New year, new careers for Hills’ mums

Donna Thistlethwaite:
Principal Consultant with Lee Martin from Style Your Way

The start of a new year is a time when many people look for a new job, sign up for some additional study, or set new career goals.

But getting back into paid employment after taking a career break to have children can be a tough ask for lots of mums. Professional career coach, Donna Thistlethwaite, says that many mums just don’t know where to start when it comes to getting back into the workforce.

Based at Everton Park, Donna runs ‘CareerSmart Mums’, a hands-on workshop helping return-to-work mums with career direction, as well as giving them practical help to update their resume and brush up on job interview skills.

“We see lots of mums from all different career backgrounds, but once they’ve had a family and been out of the workforce for a while, it’s a common challenge to find a rewarding job that also is flexible enough to fit in with family life,” Donna says.

“We’ve helped mums access their dream jobs either by tapping into their existing networks, starting up their own businesses, or giving them the skills they need to negotiate flexible working conditions.” Lee Martin, owner of local business Style Your Way, is a CareerSmart Mums graduate who says the workshop and Donna’s ongoing support were instrumental to her success.

The CareerSmart Mums workshop runs four times per year, however it has been so popular that Donna is about to launch an on-line version of the course.

“On-line learning is so convenient when you have a family.” Donna says. “The on-line workshop is a way for us to make it really easy for women to access the workshop at a time that suits them – mums can be working towards their career goals while the kids are tucked up in bed!”

Donna will also kick off the year for job-seeking mums with a half-day goal-setting mini-workshop to be held on 30 January.

Donna finds that for most women, the key to getting back to a job that they love is effective goal-setting, and identifying the stepping stones needed to get there.

“Often women find returning to a changed workforce overwhelming. But it’s not so bad when you break it down into a list of actions that will get you where you want to be. Women and mothers are amazing at ticking things off lists when it comes to their family, its just a matter of prioritising their own needs as well.”

For more information and resources, or to sign on for the workshops, visit You can also join the CareerSmart Mums network at our Facebook page,

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