Summary: iRelaunch is all about getting professionals back to work after a career break - most often childcare, but also eldercare, pursuing a personal interest, a personal health issue, extended travel, or other reasons. We also think about how other non-traditional professionals – expats repatriating, retirees “unretiring, military spouses and veterans, fit into the relauncher demographic. iRelaunch works with employers to create, implement and expand career re-entry programs of all kinds, and we produce the largest and longest-running dedicated career re-entry event in the country - the iRelaunch Return to Work Conference. Our fast-growing national community is made up of thousands of relaunchers in all stages of returning to work. iRelaunch Chair and Co-founder Carol Fishman Cohen's TED talk “How to get back to work after a career break” has viewed more than 2.5 million times and translated into 29 languages. Join us for our award-winning podcast featuring advice, strategies and success stories on returning to work after a career break.
Ellie St. John is a Human Resources professional who relaunched her career after a nearly 18 year career break. Ellie wrote to us a few months ago about how much Back on the Career Track, the “Bible of career reentry” co-authored by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin, was helpful to her: “Three years ago, I was finally in a place in which I could focus once again on my career, and I picked up your book. Since I read it, I have: · Relaunched my corporate career · Received a promotion · Moved to a higher paying position at a different company · Earned three professional certifications (aPHR, CSM and SHRM-CP) · Started a Master’s degree and will graduate in December with my MHRM” We were thrilled to hear from Ellie and knew we couldn’t wait to get her details on how she accomplished all that has been part of her relaunch. We also discuss the definition of “success,” our feelings about lost career progress during the career break compared to working peers, and what it means to be a “relaunch success story.”
This episode is the first in our mini-series on relaunch success after extra-long career breaks. Mimi Kahn, a bilingual, licensed social worker, relaunched at the Families Forward social services organization in Orange County, CA after a 25 year career break – one of the longest we have on record! Mimi, a mother of four, tells us how she almost didn’t finish getting her social work license before her career break, how she kept it up during her many years out of the field, and the person who had the biggest impact on her decision to relaunch. We do a little of the interview in Spanish too! (plus we translate)
Combining the "Best Piece of Advice" from 11 episodes of "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch," you'll hear from guests including our very own Shannon Amspacher whose podcast was on what the next generation of career breaks look like, Kerry Schrader on her Mixtroz entrepreneurial venture after a 25 year career in HR, Mike Montague on sales training, Chris Donovan on his journey from telephone repairman to luxury shoe designer, Laura Persky on the career switch into academia, Leah Vickers Marincovich on relaunching in media sales, Stewart Friedman on parenting and relaunching, Lisa Damour on managing families at home during Covid, Judaline Cassidy on relaunching in the trades, Wendy Durica on relaunching in software development, and Mary Beth Barrett-Newman on job searching during Covid. Be sure to listen to the full podcast content from each of these special guests in previous episodes.
Following her graduation from law school in 1977, Susan Samuelson went immediately into big firm law where she was progressing well. After having two children however, the relentless schedule of corporate law transactions combined with the demands of family life forced a reckoning for this high achiever. She left the firm, having no idea what was to come next. Hear how a chance encounter nearly 40 years ago sparked a years-long journey into the teaching side of academia – first by teaching courses as an adjunct instructor and later becoming a top-rated, tenured professor at Boston University. Also learn how Professor Samuelson grew the BU business law department by hiring more relaunching lawyers to join her.
Are you wondering about those video introductions and interviews that are becoming a more regular part of the recruiting process? Cynthia Siemens, Communications Director for HireVue, a leader in video interviewing and AI-driven video and game-based assessments breaks it down for us. Not only is Cynthia an expert on this topic, but she is also a relauncher. Cynthia talks about HireVue’s new video rehearsal practice tool, and the range of ways employers are using video interviews in their recruiting efforts. Video interviewing has exploded in recent years and is becoming the cornerstone of recruiting processes, especially in the age of Covid. Learn more about video interviews before you have one yourself, from someone who truly understands the relauncher perspective.
Sarah Mills is Senior Director of Events for iRelaunch, which means she manages all iRelaunch conferences and events. She is a relauncher who took an 8 year career break but has now been back in the workforce for 10 years. Sarah had to embrace uncertainty and fearlessness when iRelaunch pivoted hard and changed its three in-person 2020 iRelaunch Return to Work Conferences to two virtual conferences. On relatively short notice, Sarah had to evaluate and recommend the best virtual conference platform, and then dive in and learn the technical platform for the virtual event well enough to train our employer representatives on how to set up on it. Sarah would not describe herself as a “techy” person, yet she embraced the need to change and figured it out. We discuss what it takes to be flexible and fearless at a time when we had to flex and pivot in our corporate conference and events business due to Covid, and Sarah’s key role in that effort. Note: Our 2020 virtual Return to Work Conferences will be held October 1-2 and November 19-20. For more information and to register, go to iRelaunch.com and click on "Conferences" or go to subscribe.irelaunch.com/conference-oct-nov.
Finance and sustainable investment professional Liz Thorne relaunched her finance career via an executive fellowship in Massachusetts Governor Patrick’s administration, with a role that continued and expanded in Governor Baker’s administration. Her work in the state’s top finance agency led to her current role in the private sector focusing on clean energy and sustainable investing. Hear Liz recount the story about contacting her old boss from 14 years before for a reference for the fellowship, whom she wasn't sure would remember her (partial spoiler: “Reading what he wrote reminded me who I had been professionally”). She also shares advice on how to get into the sustainable investing field and how her experiences as a foster parent and the strategic volunteering she took on in the final years of her career break played a role in the redirection of her finance career.
Salli Cobb is now a Product Manager for a major HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) manufacturer. A mechanical engineer, Salli left her plant engineer role at a coal and natural-gas fired power plant to move with her family when her husband got an overseas assignment. After an eight year career break and a lot of job searching, she initially relaunched in an engineering role in a brand new field for her - HVAC. After 4.5 years, she remained in the HVAC industry and switched to the role she has today. Salli talks with Carol about specific steps she took to relaunch successfully, and the importance of perseverance in getting both her first relaunch job and her second, to which she applied THREE TIMES. Listen to find out how she met the person who was key to connecting her with her first relaunch opportunity - someone she barely knew - and how she ended up in her current role without ever actually applying for it.
Letitia Shen is a Hazardous Substances Engineer at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, a role she got after a career break of over 20 years. She has been an active member of our largest private Facebook group, the iRelaunch Return to Work Forum. Letitia tells us how to navigate a state employment process, and the wide range of opportunities within state environmental agencies – including related to cannabis production, food safety, enforcement, schools, and others in addition to hazardous waste. She also discusses the resilience involved in engaging in more than 30 interviews, how she met the person who was most helpful to her job search (spoiler – it had to do with a church event), and how she was rejected for the job she has now.
Dr. Winsey Stevenson talks with Carol about her initial relaunch as an on-site physician advisor following an extended career break after leaving her clinical general surgery practice, and her subsequent move to medical director at an insurance company. Kim will talk about what it was like to re-take and pass her medical boards, how she made the decision to return to non-clinical medicine and why non-clinical medicine is such a good option for physician relaunchers, especially after long career breaks. We will also find out exactly what she does in her medical director role.
When Carol asks for Selena Rezvani’s best advice on how to “be a fierce self-advocate” as Selena says, and how to reach out to people to help in a job search without coming across as opportunistic, Selena explains this is all about demonstrating executive presence! Selena is a popular Leadership Speaker and Inclusion Consultant as well as a LinkedIn Learning Instructor. Her book “Pushback” addresses how self-advocacy is critical for professional success. Selena hosts a weekly show on LinkedIn Live, an invite-only platform, all about ways to elevate women at work. Tune in for a dynamic conversation.
Combining the "Best Piece of Advice" from 13 episodes of "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch," you'll hear from guests including Randi Childs who returned as a creative; seasoned recruiter Donnie Watson on relaunching; Corporate Council for TheRealReal, Liz Logie; Theresa Harris who relaunched in the arts; Chris Rudnicki on maintaining mental health during your relaunch, and many more. Be sure to listen to the full podcast content from each of these special guests in previous episodes.
Lisa Fain is the CEO at the Center for Mentoring Excellence. She speaks with Carol all about mentoring and the role mentoring and being mentored can have in a relaunch, and once back to work. They discuss the “growth mindset” and the idea of “becoming” vs the “fixed mindset," why you don’t have to “have all the answers” to be an effective mentor, and how the best mentoring relationships are enabling instead of dependent. Fun fact: Lisa Fain’s mother, Lois Zachary, the founder of the Center for Mentoring Excellence is a relauncher! When Lisa was in middle school, her mother went back to school for a PhD and founded the Center subsequently. Center for Mentoring Excellence
Kendell Brown, Founder of Ascension Careers, first transitioned her career from finance to brand management after she got her MBA. Later, after her career break, she transitioned her career again when she took a role in career services at a major university. Finally, she used all of her accumulated skills to develop a career and executive coaching business alongside her university work, and then on her own. Listen as Kendell tells us how she convinced the university that she would be an excellent candidate for a role for which she had no prior experience. As the resume expert for the iRelaunch coaching team, she explains why she recommends being “accurate but not proportionate” when recounting work history on a resume. At the close of the conversation and as we witness the rise of the pivotal Black Lives Matter movement, Kendell comments on her relaunch experience as a Black woman and mother.
Dorothy DeWitt, Director of the Division of Market Oversight at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, grew up on a Texas farm and later graduated from University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Law School. She successfully relaunched her career in 2014 in a much more junior role than the one she left before her career break, and after a job search that was prolonged by the 2008 recession. Dorothy’s career soared after her relaunch. She candidly discusses what led to her current senior role and dispenses excellent advice for all relaunchers along the way.