Annabel’s return shows a woman of many talents makes an ideal talent leader

The financial industry has traditionally struggled to attract or retain talented people that want to take time out – whether to raise a family, start a business or do something else entirely. Strict hierarchies and working patterns have, in the past, made the ability to return to work difficult.

Yet the last 10 years have seen huge changes to the world of work. Here at Deutsche Bank, the transition to more flexible career paths means our employees now enjoy a wide range of working arrangements. And the same is true when it comes to returning to work. We make it as straightforward as possible, because as Annabel’s story shows, the skills they developed before and during their break will be put to good use upon their return.

Changing directions (and that’s OK)

“I stopped working after I had my second child. We moved out of London and it just wasn’t the right time to go back to work.”

Annabel returned to work after four and a half years doing other things. Namely: raising two children, trying a new career and setting up two different businesses. To say she tried new things is an understatement.

After having her second child, Annabel and her family moved out of London. She undertook a number of jobs closer to home, volunteered as a teaching assistant and set up her own business. The experiences were useful in all sorts of ways. She was able to work out what she really loved and wanted: being in an office, and around people, coming into the city and being part of a team.

Annabel is walking outside smiling

Quicker than expected

“Things have changed a lot in four and a half years. What is the email etiquette? How do you do a conference call? These were some of the questions I was asking myself.”

Annabel was apprehensive when she first came back, but getting back in the swing wasn't nearly as difficult as she expected. Being a returner, she says is much like moving jobs. If you move to a different company, you don't know how they do their conference calls, how they run their meetings, what the email etiquette is. It was the small things that took some getting used to. But you can pick all that up fairly quickly.

“You start to wonder ‘What was I worrying about in the first place?’ as you are back up and running very quickly.”

Passing on the understanding

“Returners are experienced professionals. They don’t lack ability or need hand holding. They sometimes need a bit of re-familiarisation with your company.”

Initially, she chose a role that worked for her and her personal life at the time. She remembers how she could have gone for bigger roles, but that wasn’t what she wanted. Now, within four years, she’s Global Head of Early Careers, Employer Brand and Assessments at Deutsche Bank, a demanding role but one that she’s able to manage alongside her busy personal life.

Annabel was so inspired by her returner experience that she established the return to work initiative at Deutsche Bank. The initiative not only provides a supportive route back for returners, but it also ensures that managers are equipped to make the transition as smooth as possible for all involved.

Be proud, not embarrassed

“There are things that you learn during your career break, so you should feel proud of it and why you took it.”

Annabel is keen to impress that returners shouldn’t feel the need to make excuses for their time away. Talented, capable individuals can be on a career break for many years and their expertise doesn’t just disappear. They often return with more skills and a level of objectivity. It certainly changed Annabel’s mindset. Our lives outside the office are what make us who we are. It’s why getting the return to work initiative right is essential.

  • Annabel is standing outside smiling
  • Annabel is standing inside smiling