Free Maternity Comeback Workshops

6 November 2015 | 4 Comments

communityOur open programme comeback workshops are continuing in 2016. We know that many women don’t have access to the kind of support we provide our clients’ maternity returners and with this in mind, part of our ‘giving back’ in 2016 is hosting a series of two-hour ‘maternity comeback’ workshops that are absolutely free to the individuals taking part. The first ones took place in March 2014 with women from organisations such as IBM, the University of East London and Standard Life taking part – perhaps you read about them in the Guardian? Jessica Chivers, The Talent Keeper Specialists managing director and author of Mothers Work! (Hay House, 2011) takes up the story.

Click here for the quick link to register your interest.

Maternity returner ‘comeback’ workshops – The Motivation

jessica-chivers-photo“Listening to Pinky Lilani OBE in conversation with Jane Garvey for the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List I realised I’ve been reigning in my desire to bring together mothers who are returning to work and don’t have access to sponsored maternity comeback coaching, for some time. I’m committing the time to hosting these relaxed yet focussed ‘maternity comeback’ workshops at my home (St Albans, Hertfordshire) because it’s important – a participant travelling 500 miles for it says it all. Each comes with (home-made) cake and without cost to participants.”


The 2016 programme includes number of ‘Career Comeback’ workshops – specifically for individuals who have taken a longer break than maternity/APL and wish to reconnect with their careers. As with the first workshops in 2014 there’ll be no fixed agenda, no powerpoint slides, no lecturing, no crying babies (this is grown-up headspace time for you, so you might want to find a friend you can do a babysit swapsy with) and no cost to participate.

The next dates are:

  • Monday 20th June, 12.30-2.30pm (Maternity Comeback Workshop)
  • Monday 11th July, 12.30-2.30pm (Career Comeback Workshop)
  • Monday 12th September, 12.30-2.30pm (Maternity Comeback Workshop)
  • Friday 18th November, 12.30-2.30pm (Maternity Comeback Workshop)

If you interested in finding out more, or attending a workshop, please complete the online register of interest and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Participant views


“I enjoyed the workshop and felt energised afterwards. There were a number of things raised that I feel will be of benefit to me on returning to work/negotiating return. I really appreciated the opportunity to be part of this workshop. Talking through potential issues ahead and listening to others views helped to see positive ways forward and also appreciate the good things that have already occurred! Thank you.” Lexy, Maternity Comeback Workshop Participant

“Jessica made me think again about some decisions I had previously made, which now means I’m making the right choices for me and my family. Loved the way we were sat round the kitchen table and built our agenda from introductions. I’m so glad Jessica does this ‘give-back’ as it really built on what I had learnt from the book. Looking forward to applying wider than just my return to work.” Lucy, Travis Perkins

“I was looking forward to returning to work but was concerned about how people would feel about me now I’m a mum and have other priorities as well as work. Having come to the workshop I now feel able to go back confident and with a new perspective. The most useful parts for me were the discussions on how to deal with guilt and setting boundaries for work and home life.” Lucy W, Environmental Director

“I really enjoyed the workshop, and left feeling really energised about taking the reins for my return to work later this year, especially as I am taking on a new role on my return.  I came away feeling much more confident that I had tools at my disposal to make a smooth transition, and techniques to use on an ongoing basis.” Alison Benson, Compliance and Governance Manager

“Being a free workshop I didn’t know quite what to expect, however I needn’t have worried because it gave me the much needed clarity and reassurance I was seeking to return back to work confident and knowing exactly what I want! No question is silly or stupid. Jessica’s friendly manner and expert experience puts you at instant ease. Would highly recommend for all mothers who are feeling a little ‘out of the game’ and perhaps uncertain or confused about returning to the workplace after maternity leave. R.E, Maternity Comeback Workshop Participant

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend the Maternity Comeback Workshop. It was great to have a safe and inspiring environment to explore mixed feelings about returning to work. Much that I am excited to return to work, like many women I have fears and confidence issues that I wanted to discuss with like minded career women and find some practical solutions. Jessica and my fellow course participants helped inspire me with practical solutions to both personal and professional problems. I feel more confident now and armed with tools to go back and be as good, if not better at my old role.” Louise Summers, Maternity Comeback Workshop Participant

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for yesterday, it was really refreshing and inspiring to see so many driving mothers looking for their path in life. It was good to know I’m not alone out there!” Dahlia, Career Comeback Workshop Participant

“I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for yesterday’s session. It really was fantastic to meet you and share experiences and challenges with others, and so incredibly kind of you to give up your time. I came away feeling reassured, inspired and excited for the future, whatever that turns out to be!” Gaynor, Career Comeback Workshop Participant

“It gave me space and time to consider what I need to do to have a smooth return to work – that was really valuable. We covered emotional things as well as some of the mechanics of how to balance work and home. The small group meant we all had airtime to share our ideas and concerns and benefit from one another’s views. I’d definitely recommend doing this at least a couple of months before returning to work.” Nimila Patwardhan, IBM.

“Jessica has a generosity of spirit that extends to meet the individual needs of women, and is able to offer simple and appropriate strategies that you can readily put into practice. I am grateful for her suggestions and wholeheartedly recommend her briefing sessions for other mothers navigating the return to work.” Katie Wright, University of East London

“Thank you for a wonderful afternoon. I found your suggestions extremely helpful and left with a spring in my step and generally feeling less daunted about returning to work.” Grace Sentamu-Baverstock, Vicar of St Luke’s Leagrave

“I found the workshop a good use of a day, despite my travel from Edinburgh! Jessica is a great coach and is able to tease the answers out of you rather than give you them, making it a much more valuable experience. I had to do some soul searching and actually have still not come up with some answers to the difficult questions she suggested that we address during the session. Fortunately I have a few months left until my return to work so have time to sit and think. I have since had a very positive discussion with my line manager and look forward to returning to work in July on my terms and with a more positive mindset towards things like the management of guilt and the focus on ‘we time’.” Participant from Standard Life

What we’ll cover during the workshop

FYIWe’ll work through your pressing issues about returning to work with the aim of leaving you feeling better equipped and more upbeat about any challenges that might lie ahead. I’ll get some sense of what you’d like to cover, ahead of the session via the registration of interest form, so we can dive straight in on the day. There are just six spaces at each event and I’ll write to you individually to confirm you have a place.

Do bring your own lunch and I’ll provide the tea and cakes to go with it. It will be a relaxed and informal, yet focussed and productive two hour session in a comfortable, modern environment (my home). Address to follow by separate e-mail to individual participants.

Depending on what you bring to the metaphorical and actual kitchen table, we’re likely to cover some of the following themes:

  • Re-establishing relationships with significant colleagues
  • Getting off on the right foot with a tricky line manager
  • Childcare – practicalities and emotion around it
  • Re-negotiating your role – what you do and how you do it
  • Flexible working – negotiating for, and, how to make it work
  • Career development next steps
  • Finding time for life beyond work and children
  • Coping as a single parent or managing a ‘reluctant’ partner
  • How to handle a big job when you were stretched before becoming a parent
  • Managing conflicted feelings about being a working parent

Is this for you?

career_returnerThe session is open to anyone who is currently on maternity leave. Most of my current work is with mid-level to senior professional women, across a range of industries, and I have those women in mind when thinking about the style and substance of the afternoon. Given this is a small gathering, if your natural preference is to sit at the back of meetings and keep quiet, this might not be for you.

Please do forward this invitation to the friends and colleagues you think it will appeal. If you have taken a longer career break after having children and are now keen to return to work, do register your interest for the ‘Career Comeback’ workshops aimed specifically at you. The next one will be in 2016 – dates to appear here in November.

Register your interest

If you like the sound of the maternity comeback workshop and would like to attend the next date or register your interest for one later in the year, please complete the short register of interest form.

How employers can help

We are seeking sponsors around the UK for industry-specific maternity comeback workshops. Click here for more detail or get in touch.

4 Responses to "Free Maternity Comeback Workshops"

  1. Pingback: My mothers & guilt piece for the Guardian | Jessica Chivers

  2. karen potton says:

    hello, I am not a mum on maternity leave, though I was 3 years ago. I had trouble re-integrating back into the workplace and leaving my twins at home, especially as my little boy has down syndrome and I wanted to make sure he was well looked after before I could go back to work. I work for Hertfordshire police and run our internal maternity drop-in sessions where staff on maternity leave can come and talk to HR, us and Unison about coming back into the workplace. I would be keen to go on one of these workshops to see what issues mums face nowadays and use that as an opportunity to look at whether we should be doing anything else at our drop-in sessions. If you feel this is not appropriate, I would welcome the chance to meet with you separately instead. Karen

  3. Alfreda Hunter says:

    I am interested in attending the career comeback workshop

  4. Ameera says:

    I am interested in the return in the comeback maternity workshop in November please.

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