Elly McLean’s curiosity with nutrition began when she was 17 — a Caulfield Grammar student obsessed with watching tennis, football and ironman. She was fascinated with the idea that by changing what these elite athletes put into their bodies they could change their performance. After studying a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science majoring in Exercise Science and Nutrition at Deakin University, Elly felt a bit lost. She knew what she wanted to do but lacked the confidence and life experience to do it. In the meantime Elly got a job at Global Corporate Challenge and worked in business development for eight years. In some ways this was a great next step for Elly as it gave her the opportunity to learn about corporate life. She also spent some time working in the U.S. working with some of the worlds biggest companies and was able to obtain important life experience and develop her skills.
Although Global Corporate Challenge was a company dedicated to improving the health, fitness and nutrition of employees, Elly began to feel like she wasn’t fulfilling her true calling. She decided to use her business development experience to go after what she wanted and find her own path. Elly started building her network which led to a job in private practice at The Natural Nutritionist.
Her corporate experience was invaluable in other ways, as it has enabled her to contribute to the company beyond just nutrition. An important lesson for any young person, Elly says, is that: “all of your experiences count whether they’re challenging, scary or amazing. It doesn’t matter if you chop and change careers, as long as you are working towards your end goal and you remain driven.”
Currently living her dream, Elly has been consulting one-on-one with clients for a year and a half. She is an Associate Nutritionist with the Nutrition Society of Australia, a member of Complimentary Medicine Association and a certified Integrative Health Coach. The thing Elly most likes about what she does is “changing people’s lives simply by educating them on what, when and how to nourish their body.” It’s lucky that Elly loves what she does as sometimes her work does creep into her home life. Another challenging side of being a nutritionist is that sometimes ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’.
Elly draws on her personal experience to assist in her work as a nutritionist — “I have experienced the struggle of juggling study, training and building a career, as well as the associated burnout, but I’ve also (thankfully) turned it around by focusing on real food and lifestyle. The personal experience has reminded me that through nutrition we can fuel the best version of ourselves — we all have ambitions and going about life in third gear just won’t suffice when it comes to achieving them.”
5 Minutes with Elly McLean
Best memory of CGS & CGA?
Cheering from the sidelines at various meets — regattas, footy grand finals and athletics. Always the most fun days!
What inspires you?
Currently – the notion of being better than I was yesterday. For the sake of my clients, myself and everyone in my world.
What would you tell your 17-year-old self?
Be you. Everyone else is taken!
What’s one thing you wish other people knew about Caulfield?
How diverse the student base is, which I think helps to create more rounded adults in the end.
What’s your superpower/spirit animal and why?
I once did a quiz that suggested my spirit animal was a tortoise. Doesn’t sound overly fancy in retrospect, but they’re strong, reliable, resilient and wise!
Photos courtesy of Elly McLean.