The iRelaunch Employer (Virtual) Speaker Series: "Building the Best Employer Return to Work Programs"

Session Eleven - "International Expansion of a Return to Work Program"

November 17, 3:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern

with Rachel Akers
New Collar Program Manager, and manager, IBM Tech Re-Entry

Rachel Akers leads IBM Tech Re-Entry, the return to work program started in 2016 when IBM was an inaugural member of the STEM Reentry Task Force, co-led by iRelaunch and the Society of Women Engineers. Now in its fifth year, the program has expanded to Canada, India, Brazil, and China. Our conversation with Rachel will discuss how countries were identified for international expansion, what was involved in the expansion in terms of training and manager selection, sourcing and programming, and how the program differs overseas from how it works domestically. We will also discuss the Reentry Badge Rachel created, what is required to complete it and whether the Badge opportunity is US only or worldwide.


Rachel Akers

New Collar Program Manager, and manager, IBM Tech Re-Entry


Rachel has been with IBM for 24 years and is a passionate Talent and Human Resources leader, with a proven track record developing and implementing global strategies and executing to drive business growth. Known for her client focus, collaborative work style, creativity and ability to get things done and exceed goals in a complex, global business environment. She has successfully led the expansion of the IBM Tech Re-Entry program by hiring 96 returners in 5 different countries in the last 2 years. During the session Rachel will discuss how she expanded the program to a global, agile, matrix-managed organization where the only constant is change.

Rachel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Colorado State University- Pueblo and is a certified Project Manager.

About the iRelaunch Employer (Virtual) Speaker Series:

Our “Building the Best Employer Return to Work Programs” (Virtual) Speaker Series is for you, our employers looking beyond the health crisis and beyond the economic downturn, to build the talent pipelines that will fuel future hiring.

Our series brings you leaders from across industry sectors - expert practitioners who built and run the top return to work programs.

Join our iRelaunch Employer Community to learn from our guest speakers and meet peer program managers and executive champions leading return to work programs of all kinds. Submit your interest in attending by filling out the form in the link below. Approved inquiries will receive the link to participate.

"I love these sessions! Very good information and I appreciate the openness of [the guest speaker's] challenges and how they overcame them....the constant reminder that these are not your average new candidates, they are unique and need to be treated as such. Love it. "

Virtual Speaker Session Attendee

Who Should Attend?

Employer representatives who:

- run return-to-work programs and want to learn about other employer programs

- have piloted return to work programs and are now expanding them

- are considering launching a return to work program

- are interested in learning more about this talent pool and want to recruit relaunchers but not necessarily through a formal program

Interested in Attending?

Please click here and fill out the form to tell us more about yourself and your role within your employer. We will follow up with the link.


Frequently Asked Questions

No. If you filled out our form and were approved to attend the a previous session, you do not need to fill out the form again. You will automatically receive a link to subsequent sessions. 

We will broadcast this through Zoom webinar and sessions will be live only. Links to the Zoom webinar will be unique to each approved attendee. Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to give your link to someone else. 

Yes. Please submit your questions on the sign-up form or send them to us at [email protected]

Unlike the iRelaunch Return to Work Conference, this is not a recruiting event. This is a special series only for employers.

Definitely. The Series is designed to provide the most up-to-date information about building and scaling programs.

Yes. Whether or not you are developing a formal program for relaunchers, you will benefit from the discussion about the demographic and what has worked to successfully onboard them.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

"Great to learn about how other companies have had success with this program. It has provided us with a lot of ideas and leverage as we build out our program. "

Virtual Speaker Session Attendee

Previous Sessions: Speakers and Topics

Jennifer Howland, Managing Director, iRelaunch

“Building and Scaling a Return to Work Program”

Liz Markus, Director, Johnson & Johnson Re-Ignite

"The Role of the Program Manager”

Carol Fishman Cohen, Chair and Co-founder, iRelaunch

COVID-19 Return to Work Report and Scripts & Dialogues™ for Employers

Lucida Plummer, Global Head of Diversity, Asset and Wealth Management, J.P. Morgan

"The Virtual Launch of a Return to Work Cohort: What We've Learned at the JPMC ReEntry Program"

Phillip Anderson, Executive Director, DTCC

"The Business Case for a Return to Work Program"

Pauline Ashworth, Human Resources Director - Commercial Bank, Shared Services and Technology, TD Bank

"TD Bank Career Relaunch 2020 - Launching a pilot return to work program during COVID"

Laura Smith, Senior Advisor for Diversity Talent Acquisition, Dell Technologies

"Dell ReStart: Explaining the 'Direct Hire' Reentry Program Model"

Audrey Van Belleghem, Business Lead, Facebook

"How to Operate a Successful Return to Work Program Remotely: From Interviews to Graduation"

Kathy Simonis, Head of Diversity & Inclusion - Americas, Macquarie Group

"Switching from a 'Returnship' to a 'Direct-hire' Based Return to Work Program Model"


Shanda Hinton, Global Diversity & Inclusion Executive

"Managing a Return to Work Program Through Organizational Change: Mergers, Spin-offs and Covid"


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I'm interested in attending

Please express your interest in attending the iRelaunch Employer (Virtual) Speaker Series. To ensure corporate representatives who are running, expanding, piloting or contemplating return to work programs in their organization get first priority on admission to the Series, please submit your interest in attending on this form.  Approved inquiries will receive an invitation to join our session.