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Team Spotlight: Janet Peterson

My name is Janet Peterson.

I just joined iRelaunch as the Business Development Executive after taking a 5-year career break and becoming a student of the iRelaunch Return to Work Roadmap. As I was preparing to write this article, I wanted to include words of encouragement to other Relaunchers...

My career and work ethic were developed at the early age of 10 years old!  Our family owned four (4) Burger King franchises so not working was definitely NOT AN OPTION. We were extremely focused on serving and excellent customer service.  I really enjoyed having a sense of purpose as I filled ketchup bottles, sliced tomatoes and took inventory to prep for the daily orders of “Whoppers and Fries”.  I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and attended an HBCU (Historically Black College & University) at Central State University.  I majored in Marketing and was fascinated by how products were branded and sold to the consumer.

During my junior year in college, I landed an internship at Macy’s in Retail Sales Management.  Upon graduation from college, I accepted an offer at Xerox Corporation as a Marketing Representative.  At this point, I want to emphasize a very important bit of advice...

“Have the Courage to Persevere”

You see, I totally blew the 1st interview while applying for the internship at Macy’s.  I can’t quite remember what I said or didn’t say, but I recall wearing a conservative navy-blue business suit…but with red pumps! I looked at the female interviewer thinking “she doesn’t like my shoes,” why did I wear these? “and I was totally distracted. So, I went back to my dorm frustrated but decided I would go back and restate my case for working there (now wearing black pumps!)  Fortunately, she was still there, agreed to see me and she offered me the internship position. She told me that she appreciated me having the courage to come back to reclaim the job.

Similarly, at Xerox Corporation I had six interviews and thought it was going great until I received a rejection letter.  Disappointed and confused, I decided to ask the company to transfer my files and resume to another branch.  Within three days, I received a letter requesting another interview in their office. Upon that interview,” I asked for the job” and received an offer that day!

(Fast forward) I was very intent on working at Johnson and Johnson (J&J). The reason being, I always wanted to work in an environment to improve the lives of others. I took the initiative to “cold call” with the ultimate goal of obtaining an informational interview with a hiring manager.  There were no openings at the time, however I kept in touch and asked if I could schedule a field ride when available. I completed the field ride and a year later, I received a phone call from a recruiter to interview at J&J. I got the interview, “asked for the job” and got the offer.  I enjoyed a very successful professional sales & marketing career while at J&J. Prior to my 5-year career break, a portion of my Senior Sales and Field Sales Trainer role was to work with and develop amazing professional sales talent. In fulfilling the J&J Credo, I actively and passionately served communities that were disproportionately impacted by diabetes and its complications.

Janet Peterson with her mother and daughter

After the loss of my father, a child graduating from college and another one entering into college, I felt it was time to return to work. I was initially very timid in my job search, lacked self-confidence and felt alone. For so long, my identity had been wrapped- up in a “job title”. I struggled to remember my sense of purpose and cringed at the thought of answering the question, “So what are you doing now?” I didn’t like the way that felt so I became very focused on my journey of relaunching my career.

I asked myself, “how do I begin?” I Googled, You-Tubed, Ted Talked, consulted with a few trusted mentors, and Linked-into everything until I finally came across the iRelaunch website and read the description of the iRelaunch Return to Work Roadmap. This was perfect! It allowed me to gain the clarity to move forward along with the structure of a coaching program. Initially, I only saw positions for S.T.E.M and Finance posted on the job board. I then saw the opportunity for a Business Development Executive role at iRelaunch. When I read the job description, it looked as if I was reading my own resume!

I truly look forward to reaching out and broadening my network of women and other organizations that I’m either active with or have volunteered with. Organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Mocha Moms and The American Diabetes Association. This new role will allow me to serve, assist, share resources and opportunities to develop and expand returnship/return to work programs to a community of over 87,000 professionals returning to work after a career break JUST LIKE ME.

Janet Peterson with her AKA sorority sisters


“Have the Courage to Persevere”

Janet Peterson

Don't relaunch alone!

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