Karolina, EMEA Institutional Client Service, UBS Asset Management (10 year break)
My career break spanned over 10 years. I left financial services following the global financial crisis in 2008 and shortly afterwards I relocated to Hong Kong, where my husband was offered a three-year secondment. I feel very fortunate to have been able to spend time with my family when they needed me the most, but as my children grew older and became more independent, I started craving intellectual stimulation and financial independence. I was determined to go back to work and invested significant time figuring out how to translate my previous job experience, alongside that accumulated during my extensive career break, into my current employment opportunities.
In June 2019, I attended an event which was supported by Women Returners. There was a panel of women who spoke about their journey back into the workplace, and the obstacles they had to overcome to get there. I remember I was really surprised to see so many women of different ages, background and seniority level, who shared one goal – to resume one’s career. I found my new goal.
I dedicated most of my free time searching for alternative roles within larger organisations. After 10+ years of career break, and at the age of 40, statistically speaking, my chances of finding employment in the Financial Markets were orbiting close to zero. On the Women Returners newsletter I read about the Career Comeback opportunities and I decided to give it a try. I thought to myself – most of them will say No, but surely someone will say Yes.
Following a very strict recruitment process, I secured a position at UBS Asset Management in the role of Institutional Client Service Manager based in London. It has been now 2 years since I joined UBS and I look fondly on the sacrifices I made, and the energy and perseverance I had to find in me to make that happen. Within 12 months after joining UBS, I was awarded a place on the prestigious UBS institutional Client Coverage Future Talent programme, sponsored by the Global Head Of Client Coverage and member of the Executive Team. And most recently, I have reached the Final for the 2021 Women in Investment Awards in the category of the Most Inspiring Returner.
I am grateful for the work that has been put into developing career returner programs and the support from various organisations to ensure that people brought in through such programmes have the greatest chances of being successful. We can’t be what we can’t see and I hope that my story will encourage other women and men to resume their careers too.