Paediatric Specialist / Nestle Health Science
Yes, that’s her… Up at 4am each and every morning; sweating, punching, and moving. Yes, that’s her… Business women, in a suit, perfectly manicured and cool AF! Yes, that’s her… Passionate about nutrition and helping others live a vitality packed life. Yes, that’s her… Loving her family and supporting her friends non stop. Yes, that’s her… Ellice Whichello, the girl we have to blame for our recent OBSESSION with JLo’s Instagram Account (it’s becoming serious)
Ellice Whichello is all of the above and so much more. High School was a mixed bag of emotions for this self confessed ‘nerd’. Always excelling in the classroom, Ellice sometimes found it hard to ‘fit in’, a situation so real for so many girls today. It was in Year 9 that she finally fell into her stride, selecting a VET Course that was netball specific. From here on in, Ellice’s life and career robustly shaped itself – but not without a few false starts!
After a start in nutrition and spending a handful of colourful years in Sydney, Ellice bit the bullet and applied for a role as a Paediatric Specialist in Melbourne. A move back to her native home state, one year and some change later (including a modelling gig for the luxe sports giant Lululemon) and there you have it… the smart vivacious, smart, and fearless 30 year old Ellice Whitchello, that you see before you on this epic blog today.
Ellice proves that a simultaneous affection for life and your career is totally possible. This trailblazer is also the perfect advocate for exercising for strength, ability and health – a message that all girls need to see on repeat, daily. In this #careerstory we dive into Ellice’s extraordinary career, and introduce you all to a field that not too many students would know exists. This interview is for those girls that love science, nutrition and sport, but don’t know what else is out there.
If you are a self confessed ‘nerd’ like Ellice, get ready to be inspired beyond your wildest dreams, then make sure you come visit her next month at The Cool Career LIVE!
Welcome to the new way forward, please meet Ellice Whichello.
Ellice, it’s fantastic to have you here, we have a MASSIVE #girlcrush on you! Can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
Hello there. I was born in the back streets of Sunshine in the Western Suburbs of Victoria. I do use this as an excuse as to why I have a strong little back bone, but really, I think that’s from growing up with two older brothers! As a child I was always very bossy, but I suppose I had to be! As a family we moved many times, 10 times to be exact and all before the age of 16. I spent some of my younger years living by the beach in Ocean Grove, moving to the bush in Albury, relocating back to Melbourne several times and eventually as a young adult, settling in to Essendon where I attended High School. Most of my friends hated moving, me, I loved it! I was always the new kid on the block with plenty to prove! Having the experience of moving so often at such a young age definitely shaped me into having the ability to call anywhere home.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to high school in in Essendon to a very sports orientated school called Essendon Keilor College. Year 7 – 9 were really tough, where as a girl growing up to be a young woman, I remember it being quite difficult to ‘fit in’ as I was always particularly nerdy. I was an A triple plus student, with some friends but not many as my school work was always my focus. In year 9 I became more aware of who I was as a young woman and chose subjects at school that were relevant for me. I completed the VET Course which was Netball specific. This meant some of my electives were Sport Allocated, half of my classes in fact. I completed Health, PE, VET Sports, Netball, Biochemistry and I loved them. Each day was full of subjects I loved with sports games in my lunch breaks, training before school and even after. My love for being healthy was definitely evident at high school. I did really well in these subjects because I had great teachers who helped me apply myself into my studies.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Yes, in the long run it absolutely did. I did very well in my VCE, yet initially I was really lost in terms of what I wanted to do as a career. The subjects I excelled in, didn’t at the time lead me into the right direction in terms of after study and what I wanted to do as a career, which I think was initially a shame and I do genuinely wish I had more guidance at this point as it’s such an important time for any young woman wanting to make the right decision for her future. But I remember just being so happy I finished year 12 that I really didn’t know how to make the next steps the best ones for me, not many of us did! After completing Year 12, I decided to complete an Events Management Course which to be honest, was because I was lost in terms of what to do after High School. It wasn’t until the end stages of this course that I became really interested in Nutrition, which came from me being quite a poor eater to quite a savvy one, feeling the effects of healthy eating and wanting to know more! I was successfully accepted to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Science, Nutrition and Health Sciences and was accepted due to my VCE results.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
During High School I completed the VET Course which was sports specific with more involvement in sports related courses and work experience with various sporting groups. This gave me great exposure to all aspects of health which was great in terms of gaining the confidence to work in the health industry. It also allowed me to experience certain potential careers that I ended up not wanting to work in which was important.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
The Bachelor’s Degree took me four years and I remember being so proud upon completing it! The degree was challenging, full of lab coats and test tubes, pathophysiology and biochemistry exams (eek!). I worked three jobs during my study and I know how hard it can be, but oh so worth it. The Science Degree was specific to Nutrition, which allowed me at the end of the degree to see where my heart wanted to take me in terms of a Nutrition Career. I chose a science degree as it meant I would be a qualified Nutritionist which in my view we something I most definitely wanted. The course also included how to open a business which was great as this was the avenue I initially wanted to take. I had the opportunity to continue my studies after the four years, however I was ready to get out into the working world and start making a difference.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.How did you get into the job that you are in now?
I have been a Paediatric Specialist for just over a year now, looking back to the interview process it was challenging. The interview process was a clinical test, a presentation and role plays so you can imagine the nerves upon this. Looking back I think practice was definitely the key, I presented my presentation to myself more times than I can remember. I stayed in over the weekends and I learnt the clinical aspect of the paediatrics role which at the time was minimal compared to what I know now. I put the energy and time into my preparation because there was no way I was going to miss this role, it was the new career path that I wanted to take and I didn’t want to miss this, and I didn’t (thank goodness<
What is the hardest part of your current job?
My role is very challenging. I think being challenged is what makes me feel accomplished at the end of each week. As a Paediatric Specialist I look after Victoria and Tasmania in all things related to Paediatrics. At present we have a very clear focus in the Allergy, GI and Neurological space and my role is to support these channels working with Specialists in the treatment of these areas. This involves sourcing new relationships, understanding the current conditions they treat, opportunities to support the evolvement of this, and how I can support Nestle’ Health Science being exposed in terms of our treatment portfolio. Presenting in front of specialists, holding meetings with various bodies and making a full years agenda can be difficult, but at the same time… so very rewarding for someone who is very much a people’s person with a strong love for nutrition and travel. Being proactive in this role is the most challenging aspect, but it’s what makes you better than your competitors of which you can treat as a game and make the most challenging aspect, the most fun too!
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
Each day is so very different. I will always be up at 4am for a 5am training session. Home to get ready and have breakfast before being on the road by 7:30am with a full day of meetings organised. Typically this would be an early meeting with a dietitian for an update, a mid morning meeting with perhaps another dietitian, a lunch presentation update with an allergy specialist or group of, followed by another meeting with a gastroenterologist. Meetings can vary from 15mintues to an hour, depending on the objective and health care professional. My role and objective needs to be well planned, with notes and objectives mapped out for each call. I need to be well prepared to engage the audience or client in a manner that is relevant to their needs, as the call needs to have purpose with a next steps for each clearly agreed to, to continuously evolve the relationship. For this reason my clinical knowledge is really important and needs to be very concise, as does my knowledge of the client. After the afternoon meeting I would normally complete a few hours on the laptop completing work administration and phone calls. This would either be done in a café as my office is otherwise at home, or back to the home office. Looking after a large state including Tasmania, the travel is quite timely. Some nights I would also hold a dinner where I would have 20 guests supporting a presentation for a particular interest – for example ‘Anaphylaxis Management’ where I would host the dinner, present at the beginning and have a guest speaker in to speak on the actual topic itself. This can really impact a larger audience in an environment out of their busy offices or clinics. The top tip here is being well organised, with a diary full of appointments half yearly.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
My greatest hero..hrmm? This would be my Mum, she has always been so very important to me. She is the most generous woman and has always been my rock. On a professional level, one of my bosses has always been a mentor for me. He from day one, looked out for me in ways that I truly am so grateful for. Giving me feedback always on ways to evolve my skills professionally, personally, on ways to open new doors, overcome certain obstacles, become the best me I could be. Personally he also gave me a friendship and support that I needed as a young woman evolving into a woman. He supported me through various times and really gave me a sense of strength in times that I felt very much alone. He will always be a mentor for me as his success has always been that of his teams, and I do feel having this in a young woman’s life, a strong mentor that you can approach, is so so very important. It has been my biggest success and allowed me to make decisions that were right for me.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
I am so passionate about my job, it’s very much become just ‘what I do’..because I believe in the cause and I want to see it make a difference. My advice for any woman looking to be a clinical sales person would be to do your homework into the company you’re applying for. Is it an established reputable company? What is it that you would be selling? Are the products needed in the industry? Do they have a point of difference? Are you selling into a heavily marketed platform? What is the company’s current market share? Who are you reporting into? What do your call rates look like? Your incentives, are they achievable? To ask as many questions as you have, not to accept any job offers until speaking to someone in the industry. The role of a clinical salesperson has so many perks, it’s just a matter of ensuring you’re in the right role in the right company!
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Blogs or Websites: The Harvard Business Review is my fave! They have great write ups on new innovations, ways to improve leadership skills, all things business related and written really well!
- Name an Instagram Account or Snapchat that you can’t go a day without checking: I’m not going to lie, it’s JLo’s Instagram. She is one of the most influential business women and she motivates me daily.
- Books: 18 Minutes; Find Your Focus by Peter Bregman is such a good book to master your effectiveness!
- People: I will always be an Oprah Winfrey fan. She is so respectful yet so powerful. She has visions and acts upon them.
- Others: I am inspired by my family, my friends, my colleagues, my gym buddies, the people I meet. When I see them put their energy into something and not always to succeed but to attempt a goal, THIS is what inspires me to be a better person. Good positive vibes, happy, genuine people looking to be the best they can be. I just love being around these kind of people.