BDA Fellowship recipient: Azmina Govindji

13 May 2024

Azmina Govindji has been awarded a Fellowship, in recognition of her outstanding personal commitment as Chair of the former BDA Public Relations Committee and her exceptional contribution in supporting the association to establish a media profile and providing guidance and encouragement for both the profession and members to move onto social media.

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Azmina is a registered dietitian and media nutritionist and was one of the first dietitians to grasp the potential of social media. For over 25 years she has championed the voice of dietetics and the BDA. 

She has used her experience and knowledge to tirelessly support the development of social media training and brands which promote and protect dietitians such as ‘Trust a Dietitian’.

She is a co-founder of RDUK Chat and through her continued social media presence (follow @azminanutrition) is a role model who has encouraged other members to increase their profile and ensure that the public and journalists have access to credible nutrition experts.

We asked Azmina what it means to her to receive this honour.

What does it mean to you to receive the Fellowship honour?

This award has represented the pinnacle of my career. It is humbling and heart-warming to know that the passion with which I have aimed to promote the gravitas of the science of dietetics has been recognised. I've always seen the BDA as my professional rock - the support structure that enables me to grow and develop. I'm so thrilled to be acknowledged in this way!

What drove you to become a dietitian in the first place and be where you are today?

As a teenager, I wanted to pursue medicine. But I quickly realised that doctors typically help ill people to get well; I wanted to encourage well people to be even healthier.

Seeing patients in clinic is incredibly valuable, but I was driven to reach more people. And I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunities to share sound advice through national positions such as Chief Dietitian at Diabetes UK, through media work such as TV appearances and the press, and through my books. These opportunities have given me immense satisfaction and have helped me fulfil my ambition to reach a wider audience. 

Who inspires you?

The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts: one dietitian can only do so much, but if we join forces we can combine our skills and create lasting positive change. So, other dietitians inspire me. I have worked with countless dietitians and each has given me a different perspective.

I’ve been lucky enough to lead national initiatives for South Asian communities via, for example, the British Heart Foundation and Food Standards Agency. These programmes have required a dietetic workforce and dozens of dietitians have delivered training programmes or conducted research with me. 

Non-dietetically, my inspiration comes from my faith and the ethics and values I live by. I believe we have a responsibility to share our knowledge freely. So, many of the projects I've worked on have been voluntary - and they give a different level of satisfaction and peace.

I have always believed if you do what you love, you can succeed at most things.

What advice would you give to future dietitians?

  1. Seize opportunities to serve on boards and committees. Give your time voluntarily and build long-term relationships with other experts.
  2. Know your USP and target audience. Create your own niche so you are the "go to" person for that type of expertise.
  3. Go out of your way to connect with experts. Meet those professors whose books you read, go and say hello to a speaker at a conference. This might be daunting but it will also build your confidence. Don't be intimidated by more successful peers. In fact, reach out to them and ask for advice. 
  4. Raise your profile. Harness social media, become a BDA media spokesperson and consider writing blogs and articles - even if you're not paid! All of this helps to get your name known, and opportunities will start to open up when you least expect them.
  5. Find your unique communication style. Don't be afraid to showcase your own personality and passions. You don't need to follow the herd. Diversity is strength.

What has been the highlight to your dietetic career to date?

Writing my 20th book, Vegan Savvy: the Expert's Guide to Nutrition on a Plant-based Diet. I wrote this book not for publicity or fame. I wrote it for my daughter when she announced she was becoming vegan. I wanted to give her a gift of health that she could embrace and share with other millennials who were following faddy vegan advice. 

I was able to pour my need for creative communication into infographics that translate the science of nutrition. I've been incredibly blessed with the support I've received from the BDA and my colleagues regarding its value as a resource.

Also, being awarded this Fellowship is of course another highlight that I will treasure and always look back on with a sense of fulfilment.

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