You might have seen Jess Cording's amazing work on sites like Women's Health, Shape Magazine, SELF, Bustle, or MindBodyGreen (just to name a few.) Jess is not only a Dietitian and Nutritionist, but a Holistic Health Coach and founder of her own company, Jessica Cording Nutrition. Jess has a passion for helping women not only live healthier lives physically, but also knows that it takes a lot more than healthy eating habits and exercise to live a balanced life.
Name: Jessica (Jess) Cording
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Dietitian-Nutritionist, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and Writer ; Founder of Jessica Cording Nutrition, LLC
Secretly Obsessed With: Classic rock, crystals, and the color pink. I would say "my dog," but for anyone who follows me on social media, that's clearly not a secret!
On My Nightstand: a notebook and pen, lavender oil, a copy of Ruth Reichel's "My Kitchen Year," and about 4 pairs of glasses of varying prescriptions
Last Thing You Read: The lyrics to Joni Mitchell's "Carey"—long story.
How did you get started on your career path?
I have been a nonstop writer literally since I learned how—I've carried a journal around since the first grade and always wrote stories, plays, essays, and have been blogging since Diaryland was a thing. Writing is my first love. I certainly had a girly, creative side but I also loved running around outside and helping my mom in the garden. I grew up around lots of good food, but unfortunately, I was also exposed to a lot of ugly illnesses as a kid, and I watched family members suffer. There was also always someone on some crazy diet that never worked. My interest in nutrition stemmed from wanting to understand the body and the role that food plays in wellness and in healing. When it came time for college, I wasn't quite sure which way to go, but a scholarship to my top-choice writing program at Emerson College in Boston made that an easy choice. Go figure, though, I wound up in NYC after graduation, and something was missing. After working for awhile, I took a job as an office manager for an acupuncturist and decided I wanted to study nutrition after all. I went back to school, did all my science coursework and the clinical internship I needed to sit for my licensing exam, and 4 years later, I was officially a registered dietitian. It was wonderful to learn that being a writer was a great complement to my work in the healthcare and wellness world.
What key elements played into your success?
I have an intense drive and strong work ethic. Even when I'm frustrated, I'm able to see something positive—or at least the bigger picture.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
Being single throughout most of ages 26 and on has been a blessing and a curse—wonderful to be able to do whatever the heck I want, when I want and not take someone else's needs into account, but it's meant that I've had to budget my time and money very carefully and do everything myself. I'm also stubborn and sometimes afraid to take financial risks. It took me a while to finally realize that hiring someone to help with tasks I was losing valuable time and energy on (hello, IT rabbit-hole) would actually help me make more money and have a better work/life balance. I've always struggled with saying no to things, so that's been a lesson I've had to learn a few times the hard way. Like a lot of people out there, I suffer from wicked impostor syndrome—it's something I'm always trying to keep in check.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
I grew up thinking I was just one of those girls who wasn't meant to have a lot of female friends. I'm so happy I turned out to be wrong about that one! Women's networking groups like The Lady Project and Six Degrees Society have introduced me to valuable contacts and true friends. When I moved to New York in 2008, I barely knew anybody except the boyfriend I lived with, and I've been so fortunate to have found myself surrounded by amazing, ambitious women who genuinely want to help each other succeed. That girl power has made my life even richer than I could have imagined.
When do you feel most successful?
When my clients tell me how great they feel or someone writes to me telling me that one of my articles helped them with something they were struggling with, it reminds me why I do what I do.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
Everybody curates. Don't compare your blooper reel to someone else's highlight reel.
What advice would you give to women looking to enter your industry/space?
Don't be afraid. Stand up for yourself.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
That answer changes all the time—sometimes it's simply the fact that I'm still here, doing what I love. Sometimes it's my relationships with family and my friends. Sometimes it's a project or a little win that week. If I had to say one thing, though, it's that I've learned to listen to my instincts and intuition, even when there were people with their own agendas trying to talk me out of something I knew was important, or times when I was scared about how to make something work. Every time I've honored that inner voice that says, "This is important. Please listen," I've always been so happy I did.