It’s one year since K2 University began partnering with Salesforce on their new initiative in Switzerland, the Bring Women Back to Work program. Its aim is to support and train women who are looking to get back to work after a career break.
Salesforce began the Bring Women Back to Work initiative to tackle the under-representation of women in Swiss business. Participants undergo a 12-month training program, enabling them to upskill and prepare to re-enter the workplace. K2 University provides flexible teaching, which allows women who are juggling other commitments to complete the course. They will then have access to jobs with leading Salesforce Partner companies.
Since the initiative was launched on International Women’s Day in March 2020, K2 has helped several graduates from the program start a career with some of the world’s leading consulting firms.
Alexandra Klein, K2’s Sales Director of Switzerland, is responsible for the recruitment coaching of all the women on the program. She’s their first point of contact and the Partner Relationship Manager. She commented:
“It’s so satisfying to witness the Bring Women Back to Work participants becoming re-motivated, satisfied with themselves, happy to re-skill, giving 100% to a new career and challenging the status quo. They prove that it can be done even whilst being a mother and/or a wife, taking care of their households, doing the school run and more.”
One of these women is Claire Davies, who successfully completed the program in January 2021 and has since been employed by Accenture as a Salesforce Consultant.
We spoke to her about her experience with the Bring Women Back to Work program and her new career:
1. Tell us about your background
Although I was born in London, I’ve moved around the world a lot. I lived in Athens and France when I was very young, but returned to the UK when I was nine. From then I was schooled in Winchester before moving to Beijing. This is what prompted me to undertake a degree in Chinese at the University of Leeds, studying everything from the language to the country’s history and culture.
After university, I moved back to London where I started working in the customer service industry in local government. While in this employment I was approached by Exact Target (subsequently acquired by Salesforce). I accepted a role in IT and moved to Indianapolis to begin the training.
2. Why did you choose the Bring Women Back to Work program?
My husband moved to Basel in Switzerland, where we live now. After our first child, I got a new job at Isobar and began balancing my career with being a new mum. By the time our second baby arrived, I decided to take some time out to care for our children full time.
After three years I decided to get back into full-time work. I was updating my CV in March 2020 when I spotted the Bring Women Back to Work program, which was just perfect for me! It was the ideal opportunity to get back into the workplace, learn new skills and get up to speed with the latest tech trends.
I was also attracted to Bring Women Back to Work because of Salesforce’s fantastic reputation as the world’s leading CRM system. Its rapid development over the years demonstrated that becoming involved with a Salesforce training program would be beneficial to my career.
3. Describe your experience with K2 University during your time with the Bring Women Back to Work program
I loved the K2 University training! The format was really excellent. Alex Klein, K2’s Director of Sales for Switzerland, has been present throughout the Bring Women Back to Work process and has offered brilliant support to each participant.
Luca Manera, who was our trainer for the Salesforce Admin course, was brilliant. He hosted remote learning sessions and set us homework to complete in our spare time. He was very patient, funny and didn’t mind if they had to keep explaining things – no one was left behind.
Juggling the course’s ‘homework’ with remote learning and family life was a good way of getting the participants back into the mindset of a work/life balance. It provided the motivation and drive needed to get back into the world of work.
4. What skills did you gain and how do you think these will impact your future career?
Going back to work after a few years is pretty daunting. Technology moves on fast and the skills and knowledge you once had may no longer apply.
The K2 University training was the perfect opportunity to refresh my knowledge and regain confidence. I undertook the Salesforce Administrator course (ADX201?), which was completely new to me. It was a great chance to gain a fresh set of skills to broaden my career prospects and prepare me for my new role at Accenture.
5. Tell us about your new placement
Thanks to the BWBW program I’m now a Salesforce Consultant at Accenture and I love it.
The K2 University training for the Salesforce Admin course was vital preparation for this role because part of the onboarding process is to work on a huge practice project. It’s presented as if you are undertaking a real project for a client. The skills and knowledge I gained from the training really helped me succeed with this task.
I’ve now been with Accenture for a month and, despite the challenges of onboarding at a new company in a global pandemic, I’m really enjoying being part of a team again.
6. What are your hopes for the future?
For now, I just want to build on the experience of my first month at Accenture. It’s a huge company and I’m finding my way again in the world of work. My goal is to make a significant contribution to the team and continue making fantastic connections for my professional future.
Are you a professional woman in Switzerland on a career break and looking to get back into business? Find out more about the Bring Women Back to Work program.