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Ep. 25: Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and Co-founder of iRelaunch, Pioneers Return-to-Work Strategies After A Career Break

"You can say confidence is a big issue and it is, but you have to dig deeper to figure out what feeds that lack of confidence, and that helps everyone overcome it."

When it comes to getting back to work after a career break, Carol Fishman Cohen is a pioneer. The mother of four returned to work in 2001 at Bain Capital. Her return to work was so unique that Harvard did a case study about her. Since then, Carol has published a book with her iRelaunch co-founder, given a Ted Talk viewed 1.3 million times, and helped tens of thousands of professionals seeking to return to work, both in the US and abroad. She shares her own career path and tips for finding confidence often lost during time off from paid work.

"One of the most important pieces of returning to work and starting to build your confidence up again is to get complete clarity on exactly what you want to do because it might be something very different than what you did before...and when you have that clarity, then you have the ability to talk about why that's your career direction and what from your background is relevant."

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • iRelaunch focuses on helping individuals get back to work after an extended break.
  • Carol works with employers to create programs that engage the returning talent.
  • Carol took 11 years out of the paid work force and then relaunched back into investment banking.
  • Carol and her co-founder Vivienne Steer Raven wrote a book called ‘Back On The Career Track’ in 2007.
  • iRelaunch does individual and group coaching, in person and online.
  • They also run events at colleges and universities.
  • The flagship event is a conference that’s been run 19 times since 2008 and is sponsored by companies looking to recruit people.
  • Carol relaunched into the workplace with 4 children under 12 years old.
  • Her own relaunch became the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School.
  • According to iRelaunch data, 70% of women who come back to work want to work full time.
  • Carol has done a TED talk that’s been viewed 1.3million times called ‘How to get back to work after a career break.’
  • Carol's career highs include getting a book published, being taken to Korea and Japan four times by the US embassies in those countries and running the first iRelaunch conference.


  • When you get back in touch with people from the past they will remember you as you were and be excited for you to come back.
  • Get clarity on your career goals; do you want to do what you did before you took your break, or do you want to relaunch in a new direction?
  • Update your skills by getting a new certification, reading the Wall Street Journal or revising the specifics of your career.
  • More information means more confidence.

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