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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 confidence

TORONTO, Nov. 17 /CNW/ - After taking time out of the workforce to pursue other activities, the 16 women graduates of the ReConnectTM 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 from CIBC, was conducted at the Richard Ivey School of Business with Ivey faculty.

The participants came from Ontario, B.C. and Michigan. They have a range of backgrounds, including law, marketing, asset management, automotive and building materials. With an average of 18 years of work experience, these women have been out of the workforce for an average of five and a half years. All the women are university graduates with many having completed graduate degrees.

From October 26 to 30, 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 days at the Ivey campus in Toronto on November 16 and 17 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 4 to 8 and November 1 to 2, 2010. More information and registration forms can be found at

Participants are excited about what they've learned from the program.

"There was a transformation that took place in this group of professional women. We became inspired, energized and empowered by what we learned. We are now ready to step back in, use our talents and make a meaningful contribution in the corporate world. The team that created and led this program made all the difference - they're top of their field - dynamic, passionate and caring. ReConnect was top notch in every respect," said Margot Kane, former account executive.

"The schedule was intensive and exciting, bringing each of us up to speed in areas such as the economy, technology, accounting and strategy...I left the program energized, equipped and ready to relaunch my career along with several new friends to encourage me along the way," said Maureen Kelly, Premier Wealth Planner, HSBC Securities; ReConnect graduate 2008.

"This program reinforces Ivey's commitment to women in business," said Carol Stephenson, 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 their careers want to return to work and are eager for help to renew their training and skills. They have valuable experience and intellectual capital, and companies will gain from encouraging their smooth transition back into successful careers."

About the Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario

The 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, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2008, CIBC group of companies contributed more than $36 million worldwide to charitable and non-profit initiatives. Of this, more than $27 million was invested in Canada to support national, regional and local organizations. To learn more, visit

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/

For further information: CIBC, Doug Maybee, (416) 980-7458,; Ivey, Mary Weil, (416) 203-0664,