Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gyant, LaVerne, 1950-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Dietitians; Nutritionists; Dietetics--Vocational guidance; Health services administrators; Career development


This dissertation focused on leaders within the dietetics profession and allowed their "voice" to be heard related to their specific personal and lived experiences throughout their own career pathways. A total of twenty participants (eighteen women and two men) were selected for this qualitative research study. I completed twenty in-depth face-to-face and phone interviews, which each lasted approximately 90 minutes. Narrative inquiry analysis was used to identify some of the key themes that emerged from the findings. A total of five key themes emerged as they related to participants' career pathway and leadership development. Mentoring was one theme that emerged; the participants shared how family, education, and professional colleagues influenced their career pathway development. A second theme was career pathways, which focused on traditional and non-traditional pathways toward becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and how certain issues/events caused career pathway shifts to occur. The third theme related to specific successes and barriers faced by these participants in their family, educational, and professional lives and how these impacted their own career pathway development. The fourth theme related to personality styles. I used participants' self-reported assessments and my own personal interpretation to identify how certain distinct traits emerged and related to the types of career pathways they chose. The last theme focused on participants' personal journey to leadership, the successes and challenges they faced, styles of leadership, and words of wisdom for future leaders. There exist many leaders within the dietetics profession, but their voices have not been conveyed in the professional research literature. Due to the ever-changing landscape of the allied healthcare professions, the field of nutrition as a whole needs to focus on gaining a better understanding about leadership. These findings can provide some key insights into areas where future development and leadership training should be focused in order to create empowered nutrition professionals who are relevant and can make an impact on our society's future nutrition, health, and well-being.


Advisors: LaVerne Gyant.||Committee members: Sheila Barrett; Jane Rheineck.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


xv, 224 pages




Northern Illinois University

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