Friday, June 29, 2018

Website Spotlight: Prepare to Launch U

The ubiquitous #MeToo movement has created space in the public and private sectors for long overdue conversations regarding policies, attitudes, and interactions between men and women in the workplace. When men are surrounded by female colleagues equal in rank and stature, an inclusive, safer and more productive environment results.

But that’s not how most U.S. workplaces look today. The leadership power imbalance remains alive and well despite women’s desires to advance and collective efforts to help them.

Prepare to Launch U, a new women’s career re-entry course aims to change this. The brainchild of mompreneurs Susan Rietano Davey and Kelley Biskupiak,Prepare to Launch U is designed to guide women through the unique challenges of returning to the workforce after opting out to care for family. Rietano Davey and Biskupiak, professionals who navigated their way back to work after their own opt-out years, believe the secret to increasing women’s numbers in the workplace is to help re-launch this skilled, but largely overlooked, talent pool.

“Gender bias is one culprit of the glass-ceiling phenomenon that prevents women from joining the highest ranks and keeping the ‘Him Toos’ of the world in check. The other is choice,” said Davey, referencing the ‘all or nothing’ choice - to work 60 hours a week or quit and stay home - that she faced and career women still face today.

A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women, like Rietano Davey, derail themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them opt-out with the intention of returning. Unfortunately, when they’re ready to get back in the game, résumé gaps and related biases make it difficult. This exclusion of capable women as suitable employees reinforces the glass ceiling and extends opportunities for harassment or exploitation to occur. Not to mention, many of these women could be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck.

When Rietano Davey and Biskupiak met in 2016, they decided to combine their respective expertise in women’s personal and professional development to help women return to work and, in the process, increase women’s presence in management and senior leadership roles.  Their business, Prepare To Launch U, offered a live eight-week career re-launch course that trained women in all of the back-to-work essentials, and helped them understand their workplace assets and translate the skills they acquired “away from the office” into market-valuable currency. After seeing the success of the live course, the partners decided to create a more affordable and fully flexible online program for which enrollment will begin in August.

Prepare to Launch U provides women the opportunity to slow down, re-focus and reclaim a future vision for themselves, after years of being visionaries for everyone else in their orbit” said Biskupiak, a Certified Professional Coach. “We begin the course with the important foundational work of helping women understand who they are now, because it most likely is different than who they were when they left their career. After three modules and 28 exercises, students have the self-knowledge, the confidence, the skills and all of the tools necessary to reenter the workplace successfully.” And, as each student relaunches her career, she is shaping a future for herself, helping other women who will return to work after her, and influencing workplace conversations, culture, and policy that will benefit everyone now, and for generations to come.

Because women are projected to live (and, hence, work) longer, women reentering the workforce will have more time and greater opportunity, in greater numbers, to penetrate the glass ceiling and assume their rightful place in boardrooms and executive suites - if given the chance. Their choice to take leave may have slowed their career progression and lessened their earning prowess, but only temporarily. “Returners” come to the workforce with a renewed energy and passion for work; they are an eager and stable workforce, motivated as much my challenge and intellectual stimulation as they are by money, according to data collected by Rietano Davey spanning two decades.

Prepare To Launch U is the definitive women’s career re-entry course designed to guide women through the unique challenges of returning to the workforce after opting out to care for family. Co-founders Kelley Biskupiak and Susan Rietano Davey have successfully helped hundreds of women relaunch into fulfilling careers. For more information or to register for the online course

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