendor of Loblaw Companies Limited (a large Canadian food retailer) and helped build an event-based nutrition and pharmacy program. This program ran for about a year and a half, after which point, I left and decided to focus full time on my sports nutrition business. At the time, I struggled with the scalability of owning a private practice and the lack of available jobs in the sports nutrition field, so when an opportunity to join Loblaw in 2011 to start a retail dietitian program presented itself, I jumped at the chance. I grew that program over 10 years and had a team of 90 dietitians who were delivering nutrition care and wellness programs across Canada. In the early days, it had a very entrepreneurial feel as I was starting something up from scratch which was exciting.. In late 2021 I decided it was time to pursue entrepreneurship again and started consulting and working toward the idea to launch Business Skills for Health Professionals.
  2. What led you to start your company Business Skills for Health Professionals? I had the idea for Business Skills for Health Professionals back in 2019 when I was working in retail. I wanted to figure out a way to help other health professionals who were working, or interested in working in corporate business, learn fundamental business skills. Of course, there were MBAs and business courses, but I knew there was a gap in having a program tailored to the health professional and the unique transferable skills they possess. I also know that doing an MBA isn’t always accessible financially or timewise for those who’ve already invested a lot of money in their education to become a health professional. My own journey in the corporate world had been rocky as I didn’t have a business background, and I had to learn some of the basics through trial and error. I want more health professionals to feel confident applying for, and taking on these roles in business and industry. I believe that by having more health professionals working in health-oriented businesses, the companies will create better products, services, and programs and this will have a broad impact on consumer health.
  3. Could you tell us a bit about the services that your company provides? At Business Skills for Health Professionals, we provide three main services
    • Education
    • Mentorship and coaching
    • Community

    We’ve created a library of courses on business basics like finance, leadership, sales, and marketing and negotiating. We combine them with coaching to help health professionals who are interested in pursuing careers beyond clinical. We’re recently launched a new program specifically targeting those health professionals called Beyond Clinical: Career Transition Program.

    Lastly, we have a LinkedIn private group to build a community for health professionals in business. Our goal is to transform imposter syndrome into growth-mindset and empower health professionals in an inclusive and collaborative space. In this group we share resources, job postings and our upcoming events. You can join the group here.

  4. What is the most rewarding part about your job? The most rewarding part of my job is helping people succeed in non-traditional roles, whether it be finding and landing them, or feeling confident once they start. I enjoy being a sounding board for the scenarios and challenges they encounter in business settings and helping them problem solve situations. I love being an external support for health professionals taking on these new and exciting roles.
  5. Do you have any tips for young professionals seeking non-traditional career paths in dietetics? I would love to see more health professionals pursue corporate roles. Sometimes when we read a job description, we count ourselves out before we even apply because we don’t think we have the skills. Clinical skills like counseling, motivational interviewing, program planning and health care team collaboration, transfer beautifully to being a leader and working in program development in a corporate setting. My advice is to stretch yourself when looking at opportunities and look for ways your experience in clinical settings can benefit you in different roles.