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Considering a Career Transition?

By: Maura Johnson

A few months ago, I wrote an article regarding recognizing and combating burnout.

Burnout itself can occur in a variety of contexts, perhaps most significantly regarding our

careers and the workplace. In 2019, I found myself working in a position that left me feeling

frustrated and uninspired. In 2015, after many years of working in a patient-facing capacity, I decided to try behavioral support at the corporate level. While this was rewarding in its own right and provided me with valuable experience, I really missed interacting with patients and


After a protracted struggle with perinatal anxiety and OCD, I was also becoming

more interested in perinatal mental health as a specialty. In November 2019, I officially

transitioned to full-time private practice, as well as other contracts within the behavioral health realm. It has been my best career move thus far and I have absolutely no regrets about any part of the journey to get here.

Jill Tonti - owner Ruby Lou Company

This had me thinking of a friend’s similar decision to leave a steady, reliable corporate

environment to follow their passion. When I first met Jill, she was working for a large retail

chain and was known by her colleagues to be very good at her job. She was often working long hours, sometimes holidays, and struggled to have autonomy over her schedule. An

unexpected health issue arose and led her down the path of starting her own small business.

I recently sat down to discuss how she got started, overcoming barriers, and the future of her

business, Ruby Lou Company.

1) What is Ruby Lou Company and how did you get started?

Ruby Lou Company cottage bakery located in Upper St. Clair/ Pittsburgh Pa, specializing in

custom sugar cookies. My passion is to help elevate celebrations of all types with delicious

custom creations. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years ago, and facing constant

challenges from my doctor to lower my stress and take better care of myself. I made a major

choice in the fall of 2019 to leave my 18-year career for a new path.

2) What appealed to you about starting a small business? How did you overcome any

obstacles to getting started?

My small business found me. In the fall of 2019, I left my career in a high-stress Corporate

American job with the intention to find a new career path in January 2020. In my free time during that period, I began to explore several hobbies, including cookie decorating. One pandemic later, I have found my niche, and have been able to turn my hobby into a business! I am a firm believer that “what is for you shall pass you, and what is meant for you will find you”

3) How did you overcome any fears/doubts regarding leaving the security your job provided?

I would say for me, I was making great money in my previous job, but the price was my mental and physical health. However, now I have found the balance between financial

success/stability without having to give up so much of myself. And moreover, the value and

purpose I am able to find with Ruby Lou Company is actually giving me more than it could

ever take away.

4) What does the future look like for Ruby Lou Company?

The future is exciting! While improvements in efficiencies will help us better serve our current

clients, we’re also making advances in technology!! We now have the capability to print logos, QR Codes, and more, directly onto a cookie. This will help us better cater to corporate organizations, as well as private events.

Learn more about Ruby Lou by visiting Jill's website:


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