Greetings! I am Anne Zacharias, Business Development Consultant for iRelaunch and the newest member of the iRelaunch team. I became excited about iRelaunch when a friend of mine told me about this amazing company that connects people returning to work after a career break with companies that want to hire them. I engaged Carol Fishman Cohen in a conversation, during which she and I talked about workforce shortages and re-development initiatives. The rest is history! I started working for iRelaunch in September 2017, and have the privilege of meeting with organizations ranging from universities to non-profits to corporations to educate them about relaunchers, and letting them know what an amazing workforce we are.
Yes, I’m a relauncher too. I worked full time in sales and sales leadership until I was nearly 50. Then my nanny of 12 years became ill and had to quit. At the time, I was VP of Sales, on a plane every week, and a single mom with two young kids. Something had to give—so I stepped away from my career.
While on career break, I decided to explore things I had always wanted to do. I joined a book club, volunteered on local boards, raised money for charity, started a freelance writing career—and of course shuttled my kids to their activities and cooked a lot of chicken dinners. I even remarried along the way!
When my youngest child entered college, I was ready to go back to work. A friend referred me to a corporate job, but I was told that I didn’t have enough corporate experience. (Really??) Later, another friend referred me to PEPworldwide, a global consulting organization, and they hired me. I was a productivity consultant for PEP® for four years until I discovered iRelaunch.
As a fellow relauncher, I know it can be daunting to reenter the workforce. Some of the challenges I experienced are highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article in which I was featured. The biggest lesson I learned is to use your network. You never know who might have a connection that leads to a job. (Read: let everyone know you are returning to work.) Every conversation will refine your elevator pitch, and updating your resume will remind you of your many accomplishments. Yes, you do have value!
Relaunching is a journey—and iRelaunch has so many tools that can help make the journey a little less lonely and a lot more straightforward. The Facebook group, the LinkedIn group, and the Lean in Return to Work Circles all remind us that we are in this together. The success stories on iRelaunch’s website show there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the podcasts give practical advice like negotiating, interviewing, and using social media. There’s even a step-by-step guide, Roadmap, to walk us through the return to work process!
The one thing we consistently hear from companies is that they are “blown away” by the quality of the relauncher talent. So, no matter where you are in your relaunch journey, remember that you bring a lot of value to the workforce.