Women Returners started from our founders’ personal experience of taking extended career breaks after corporate careers and looking for a route back to fulfilling work. On an individual level, we are strongly motivated to support women to develop satisfying careers which include breaks, and to help women returners to move forward confidently. On an organisational level, our aim is to create more flexible career paths which remove the current career gap penalty.
Julianne Miles: I am the Co-founder of Women Returners, a Chartered Psychologist with a business background, and a mother to two teenage children. Before taking my own career break, I worked for over a decade in strategy consulting and marketing, including an INSEAD MBA. After four years at home with my children, I worked through my own uncertainties, and made a decision to follow a longstanding interest and retrain to be a psychologist. Six years and many research projects later, I decided to specialise in the areas of careers and work-life psychology. I have been supporting returning professionals through coaching, workshops and events for many years; I co-founded Women Returners in 2012 both to develop a larger-scale support system and community for individual returners and to create a structural change in corporate career paths through building supported routes back to corporate careers.
Our team of coaches are all professional women who are highly experienced in working with women returning after an extended break. All have a deep understanding of combining work and home life.
Katerina Gould: I am the Co-founder of Women Returners and an executive coach and facilitator, as well as a charity trustee and mother to two adults. Twenty years ago I was something of a novelty when I requested part-time working but nevertheless discovered that with two young children, a dying mother and a globe-trotting husband, I no longer had energy left for my career. Despite my years of experience, a Law degree from Cambridge and an MBA from Harvard Business School, I wasn’t prepared for the way my confidence evaporated once I stopped working. This experience, plus my training in psychotherapy and coaching during an eight year career break, is my motivation to help women to re-discover their self belief and organisations to attract, retain and develop their leaders.
Gilly Freedman: I am a highly skilled career coach, coach and counsellor and qualified supervisor with 20 years’ experience and a business, counselling and psychological background. Additionally, I am a course tutor for open career coaching programmes and in-house coaching and career coaching skills programmes as well as running sessions for the Kingston University Diploma in Career Coaching. My first career was working for the British Council abroad followed by Training Manager roles in City firms, the last being Nomura. I am passionate about enabling others and my desire to help professional women in particular with their own careers prompted my third and best career move to date! I now use my expertise to help women returners, both one to one and in workshops. On the personal front, I am the mother of a teenage daughter, I have a huge poodle who needs a lot of exercise and I run marathons.
Kate Mansfield: I am a qualified career coach with an MSc in Organisational Behaviour and a Diploma in Career & Talent Management from Kingston. I am also a mother to two small children. I took a career break after 15 years in executive-level recruitment and interim management. My last corporate role was as Director of the HR Practice at Alium Partners. I did a lot of soul searching when it came to returning to work and made the decision that if I was going to spend time away from my children, it needed to be for something that I loved. So with a long term passion and genuine interest in careers, I re-trained as a career coach specialising in women’s careers and women returning to work after a career break. I am very passionate about the value that those who have taken a career break have to offer and I coach women on both a one to one basis as well as in group workshops on how to build confidence and to create a plan for a successful transition back to work.
Natalie Hunter: I work with organisations and individuals as an Executive and Career Coach and Leadership Development Consultant. I am also an Image Consultant for professional women who are either working or looking to return to work. Previously, I built a successful 25 year career as an in-house Learning and Development professional with John Lewis, Coopers & Lybrand, KPMG, Channel 4 and McLaren Group. This mix of experience, of industries and organisational environments, means I understand the workplace challenges and opportunities for women and work with them in a supportive and practical way. As well as helping you to define your career direction, I can assist you with dressing with authenticity in a way that supports your career aspirations. I have had great feedback from clients about the positive impact this has made to their confidence and success. I live in London with two teenage daughters who no longer allow me to influence their wardrobe and so finding another outlet for this interest has been a joy!
Nathalie Metcalf: I am an Executive and Career Coach and a facilitator and group coach on leadership programmes. I am also a mother to two teenagers and a nine year old boy. Starting my career as a management consultant in Australia, I moved to the UK when I got married. Following an MBA from INSEAD, I joined a strategy firm in London, working part time with two young children. Then I took a break from the demands of consulting, launching my own Professional Development and Coaching Practice before following my husband’s job to Singapore where I had to re-think my career. Returning 5 years later to start again, I gained a diploma in Clinical Organisational Psychology and several specialist coaching certificates. Although I never took a full career break, I understand the pressures of re-launching a career as a mother and starting afresh, often in a new country.
Anna Johnstone: I am an executive coach specialising in developing talented women and also chair of a start-up food business based in France. At the start of my career, I worked in European and Global Human Resources roles with Shell. Following my MBA from IMD in Switzerland I changed function and industry and took on senior Sales & Marketing roles for Mars Chocolate, most recently as their Commercial Strategy Director. After a challenging return to work following my second maternity leave I decided to retrain as an executive coach supporting women to fulfil their potential. My coaching draws on my MSc in Occupational Psychology and I enjoy helping women to build their confidence, flourish in their careers and successfully integrate work within their lives. Originally from New Zealand, I now live in London and am a mother to two very energetic boys.
Diana Dawson: I am an Edinburgh-based Career Coaching Psychologist and have been career counselling and coaching for over fourteen years. Following an MA in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen, I had several organisational roles, including supply chain management and product management for the Boots Company, and I also worked in recruitment for over five years. From there I re-trained and took a MSc in Career Counselling and Management from Birkbeck College, followed by a MSc in Occupational Psychology from Strathclyde University. My career work has been with individuals and organisations from a wide variety of sectors. I feel passionate about helping people be happy in their work and have helped many people to get back to work after time away.
Hazel Little: I am a career and executive coach and facilitator based in Edinburgh. Pre-children, I worked with an Investment firm for 15 years, most recently as a global HR Business Partner ensuring HR initiatives were delivered in line with global practice. I also worked as HR Director, sat on the board and was a pension trustee for a property company. My career was my identity and it was a tough decision to take an extended career break to focus on my two young children. When the time came to return to work, I felt lost and uncertain about what to do. I decided to retrain as a Career and Executive coach, pulling upon my extensive HR and business experience. I feel passionate about helping others work through the difficult transition back into the workplace, and coach both women returning to work and senior professional women in business. I have a Certificate in Career Counselling with CCS and am studying for a Practioner Diploma in Executive Coaching with the Academy of Executive Coaching.
Rachel Halsall: I am an executive coach and facilitator based in Shrewsbury. After starting my career in the Japanese Embassy, I moved into Financial Services where I found Learning & Development. I moved into the legal sector where I was UK & Europe Learning & Development Manager before leaving to go freelance in 2015. I have a direct and punchy coaching style. The majority of my work focuses on career transition, including returning to work, and enhancing management skills. I also enjoy running training such as Confidence & Assertion, Networking Skills and Selling Yourself. I am certified in Myers-Briggs Step I, an ICF Accredited Coach and, in addition, I have a Certificate in Systemic Team Coaching from the Academy of Executive Coaching.
Julie Perrin: I am an experienced executive and career coach and strategy consultant. With a degree in Engineering and Management from Oxford University, I started my career as a strategy consultant with Bain and Company, in UK, Russia and California. After gaining an MBA from INSEAD I held various UK and Global roles with PepsiCo and Shell. More recently I worked as a Partner in the strategy consulting firm, Eden McCallum, where I worked with a wide variety of blue chip clients advising in the consumer goods and retail sectors. While at Shell I worked with a coach and learned the benefits of coaching which inspired me to qualify as a coach and to set up my own coaching and leadership practice. Flexibility, change and choice have always been important values for me and from an early stage in my career I have taken short career breaks to travel or change career direction. More recently an extended break with my three children has fired my passion to support people through similar transitions and to find a flexible balance that works for them.
Elaine Russell: I am the Head of Women Returners Ireland and a career and executive coach and facilitator. I specialise in encouraging and supporting my clients to make the right choice, at the right time for the right reason. I have over 20 years’ commercial and leadership experience, training as a Chartered Accountant before moving to the consumer side at Telefonica Ireland. As CEO of Tesco Mobile, Ireland, I built the brand to be the most recommended network in Ireland. To support a better life balance and to follow my passion of inspiring myself and others to be their best selves, I decided to leave the corporate world and to retrain as an executive and leadership coach (QQI level 6). I am very excited to bring Women Returners to Ireland and am passionate about supporting women to rebuild their professional confidence, play to their strengths and successfully integrate work into their lives. I live in Dublin and have two daughters.
Donna Coppack: I am a Business Support Manager with a background in investment banking. Following my degree in Communication, I worked as an Office Manager in a fast-growing telecoms company and then as a Business Unit Analyst with Citigroup where I later specialised in compliance. My specialities are data, financial and governance analysis and I enjoy building strong, positive relationships and finding new, innovative solutions to achieve shared goals. During an 8 year career break to raise my three children, I built, ran and sold an eco-friendly business so I understand the demands of both entrepreneurial and large corporate organisations. I am honoured to work with Women Returners as I feel very strongly that women are underrepresented in leadership positions, to the detriment of business. The work of Women Returners is invaluable in promoting this under-utilised talent.