left the workforce in 2001 after a successful 17-year career in
financial services sales, marketing, and operations, when my partner
accepted an overseas executive work assignment in Paris. I wasn’t
allowed to work for pay in France due to normal visa restrictions, so I
did volunteer and pro-bono consulting work. I returned to NY in 2005
and after 18 months networked my way back into the workforce in 2006 as a
Senior Vice President with Citigroup, indirectly through the inaugural
“Back in Business” program at Dartmouth University Tuck School of
Business, where Carol Fishman Cohen was a guest speaker.
I left the workforce again in 2009. Citigroup eliminated my position along with countless others during the financial crisis, but thanks to the 2009 iRelaunch Conference, I quickly networked my way to my dream job leading D&I for a large global financial services firm. Ultimately, I made the choice to decline the offer and instead moved to Houston where my partner had accepted a senior role with a new company earlier that year.
Instead of seeking full-time employment, I resumed independent consulting, nursed my partner through a health crisis, and built a contemporary house – our dream home. That career break ended in 2012 with the unexpected end of the relationship with my partner, leaving me homeless and single for the first time in 30 years. I nursed my broken heart for two months while doing more pro-bono consulting work, passed on an opportunity to live and work in Singapore. Instead, I accepted a full-time six-month contract assignment with Barclays in New York for nothing close to what I knew I was worth, but I knew I had to start somewhere. I chose to live in Sea Bright, New Jersey, but became homeless again because of Hurricane Sandy, and moved to friends’ sofa in Manhattan for two months until I could find an apartment.
When the Barclays assignment ended as planned, I networked my way to three interviews and three job offers in less than three months. The position I accepted – as chief-of-staff to the CEO of a privately held family-owned company – lasted less than two years. From there, I leveraged my network to ultimately get an outstanding offer with a great organization – Deloitte. It took meetings with several different Deloitte leaders over a few months, and was well worth the wait.
I am very proud to be with Deloitte. It is an organization that shares my values and doesn’t shy away from taking a stand on issues. That’s important to my colleagues and me. I learned quickly that Deloitte is filled with nice, smart people, doing great work. The Deloitte culture is the best in which I have ever worked. The organization genuinely cares for everyone’s well-being. Deloitte demonstrated that by putting a supportive structure in place well before COVID, increased its focus on physical, emotional and mental well-being throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so today. I am one of hundreds of Deloitte US employees who are trained as “Well-Being Wizards” to bring well-being best practices into Deloitte’s businesses and engagement teams.
And the fact that Deloitte has an Encore Program illustrates their support for people like me who have taken career breaks but still have so much to offer. I had two other opportunities through my network during prior career breaks to connect with Deloitte, but never actively pursued them. I thought “I am not a CPA” and did not see myself there. Was I wrong.
When I joined Deloitte in 2015, it was as a Senior Manager in the Global Employer Services practice for Deloitte Tax, LLP (“Tax”). I was an experienced hire, and my executive-level project management skills, and my maturity had appeal and applicability. I have used and continue to use every skill I acquired throughout my career, and pay it forward by coaching and mentoring colleagues.
I joined an internationally diverse integrated team that helps multi-national organizations comply with the various tax and regulatory obligations related to employee total rewards & global mobility programs, manage international assignments efficiently and cost effectively, while aligning these employee programs with business and talent strategies. During my tenure in Tax, I led global programs focused on business development and client retention, and also ran the Global Management Office for a large, complex client. I even had the opportunity to work for a client as a PMO to operationalize a start-up from “zero to go”.
And where did I end up after those two months on a sofa?
I am healthy and happily reside in an apartment in New York City’s
Chelsea neighborhood. I appreciate living nearer to my family in New
Jersey than I have for most of my adult life, as my parents age and my
brothers’ children now have children of their own. I spend time outside
of work cycling, including Citibike as my “go to” mode of
transportation, sharing meals with friends, and relishing how much fun
it is to live in New York City, even if I’m no longer single.
It’s been quite ride, but I am filled with gratitude for where I landed.
Click here for a profile of Cathy.