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Team Spotlight: Elyce Middlebrooks

Hi, I am Elyce Middlebrooks, and I live in Yorktown, VA. I have been a military spouse for the past ten years. My husband and I have moved six times in those ten years; four states and an overseas move to Okinawa, Japan. I have been blessed with 2 little boys, who are now 4 and 6 years old. Our family schedule seems to change monthly with every possible deployment or potential move with the military. For a long time, I chose to put my career on the back burner and embrace the opportunity to be present for my young children. This time with my kids has been enlightening. I've learned so much about my family and myself as a mother who is trying to figure it out. We have had some fantastic and frenzied homeschool adventures. However, I often had the urge to return to my career. I thought about various ways I could insert myself back into the workforce. I contemplated part-time work, contract work, and even starting my own business. The thing that I needed the most was the flexibility of where and when I can work. I also needed to be comfortable with the decision to go back to work and the impact this would have on my family. Finding this balance was challenging. But, I gained confidence when I sought out a mentor who put me on the right path.

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During the pandemic, I began researching companies that offered a flexible schedule. I came across the concept of relaunching back into the workplace through returnships. The idea was intriguing and exciting. I felt that every company should offer this opportunity. I wanted to know which companies had them and how they worked. This is how I landed on iRelaunch, a company that promoted the idea that it is not taboo to take a break in your career. Their message was clear, career breaks should be accepted, and women, in particular, should have the ability to reenter without judgment. So when I thought hard about where I wanted to land in my relaunched career, it was iRelaunch. The mission aligned with my goals.

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Any chance I get, I enjoy being outdoors with my family. I especially look forward to our New Year's Day family hike. This is a Middlebrooks tradition. My husband and I have kept this tradition of exploring the beautiful local parks since we got married. My most memorable accomplishment has been hiking Mt. Fuji. It is the highest mountain in Japan. At that time, I had very little experience climbing mountains. But with encouragement from my husband and two knee braces, he assured me our journey would be magical. The climb was breathtaking, literally. I endured all of the seasons in one day. The adventure took me to the top of the mountain as the sun rose above the clouds. That experience has indeed been a happy memory and a metaphor that helps me during difficult times. Our path in life may not always be easy, but the thrill of our adventure makes us excited and ready to see what's new.

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Today, I am on a new path to helping people return to the workforce. No matter their fears or obstacles in life, I want to inspire others to relaunch!

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