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Marisa Sweeney ’08

The 2019 “Nutrition Entrepreneur of the Year” owes her success to a professor who inspired her to change her major, and encourages current students to get to know their professors for a lifelong opportunity of mentorship.

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Marisa Sweeney

Owner of Be Well Integrative Health

Marisa Sweeney ’08 is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Be Well Integrative Health Services, a wellness center headquartered in downtown Morristown, New Jersey, that currently has 12 locations in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Be Well IHS houses a team of health professionals from various areas of wellness that provide an integrative approach to patient care. In addition to Be Well IHS, Sweeney is the creator and owner of the New Jersey VegFest: New Jersey’s Official Vegan Food Festival and is the founder and owner of The Vegan Local, which is a curated online vegan specialty market of vegan and plant-based food and lifestyle items.

However, Sweeney’s focus is not only on her businesses – she also volunteers with organizations such as the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Sustainable Morristown. Most recently, Sweeney was named the 2019 “Nutrition Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is a 2020 honoree of NJBIZ’s “40 Under 40” awards.

Before Sweeney was taking the health and wellness industry by storm, she was a student at Montclair State in the Nutrition and Food Science program studying for a concentration in Dietetics.

“I absolutely loved the experience I had in the Nutrition and Food Science program. I also did my post-graduation dietetic internship at Montclair State to get the hours needed to qualify through the Commission on Dietetic Registration to sit for the New Jersey State Registered Dietitian exam,” says Sweeney. “Both the degree program and internship were well structured, and prepared me thoroughly to build a successful career. I have kept a great relationship with many of my undergraduate professors, many of whom I credit for my advancement in various stages of my career so far.”

In fact, one professor in particular stands out to Sweeney as she recollects her time as a student at Montclair State.

“Professor Maria Stanish taught a Nutrition in the Lifecycle class that inspired me to change my major and work toward becoming a dietitian,” notes Sweeney. “She was also my clinical manager at Hackensack University Medical Center and my post-graduate dietetic internship director at Montclair State.”

Professor Stanish and Sweeney remain in touch to this day. Her mentor recently asked her to be the keynote speaker for the 2019 dietetic internship graduation class, over a decade after graduating herself. “Professor Stanish has been incredibly supportive of me at times I’ve felt I needed it most,” says Sweeney. “I owe a lot of my professional success to her believing in me.”

Sweeney reminisces on her time at Montclair State fondly. “I met some of the best people in my life at Montclair State,” she recalls. In fact, having lived on campus all four years, she met her husband, her best friend, and a group of close-knit friends that she still keeps in touch with. “I have made countless professional relationships through my undergraduate classes and dietetic internship at Montclair State, that have played major roles in growing my business and advancing my career as a registered dietitian,” adds Sweeney.

When asked what advice she would share with current students, Sweeney says it is all about networking. “Build as many relationships with the people around you as possible. Get to know the other students in your classes – these will one day be your coworkers and colleagues. Get to know your professors, because they will be among the best mentors in your life long after you graduate.”