Returning to work with Visa
Mums@Work, rebranded as Women@Work, first launched the first Return to Work program in 2017 and since then have held many programs that have successfully introduced so many talented ladies back to the workplace in Dubai. We love to share the amazing success stories to inspire you all…and the Visa Returnship is one of the best, with Saba Nasser being placed in a role permanently following the Returnship (a role they created for her as they were so impressed with her!) Let’s hear from Saba about her progression back into the workplace…
Hi Saba, great to chat today and congrats on the new role! Let’s start off understanding a little about how the Mums@Work and Visa Return to Work program helped you in getting back to the workforce?
The Return to Work program has been instrumental in helping me get back to the workforce and has been phenomenal in many ways. I was on an extended maternity break when we, a family of four, moved to Dubai from Canada. I have a diverse background with experience in Management Consulting, and Knowledge Management across various industries. Throughout my career, I have held multiple international assignments in the United States and Canada, and once I settled in Dubai, I was eager to return to the workforce and pursue professional opportunities. A platform like Mums@Work has been helpful and their Return to Work program, in particular, has been one such successful avenue providing women in the region like me an opportunity to get back to work.
In terms of support how did the team at Visa and Mums@Work assist?
The Return to Work program, launched last year by Mums@Work and Visa, is a wonderful program that helps highly educated and accomplished women return to jobs they left in consulting, finance, law and other professions to care for children or take a career break. This is an excellent opportunity to make the transition back into full-time work and learn the ropes of the working world in a comfortable, supportive and encouraging space.
Do you feel the flexible approach helped the transition back to the workplace easier?
As a returnee, it can be challenging to access opportunities in the mainstream, but the flexible work environment made the transition and reskilling quick and seamless. Returning to work after a career gap can be overwhelming. However, Mums@Work and companies like Visa recognize and value a workforce with gender balance and allow opportunities for women to re-enter the workforce and have well-rounded leadership experiences.
It has been an extremely gratifying experience to work in a diverse and international company like Visa which has been supportive of such programs.
What’s the best thing about your new job?
It has been a tremendously successful experience and the transition has gone smoothly at work. I am excited to be part of a dynamic evolving work environment and team and to work on meaningful projects with the opportunity to create impact and see results of my work. Visa is a global leader on the forefront of innovation and it is inspiring to be part of an organisation that truly believes in making a difference in the marketplace. I wanted to come back to work full-time and the Return to Work program made the transition seamless and was very supportive. I felt like I was back in my work element in no time.
What fears or worries did you have about returning to the workplace?
I had initially thought that it would be more of an adjustment being back at work. Turned out, it felt like I never left work in the first place. I guess it is a lot like riding a bike again after so many years – you’re afraid at first but once you get back on you realize you never forget how to ride.
How did you approach your job hunt or return to work transition to secure the right role?
I was very active in my job search but timing is everything. I wanted to make sure that I found the right opportunity for my experiences and skills that would allow me to have a long-term future and vision. Also, I focused on global organizations like Visa that provides you an opportunity to grow and innovate. I truly appreciate the opportunity that the Visa team has extended to me as part of the Mums@Work program.
Did you change your CV to acknowledge your new skills as a mum?
I did not particularly highlight any new skills on my CV but, during the interview process, I felt it was important to highlight many soft skills – these can help differentiate you from other candidates, like leadership abilities, resourcefulness, and ability to build communal relationships while pursuing and multi–tasking on other projects.
How have you found your ‘new’ routine? And what changes have you made in your home life to make room for working life?
It is a new norm that everyone has to get used to at home. It is extremely gratifying at the dinner table to talk about work and the impact I am having through my work. It helps to plan and organize your week and kids’ schedules but every week you learn something new and adapt your work and family schedule.
What’s your opinion on ‘having it all’ as a working mother? Possible or not?
With the economic landscape changing, the culture of motherhood has also tremendously changed. You have to feel fulfilled as a person, and as much as I love being a mother, I equally love pursuing my professional goals and passions, and to be a role model for my daughters. In addition, having the right support system at home and ensuring that you have family or a helper to support you while at work is important.
What advice would you give for mums looking to return to the workplace?
My advice is to follow your passion and given the global nature of the world we live in today, reach out to contacts, and try to build professional networks. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm, knowledge and excitement when you return back to the workforce. In addition, to keep an open mind and be kind and patient with yourself – this is an evolving journey and an investment in yourself and future career.
Women@Work are constantly adding new Return to Work opportunities with global organisations, please do keep your eyes on our social media, newsletters and Job Board!