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Rebound from downsizing


In today’s stalled economy, more and more women in business may be finding themselves downsized — but there’s no need to feel down and out.

A new employment workshop called Make it Work is aiming to help female executives affected by corporate restructuring boost their confidence and reignite their careers.

“Losing a job is always hard, especially in difficult times. This program really helps qualified women come up with an action plan and take the next steps to re-launch their careers,” says Geeta Sheker, director of the Initiative for Women in Business, a program in the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management that’s spearheading the workshop.

Taking place Jan. 15 and open to 50 participants, the one-day workshop (see www.rotmanex will cover essential employment market knowledge, financial survival tips and relevant job search strategies.

Kicking off the event will be a discussion on Canada’s current economic situation, how it affects the job market, and which industries are expected to flourish. Leading the talk will be a professor of business economics in the Rotman EMBA program who’s also a labour economics researcher.

“They’ll learn what the growth sectors are and the opportunities in areas such as health, education and finance,” Sheker says.

The following Money 101 session will deal with making the most of your finances while between jobs. A certified financial planner will address specific issues relating to pensions, benefits and retirement planning, as well as creative solutions to getting by without a nest egg.

In the Career Adaptation portion, participants will learn how the country’s employment outlook applies to their individual career paths. Through group work, participants will brainstorm and strategize to determine how to adapt their skills to meet the needs of growing sectors. Applying job skills to various positions, connecting with recruiters and crafting an effective “elevator pitch” will all be addressed.

Concluding the workshop will be an exploration of how to best create, maintain and leverage professional networks to access new career opportunities.

“Women are often hesitant to tap their networks — they feel they’re asking for favours. This session will discuss the importance of strategic networking on an ongoing basis,” Sheker says.

Make it Work is geared to mid-level to senior professional women with about seven years of work experience. Taking place at Rotman’s executive programs

facilities at 105 St. George St., the workshop costs $35 and will include breakfast, lunch and program materials.

Rotman’s Initiative for Women in Business empowers women to advance in their careers by providing continuing education programs that help them refine their management skills to become effective leaders.

“This is about helping female executives regain their confidence, think more creatively, create new opportunities and keep their career momentum going,” Sheker says. “We think this is a great opportunity, and we are committed to helping women advance in business.”