Chicago iRelaunch Return to Work Conference Speakers - April 2012

Keynote Speakers

Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin

Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin are the co-authors of the acclaimed career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at- Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, and co-founders of career reentry programming company iRelaunch.

iRelaunch has helped thousands of women and men on career break return to the workforce through its programs, events, and content for employers, universities, organizations, and individuals. iRelaunch’s signature product is the iRelaunch Return-to-Work Conference, held four times a year in major cities. With a focus on educating “relaunchers” about effective return-to-work strategies, the Conference is the only large scale gathering of experienced professionals on career break looking to return to work and the employers interested in meeting them. Carol and Vivian are frequent speakers on the career reentry topic and are regularly featured in the national press.

Carol and Vivian are both Harvard Business School graduates and relaunchers themselves; between them, they have nine kids, and 43 years of diverse business experience. They each returned to work after multi-year career breaks before writing Back on the Career Track and starting iRelaunch. They understand each phase of the “relaunch process” first hand. Carol’s return to an investment firm after 11 years out of the full-time workforce is documented in a Harvard Business School case study about professional career reentry. Visit them at and follow them on Twitter @iRelaunch.

Welcome Speaker

Renee Tabben
Senior Vice President-Wealth Management,
Complex Sales Manager,
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

As a member of the Merrill Lynch Chicago Leadership Team, Renee is responsible for the marketing and business development efforts for the Chicago Metro Complex. Leveraging her 15 years of experience in wealth management, Renee leads the complex to provide advice and guidance on client solutions including retirement planning, credit and lending, portfolio management, estate and philanthropic planning.

Previous to her current role, Renee represented the Global Wealth & Investment Management capabilities of both Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust within the Global Commercial Bank of Bank of America. She has also served as the Mid America Regional Sales Manager of the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch, assisting advisors in delivering innovative financial strategies and solutions demanded by the complexities of substantial wealth.

Renee began her financial services career advising individual investors at Dean Witter in Cincinnati, Ohio. During her tenure at Morgan Stanley (previously Dean Witter), she served in several leadership positions leading initiatives such as marketing, advisor education, and practice management consulting.

Renee earned her Bachelor of Science with highest honors from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University.  She is a member of Investment Management Consultants Association and is currently pursuing the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA) designation. Candidates who earn this designation develop specific strategies to minimize taxes, monetize and protect assets, maximize growth, and transfer wealth. Renee lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Todd, and their son, Aidan.

Panel: Successful Relaunchers Tell Their Stories

Moderator, Vivian Steir Rabin
Co-Founder, iRelaunch

Along with Carol Fishman Cohen, Vivian Steir Rabin co-authored the acclaimed career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track, and co-founded career reentry programming company, iRelaunch. Carol and Vivian have presented their career reentry strategies to over 8,000 people at more than 130 events since 2006. A graduate of Harvard Business School and a relauncher, Vivian understands every phase of the relaunch process first hand.

Vivian has over 21 years of diverse business experience, including leadership roles in finance and human resources, in the media, financial services, consulting, and executive search industries. She is a mother of five children, and she returned to work after a multi-year career break before writing Back on the Career Track and founding iRelaunch. Carol and Vivian are regularly quoted in the national press including TIME, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Fast Company Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, NPR, and MSNBC.

Relauncher Panelists

Kathy Bayert
Director, Learning and Advisory Services,
Network of Executive Women

As the Director for Learning and Advisory Services for the Network of Executive Women, Kathy is responsible for developing and implementing the learning strategy, program content, and new program development for over 6,000 members and 75 corporate sponsors of the Network. With a mission to advance, attract, and retain women in the consumer products and retail industry, the Network provides networking, leadership, and individual development opportunities through three national conferences, 19 regional chapters, and web-based learning programs.

Before joining the Network, Kathy served as Senior Manager, Organizational Effectiveness in Sara Lee’s Organizational Development Global Center of Excellence. Her work involved many areas of talent and organizational development and Kathy was able to harness her personal passion for workplace flexibility, leading the effort to broaden the use of flexible work arrangements at Sara Lee. Kathy joined Sara Lee through its innovative Returnships@Sara Lee™, a program designed to bring off-ramped women back to the workplace.

Prior to a career break of six years, Kathy worked as a Principal Consultant in Organizational and Change Strategy for IBM Business Consulting Services (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers) where she led projects focused on organizational transformation, leadership development, and strategic organizational design. Earlier, Kathy served as campaign manager for several political campaigns in Texas, and started her career as a political consultant.

Kathy received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and her undergraduate degree in organizational communications from the University of Texas at Austin.  She continues to volunteer in her community, serving as a volunteer coordinator for a local homeless shelter and working in the local schools.

Laura Hine
Editor in Chief, Make It Better

As Editor in Chief of Make It Better, Laura Hine oversees content for the magazine, website, and iPad edition. Laura started her career in advertising, then returned to film school and became a documentary film producer and director. After having three children and moving for her husband’s career, she briefly retired for two years. Laura then restarted her career as a freelance writer for seven years. During this time, she held many volunteer community leadership roles, including PTO president.

In addition to her position as Editor in Chief of Make It Better, Laura’s articles have appeared in Fitness, Walking, and Health magazines.

Julie Schwab
Pyramid Consulting Contractor,
Program Manager,  Accenture

As a member of the Accenture Management Consulting North America (AMC NA) SWAT Team, Julie has been a contractor (through Pyramid Consulting) to Accenture since January of 2010. At Accenture, Julie is currently filling the role of Program Manager for the AMC NA Talent Council. The Talent Council focuses on employee engagement and people-related programs for AMC NA. Julie keeps a pulse on the Talent Council activities across the focus areas and supports the implementation of key campaigns/programs; in doing so, she works with the Senior Executives and Senior Managers who comprise the Talent Council. She is very grateful for the opportunity to return to work in a role that combines her past work experiences and leverages her skills and preferences.

Prior to returning to the workforce over two years ago, Julie took a career break encompassing almost 10 years to focus on raising her three boys. While a stay-at-home mom, Julie kept busy with volunteer commitments involving her children’s school, Cub Scouts, charitable organizations, and her church.

In the years following college, Julie gained over 12 years of Project and Program Management experience (10 years within Human Resources) working for both Accenture/Andersen Consulting (1988-1992 and 1995-2001), and SHL Systemhouse, Inc. (1992-1995).  Initially beginning her career with Andersen Consulting, Julie demonstrated strong performance and client service during two large system implementation projects. She then seamlessly transitioned to a career in HR at both SHL Systemhouse, Inc. and Accenture, leveraging her past consulting experience and contacts.

Julie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also completed her Master’s of Management degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Her focus of study at Kellogg included Human Resources Management, Organization Behavior, and Industrial Relations.

Sheila Welsch
Financial Advisor, The Diltz Schroeder Burjek Welsch Group,
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Sheila Welsch, CFP® is a partner in a team of financial advisors at the Oak Brook, IL-based The Diltz Schroeder Burjek Welsch Group.

As an active member of the West Suburban Women Entrepreneurs, a mentoring and networking group, Sheila regularly shares her menu of entrepreneurial and financial insights gathered from over 20 years in the field of wealth management, business accounting, and family investment strategies. Her favorite recipe for success is a relationship-building process of customized plans with flexible designs that adapt to accommodate the individual client’s short- and long-term financial goals. Her specialties include 401k Rollovers, Wealth Management, Asset Management, Retirement Plans, and Wealth Transfer and Structure.

Sheila has had two career breaks, the first for six years to care for her children, the second for one year during which she transitioned into the financial services industry at the age of 47.

Sheila earned her BA degree in Finance from Miami University in Ohio and completed the education requirement for the CFP® at DePaul University Continuing and Professional Education program. In addition to mentoring women entrepreneurs, Sheila also enjoys cooking, playing tennis, travelling, and attending or watching sports activities.

Panel: Employers Discuss How Relaunchers Should Approach Today’s Job Market

Moderator, Matthew Temple
Director of Alumni Career Services,
Kellogg School of Management

Matthew Temple is the Director of Alumni Career Services for the Kellogg School of Management, where he manages a team of eight people who deliver career services to 50,000 alumni globally. He has counseled full-time, part-time, and executive MBA students and alumni on a range of career issues including self-assessment, company and industry research, networking, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, negotiating, decision making, onboarding, performance evaluations, and starting/buying a business.

Matthew has conducted hundreds of career workshops, helped organize international career treks, and advised companies on recruiting strategies. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, and the Chicago Tribune. Matthew has worked as a Career Counselor with Harvard Business School and the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Matthew has coached executives on leadership and communications at companies including Amazon, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Ford, GE, Goldman Sachs, Google, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.

Previously, Matthew served as the Director of International Business Development for, where he helped establish and manage joint ventures worth over US$200 million in Asia, Europe, and Latin America with Carlton Communications, Granada Media (ITV), and Univision. He worked in private equity, M&A, and corporate finance for Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.  He has lived and worked in Asia and Europe. Matthew holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA in Finance, Marketing, and Organizational Behavior from Kellogg School of Management.

Danielle Dutcher
Recruiting Manager, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Danielle Dutcher is a human resources professional with 10 years of full cycle recruitment experience in various industries including agency, corporate retail/distribution, real estate, public accounting/consulting, and hospitality.  Currently, Danielle is a recruiting manager at Hyatt Hotels Corporation in downtown Chicago, responsible for staffing all levels of corporate marketing, sales, HR, and legal professionals. She also manages the summer internship program.

Danielle received her bachelor’s degree in human resources from Michigan State University and her MBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Eric Entler
Vice President, Head of Sourcing & Selection,
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney 

Eric has been with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney since August 2007. In February 2010 he was promoted to the role of Head of Sourcing and Selection for the Financial Advisor Associate Program.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Eric spent more than seven years at UBS Financial Services as the Divisional Hiring Officer. During his time at UBS, Eric was instrumental in developing the hiring and interviewing process, as well as creating the work-flow process for their Applicant Tracking System. Eric also created training boot camps for new financial advisors and trained and mentored all new team members.

Eric holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Saint Xavier University. He is married with two children, a son who is seven and a daughter who is five.

Becky Dodd
Manager of Staffing Programs, U.S. Cellular®

Becky Dodd has over 10 years progressive HR experience in talent advising, human resources operations, and recruitment strategy. She has managed full-lifecycle recruitment for various industries including telecommunications, healthcare, and manufacturing. 

Becky has been with U.S. Cellular® for over six years. She has received HR Business Partner awards for her campus, military,  and sales leadership-recruitment initiatives, which have also lead to U.S. Cellular being recognized by GI Jobs as a Top 100 Military Friendly Employer in 2010,  2011, and 2012.

Becky’s team is responsible for creating and enhancing staffing programs that meet the evolving talent needs in today’s marketplace while delivering a candidate experience that aligns with U.S. Cellular’s employment brand.

She holds a B.S. from Western Illinois University.

Aspasia Apostolakis Miller
Director of Students, Young Alumni & Career Services, Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA)

Aspasia Apostolakis Miller and her colleagues provide career exploration, career transition, and networking programs and services to people in all life phases. Together they have engaged more than 20,000 students and alumni during the past five years in their events and programs. Aspasia is owner of the Northwestern alumni group on LinkedIn, which has more than 27,000 members. She is a member of the Council of One Hundred, a group of Northwestern alumnae dedicated to mentoring young women.

Aspasia served as regional human resources manager for CIGNA Property & Casualty and ACE USA prior to joining the Northwestern University staff. She serves on the career advisory committee for The George Washington University Alumni Association. She also serves on a community board for Metropolitan Family Services, a social services agency that values families and communities, their inherent strengths, and their ability to grow, be resilient, and find solutions to challenges. Aspasia earned a BBA from George Washington University and an MS from Northwestern. One of her hobbies is producing, recording, and editing narrative life-story interviews.





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