Accomplished Talent Right Under your Nose

At a recent event, a woman told me how much she’s enjoying her new full-time role at Facebook, and how being 52 in a sea of 28 year olds is great for her spirit. Another approached me: "I’m loving my new 15-hr per week job at Stitch Fix! I get to style women from home, and still be there for my kids.” A 3rd woman raved about her new role as an Office Manager at a local Venture Capital firm. After a divorce, it gives her the perfect combo of benefits and pay, while allowing her to leave at 5:00 and make all her kids’ games.

Where did I run into these women, and what do they all have in common? The event was last weekend’s school auction. They all spent over a decade at home raising kids or caring for elderly parents. They also happen to have graduate degrees, a decade-plus long career, and years of volunteer work where they honed skills in leadership, fundraising, event planning, strategy, and marketing.

When I speak with companies who’ve hired returners, I often hear about these candidate's maturity, judgment, and ability to “get stuff done”. There’s something about being a mom that enables effective task-juggling and ability to prioritize. In addition, they’re typically loyal employees, and care more about the organization’s mission than personal advancement.


Not all are perfect hiring candidates. But of the 2500+ women who’ve gone through our ReBoot Accel program, I would hire a solid majority. Why are they looking to restart careers? A large number have kids leaving the roost and are seeking purpose. Some have more free-time and are seeking part-time roles. Others are going through a major life transition like a divorce, and are in need of paychecks and benefits. Virtually all are energized to get out of the house and engage in meaningful work with a supportive team.


With full employment a reality, I encourage organizations to consider rebooters. Many of our women land jobs at educational institutions, helping with program development, advancement, marketing, and strategy. Schools struggling to attract faculty because of lower pay and long commutes should consider these women. They often live in the community, care deeply about education, and can offer assistance ranging from staffing the library and supporting extracurricular activities, to teaching electives or even being up-skilled to teach core subjects. A friend from business school who enjoyed a 25-year investment banking career is now teaching 3rd grade math in an inner city school.

Non-profits should consider these women for executive director and development roles. What about a job-share with two accomplished women who previously chaired the PTA? Companies can tap into this demographic in myriad ways. Full-time roles in legal, finance, business development, and strategic planning are great opportunities to inject the wisdom, experience, and valuable connections of age. A part-time or remote role effectively doubles your pool of candidates, as many women would relish a role that offers flexibility.


We have resources in the Bay Area and partners in other cities who specialize in this talent pool. A return to work program we supported at Visa attracted over 1500 applicants, all for positions in the Bay Area. The training programs provided by ReBoot Accel ensure the candidates are current for today’s workplace and prepared to succeed.

Diane Flynn