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Kristin Calhoun2024 Headshot12

Relauncher of the Month

March 2024

Kristin Calhoun's remarkable five-year career break, which included a cross-country road trip and hands-on work on her family's wheat farm, culminated in her successful relaunch in 2022 through Deloitte's Encore Program. 

Prior to her break, she dedicated two decades to public media ( NPR and PBS). Her focus revolved around the technological aspects of operationalizing business modernization projects.

Discovering iRelaunch was the turning point for Kristin. Participation in iRelaunch's virtual events introduced her to the Deloitte's Encore program and she found her way back to the working world.

Currently serving as a Senior Consultant in AI & Data Engineering at Deloitte, Kristin leads cross-functional teams in developing digital platforms, products, and supporting services. 

We caught up with Kristin to learn more about her relaunch story. Read more...

"I realized the importance of rebranding myself and crafting a compelling narrative for my return to the workforce, thanks to resources like iRelaunch. Landing a job at Deloitte was a result of this preparation, aided by a supportive mentor who recognized my potential in AI and Data Engineering".

Career Break:

On your LinkedIn page, you describe your career break as a farming sabbatical. Please tell us more about your career break.

  • My last assignment within public media was as Executive Director for the first ever start up formed by PBS and NPR. The objective was to establish a digital distribution ecosystem for all of public media.

  • While thrilling, it left me physically and mentally drained. I realized I needed time to decompress and figure out my next steps.

  • Once I decided on a break, the next decision was uncertain. So, I sold my home, downsized, and embarked on a U.S. road trip with my dog, ending up on my family's wheat farm in Eastern Washington.

  • Embracing the slow pace and physical work on the farm, I found the clarity to realize my passion for digital technology and my longing to return to my craft.

Strategic Volunteering:

You participated in Compass pro bono – can you tell us more about that experience? 

  • After leaving Washington state, I volunteered with Compass, a non-profit that matches professionals with organizations in need. 
  • I worked on a project with The Fishing School, using technology to enhance their mission of creating safe spaces for DC area youth after school. 
  • It was an uplifting experience, and I highly recommend Compass for those seeking pro bono opportunities.

Mindset and Relaunch:

You also told our private Facebook Group “Perhaps you're like me, someone who was away from the professional workforce for so long (5 years)'re not sure if you want to return to work, much less how.” Given this mindset, what were the first steps you took in your relaunch?

  • First, a mental makeover to align with a business professional mindset. It's an ongoing process to refresh and rebrand without losing the valuable experiences gained during my break.

  • Second, research into organizations and resources supporting career relaunches, particularly for women in technology.

    "Skilled in organization and adaptation, I thrive by asking questions and finding solutions. My pivotal project involved transitioning PBS content to digital platforms, overcoming initial resistance to embrace the internet. The transferable skills that I gained during that time were invaluable".

    Discovering Deloitte’s Encore Program

    How did you first hear about career reentry programs and Deloitte’s Encore Program more specifically?

    • Participation in iRelaunch's virtual events introduced me to Deloitte's Encore program. The application process was straightforward; I would just recommend having a strong couple of sentences about why you want to return to the professional world as your north star.

    • I started the application process in December 2022 and started working for Deloitte in March 2023. Quite a quick turnaround!

    Returnship Experience

    What was it like relaunching as part of Deloitte's Encore program, and what unique training and programming were involved?

    • Transitioning from non-profits with minimal onboarding resources to Deloitte's Encore program felt like a white glove experience. 
    • As part of a cohort of around 30 new hires, we underwent an intensive boot camp and a two-day in-person orientation covering everything from MS Office products to consulting best practices. 
    • Encore provided continuous support in our initial months, ensuring we had the resources for success.

    Transformation and Community Connection

    Now back in the workforce, how has your identity as a relauncher evolved, and how do you stay connected to the relauncher community?

    • Love this question! I feel immensely grateful to be on this path, experiencing a Part 2 of my career. 
    • As a returner, I bring a wealth of previous experience while eagerly learning new skills.
    • I'm excited to actively participate and contribute to the relauncher community by sharing my story and helping others navigate their return to work.

    Please Note: Registration for the 2024 May iRelaunch Return To Work conference is OPEN. Dive into a vibrant community of fellow relaunchers. Network, share insights, and gear up for the event of a lifetime. Registration link here!