Name: Trisha Almeida
Company and position title: Demandbase, I started as a solutions consultant and was hired full-time as a project manager.
What did you do before taking a break? I worked as a project manager in IT. I started my career as an engineer, grew into an analyst position, and when I quit I was working as a project manager.
How many years of experience did you have before your break? 9
How long were you out of the workforce? 3 years
How long were you actively looking for a job before you got your Path Forward internship? 6 months
Had you taken any classes or done any training in preparation for going back to work? I took a two-day Scrum master certification course. I had some experience from my last project management job working with the Scrum methodology but to be certified I needed to take a course. I thought it would be helpful in my search for project manager positions and it made sense since I already had experience working with it.
How did you hear about this program? All I was doing in my spare time was looking for jobs and different avenues that would lead me to jobs. When a friend told me about “returnships”, I started Googling the term to get a better understanding of what they are and what companies offer returnships. In my search I found Path Forward, learned that their fall program was starting in October, and waited for the end of August to apply.
Describe your role at Demandbase: I support our in-house consulting services group. I’m responsible for managing new customer deployments including managing project kickoffs, capturing business requirements, sharing best practices, and project managing overall deployment effort. It’s a highly visible role that needs to effectively coordinate all aspects of a services engagement between customer success team members, solution engineers, and client resources.
What skills from your previous experience do you use in your new position? I use all of my skills from my previous experience. I was previously working as a technical project manager and this position was the right balance of using my tech and manager skills. The only difference is I was previously working in the IT industry mostly with banks and am now on the cutting edge of technology in a B2B industry.
What has been one of the more challenging parts of returning to work? Managing the life part of work-life balance has been the most challenging. Being in the office and not being available to my family as much was an adjustment but I think it’s something all mothers go through. Most of the challenges came before doing the Path Forward program, mainly when I was applying to jobs and unsure of whether people would have an open mind in the hiring process. Once you know you’re working with the right people it makes it all easy.
What has been the most exciting or gratifying part of returning to work? Having a self-identity outside of my home and being appreciated at work has been the most gratifying part. Now that I’m back at work, I find appreciation at work which makes me feel really good about myself. It’s been wonderful to work at a company that is so supportive and appreciative of the work I contribute.
Did anything surprise you about your return to work experience? I had very low expectations coming into this since the industry was so new to me. I didn’t know how soon I’d be able to learn and grasp things being taught to me and that I would actually be able to deliver results. It’s been reassuring to know I didn’t forget any of my skills after a couple years out of the workforce.
What are you most proud of accomplishing during your return to work experience? I’m proud of how quickly I was able to contribute to the team and how productive I was from the start. I’m happy that I was able to ramp up quick and was able to work in the exact role that I was doing before my break.
What did you find the most helpful about being part of a Path Forward program at Demandbase? Everything. Without Path Forward this wouldn’t have happened. The program has helped people to open their minds and give second chances to parents who have taken a break for certain reasons. We’re still professionals and still have experience, and for people to have this open mind to give us a chance has made a huge difference. I was able to work on a great team of people who mentored me and received incredible support from the workshops the Path Forward team hosts and from the network of women going through the program.
Would you recommend a return to work internship to others who are looking to restart their careers? Yes, absolutely.
What advice would you give to future returnees? I think the most important thing is understanding that this is a chance to learn and you have to make the best of it. Obviously the company has no obligation to hire you, but it’s good to take the opportunity as a stepping stone. Come with no expectations and be prepared to learn as much as you can and achieve more than what you expect. Have an open mind to learning something new that may not have existed when you were working before.
What kind of preparation would you suggest potential returnees do before applying for a return to work internship? I think it depends on the role you’re looking for. It’s a good idea to brush up on your skills either with online tutorials or courses and to read about what’s happening in the industry you’re looking to return to. Today’s technology is changing rapidly and even the tiniest break can mean there are new tools or technologies that may not have existed before you left.
What direction are you hoping to take your career in the years to come? I really like the industry I’m in now and would like to stay and continue to work in project management, and eventually maybe go into program management where I can oversee multiple projects at once.