Associate Director – Protiviti
Jennifer is considered a “boomerang” employee. She started with Protiviti in 2002, took a couple of career breaks and has since returned, again.
Currently, an Associate Director in Business Performance Improvement (BPI) solution, Jennifer works out of our Chicago office assisting a client with their SOX Compliance program and remediating material weaknesses found in the client’s internal controls over financial reporting. Jennifer is considered a “boomerang” employee since she started with Protiviti in 2002 and has since returned.
What was your initial role at Protiviti and how long had you been with the firm before leaving?
My initial role with Protiviti was when we started Protiviti back in May 2002 out of the ashes of Arthur Andersen. When we started, there were three business lines: Internal Audit, Business Risk and Technology Risk and I was a Manager in Internal Audit. Since very few clients continued with Protiviti from Andersen, everyone also had a role in business development in obtaining new clients.
In the Chicago office, I was also in charge of keeping track of the Internal Audit Opportunity list before we had Salesforce.com as our CRM tool. I left Protiviti the first time in 2005 after my maternity leave from giving birth to my girl-boy twins. I returned to Protiviti in 2006 at the height of when Protiviti was assisting clients with complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. I left Protiviti again the second time in 2008 when the economy hit a low and I could not convince my husband to relocate to Minnesota where the Protiviti Minneapolis office was in need of an Internal Audit Senior Manager.
How long were you away from your career?
The first time I left for a little over 18 months as I returned to work the day after my twins’ 2nd birthday. The second time I left Protiviti, I was away from my career for a little less than 10 years with the addition of 2 more children.
How did you connect with Protiviti to return?
Both times I returned after reaching out to Sharon Lindstrom, Managing Director in Chicago and letting her know that I was ready to come back. The first time I connected with Sharon for a return, she asked me “When do you want to start?”.
The second time I connected with Sharon, she suggested I reach out to the Robert Half International (RHI) Management Resources (MR) Salaried Professional Services (SPS) group. After numerous discussions with various RHI MR team members, I joined the SPS group in 2018 as a full-time consultant. My first assignment was to a Protiviti Managed Business Services (MBS) client where Protiviti was managing the project and overseeing the work of the SPS consultants. After a little less than a year of being an SPS consultant, I returned to Protiviti.
How did you prepare to return?
When I was preparing for my return, I called my local county’s Workforce Network Office to ask for advice on how to craft a resume after taking a career break. They reviewed my resume and suggested I focus on the skills I gained during that time. I volunteered for the school PTA (president), Mother of Multiples Board Member (Secretary and Treasurer), Leader of the Mom’s Fellowship Group at my church and although I was not paid for my duties, I still learned a ton given the various opportunities to network, demonstrate presentation and leadership skills as well as applying my accounting knowledge for not for profit organizations who need skilled team members too. Based on this suggestion, I crafted my functional resume focusing on those skills and not so much on the fact that I have been away from my “career”.
Once my resume was ready, I contacted the RHI Hoffman Estates, IL recruiting office and mentioned that I was a former Protiviti employee and I was looking to return to work after taking a career break. At first, they asked me if I would consider taking on a temporary to hire role or a contractor position. I thought about it and went on the RHI website where they post the needs of their clients to see the type of positions they were referring to. The positions seemed to be interesting and right up my alley based on my prior work experiences so I told them that I would consider either position. The next day, I was making some adjustments to my RHI profile for a contractor role at a Protiviti client and was hired by RHI SPS that day.
What advice would you give parents who have stepped away from their career on how to Reboot for a Return to the workplace?
The advice that I would give to someone who has taken a break in their career is to:
- Consider taking on a contractor or consulting role; whether it would be for a role that you have a number of years of experience or a role that you are new to and would like to gain more experience. Many companies offer permanent roles to their contractors after both the contractor and the company find a mutual fit.
- Do not hide the fact that you took a career break – provide an explanation as to your reason(s) for the break and be sure to include what opportunities or skills that break allowed for you to develop or to strengthen. A number of companies are looking for diversity (race, gender and experiences) in their workforce and individuals who have taken a career break can offer diversity in a number of ways based on their experiences and thought processing abilities.
Jennifer has 4 children (Ashley (15), Dylan (15), Sydney (9) and Colton (4)) with her husband, Darren of 20 years. Due to COVID, we are enjoying daily family dinners, family bike rides, family game and puzzle nights and are looking forward to visiting amusement parks as a family once they open.
Connect with Jennifer through our Alumni Portal or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-burgstiner-0a080b8/