Little video of what to expect at Mum Talks


Join us for one of our upcoming events!

Friday April 27th – Mum Talks in association with Water Babies in Junction 6, Castleknock – More info here

Tuesday 1st May – Mum Talks Dublin – More info here

Tuesday 15th May (multiple dates) -Return to Work with Confidence – Mum Talks Workshop in association with New Ireland Assurance – More info here 

Guest Blog – Is a ‘Returnship’ for you?

I have been at home too long, my family couldn’t manage without me, everybody will be so young, I won’t understand all the new systems, I hear that there are no desk phones and everybody wears headsets now. Aargh!  Does this sound familiar?

Over the past two years, I have met many women who have taken a break and are thinking about returning to the workforce and these are some of the things they worry about.

Let’s dispel some of these myths by telling you Anna’s story.  Anna trained as an accountant and worked in Financial Services for 10 years.  After her third child she took time out to raise her family (12 years).  When I first met Anna she was worried that her skills and experience were out of date.  and how her family would manage without her being at home to organise and support them.

Using the resources at, Anna worked on the three areas below to get ready to go back to work:

Preparing her family.  She talked to her children about going back to work, why she wanted to get back and what it would mean for each of them.  She was surprised how encouraging her children were, they could see that she had the skills to return to work and quickly signed up to the extra jobs that would need to be done at home.  Our children are more resilient than we think, they can take on more than we expect and when they understand how much ‘getting back to work’ means for our identity or financial security, they are, in my experience, very supportive.

Next, she worked on her ‘career story’.  She followed our advice to outline her pre-break work experience and qualifications, highlighting key achievements in each role.  She gave a brief explanation of her break mentioning relevant study, projects or volunteering.  She finished her career story with a short description of the type of work she was now targeting.

Finally, she started telling her story to her network.  But ‘I don’t have a network’ is the usual concern I hear from returners.  Many mid to senior roles in Ireland are filled through the hiring manager’s network so contacts are important.  My advice is get talking about what you want to do next.  Tell friends, family and acquaintances what you are looking for as you never know who might have just the right contact for you. Update your LinkedIn profile and use it to reconnect with former colleagues. Join industry groups and attend professional seminars and conferences, volunteering to help if you can’t afford the cost.

After 3 months preparing, Anna applied for a returnship programme with a leading financial services firm.  ‘Returnships’ are higher-level paid internships tailored to create a supported route back to mid-to-senior level roles for returning professionals.  Returners take on professionally-paid work using their existing skills and experience, and receive support from the employer in terms of training, mentoring and often coaching to enable them to rapidly rebuild their professional confidence and skills. At the end of the contract there is a strong possibility of a permanent role.

Anna was successful in the competitive application process and is currently in the middle of the programme.  She is loving being back at work – she’s enjoying the role, surprised at how much she has to offer the business, enjoying a strong sense of achievement and happy to be regaining her professional identity. She values the coaching programme she’s receiving from Women Returners, the internal mentoring and the supportive peer group of fellow returners. Her family are managing really well and she is happy to be a role model for her daughters.  She hopes she will get a permanent role with the organisation at the end of the programme but knows that whatever the outcome, doing the returnship has increased her confidence and experience immeasurably.

In Ireland, we are starting to change the conversation around returners. Employers are recognising that this high-calibre and motivated group can help to increase gender and age diversity and fill talent gaps. Central to this change of employer mind-set has been the introduction of returnships and other returner programmes. Returnships range from 3 to 6 months, with a strong possibility of an on-going role at the end of the programme. Employers get access to an untapped high-calibre candidate pool, with the opportunity of a built-in trial period to reduce the perceived risk. We have also introduced the concept of ‘supported hiring’ programmes – bringing returners directly into permanent roles with coaching support.

What’s next for Ireland?

We’re taking the learnings from our extensive experience in the UK market to lead the introduction of returner programmes into Ireland in a way that works for business and returners. So far, we have partnered with Fidelity International and HubSpot to run returnship programmes in Dublin. We have most recently worked with Fidelity Investments to co-host a return-to-work event and develop a supported hiring programme with them.

How to find out more

If you are a returner, you can find out about current opportunities in Ireland here. Subscribe to our free network here, to be the first to hear about new return-to-work events, returnships and supported hiring opportunities as they come on stream in Ireland. Find our resource hub and other inspiring success stories at


Elaine Russell is Head of Women Returners in Ireland. Women Returners ( is a consulting, coaching and network organisation which works with individuals and organisations to enable the return to work of experienced professionals after a long career break. They are leading the introduction of returner programmes into Ireland and run a free network community for returning professional women.





Help! Why is that word sometimes so hard to say?

Guest blog post by Sarina Bellissimo. This post originally appeared on The Bellissimo Files and Sarina has kindly allowed us to share it here.

The above picture is what people saw on their TVs this morning if they were watching “Ireland AM”.

It looks like things are all under control, just as we are about to go to air.

What no-one sees (or hears) is what’s going on behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes, in the lead up to this segment (which I love doing), was mental. None of that had to do with the professional sides of things, it was that way because of my personal life.

This morning, as well as trying to juggle getting myself ready and organised to talk about one of my favourite Golden Globes ceremony in a long time, I also had to wake the kids early, get them fed, dressed, and make a school lunch.

I am not good at asking for help. But on Friday, I decided that help is what I would need if I am going to be able to get any work done this week and also be there for my kids. You see, my husband is away for work at the moment so it is just me looking after them.

During working hours, it is fine, because I have the most incredible crèche that helps us mind our children and the kids love being there. The problem is what to do when the crèche isn’t available. That’s where asking for help has to come into the plan.

I am getting better at asking friends/family for help – and they are incredible at coming through with the support (taking my two when I work on a Saturday) but when it comes to colleagues I am not so good.

I realised that part of the reason I wasn’t so good was that for such a long time, I would never acknowledge, in the work place, that I had kids. I would almost apologise to those around me for having kids.

What was that all about? My work place never asked me to do that, yet I acted like they were my dirty little secret. I was afraid that if I spoke about my kids, people would deem me as not being committed to my job. I would be passed over for jobs. The day I realised that, I was so upset at my carry on.

My being a mum isn’t something to be ashamed about. It doesn’t lessen my worth or make me more worthy. My kids are little people I am so proud of.

Since that stark realisation, I have vowed to never again apologise for being a mum. I have vowed to ask for help (that one is a work in progress). I have vowed to make the work place a better place for all females. I have vowed to help us smash through those glass ceilings. We can have it all – whatever our individual “all” is.

So back to today. Instead of hiding the fact that I have a responsibility to my kids, I told the amazing Katriona (“Ireland AM” producer) of my predicament. I thought her response would be, “well you stay with the kids and I’ll find someone else”. But no. Katrina’s response was “Bring them in and I’ll mind them while you’re on air”.

Immediately I felt my load lighten and also felt that my contribution in the work place was worthy. I am worthy. My kids are worthy.

True to her word, this morning, Katriona came down from her very busy office and minded my kids while I was on air.

Before I went on air, the beauty magician that is Michelle, did my hair and make up while my one year old was on my lap and my six year old was admiring herself in the other make up chair and she never made me feel like a burden.

While on air I was able to do my job, and enjoy it, because I knew I had colleagues that have my back.

Many people will say this is an unfair situation to put my colleagues and my kids in but this is not not the norm. It’s an extraordinary situation.

While I don’t expect work to fix my personal life, I think in this day and age it is time for the work place to be more flexible. Flexible to all of its workers’ needs – not just parents’. We all have personal needs/wants that sometimes overlap into our professional life, and flexibility in the workplace would give us all a dig out and make for a happier place and workforce.

It’s also time for us to ask for help and to have each other’s backs because as we have seen, it is in fact our small actions that can lead to massive change.


Sarina will be speaking at Mum Talks Dublin in March, watch this space for further details!



What is Mum Talks all about?

Mum Talks are monthly Meet–Ups for women looking to feel inspired, learn something new and make new friends. Babies are welcome too!

After a jam-packed 2017 with amazing speakers and with over 500 like-minded super mama attendees, Mum Talks is very excited for 2018!

Mum Talks believe strongly that being a mum should not stop you reaching your career goals or enjoying your life passions, both of which are vital for self-care but can sometimes feel forgotten about or may need to be re-evaluated when you have children.

Mum Talks host meet-ups in a friendly and comfortable environment and invite 3 inspiring speakers to share their story and the tools they use to help navigate this exciting (and sometimes daunting!) time. Babies are more than welcome to join while you learn, feel empowered and embrace this stage.

Mum Talks aim is to give you confidence and empower you as you get ready to return to work after maternity leave; or are thinking of starting your own business; or are adapting to life as a stay at home mum.

If you have any questions or feedback about our events please do email us!