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

“Your Passion Doesn’t Stop with Your Career Break”

Reflections from the 25th iRelaunch Return to Work Conference. Kellogg School of Management, June 17, 2019

Today I finally felt validated in my career search and that I actually will end up with a good job back in the paid workforce. You gave me hope and strategies- exactly what I needed. Thank you!

Ever wonder what goes into a day that results in comments like this? Join us as we share photos, session highlights, and useful tips from last week’s Conference in Evanston. You’ll see why it’s one of the best investments you can make in your path back to work.


8:30 a.m. – Registrants are welcomed to the beautiful Global Hub at the Kellogg School of Management and are greeted by employer sponsors.


9:00 a.m. – Michele Friedman, Founder & Principal, Advancing Women's Careers, LLC, welcomes relaunchers, speakers and sponsors.


This crowd is ready to relaunch!


9:15 a.m.  - Matthew Temple, Director of Alumni Career & Professional Development at Kellogg School of Management greets relaunchers. With one of the nation’s most robust alumni career services departments, Matthew encourages attendees to contact their alma maters to take advantage of the wealth of return to work resources they’ll find there.


9:30 a.m. Senior Managing Director, Accenture Technology, North America, Annette Rippert, welcomes everyone on behalf of our Conference Lead Sponsor. A relauncher herself (with five children!), Annette relates to audience members who chose to step away from the career path, saying that her children and her life are richer for the time she took away from her career. But she reminds relaunchers that “your passion doesn’t stop with your career break.” Relaunchers already have the essential ingredients to excel, but they need the right fertile environment in order to do that.

Annette introduces Accenture’s new 16-week Return to Work program to help put relaunchers back into the professional environment, provide training and an opportunity to re-learn leadership skills. The most important asset you can have is a willingness to learn, Annette tells relaunchers, an interest in learning, and an interest in thriving on understanding what’s next.


There's so much great information!


Attending an iRelaunch Conference not only helps you create a personalized return to work plan, it can be the first meeting place for you and your next employer.

Throughout the day employer sponsors Accenture (Lead Sponsor), Deloitte, BCU, Cushman & Wakefield, Navigant, and OutBranding spoke to relaunchers throughout the day about their career re-entry programs job opportunities.


9:45 a.m. - iRelaunch Chair and Co-founder, Carol Fishman Cohen, knocks the ball out of the park with her Keynote address, “Back on the Career Track: Top Strategies for Returning to Work.” Consistently ranked as one of the most motivating, sincere, well researched (and funny!) talks, Carol puts the final touches on laying the groundwork for a day of confidence-building, strategic networking, and mastering the basics in your relauncher toolkit.


Enjoying Carol's keynote - humor and great advice!

10:45 a.m. - The Relauncher Toolkit delivers the resources that help you stand out from the job-search crowd.

iRelaunch Coach Kendell Brown (Founder, Ascension Careers) and Matthew Temple speak about how a relauncher resume differs from other resumes and how to write one that effectively moves you to the next step in your career re-entry.


And when that resume gets you in the door, how do you handle the interview? iRelaunch Coaching Team member Sara Dickison Taylor, President & Founder, Celebrate Life by Design, LLC and Cheryl McGee Wallace, Lawyer, iRelaunch Special Advisor, Guest Podcast Host, share “Interviewing Strategies for Relaunchers,” covering strategic answers to some of the toughest interview questions relaunchers are asked.


Continuing to augment the relauncher toolkit, Ginny Brzezinski, Contributor,; Carroll Welch, iRelaunch Coach and Founder and Principal, Carroll Welch Consulting LLC; and Mary Beth Barrett-Newman, iRelaunch Coach, President and Founder, 2nd Career Consulting (l-r); present “Salary Negotiation for Relaunchers.” Are you prepared to handle a job offer? Do you know what you might be leaving on the table because of poor negotiating skills? It’s not just about getting the offer … it’s about knowing what to do with it when you do!


1:15 p.m. – After a relaxing lunch, sports psychologist and performance coach for the Chicago Bulls, Dr. Wendy Borlabi, gives the audience the perfect team “pep talk” with her advice on building confidence, a process that is often difficult during a relaunch. Dr. B’s advice about self-awareness, exploiting your strengths, having perspective, not letting your moods “be the boss of you,” and choosing your own personal theme song inspire relaunchers with positivity and a renewed determination to move forward.


Relaunchers thoroughly enjoyed Dr. B's advice and humor.

1:40 p.m. Three breakout session choices follow Dr. B’s motivating talk.

iRelaunch coach Arjan Eenkema van Dijk, iRelaunch Coaching team member and Founder and CEO of InspireShift speaks to a packed room of relaunchers about “Assessing Your Career Options.”


Session attendees work together on special exercises to help answer specific questions that will help them understand best next steps.


Arjan's energy is inspiring.  True workshop where we put the strategies to action!


Executive coach Suzanne Coonan, founder of Aerial Leadership leads relaunchers Audrey Boyle, Associate Faculty, Forbes Business School; and Lisa Fenton, CSCMP, Supply Chain Manager, through a live coaching session while attendees relate her instruction and advice to their individual relaunch journeys. 


Good, pragmatic process and take-home tools to use/reuse


Tracey Patterson, Managing Director, Accenture


Anjali Sinha, Senior Manager, Deloitte

A third breakout option, the “Employer Panel - Re-entry Employers on Hiring Relaunchers” features a discussion with Tracey Patterson, Managing Director, Accenture; and Anjali Sinha, Senior Manager, Deloitte, about their companies’ plans to hire relaunchers and what they look for in candidates.


Lots of excitement about (companies’) opportunities and their desire to actually hire relaunchers.


3:00 p.m. - During the “Coffee Talk” roundtable session, relaunchers have opportunities to speak at smaller tables with members of the iRelaunch team, career coaches and other relaunchers. If a topic hasn’t been discussed earlier in the day, it’s probably covered during the coffee talk session!


Cheryl McGee Wallace leads a roundtable discussion about career re-entry programs.


Executive coach Mary Beth Barrett-Newman (iRelaunch Coaching Team member) discusses relaunch strategies with roundtable participants.


April Keating, iRelaunch team member and military spouse talks with relaunchers about having a "mobile" career in response to frequent moves.


While the subject matter is serious, the presentation and camaraderie are friendly and warm.


and every table is filled with expert advice and lively discussion!


I enjoyed the round table discussions. This allowed for engaging conversation with both the speaker and other "relaunchers" about specifics challenges being faced in the career search journey. Many ideas for facing these challenges were discussed and all table members added value to the conversation because of the smaller group size.


4:00 p.m. - Adding one more career re-entry instrument to the relauncher toolkit, Oliver Schinkten, National Speaker, Consultant, Writer, and Staff Instructor, LinkedIn, gives attendees specific tips on “Leveraging LinkedIn for Your Career Relaunch.” From what to include in the profile headline and summary to brand building and networking, Oliver helps relaunchers optimize the nearly unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities on the platform.


Non-stop opportunities to learn, network, and put your relaunch back into high gear.


I enjoyed all of the conference, and really learned a lot about Linkedin.


4:40 p.m. - Did we miss anything? The “What I Wish I Knew” session with moderator Valerie Cherneski, iRelaunch Coaching Team member, Executive Coach & Consultant, Cherneski Coaching Inc., and relauncher panelists Linda Borst, President, Borst Accounting Solutions LLC; Carrie Buchwald, Senior Vice President, Lake Forest Center for Leadership at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management; and Jim Coonan, IT Coordinator / Athletic Director, Prairie Crossing Charter School offers relauncher advice about unexpected hurdles.


5:15 p.m. - The best way to end a fabulous day? Cupcakes! Celebrating our 25th iRelaunch Return to Work Conference, relaunchers, speakers, and staff toast iRelaunch’s culture-changing mission to open doors for the high-caliber talent pool returning to work after a career break. Carol wishes everyone luck in their relaunch and implores relaunchers to stay in touch and share your stories with us! The camaraderie doesn’t end at Kellogg!


If you are struggling in your efforts to return to work and want to energize your relaunch, please come to one of our Conferences. You’ll find the day delivers much more than you could expect. Our 26th Conference will be held October 3, 2019 at Columbia University in New York City. Registration is open and we encourage you to sign up now – we always sell out (and now you know why!)


You opened possibilities I thought were not possible - So worth the investment. Thank you


Meet the iRelaunch Team:

(l-r) Nikki Steingold, Chief Marketing Officer; Kayce Turner, Director of Firm-wide Administration and Support; Jill Kravetz, CEO; April Keating, Communications Specialist; Suzanne Wall, Chief Operations Officer; Carol Fishman Cohen, Chair and Co-Founder; Anne Zacharias, Director, Business Development; Sarah Mills, Senior Director of Logistics; Shannon Amspacher, Manager of Strategic Initiatives; Mindy Berkower, Chief Client Officer and General Counsel; Cheryl McGee Wallace, Special Advisor and Guest Podcast Host

Note: Suzanne and Shannon are wearing designs from M.M.LaFleur, one of our Contributing Sponsors. We also thank SWE (Friend Sponsor), LinkedIn (Contributing Sponsor), and Fairygodboss (Media Sponsor).

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