Tania Flack – Naturopath & Nutritionist
Posted September 29, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
For 17 years Tania has been working as a naturopath and nutritionist, sharing her love of good health and a natural lifestyle with many clients along the way. Her biggest achievement came in 2015 when she opened the doors to her very own clinic, Bondi Health and Wellness.
Read more about her story here…
What did you study and what are the steps you took to become a naturopath and nutritionist?
I graduated from the Australian College of Natural Medicine, and have a Bachelor of Health Science, an Advanced Diploma of Health Science in Naturopathy, Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Diploma of Nutrition and additional qualifications in natural fertility management.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I loved spending time in nature when I was growing up and was lucky to have the influence of several generations of women in my family who took an active interest in how plants and food helped support good health. I still have books on herbal medicine and natural health from my Grandmother and Great Grandmother and I like to think that their influence encouraged me into this career path.
What was your first job?
I had several part-time jobs when I was younger including fashion, office work and hospitality and I soon realised they were not right for me.
When did you first know you wanted to be a naturopath and what inspired you?
After a few false starts trying out different industries I eventually trained as a remedial therapist, which I loved and I spent many years developing a busy practice focusing on sports medicine. One of the women I worked with was studying natural medicine and that really opened my eyes to the possibility for future studies.
Explain a typical day at work
I am a super early riser, so I’m usually in the clinic by 7 am. I use this time to review my patient notes for the coming day and keep up to date with business paperwork. I start consulting at 9 am and have appointments through to 5 pm. It’s always busy and fast-paced in the clinic. I work a seven-day fortnight and when I am not consulting I write health articles for Nature & Health magazine, work on my online programs, develop new recipes, keep up to date with professional development and seminars.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?
Perhaps the most exciting thing that has happened in my career is the level of access we now have to integrative pathology, especially DNA testing for wellness genomics and gut microbiome testing, which is a special passion of mine. This provides me with an in-depth view of peoples health and allows me to not only help them feel better in the short term, but to really develop cutting-edge preventative, proactive health care strategies that I know will make a significant difference to their long-term health.
My industry has changed significantly in the last 17 years and I feel very grateful that I got on board early, as I really see natural medicine taking its place amongst other health careers as an important part of a wider health care system.
Name the best and worst parts of your job
The best part of my career is that you never stop learning. There is a wealth of research that impacts my industry being released every day, so you’re never bored.
The worst part is trying to carve up my time between practice and my other commitments, there never seems to be enough time in the day.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
Perhaps the best career tip I have been given is to surround yourself with people whose skill set compliment your own and to outsource any areas that you are not strong in. In my case finding a great web development team made all the difference to business.
What do you wish someone had told you before starting your own small business?
I had to learn my business skills on the job, which led to some bumpy times in the early days. I wish someone had recommended that I get a good grounding in basic business skills along with my degree. It would have made difference to the first few years in business.
Where do people have to start to get into this field and what is a standard salary for this role?
Several institutions offer degree qualifications in natural medicine, which is the starting point to get into the industry. From there graduates have several options open to them. Ideally, if they chose to go into private practice they look to work with an experienced practitioner with for the first 5-10 years in order to gain clinical experience. The salary depends on how hard you want to work, most naturopaths are self-employed so there is a wide variety in earnings. Earnings usually start low for new graduates, but a busy practitioner can comfortably earn a good income, once established.
Name a career highlight
I would have to say opening Bondi Health & Wellness after many years of working from other clinics was a highlight. I am really happy with the way the clinic has developed and it’s a lovely place for people to come to.
What’s next for you?
My major project for the next couple of years is to focus on developing my online nutrition programs in order to spread information on natural health far and wide.
Tell us what life outside the clinic is like for you
I have a passion for travel and love learning about other cultures. One of the draw cards of my industry is that being self-employed allows me to travel. I am an animal lover and share and we share our home with a two Italian Greyhounds and four happy chickens, so it’s organic eggs for breakfast on the weekends.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.