A new program at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management is helping women return to work with more robust professional networks and added confidence.
The Back to Work Program, sponsored by TD Bank Financial Group (TD), is for women who are returning to business after an extended time away. It runs for nine days over a three-month period, beginning October 18, 2010.
"Back to Work will help prepare women for the personal and professional transition they experience when returning to the workforce. In three modules, it gives them an unparalleled opportunity to reignite their goals and to get up-to-speed on the latest trends and issues in business, while meeting like-minded women, potential employers and future professional contacts," says Professor Beatrix Dart, associate dean and executive director, Rotman Initiative for Women in Business.
A 2005 Harvard Business Review report, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce, found that 37 per cent of highly-qualified women voluntarily leave their careers for some period of time. Family responsibilities, such as childcare and eldercare, are most often the trigger.
During the in-class portion of the Back to Work Program, Rotman faculty members and instructors, as well as TD senior executive guest speakers, will help participants refresh their business knowledge on topics like leadership, strategy and business and people performance. They will also share current job market information and address the latest technology and communication trends in business today. Between in-class sessions, participants will receive one-to-one coaching and will attend networking events hosted by senior executives at TD and some of the other supporting organizations including KPMG LLP, Microsoft Canada, Rogers and Xerox Canada Ltd. Participants will also have access to complimentary childcare services (if required) at Kids & Company, an in-kind program supporter.
Back to Work in-class sessions will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., providing added flexibility for personal and family commitments. There will be no exams or grades, but participants will engage in business-related assignments between modules offered by TD and the other supporting organizations. As lead program sponsor, TD is underwriting the cost for all participants, and will offer scholarships to four of the selected participants. TD also has a networking session to introduce the women to top executives.
"Many talented women who have stepped away from the work force for a while possess the diverse skills, experience, background and perspectives that TD wants to attract as we continue to build for the future," says Mary O'Hara, senior vice president, organization development, TD Bank Financial Group. "This is precisely why TD is joining forces with Rotman School of Management – to eliminate barriers by helping women refresh their business knowledge and professional networks, and by providing the coaching and support they need to thrive in the next chapter of their careers."
For more information on the Back to Work Program, please visit
. HR professionals and organizations can connect with the women in the program by contacting Geeta Sheker, director, Initiative for Women in Business, Rotman School of Management; telephone 416 978 3251, or by email at
The Initiative for Women in Business at the Rotman School of Management empowers women to advance in their careers. It provides programs that refine management skills and help women develop the tools they need to be effective leaders and senior executives. The Rotman Initiative supports women from the classroom to the boardroom by offering continuing education, mentorship and networking opportunities. Its vision is to be the leading voice on issues facing women in management.
The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is redesigning business education for the 21st century with a curriculum based on Integrative Thinking. Located in the world's most diverse city, the Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables the design of creative business solutions. The School is currently raising $200 million to ensure Canada has the world-class business school it deserves. For more information, visit