The three-day program was designed to empower a diverse range of professionals, the majority of whom had taken time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities, to reach their leadership potential in the next phase of their careers, whether returning to a previous role, venturing into a new one, or starting their own business.

The 30 successful Career Comeback Sponsorship recipients were selected from nearly 300 applications received from a diverse range of people from across Australia with experience in a wide range of industries including technology, health, financial services, government and the industrial sector. AGSM also received applications from emerging entrepreneurs and professionals seeking to transition from corporate, government and not-for-profit sector roles into running their own companies.

“We redesigned the AGSM Career Comeback Sponsorship program this year to address the gaps in career opportunities women described in the Women’s Agenda 2019 Ambition Report,” said Alison Brown, Head of AGSM Brand and Communications.

Participants were immersed in active learning techniques to help them reimagine their career prospects and potential. Sessions included modules on adaptive leadership, preparing a positive transition, your career in action, building a professional brand, communicating with impact and planning a thriving career.

“We know from the findings of the 2019 Women’s Agenda Report and our own experience that women in particular are at a disadvantage when seeking opportunities to return to a career after time out of the workforce,” said Rosamund Christie, AGSM Adjunct Faculty and Design Your Career Comeback program lead.

“All of the Career Comeback Sponsorship recipients had extensive professional experience, yet many found the barriers to returning to a meaningful career for which they are fully qualified, a daunting task. If we are to address the gender gap in leadership, we need to facilitate access to roles, equip people with the confidence, skills and professional networks, and ensure organisations recognise their role in building more diverse leadership,” she said.

Mary Kelly, Registered Nurse and Public Health Practitioner and an AGSM 2019 Career Comeback Sponsorship recipient, said: “AGSM created a welcoming and professional environment for the Career Comeback participants from day one. It signalled we were entering a structured space with clear objectives. One that was safe and nurturing and would provide the basis for real and meaningful work to occur. Work that would have a lasting impact on all the participants.”

“I feel privileged to have been a part of the course. I can't thank AGSM and the talented facilitators enough for this opportunity. Already the strategies provided by the facilitators are having an immense impact for me across my networks,” she said.

The AGSM 2019 Career Comeback Sponsorships program was created to provide accelerated leadership, business, commercial, and strategy development for individuals seeking to return to the workforce or business after a career break and address the gender gap in Australian leadership.

The 30 Scholarship recipients now have access to an exclusive AGSM Career Comeback network, a professional community offering AGSM content, development opportunities, networking events, and career consultation and advice, to help them progress as they re-enter the workforce.