This month, TD's Commercial Bank began accepting applications for the 3rd edition of its Career Relaunch Program, a six-month transition initiative for financial professionals who took a career break and want to return to the work force.
The program includes skill refreshers, mentoring, coaching, networking and a personalized development plan so each person can thrive in their new role.
The program is open to anyone who took a year or more off from their career for an intentional break.
We asked some Career Relaunch alumni about their experience and what advice they have for those who may be looking to restart their career.
Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelaunch, also gave insights into what makes this program so successful. iRelaunch has built its brand on providing consulting, training and events focused on bringing professionals back into the workforce after extended leave.
"I needed daily adult interaction and intellectual stimulation." - Arika Couchman
After raising her two children for 12 years, Arika Couchman knew she was ready to return to the workforce in late 2019.
She was part of the first Career Relaunch class.
"I needed to establish myself in a career versus just a job. I needed daily adult interaction and intellectual stimulation," she explained.
Arika wanted to make sure she would be returning to the workforce in a role she enjoyed and that gave her a sense of accomplishment. With 11 years of corporate banking experience, she debated picking up where she left off or trying something new.
"What can I see myself doing 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week for the next 15-20 years of my life?" she asked herself.
Weighing all the options, she decided that going back to corporate banking and continuing her career where she left off was the right move for her.
Arika successfully completed the TD Bank Career Relaunch Program in 2020 and is now a senior credit analyst in TD Bank's Municipal and Government Lending group.
Arika's advice to individuals looking to relaunch their career is to take the time you need to figure out what the right career path is for you.
"Looking back at my career relaunch – I wouldn't change anything," she said. "Out of all the institutions that I interviewed with, TD was the first place that I could imagine myself taking a 'coffee break' with the people I met and interviewed with."
Returning to the Workforce Amid COVID-19
Shweta Sharma returned to the workforce in early 2021 after taking time off to raise her two young children. As a result of COVID-19, Shweta's return to work in TD Bank's Career Relaunch Program was 100% virtual.
Shweta found that being a remote employee made her transition back into the workforce easier than having to be in an office setting every day. She had children in virtual school and flexibility was crucial to her work life balance.
"With the pandemic making families more self-reliant, having a flexible environment is a blessing," she said. "The fact that everyone is in it together makes the challenge of remote work less difficult. There's definitely more compassion and understanding at TD for all kinds of employee needs."
Shweta found that the program was helpful in giving her the tools to transition back to work.
"There was a plan in place for learning as well as growing in the role … Besides providing on the job training, it also helped rebuild my confidence and sharpened my soft skills," she explained.
After completing the Career Relaunch Program, Shweta transitioned into a Senior Business Analyst role.
"The career gap was never a factor in evaluating my skillset," she said. "I've seen colleagues proactively help each other to meet a common goal. I cannot be more thrilled to work for an organization that fosters such a growth mindset."
More About the Career Relaunch Program
Sarah Cole, Market Commercial Credit Manager, and Laura Picone, Middle Market Relationship Manager, are the dual force behind TD Bank's Career Relaunch Program.
Because of their primary roles, Sarah and Laura understand the needs of participating lines of business. Their experience is key in setting up relaunchers for success, including identifying the right roles for the program, creating a robust onboarding and training curriculum, and knowing what ongoing enrichments relaunchers need to accelerate their development.
“Our iRelaunch team has collaborated with Sarah and Laura since the earliest conceptual discussions leading to the formation and piloting of TD Bank's Career Relaunch Program. We witnessed first-hand their dedication to and championship of the returning professional talent pool. It is a privilege to continue our partnership and support their vision and leadership as the Career Relaunch Program expands across the TD Bank enterprise” commented Carol Fishman Cohen, iRelaunch’s CEO and Co-founder.
Applications are now being accepted for the January 2022 Career Relaunch program. https://jobs.td.com/en/career-relaunch-program/