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ReEMERGING After a Career Break

By DTCC Staff | May 23, 2022

When Tobin Agboola, DTCC Associate Director, Business Validation, decided to return to work after a near 10-year hiatus, she tapped into her old network and reached out to Phil Anderson, DTCC Executive Director, D&I, CSR, ESG Reporting and Organizational Development, who urged her to apply to the ReEmerge program.

They both made the right call.

The ReEMERGE program is designed for women and men who want to restart their career after a break of two or more years. DTCC offers two programs, one non-technical (HR, Risk, Finance, Operations) and one technical (application development, cyber risk, information technology) that include 12- and 16-week internships respectively. Through this experience participants get re-oriented to working, learn DTCC’s culture and understand exactly what the company does and how they’ll fit in.

The program is especially appealing to women like Agboola, who stepped back from working to raise her children. She always planned to return to the workforce – one reason she earned her MBA while raising two toddlers – but being away for close to a decade, a lot about the workplace changed during that time. Agboola recalls feeling hesitant when DTCC reached out to her in May 2020 to interview for the ReEMERGE non-technical internship as a Business Analyst in the Risk department. With a background in client-facing roles in investment banking, she was concerned that her skills were a mismatch for the job.

“When I saw the job description, my first instinct was that I could not see what in my background was right for this opportunity,” she said. “I didn’t see what value I was going to bring to the table.”

But as she spoke during the interview about her experience, it became clear that she was being listened to. She also liked that she didn’t have to explain the gap in her career. And what really caught her attention was when Brendan Dunbar, DTCC Director, Risk Business Solutions, brought up the topic of work-life balance.

“Even from the initial conversation, there was reassurance that I was coming into a firm that was going to fully take into consideration my life and my personal circumstances and make sure that worked into my transition and my career relaunch,” Agboola said.

Brendan, a father of three, said his wife took time off work and then had difficulty returning to the workforce, so he was excited about hiring through ReEMERGE.

“The more I researched the program, the more I realized it was really a mutually beneficial program for both of us,” he said.

The supportive aspect of the program goes beyond the initial 12 to 16-week internship program. Each ReEMERGE participant is assigned a mentor, has focused training in needed software and business essentials, and gets group coaching and exposure to senior management through assignments and projects.

“That support has been great, especially relaunching in a remote setting,” said Agboola, who officially joined DTCC in September 2020 after completing the ReEMERGE program and transitioning into her role as a business analyst.

She hit it off well with her mentor, who provided someone to talk with who was not her manager but could help orient her to DTCC and expand her network, for instance introducing her to the BOLD employee resource group (Black Organizers and Leaders of DTCC). The connections helped make it easier to become part of the company while she was working at home in her “bubble.”

Brendan said the structure of the initial part of the program provided a road map that enabled Agboola to be successful, which was especially important while everyone was working remotely. “We were able to benchmark her success by the roadmap and slowly engrain her within the DTCC culture,” he said. “We were able to bring her along and continuously build on the foundation that we developed.”

It also helped Agboola stretch her limits. “Whenever it was time to be assigned the next level of responsibility or just push me out there, they did more,” she said. “I haven’t had to ask for those opportunities.”

To make it work, Brendan said, “We really doubled down on communication.” They spoke multiple times each day and brought a variety of colleagues on to meet Agboola remotely. “We did our best to enhance the communication that was available to us and make sure that she was getting a chance to integrate.”

This focus on clarity and communication helped Agboola to see how she fit into her role.

Today, Agboola is an ambassador for the ReEMERGE program.

“I’ve been in the shoes of candidates who are looking to make that transition and relaunch their careers,” she said. “I’m speaking with those who have an interest in joining DTCC and sharing my experience and being part of the recruiting process.”

She is also staying connected to new ReEMERGE participants, helping to make sure the process is as seamless as possible for them. “I’m just sort of giving back to the program,” Agboola said.

Brendan is also a champion for ReEMERGE. “What I really enjoy about DTCC is that I feel like they truly act with empathy,” he said. Being able to bring experienced workers back into business and tap into their skills and knowledge is invaluable, he added. “I would absolutely do it again.”

Studies have found that programs like ReEMERGE, that offer supportive workforce development and training programs can play a key role in closing the gaps for women – and at the same time help DTCC reach our goals for increasing diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

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