With three children under five and a partner with a busy role with lots of travel, it eventually became logistically difficult for both of us to work. So, in 2010, I decided to take a break in my career to focus on our children.

It was an opportunity to hit the pause button and rethink my options. At the time I left HR, I had reached the level I wanted to and the break gave me time to think about what I enjoyed and what I didn’t. As a result, I now feel much clearer about the types of organisations I want to work for  and the type of roles I feel I can add most value in.

My eldest had just started primary school, so I became more involved in school events and in our community.  Volunteering in the classroom, running the Scholastic Book Fair, working with a local charity to mentor youths at high school and just being present for my kids kept me busy. 

On top of that we had a few international assignments, which moved us between the UK and NZ during that time. So whilst I had not planned to take such a long career gap, there was a lot going on!

Then came COVID

COVID has been instrumental in changing our perception of having to be in the office full-time. I think working parents are now far more able to juggle career and home life effectively.

When I left corporate HR it felt like in order to progress you had to work full-time with long hours in the office. Prior to kids, I did just that: I’d worked hard and progressed fast and even did my Masters while working full time. However, my priorities shifted once I had children. Then, the pandemic introduced a much more flexible working paradigm and it finally felt achievable to have a more flexible job.

Coupled with the fact my girls were growing older and more independent, I started to feel I could refocus on my career again and balance it with being a parent. I also felt driven to return to the workforce to be a good role model for them – I wanted to show them the importance of working hard and aiming high.

Hello CGI

I’d made my decision to get back into the working world, but I now had the challenge of convincing recruiters to put me forward for roles in the first place. At first I was told “Great experience but too long out of the workforce”. However, two weeks later I had two great job offers!

When the CGI role came up, I of course Googled the company. I saw that the industry complemented my previous experience and I knew I could do the role as it was one I’d done many times before. But what really sold me was the people. It was the first interview where my career break was not really discussed or seen as an issue. I felt I was treated with respect and didn't need to justify having a career break.

Although it’s time for me to move on now, from that very first interview I was able to get a good indication of CGI’s culture and that has stayed with me all the way. It really is a great company to work for – it’s diverse, inclusive and has a real core of respect for its members. Most of all, they could see beyond my career gap and focus on my skills. Returning to work was made easy with CGI, and I’ll definitely be keeping in touch with my colleagues!

Looking for a new opportunity? Head to our careers page for open roles at CGI.