In part two of our Encoreship 2023 spotlight, we sat down with Swiss-expat and mother of one, Irina Constable.
Irina is one of two women involved in this year's ground-breaking return-to-work mentorship program, fostering financial independence, confidence building and upskilling. The Encoreship is pioneered to empower women who have been out of the workforce for an extended period, and this year we just couldn't help ourselves but announce two wonderful women.
How did you hear about The Encoreship?
When I first moved to Australia, I was searching for an event outfit, so I went in store and it left such an impression on me. Once I got home, I googled DISSH’s values and I thought, “this is it. This is where I want to be.” I printed it out, put it on my moodboard, and a few days later a post for the Encoreship popped up on my Instagram. I applied straight away.
What industry did you previously work in?
In Switzerland I worked in a profession that doesn’t exist here – based on tax law and employment legislation. It was a sad realisation that I’d spent so much time and money on my education for a job that didn’t exist where I now lived.
How many years did you take out of the workforce? What was your primary reason for leaving?
I took a year out of the workforce to raise our first child. Before that I was helping my husband in his business, but that wasn’t my passion, it was his passion.
Did your former company have a paid parental leave policy?
I’ve never worked anywhere with a paid parental leave policy to the extent that DISSH offers. In Switzerland, you only get 13-weeks off which feels crazy.
Did you ever experience bias as a woman in the workforce – balancing career and family?
Once I became a mum, whenever I had an interview I was very transparent that I was looking for flexibility as I had a young child. In that moment, you could see the shift on their faces, and a little mark noted on your application.
What barriers did you tell yourself existed before joining The Encoreship?
For me it was a confidence barrier. I thought my Swiss education and experience would be a disadvantage, though as part of the Encoreship, we had the opportunity to speak with a recruitment agency and they said, “how amazing you have global experience". That shifted my mindset on something that was holding me back for so long.
What does the Encoreship mean to you?
The Encoreship has brought me back to myself. I absolutely love being a mum, and supporting my husband in his career, but this is for me.
What would you say to anyone else thinking about applying for The Encoreship, but have some hesitations?
Just give it a go. There is no way you would ever regret this experience.