Return to Work: “Relaunching” Careers for Professional Women

Navigating Career Reentry

Taking a career pause to raise children is a fortunate opportunity that some professional women choose, but returning to work comes with universal challenges. They doubt their skills; they have outdated resumes; LinkedIn is often unfamiliar territory, and their confidence is at a tremendous low. 


Betsy Gardner’s Journey: From Career Break to Chamber CEO

Betsy Gardner, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, was that woman in London more than a decade ago when she returned to the workforce after a successful career in pharmaceutical sales and a pause to raise two children. Supportive friends feted her corporate return with heartfelt encouragement, lunch and a cake. Still, she had no guidebook for navigating the path back to the working world that changes at lightspeed as new technology, leadership and procedures continuously reshape it. 


Relaunch: Empowering Women for Career Comebacks

Fast forward to 2017, when Gardner returned to the U.S., became the new President and CEO of the Chamber and unveiled Relaunch. She developed the five-session course Relaunch: Career Reentry for Professional Women to cover everything from the psychology of career reentry to mock interview practice and leveraging your brand on LinkedIn.


Accolades and Impact: Relaunch’s Growing Recognition

Not only has Relaunch received major accolades from participants, but in 2018, it won the Grand Prize at the International Chamber Innovation Awards Competition. In 2023, Relaunch was identified as one of the innovative programs that helped the Chamber win national recognition as a Top 3 Chamber in the country. It’s making a real difference for the graduates and businesses that turn to the Chamber for talent development. 


Tailoring to Local Workforce Needs

“Winter Park’s workforce needs are different than those of other places. We know the women returning to this talent pool have the intelligence, expertise and sophistication our job market requires. We’re delighted to furnish a unique and curated talent pool to our business community in a way that creates relevancy for the Chamber and is capacity building for our businesses,” says Betsy Gardner.


Transformative Experiences: Stories of Success

The average Relauncher has taken a work pause of 11 years and is between ages 40 and 60. The program, delivered virtually, boasts participants from six states and over 125 graduates. The women connect online and meet in person to work together on resumes, LinkedIn profiles and friendships. 

The Chamber’s Director of Programs, Ashley Billings, describes the Relaunchers’ journey as pivotal. “The transformation I see in our Relaunchers in just five weeks is the most fulfilling thing to me. They come to us as empty nesters, widows, and women seeking fulfillment in the next chapter of their lives, but they’re not sure how to find that purpose. We help them realize their true potential,” Billings says.


Join the Next Chapter: Enrollment Information

The next Relaunch class begins on March 26. To apply, visit


Graduates of the Relaunch program with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce


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Written by Stephanie Biddle

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