New program helps women relaunch their careers

- A new program in Winter Park is helping women relaunch their careers after hitting the pause button. However this program is not for beginners, but rather for accomplished women who've stepped away from the work force to care for family.

Winter Park Chamber of Commerce President Betsy Gardner Eckbert, a re-launcher herself, is the force behind this new course.

"I knew there were all these amazing women that had pressed pause on their career to care for either their aging parents or their very young children. They had law degrees, MBA's and lots of business experience, but found themselves really sidelined at home because of the choice they made to prioritize their family," reveals Eckbert.

Eight women graduated from the Chamber's pilot program this year. The program teaches everything from resume writing, to interview tips, to the psychology of returning to work after a long break. The course zeroes in on creating a competitive LinkedIn profile, crafting a personal brand and personal pitch.

According to the Harvard Review, more than 40% of highly qualified women with children are taking a break. And more than 20% have taken a career detour to care for an aging parent. Experts say taking the time off can be beneficial, however the biggest challenge for anyone wanting to return is confidence.

Eckbert agrees, "Our main goal is to close the confidence gap to help our re-launchers understand who they are, what their unique value is in the workplace and how they can explore that better and then package it better. So its a beautifully wrapped gift box they're presenting to the job market once they complete the course."

Angela Katsur, a mom of two, who took 15 years off to raise her family. She officially launched her own event planning company this year after completing the program in April.

"It's changed my life because I think going for it and having the confidence and putting myself out there has given me even more confidence, says Katsur, and not to mention, I think its a really good example for my kids, especially my daughter."

Allison Miller, another re-launch graduate, is a mom of four with a law degree from Notre Dame. She took an 18 year break to devote time to her family before re-launching her career as an attorney for a non profit just this month.

"I needed some help to boost my confidence, as well as kind of repackage myself and rebrand myself which is what relaunch was really great for. It gave me the focus I needed to really take a step towards going back to work," says Miller

The cost of the program is $375. The group meets once a month from September through April. There are only 40 spots open and the deadline to apply is August 17th at winterpark.org/relaunch.
 

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