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First class of ReConnect™ graduates renewed and ready to return to work


With $1-million sponsorship by CIBC, ReConnect™ program helps women
    step back into their careers with confidenceTORONTO, Nov. 25 /CNW/ - After taking time out of the workforce to pursue
other activities, the 18 women graduates of the inaugural ReConnect™
program are set to restart their careers and successfully re-enter the
workforce. The women have graduated from Canada's first career renewal program
for professional women returning to work. The seven-day immersion program,
made possible by a five-year, $1-million commitment by CIBC, was conducted at
the Richard Ivey School of Business by Ivey faculty.
    The participants came from as far as Italy, Nova Scotia and British
Columbia, with the majority from central Canada. They have a range of
backgrounds, including retail, financial services, the auto sector,
technology, public administration and law, as well as some entrepreneurs. With
an average of 17.5 years of work experience, these women have been out of the
workforce for an average of five years. More than half of the participants
have Masters degrees, including MBAs, MAs and MSCs, while the others hold
either university degrees, college diplomas or executive development
    From October 27 to 31, they spent five intensive days at the Ivey campus
in London, ON, renewing critical business knowledge, leadership and technical
skills, as well as building their peer network and personal brand.
    The two-day extension at the Ivey campus in Toronto on November 24 and 25
focused on developing an action plan to return to work, and a graduation
ceremony at CIBC in Toronto.
    The program will take place again next October. More information and
registration forms can be found at
    "The ReConnect program is exactly what I needed. It provided me with a
sense of what the critical business drivers are in today's world economy,"
said Joanne Gariepy. "The faculty at Ivey was outstanding, the other
participants were interesting and thought-provoking and the partnership with
CIBC gave the program a real-world perspective. I now have more confidence and
feel better prepared to pursue my career goals and objectives."
    "This program reinforces Ivey's commitment to women in business," said
Larry Wynant, Acting Dean, Richard Ivey School of Business. "Helping to
re-integrate these talented women supports Canada's long-term economic growth
by reaching out to a successful yet overlooked group. Talent such as theirs
will become increasingly critical as Canadian companies struggle with a
growing talent gap."
    As the program's Founding Sponsor, CIBC is providing $1 million over five
years to fund program development, underwrite program costs for participants
and provide financial assistance to ensure access to the program for women
with financial need.
    "CIBC's financial commitment ensures that the ReConnect program will
continue to help more and more highly-qualified women return to work after
they have taken time away from their careers," said Jacqueline Moss, CIBC's
Executive Vice-President of Human Resources. "More than 90% of women who
voluntarily off ramp want to return to work and are eager for help to renew
their training and skills. As this first class of graduates shows, ReConnect
    "CIBC has a long history of supporting women and education," added Moss.
"For example, this year, we also donated $1 million donation to the Canadian
Women's Foundation to fund training and support that helps low-income women
become economically self sufficient and break the cycle of violence against
women."About the Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western
    OntarioThe Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario
( offers undergraduate (HBA) and graduate (MBA, Executive MBA and
PhD) degree programs in addition to non-degree Executive Development programs.
Ivey has campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto, and Hong Kong. Ivey recently
redesigned its curriculum to focus on Cross-Enterprise Leadership - a holistic
issues-based approach to management education that meets the demands of
today's complex global business world.

    About CIBC

    CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, our
employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities
through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of
employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee
commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run
for the Cure, United Way and the CIBC World Markets Children's Foundation, we
are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the
country. In 2007, CIBC group of companies contributed more than $36 million
worldwide to charitable organizations and community initiatives. Of this, $27
million was invested in Canada to support national regional and local
organizations. To learn more, visit TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
For further information:
For further information: CIBC, Doug Maybee, (416) 980-7458,; Ivey, Mary Weil, (416) 203-0664,