Siân O'Shea - Honorary Chairman


Who you are and how you got to where you are:

Hello, I am Siân O’Shea, Honorary Chairman of the BDA since June 2017. 

My BDA ‘career’ began when I returned home to Wales in 2005 and wanted to know more about the BDA in my country. The NHS in Wales was, and still is, so different to the English version I was used to and I was desperate to learn about my new work environment and build networks asap. Before I could say 'Cymru am Byth', I was sitting at the Council table as the co-opted Wales Constituency Council Member, onwards to Chair of Bwrdd Cymru BDA.  And there’s more…onto Chair of the Communications and Marketing Board, Chair Elect and then Chairman from 2013 – 2015.

I retired from my job specialising in Learning Disabilities at the end of October 2016 and was busily planning a catalogue of holidays. This didn’t last long though as I was approached by Fiona McCullough in January with the offer of becoming Chairman for one year as the position had unexpectedly become vacant. And so here I am again!!

Why you wanted to be on BDA Council:

You could say I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse!  Words cannot express how rewarding and exhilarating (and at times quite scary to be honest!) it is being a Director on BDA Council, not to mention fun! So when I was given an opportunity to take up the Chairmanship once more I was delighted to accept.

Your role on Council:

As BDA Honorary Chairman, my role is to work alongside all the other Directors on Council in being responsible for the strategic leadership of the BDA, agreeing major policy, managing the Association’s finances and representing the membership in a wide range of areas.

Who inspires you (dietetically and non-dietetically) and why:

Dietetically - I trained in Cardiff and one of my tutors known as ‘Miss P’ (a former Chairman) breathed fire into the art and science of dietetics for me and since then I have never lost my fervour for the profession. This passion has undoubtedly steered me on my journey to becoming BDA Chairman.

Non-dietetically - well there are two people though they are alive now only in my memories. Both my parents had little formal education, but my mother developed skills and knowledge in the retail industry and went on to own a very successful business in ladies fashion. My father became the youngest under-manager at 30 with the National Coal Board (NCB) having attended evening classes to gain his mining engineering certificates. After the war he worked with the United Nations in Korea as a consultant mining engineer before returning home to continue his career in coal mining. They worked extremely hard to achieve their goals in life and encouraged my brother and I to do the same, no matter what the challenges.

And finally....

Diamonds are forever! Did you know that there are 58 facets in the modern round brilliant diamond? To me, the dietetic profession is like a diamond made up of many facets which are all our specialties. Do we have 58 I wonder?

I feel our identity as a profession is at a crucial stage and in order to survive amidst the plethora of challenges to the Nutrition throne we must increase our visibility, promote and celebrate our diversity and utilise our evidence-base to influence the nutrition agenda at all levels.

Nutrition is everyone’s business. Herein lies our strength as long as we step up to the mark and prove our worth. To be present tomorrow, we need presence today. We must shine above all others.

Contact Sian

Get in touch by emailing Sian