Monday, 17 April 2017

Real Women, Real Lives: An Interview with @SallyDhillon from Career Mums #MondayBlogs

We are surrounded by inspirational women on a daily basis, they are on the television, the radio, or they've written the books we buy or the articles/blog posts we read.  It's easy to put a celebrity on a pedestal and desire their lifestyle, power and determination, but we don't need to turn to the glossy magazines, or the big screen, to find inspirational women who can motivate us to succeed. They live next door, work alongside us, and talk to us at the supermarket.
I wanted to highlight these incredible individuals on my blog. Women who have succeeded on their chosen path, or turned misfortune into positivity. Ladies who have conquered illness or gone above and beyond to help others, and made a difference. Women who have stepped out of their comfort zone and launched a business, or ventures that have an impact on their environment, or community. 
They are your friend, co-worker and neighbour.  I am honoured to be able to introduce a host of remarkable women for my feature, Real Women, Real Lives.  
Women who are happy to share their motivational journey and the inspiration behind their success.
Interview with Sally Dhillon from Career Mums
What motivated you to launch your business, Career Mums?
Nishi and I first met when Nishi and her family moved into a neighbouring house, we got talking and then a couple of months later we decided to create a business partnership together – Career-Mums!  This was borne out of our shared experiences of having taken career breaks to look after our young families and feeling stuck and not sure how or where to get our careers back on track and also our complementary backgrounds: Nishi having managed large-scale recruitment projects and welfare to work initiatives and trained as a life coach and me having had a long HR career and then moved into executive coaching and leadership development training.  We did a lot of research around career breaks, maternity leave, “motherhood penalty” and career development for women and started Career-Mums to help parents to return to work after a career break and support employers to manage transitions and make the most of the “career mums” talent pool.
Tell us a little about the people you work with.
We work with 2 groups:
  • Parents (mostly mums!) who have stalled their career – usually to focus on caring responsibilities – young children, elderly family and want to get back to work, set up their own business or retrain for a new career.  Through our workshops and 1:1 coaching, we help individuals work out what they want and put together a return to work plan to make it happen.  With lots of tips and resources, the important part of what we do is build confidence and help people to re-connect with their professional self and ambitions. Everyone has a unique background and creates an individual plan that takes into consideration their continuing family responsibilities – we help people move on to the next phase of their life with confidence and motivation.
  • Employers – we offer a range of employer services to organisations based in the West Midlands.  These include returnships (recruiting and supporting experienced people returning from a career break), maternity coaching, career development planning and new parent workshops all aimed at supporting businesses to improve their gender balance.
What work and lifestyle related goals do you set yourself?
Like any new business getting Career-Mums off the ground has required a huge investment of time and energy – which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  Making our business a success is my main work-related goal.  In terms of lifestyle, my business life revolves around my family life. With 2 daughters growing up quickly, spending family time together is important to me and being an involved, supportive and active parent is key. Juggling work and family life can be challenging but it’s important to me that I also have other time for myself – I love reading and am a member of a local book group, I enjoy spending time with friends and travelling, I relish quiet, reflective time walking our family dog (especially on sunny days!) and I know that I should exercise more.  
Are you able to self-motivate, and if so, how do you keep yourself focused?
Having done hours and hours of self development work, I’m reasonably self-aware, know how I work best and what type of things drain my energy. Running your own business can be challenging but being in a partnership with Nishi means that we can support and motivate each other particularly when things get tough.  Remembering back to our sense of loss and frustration that we both felt at times during our career break and knowing that if we felt like this, many other people must do too, generally keeps us focussed and moving forward.   We’ve recently been nominated for a Woman Who ... Award for championing change for women in business and made it to the finals (winners announced on 5th May) – this is hugely encouraging to get an external recognition for what we are so passionate about.
How can we find out more about Career Mums?
To find out about our returner Workshops and coaching and also to sign up for our regular newsletter visit our website at
We would also welcome you to like our Facebook page CareermumsUK and join our new Facebook group, Career-Mums Club, for regular contact with myself and Nishi along with daily tips and advice on getting your career re-launched and juggling family and work priorities.

You can also find me on Linked-In: Sally Dhillon and Twitter via @SallyDhillon or @Career_mums
Real Women, Real Lives Bio for Sally Dhillon
Sally combines her corporate HR background and coaching expertise with her experiences of taking a career break to support other parents to have fulfilling careers and family life through Career-Mums Partnership. She is passionate about improving opportunities for more women to progress in their careers, promote flexible working, lifelong learning and make career breaks more socially acceptable.  She’s an inspiring speaker and Huffington Post blogger. Sally is also actively involved in her daughters’ school PTA, Coventry & Warwickshire CIPD and volunteers as a Trainer and consultant for a parenting charity.

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