Sometimes, Toutant said, finding your way—or even just defining your goals—requires nothing more than listening to your heart.
Growing up in the 1980s, that was sometimes hard to do. Because back then, Toutant said, there were not a whole lot of spaces where women could find their fit professionally.
"The career paths for women were—there were just a few," Toutant said. "You were told you could be a secretary or a teacher and if you were really smart maybe a nurse. But there wasn't a whole lot of options I didn't feel like."
And there were not a whole lot of options for her specifically. Finding her professional place took some time.
Growing up, she received lots of advice about the professional paths she should take. In high school, teachers and counselors offered their ideas. At one point, a skills assessment test even told her she could build a career at a bakery.
"It wasn't that I should own my own bakery," Toutant said. "It was that I should go work for a bakery."
Even through college the advice about her potential career paths continued to come. And she listened, taking all the advice she could for as long as she could.
"Finally you get to the point where you get tired of people telling you what they think you should do and you take charge of yourself and say this is what I am going to do," Toutant said.