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Episode Six: Career breaks, confidence and networking for returners


WORK180Mar 17, 2020

Michelle Ayyuce is the co-founder of ZIPWIRE, pioneering to create re-entry pathways for professional women who have had a career break. Through consulting services, workshops and coaching, ZIPWIRE enables businesses to build programs that access and transition this high calibre talent pool and set them up for success. Michelle ‘s career spans 16 years with both global and start up organisations in a variety of strategic marketing and business development positions.

Michelle discusses Zipwire’s mission to get talented women back into their careers and into purposeful roles, the barriers we face following extended career breaks, and a number of tips and tricks to re-enter the workforce. Michelle recommends focusing on both opportunities and confidence, and also discusses the rebalance of domestic duties when someone takes up employment after a period as the primary carer. She is passionate about building confidence through action, and has a wealth of ideas for getting your career moving again after a break.

In this conversation we discuss:

  • Zipwire's mission to get talented women back into their careers and into purposeful roles.
  • The assumptions that the workforce makes about women who take an extended break to raise children.
  • It's a fundamental need for humans to feel like they're working towards something greater than themselves, and research shows that one day a week of paid work has a measurable impact on feeling like we have purpose.
  • The entrenched male breadwinner model in Australia and how that effects family decision making.
  • The rise of returnships to target professional women with a career gap.
  • Ways to include people on career breaks through networking events, webinars and trainings.
  • Focusing on both the confidence of women returning to work as well as opportunities provided to returners.
  • Getting clarity on your message makes it much easier to go to market.
  • Building confidence in your value by talking to ex-colleagues.
  • The most common challenges for returners and how to address them.
  • Renegotiating domestic duties if you have been on career break as the primary carer and looking after the home and mental load.
  • The idea of 'getting your foot in the door' by taking a lower position and the catch-22 of having to negotiate for roles that you are overqualified for and then being perceived as a flight risk.
  • Demonstrating your value and skill sets if you do take a lower position.
  • Finding connection points into advertised roles, rather than online applications.
  • Building confidence through action.

Love this Podcast so much that you can't wait to listen to another? Check out Episode Seven: Women in STEM, the Girls’ Programming Network and Unconscious Bias

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Podcast Transcript Episode 6.pdf

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About the author

WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.


WORK180 is a jobs board with a difference! We pre-screen employers on paid-parent leave, pay equity, flexible working arrangements and more. Find your dream job here.


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