Kristen: reacHIRE Graduate

2 min read

Kristen | Confidence to Succeed

Pre-break: Marketing Manager; University Administrator
Post-break: Data and Presentation Analyst
Length of Career Break: 22 years

Kristen winning an award.

Kristen winning an award

Kristen and her husband.

Kristen and her husband

I was living in New York when I was pregnant with my first child. I had been offered a full-time job, which like most jobs at that time, would require being in the office from 9 to 5; there was no remote work option in the late 1980s. Although I was excited about the position, the trade-offs were difficult. Commuting and high childcare costs would have cancelled out my salary, so it made more financial sense to stay at home. The non-monetary bonus of that option was that I could be fully involved in my children’s lives. Being able to keep my toe in the water by taking on part-time work would have been great, but at the time there were few such options.

Three kids later, I was fully invested in raising my children, while also doing a substantial amount of community service and being an active parent in my children's schools. When my youngest entered high school, I started to look for jobs.

After a 22-year career break, it was difficult to get any response from employers. I was disheartened with my networking and interview efforts. I felt discouraged and began to doubt if I would ever be able to fully re-enter the corporate world.

Just about that time, however, I received an email from my business school about reacHIRE and its mission, designed for women who were in my exact situation. I attended an information session, and reacHIRE seemed like the answer I was looking for. I soon applied and was accepted into a cohort.

“reacHIRE puts all the pieces together that a woman returning to the workforce needs. Every aspect of the program is top notch, and I highly recommend it.”

The training I received from reacHIRE was remarkable. From team building projects to mock presentations and interviews, reacHIRE rebuilt my confidence in being able to succeed in the workplace. The support of the women in my cohort was a huge resource as well and reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my journey. reacHIRE’s structured framework for refreshing my skills along with their networking connections gave me the “in” that allowed me to get back to work.

After training, reacHIRE placed me in a short-term position, responsible for digitally communicating benefits messaging to a highly-mobile workforce that accessed most information via smartphones. It wasn’t my dream job, but it turned out to be an excellent opportunity for transitioning back into an office environment. My subsequent position was at Fidelity in human resources for the IT area. This was a longer-term position, where I was able to use project management and team-building skills while learning a great deal about a focused subject. When that project was completed, I took a break for the summer and then, through reacHIRE, was offered an opportunity at GMO as a Data and Presentation Specialist. The job had a defined end date because I was filling in for a woman who was on parental leave. I’m happy to say that they’ve since re-hired me to supplement the staff again during a busy time!

I would not have predicted having any of these jobs, but I am so glad that I did! I’ve been able to sort out what I like in a work environment, as well as the types of responsibilities and tasks I prefer. I couldn’t have done it without reacHIRE’s expertise, support, networking capabilities and enthusiasm. I am proud to be affiliated with an organization that works on behalf of women to make sure their talents are recognized and respected.