After a 7-year plus hiatus from the workforce that included a near death post-partum experience, a failed marriage due to her refusal to accept a polygamous arrangement, her home threatening foreclosure twice and no income of her own, this stay at home mother of 4, then on food stamps with no degree and her weight at an all-time high – remembered her value, recharged her confidence and re-launched her life, spirit and career to a highly profitable, passionate and prestigious level. Barbara is a Career Break Branding Expert who specializes in "Career Break Marketing & Management." She is the founder and former owner of the Philadelphia Speakers Bureau, a sought after speaker and creator of the High Profile Hiatus: Career Break Branding Program™. She shows ambitious women, entrepreneurs and other professionals how-to stay visible, credible, confident and connected during a hiatus to avoid career suicide, ease the re-entry process and re-launch their careers with confidence. Prior to opting out of the workforce Barbara served 6 years as a senior workforce readiness instructor and job developer at Temple University where she helped thousands of jobseekers and displaced homemakers prepare for and successfully re-enter the workforce. No stranger to stepping-out, Barbara's first extended leave from the workforce was for an 8-month period to recover from an episode of heart failure, due to post partum complications after the birth of her second son Mohamed. Not realizing that she had "committed career suicide" by staying out so long, Barbara, like many professional women who step-out faced numerous obstacles upon her re-entry and found herself nearly invisible in the organization she had contributed so much. Despite the fact that she had helped more than 5,000 job seekers and displaced homemakers, with huge barriers, re-enter the workforce, she felt helpless in her own situation to re-engage successfully and now had to figure a way to resurrect her own dying career. Feeling both stunted and stigmatized, Barbara opted-out a second time, 2 years later and 9-months pregnant with her third child and daughter Fatouma. But, this time she would leave with a plan… a plan NOT to return –but to continue growing her young family and achieve work-life balance on her own terms. Barbara had always dreamed of speaking professionally. So in 2004, after the birth of her fourth child Ismael, she decided to pursue her passion and launched the Philadelphia Speakers Bureau. The bureau would allow her to do 3 things: 1) work from home 2) spend more time with her young family and 3) position her in the self-improvement industry to learn the business first-hand from world renouned professional speakers, leading authorities, best selling authors, seminar leaders, Internet gurus and other top experts. Barbara had already tasted entrepreneurial success as a young adult when she opened a specialty boutique and image consulting firm at the age of 19. She also launched a popular charm and etiquette program for at-risk girls that earned her third party media endorsements, a feature story in a top local news paper and several radio interviews. With a solid plan now in place and nothing standing in her way, Barbara was on her way to achieving the work-life balance she so desparately needed and longed for. But just then she hit an emotional brick-wall when her husband, a Muslim of West African decent experienced a bout of depression which led to his decision to marry a second wife, "back-home', in his native country, subjecting her to a polygamous marriage… or a divorce. Barbara shares her story of courage and comeback from a 7-year hiatus and the strategies she used to resurrect her career when her confidence and self-esteem was at an all time low.
Stories by Barbara Bamba
Like Hillary … many seasoned professional women who reenter the workforce and vie for top positions, after a multi-year hiatus, wonder if they...