Helping to relaunch women’s careers

After completing a degree or two and working in our chosen fields for a while, some of us left the professional workplace to help with family obligations or to pursue other interests for a few (or many) years. Getting back into work after a break is a challenge.

My years working after my college graduation were gratifying. I genuinely enjoyed the growth, camaraderie, challenges and paycheck. When my second child was born, it was increasingly difficult to find dependable child care and to juggle my responsibilities at work and at home. I hadn’t learned about “leaning in” yet, so I chose to leave my professional career and stay home full time to raise my family. I loved staying at home with my children, but after 12 years away from work, it was time to get back to it.

Looking around at what is available for women specifically wanting to return to work, the resources are limited. In 2018, the David Eccles School of Business’ reLaunch program was created to help answer this need and is the first of its kind in Utah. The goal of the program is to help women returners create a network of resources including skill identification, confidence building, interview practice, contacts and career coaching.

The inaugural Eccles School reLaunch cohort was in March 2019. The group of participants was women with degrees in engineering, education and business. They had a variety of years of experience and had been out of the workplace for an extended period of time.

The group received valuable Clifton StrengthsFinder skill evaluations and identified those skills that could translate to new careers. The women were given opportunities to help each other discuss their strengths, practice talking about themselves and help support each other in a self-mentoring group. Each participant received several sessions of one-on-one career coaching from the David Eccles School of Business Career Services team. The women also attended the Elevate U conference and were enriched by the speakers and associations during that powerful day. It was a great experience for those who participated.

The program is evolving in 2020. We are building off of the successes of the initial cohort and creating a program with more substance and opportunities to interact. Each time the women participants meet, they will build their skills including creating resumes, LinkedIn profiles, strength awareness and interview practice. The women will attend Elevate U and receive coaching from the Career Services group. After the initial six-week program, additional coaching and education sessions will be available as the participants need for an additional fee.

The challenges of returning to work for those who have stepped away for a time are significant but with some support, skill-building and a confidence boost, the returner and the employer will benefit greatly. The Eccles School reLaunch program is a beginning step for women who are serious about getting back into work and creating a fulfilling career again.

For more information about the reLaunch program, visit eccles.link/reLaunch.