Celebrating Tabitha, Founder of Her Allies, and Her Impactful Work
In a world where women are still fighting for equal opportunities and representation in the workforce, there are those who step up to the challenge of making a difference. One of these women is Tabitha Paturi, one of the founders of Her Allies, a non-profit organization that provides a professional network for women who are on a career break and need support to restart their careers.
Why giving back is important to Tabitha
From the beginning, Tabitha’s father has been her inspiration for giving back. She watched him do it all her life and learned from him that it is both what you do for others and something we do for ourselves too.
“There’s a lot you can learn and a happiness that can be generated from making a difference in someone else’s life. While humans aren’t 100% selfless, we all have the power to help change the narrative of somebody’s life or sometimes our own future for the better. It doesn’t always need to be money, it can come from a small investment of our own time.”
As a result, Tabitha has invested time in many ways, such as volunteering with kids in the foster system and mentoring people, but empowering women is important to her personally.
According to her, it is unfortunate there are challenges we see that still exist today for women at different levels. She is excited to read news about women who have made history as the first in some area but also disappointed that it isn’t the norm already. During the pandemic, she further encountered a sense of helplessness when someone she knew didn’t have the confidence to leave a bad situation after having been a stay-at-home parent for several years. This is where she began thinking about how best to support women in these situations.
“I don’t take for granted the place and voice I have today because of the amazing allies [I’ve had]. I feel the need to create space and voice for future generations. So I started doing in-depth research on how I could help women in this space." said Tabitha.
Tabitha eventually saw a need for a professional network for women who’ve been on long breaks to help them get back on their feet. But it wasn’t easy, she sat on her business plan for six months thinking, what if there wasn’t enough time, or if creating this network was bigger than her, or not needed?
“Sometimes we want to do things, but the unknown and the what-ifs pull us back. It is pushing ourselves through these what-ifs that help us make things happen.”
Tabitha eventually pushed past those doubts and reached out to her network of allies. She brought on Victoria Yang as Vice Chair, Kim Capps as Secretary, and Michelle Paganucci as the Director of Marketing. All three share the same goal of empowering women and want to see change happen for women in the workplace.
Building Her Allies Organically
Her Allies is currently focused on organic growth, letting both those needing support and volunteers come to the organization.
“Our volume is growing, and we are ramping up at the right pace because we are figuring ourselves out as we are streamlining processes. As word gets out, we have more people who need support and who want to help on committees and volunteer.”
Her Allies started by piloting programs to understand what worked and what didn’t. They wanted to be impactful, not just in terms of the number of women they were helping but also in the impact they had on individual lives. Therefore, Her Allies provides a blend of support to women who need a bit of reskilling and upskilling. The network offers resume review sessions and communication coaching on how to talk about breaks in employment, how to handle interviews around gap years, and how to stay confident. Their network of allies provides coaching and mentoring to help women gain confidence, practice mock interviews, and training on how to discuss time off. The idea is to give women a support system and network to help them restart their careers.
Learning and Growing
The impact of Her Allies on the women they've helped has been significant. According to Tabitha, the team found it was about more than just financial instability. Women who’ve been out of work can lose confidence, question their capabilities, and feel incapable even with fantastic resumes and exceptional experience. So they adjusted the programs and began to focus on developing confidence, creating support, and empowering people.
The organization piloted its network of allies with a woman who had lost her confidence and had been on the career search for close to a year on her own. She had a strong resume, but she needed coaching and mentoring to gain confidence, practice mock interviews, and training on how to discuss her time off.
Her Allies provided her with great mentors, resume review, LinkedIn profile review, and mock interview practice sessions, but it took over six months before she finally got the job she wanted.
“It's important for women looking to reboot to know that it takes time. It’s a journey, and it’s about keeping one’s confidence level up and never giving up. Job seekers have to keep trying, and it is going to work out at some point.”
The impact of Her Allies has not only been on the women who have received support and mentorship but also on the volunteers who have been involved in the organization. For Tabitha and the other co-founders, it has been a fulfilling experience.
As she noted, "I believe nothing should get in the way of women and their right to be who they want to be. Her Allies is an organization we founded with the hope of creating an army of allies for women who, at some point, chose to take a break from their jobs but now wish to complete their career stories. We are as excited, if not more, for each woman we support that finds their way back to their career."
Through the process of running Her Allies, Tabitha has learned the importance of being patient and persistent, especially when it comes to helping women overcome challenges and obstacles. Looking ahead, the organization is currently relaunching its Network of Allies program and is focused on expanding its volunteer and client base to support more women.
"We want to keep making a difference in the lives of women on long breaks, and we want to continue to provide them with a support system that helps them regain their confidence and get back into a career they are passionate about.”
The entire team at Her Allies hopes one day, we won’t need the organization anymore. But the reality is that there is a long way to go, and every person who can join the network of allies to support this cause will make the needed difference for all of us to get there.
If you need career support or want to help other women as an ally supporting your skills, join the Her Allies network.