Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

Attending Your First iRelaunch Conference?

Five Prep Steps to Make it a Success

If you’re planning to attend your first iRelaunch Conference at the Kellogg School of Management next week, you’ve got a lot to look forward to! For many attendees, this event is one of the first concrete steps in their relaunch processes and a great momentum builder. All of the ingredients that you’ll need for a successful day will be available: top notch speakers; employer-sponsors interested in relaunch talent; a supportive community of likeminded professionals seeking to restart their careers; iRelaunch staff and coaches open to meeting you and answering your questions; and a fantastic venue. How can you increase the likelihood that your Conference Day will be a success? By taking these steps to prepare, you’ll be ready to learn, connect, build your confidence and leave feeling motivated to relaunch!

1. Set Conference Goals. 

Attend this event as an active and engaged player rather than a spectator.  Set three to five goals for the Conference and move through the day determined to achieve them rather than just passively floating through the event. Examples could be:

  • I will introduce myself to two employer-sponsors and give them my resume.
  • I will learn three new strategies to improve my relaunch job search and implement them within a week after the Conference. 
  • I will get an answer to my question about [how to write a LinkedIn Summary section] or some other topic and integrate it into my relaunch process.

By setting Conference Goals, you’ll participate with greater focus and leave feeling productive.

2. Download Whova

A conference management app, Whova is your ‘go to’ resource. Use it to review the agenda in advance. Look up attendees, speakers, sponsors and iRelaunch team members. On the Community page of Whova, attendees are already connecting to make plans to meet for coffee, discuss relaunch topics and share resources. Whova is an amazing tool for Conference engagement, so check it out!

3. Prepare to network

The Conference is a uniquely relaunch-friendly opportunity for you to make connections. If you’re a nervous or reluctant networker, then this will be the perfect environment for you. Do you have a resume and business cards? If yes, bring them. If not, that’s fine too. Speakers will share tips on resume building that you can implement after the Conference.  

Conversations with the employer-sponsors at the Conference will be casual and not like job interviews. It will help, though, for you to think in advance about how you’ll talk about yourself to employers and other relaunchers. How will you briefly introduce yourself, describing your professional background, career break, and relaunch goals or area(s) of interest? (By the way, it’s fine to say, “I’m excited about relaunching but am not sure where I want to land and am exploring x, y and z areas.”) If you’ll be attending the Conference with friends, agree to not just ‘stick together’ - insetad, branch out and meet other relaunchers. Getting comfortable talking about yourself and your relaunch with new people is an important part of this process, and the Conference makes it easy to do that. As Sarah Mills, iRelaunch’s Director of Conference and Logistics, advises, “Meet as many people as you can at the Conference. It’s important to know that you are not alone in this process.”

4. Take care of logistics

Anticipate and take care of details so that you can be completely present and not distracted while at the Conference. This may include childcare, directions and travel to the Conference, clothing (business casual or whatever you’re comfortable in); resume or business cards (great but not required); Whova; and letting friends and family know that you’ll mostly be out of touch for the day. Plan to arrive at the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub with enough time to park and get familiar with the layout and floor plan.  

5. List your post-Conference action items

What you do after the Conference is almost as important as what you do at the Conference!  Consider creating a ‘Post-Conference Action Items’ list in a notebook or on your phone. As the day progresses, continuously add items about people whom you’ll follow up with, tweaks that you’ll make to your resume, employers that you’ll research further, online resources that you’ll explore, and more. After the Conference, reorganize and prioritize your list and get started!

* * *

By planning for how you will make the iRelaunch Conference successful, you’re more likely to ensure that it will be an energizing initial step in how you re-start your career. See you there!


Carroll Welch is a member of the iRelaunch coaching team and Founder and Principal of Carroll Welch Consulting, LLC. A career, executive and leadership coach, Carroll supports professionals in all industries on issues involving career and leadership development, transition and reentry. Carroll has extensive experience and expertise supporting relaunchers in planning job searches and anticipating obstacles as they seek to return to the paid workforce after a career break. Carroll serves as an Affiliate Coach for organizations and programs that support relaunchers; she was also a director of New Directions, an attorney re-entry program, for several years. 

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