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Returning to Work After a Career Break

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.”

— Dr. Seuss

Our mission at tellent is to help professional women to stay engaged in the workforce throughout their careers and inspired to lead. In the two years since launching, we have acquired a community of women, not only interested in flexible work, but who are looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break. Our members have so much to offer that often they can’t see for themselves. “We have to reshape our own perceptions of how we view ourselves” (Beyonce) and I believe we can do that through this supportive community.

We wanted to let you know that while it might be scary, exciting or just plain daunting, you are not alone.  We have your back! The women who have shared their stories below have offered to connect with you – over email or a coffee. Use this community, our resources and this network to help you take your next step in returning to the workforce.

As Amelia Earheart says “the most effective way to do it, is to do it”


A transatlantic move with two young children and volunteer work kept Joanne busy during her five year break. This authentic account of how she found her way back into a corporate role and her advice is sure to inspire.

Read her story

From high-tech startups to health and nutrition: Johanne Bernardi explains how she got back into the workforce after eight years on parental leave.

Read her story

The role of a full-time Mom was a tough but rewarding career path for Lauren Markman Ritchie. She shares with us her decision for leaving the workforce and how, when she was ready, she carved out a career she was passionate on her own terms.

Read her story

Jennifer shares with us the ups, downs and challenges of her journey back into the workforce after a five year career break. The first step is often the hardest and her story will help you take yours.

Read her story

With over a decade of experience on the trading floor in London, Catherine wasn’t sure where to start her career re-launch after an eight year hiatus and in a new country.

Read her story

We spoke with Prof. Beatrix Dart about what Return to Work programs are, who they are for and what Canadian Employers are missing out on by not taking a second look at women who have taken a mid-career break.

Learn more…


Are you ready to return to work?

My advice would be to take some time for personal reflection. Set your own personal and professional goals and determine what is really important to you and how you can get there. There are a number of great coaches and programs out there. Starting there will save you time and effort.

Professional and personal goal setting

  • tellent Accountability Group. A five-session guided program to help you clarify your goals, develop your job search skills and build your confidence in a small group setting.
  • The Management Coach, Mary Legakis Engel. Career and Executive Management Coach.
  • Canada Career Counselling, Meghan Reid. A group of career Psychologists that have developed a tailored process to support women with career decision making and transitions. They are lovely!
  • Career Fit Mom, Beth Yarzab is a Career and Fitness Coach for moms, at any age or stage. We work with her a lot at tellent!
  • Darling, You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise To Ignore On Your Way Up, Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk
  • CareerJoy, Career transition, resumes, job search, career and leadership coaching.
  • Ignite, 7-part mini e-course (all done by email) taking you through the first and most important stage of the career relaunch process – finding the right career for you.

i-Relaunch (US based)

A great resource, even though it is US based. They offer a free Return to Work starter kit which comes with an downloadable assessment to help you evaluate if you are ready to re-enter the workforce.  They also offer a Roadmap to help you through the process for $79.

iRelaunch is your essential guidebook, a community & a sense of refound purpose for relaunchers, employers, universities & associations.

She’s Back (UK based)

With a mission to enable more women to return to the workplace following a career break, She’s Back provides helps organisations access the potential of women at all levels, support women who want to return and campaign on behalf of women. It is a really neat site. They have also just launched a career guide book for returning to work.

Articles worth reading...

> Why a Return to Work begins in your Head, Thrive Global.

> Ditch these myths about women returning to the workforce, Thrive Global.

Refresh your skills

Rotman School of Business – Back to Work Program

Back to Work is a specialized learning program for women who are returning to the labour market after an extended period of absence. Participants gain practical insights on business culture, hiring practices, leadership and career goal-setting to increase confidence and resiliency. Knowledge exchange with field experts in human resources and senior executives assist participants with resume and professional profiling, building supportive networks and other employer readiness scenarios.

Brain Station

Brain Station offers part-time, remote and weekend courses for digital topics. It is a great resources for refreshing your skills or backfilling digital gaps in your resume and experience.

Back to Bay Street

WCM offers up to five annual $5,000 scholarships and paid four-month internships with BMO Capital Markets (in Toronto), National Bank, RBC, and Scotiabank to women preparing to relaunch a full-time career in the Canadian capital markets industry. Must have at least 5 years experience in capital markets or related field. Also includes a WCM mentor and 1-year WCM membership. Began 2012, annual.

ThinkDataWorks Back to Work Program

ThinkDataWorks wants to help you re-engage with your career on your terms. If you are a woman who has taken an extended professional leave, we are hiring across a wide range of positions, including: Business Development & Sales; Marketing & Advertising; Data Science; and Development & Engineering. More information about the program can be found here.

Blakes / CIBC ReLaunch Program (Law)

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) is pleased to announce its new program focused on reintegrating highly talented women lawyers into the workforce after a career break. The program, called ReLaunch, gives women who have left the workforce for two or more years the opportunity to gain experience at a leading Canadian law firm and within the bank’s in-house legal department. It was created in partnership with CIBC.

IBM Tech Re-Entry Program

IBM’s Tech Re-Entry program is looking for talented female technical professionals who are looking to restart their careers after an absence from the workforce of two years or more. This paid 12 week returnship will enable you to work on projects that match your expertise, interests, and abilities and could lead to full-time employment.


Web-based organization matching volunteers to non-profit projects. You can refresh your skills by volunteering.

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