CEO Spotlight - August 2017

Addie Swartz, CEO of reacHIRE

Addie Swartz, CEO of reacHIRE

reacHIRE and the Boston Women’s Workforce Council share many of the same goals when it comes to empowering Boston’s female workforce. What does being part of the 100% Talent Compact mean to you?

reacHIRE believes that the way to move business forward, is by bringing women back. Being part of the Talent Compact means working together to make sure Boston- area women are able to reach their true potential in the workforce. A rising woman lifts all ships - families, companies and the entire Boston Community.  reacHIRE’s goals align with the BWWC in that we believe women are the Region’s greatest assets. It is our mission to create professional opportunities  for women at all ages and stages.  We help women return to the workforce after a career break and give companies greater access to experienced women professionals at the mid-management level where there is a  lack of women representation in the talent pipeline. By helping women prepare to re-enter the workforce and connecting companies with untapped talent they are unable to find on their own, reacHIRE is helping support the BWWC’s 100% Talent Compact of breaking through the visible and invisible barriers blocking women’s opportunity and advancement.

Studies have shown that part of the wage gap can be explained by a “motherhood penalty” Could you describe what impact, if any, being a mother of two has had on your career?

I was brought up feeling that I should work to make a difference in this world.  I left corporate America when I had my first daughter and decided then to start my first  company. . It provided the flexibility to decide how, when and where I worked. The “why” was always clear - to improve the lives of women and girls. Various pivot points in my journey -- some planned and some unplanned - influenced my companies and my career path. I’ve learned that being a business professional and a mother are not mutually exclusive. I just needed to change how I looked at work. Instead of being a worker, I started looking for opportunities that worked for me.

How does reacHIRE help women re-start their careers? What does a typical reacHIRE cohort look like in terms of demographics (age, race, socio-economic background, professional background, etc)

reacHIRE partners with companies of all sizes to develop custom sourcing, re-training and placement programs to re-insert women back into the workforce.  This retooling is at no cost to the candidate.  Our approach is to refresh core skills, renew confidence and enable women to return to work. There is no “typical” reacHIRE woman. The only thing that is constant is a desire to return to the workforce, and to leverage their capability. Our cohorts consist of women across all fields - STEM, finance, marketing and project management among others. Some women have been out of the traditional workforce for 5 years, some 10 or longer. Some off-ramped to take care of children, some to take care of sick or elderly loved ones, and some simply traveled the world or pursued entrepreneurial endeavors of their own. We look for educated, professional women with a strong drive, core skill sets, a growth mindset and leadership potential. Companies align with our model because it affords them a diverse, educated and seasoned talent pipeline that resonates with their current work teams and culture and ensures long term success.

What is the most rewarding part of the work that reacHIRE does?

The best way for me to answer this question is to share an example.  We recently placed a cohort of women in a global organization on the west coast.  This cohort included a lawyer who had left work due to an illness, a single mom that took time to raise a family, a recently divorced woman that needed to return to work to support her family, and a woman that followed her husband to the United States to advance his career.  They were all talented, educated women who were sitting on the sidelines taking care of others in their lives.  I see this scenario often.  Women put their needs aside for others.  reacHIRE helps women by empowering them, refreshing skills, renewing confidence and connecting them to new opportunities that aren’t always as apparent to women who have taken a career break. I am proud to say that all of these women are thriving in their new roles. One of the women has already moved onto a new position in less than five months. This is what I find most rewarding about the work reacHIRE does. We help women find rewarding career opportunities with employers who value the talent and power of returning women.

What is your advice for a woman who is worried about re-enter the workforce?

My advice is -  you can do it!  I truly believe that a career break is not a career breaker.  Women are  not alone in their journey back to work.  Find a group.  Find a partner.  Find a mentor.  Find reacHIRE.  I’m a perpetual cheerleader.  I see the positive outcomes that women experience every day.  It's a process.  It doesn’t typically happen overnight, but it does happen. If you take the first step back into the workforce with an open mind and a renewed outlook, you’ll be amazed at the exciting new places you can go.  Employers are recognizing the amazing potential and impact of returning women. We are building it, so you can come back .

If you or your organization is interested in working with reacHIRE, you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedInYou can also contact them on their website.

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