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Introducing: Toni Toledo

Behavioral Health Educator / Dietitian

Early on in Toni’s career as a dietitian, she came to a crossroad in her life. After moving back home when she was done with her internship, she realized that the “RD market” was saturated. She contemplated taking a “non-nutrition-related” job, but struggled a bit with the idea of doing something different after having worked so hard to become an RD.

Starting off at a local health center, populated mostly by WIC clients, Toni found her passion for public health. About a year after she started, an opportunity to move up in the company fell into her lap. As a “newbie”, she felt a lot of imposter syndrome, however over time her confidence grew and allowed her to explore more opportunities in her career.

After a few years, she started to feel the itch for something a bit more challenging. On her career radar was the work of a woman named Claudia Burnette. One day, Toni happened upon a job posting for a Supervising Public Health Nutritionist. Again, a little bit of imposter syndrome crept in when she thought of interviewing for this woman that she deemed to be “larger than life”. Her fear was overshadowed by the excitement she felt at the potential to be challenged by someone she looked up to.

Toni got the job and ended up collaborating on some amazing projects with her team. In hindsight, Toni realized that she was probably a bit young for the job and didn’t quite have the management skills that she would have wanted to effectively manage her team. Even with the upcoming change in career paths, she learned a lot about collaboration with the local health department and the city council, and was introduced to a new population of clients, adolescents.

Her new “shiny thing” that was attracting her, was working with adolescents and maternal health. Mary Story had also been on Toni’s career radar. She had a maternal, child health traineeship in the division of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Toni loved the idea of this program, but was also in the process of getting married to her now husband. She had found someone amazing that she wanted to learn more from but was also faced with many major life decisions at once. Her mentor let her defer for a year while she got married and kept an open spot for her in a new masters program in epidemiology.

During the master program, Toni learned the nuances of learning the lay of the land, finding a balance between going all in, and just sitting, watching, and learning. She was paired with a woman who pushed her out of her comfort zone and challenged her in amazing ways that taught Toni how to give herself more credit for her abilities and talents.

After the end of her program, she ended up staying for a fellowship that involved an international interdisciplinary team. When finished, there was a chance for her to stay on and get her PHD or head back home to California. Toni carefully considered her options and decided to decline the offer and move back home.

She took a job at Stanford, in the Center for Research and Disease Prevention in research and development. She slowly realized that she was not happy in her environment and began getting that itch to explore new job opportunities. This brought her to the Palo Alto Medical foundation where she finally felt like she had found her home. Working part time has allowed her to be home with her children as well as exploring new opportunities as a dietitian. She has her hand in virtual speaking as well as being a podcast host.

Topics discussed during the podcast:

  • Choosing between two career paths.

  • Honoring the nerves that pull you outside of your comfort zone, where so many new things are waiting for us.

  • Imposter Syndrome

  • Being an ascend peer reviewer

  • Being a CDR faculty member

  • Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses as an RD.

  • How she decided that this opportunity was where she wanted to be versus the job that she was enjoying.

  • Declined job offers

  • Virtual speaking

Toni's Links:

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