• Women Financial Advisor Forum

Return to Work Helps Susan Bothamley Find Her Way

When Susan Bothamley decided to return to corporate life she didn’t know what to expect. What she found was a surprising degree of support.

Return to Work, which launched with a class in New York City five years ago, seeks experienced professionals who have taken a career break and are now looking to re-enter the workforce. In addition to New York, the program now boasts a global footprint that includes Budapest, London, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Bengaluru, and includes placements in business units such as Equities, Investment Banking, Legal and Compliance, Internal Audit, Operations and Technology. 

Most recently, the program has expanded to the Firm’s Wealth Management field branches. Participants in the Wealth Management Return to Work Program receive access to state-of-the-art financial tools and technologies, as well as sales and management mentoring. After 10 weeks working at the Firm, participants may receive an offer of employment with Morgan Stanley in Financial Advisor training programs.

Charlotte, NC - Susan Bothamley decided she wanted to return to work and scheduled an interview for a position as a Financial Advisor Associate at Morgan Stanley but after the interview, she had second thoughts.  “I was too frightened, and decided I wasn’t going to do it,” she said.

A few weeks later Susan received a call asking that she meet with Kristen Sario, manager of several Morgan Stanley branches in the Carolinas, to discuss the Morgan Stanley Return to Work program. After interviewing with Kristen, Susan was offered a position, which she immediately accepted.

“It was like Morgan Stanley said ‘We’re going to help you make this transition. You’ve been out of work for a long time, but we believe in you. We believe in the value you bring to Morgan Stanley, what you’ve brought to the community and what you will bring to our clients. Whatever direction you want to go into, we believe you’re a great fit for the firm, and we want to help you.’ I was completely taken aback,” recalls Susan. 

Susan had worked in corporate settings before but when she married and relocated to Charlotte, she saw a career disruption as an opportunity.  She intentionally took off time to get involved in her local community in ways that she wouldn’t otherwise have been able. She volunteered for the North Carolina Board of Elections and also used her time off to meet with young women coming out of college, help them deal with student debt, and help them plan ways to get their financials in order.

“The time off really allowed me to love what I do... rediscover my passion and my love for what I do and why I do it.”

Susan’s return to work was intimidating, but on that front, Kristen could help. She assured Susan that her program experience was designed to have maximum exposure to key stakeholders in her branch. 

“I knew I was seeing the right people and getting the right experiences,” Susan said. The program gave Susan a chance to meet with various departments within the complex and she had one-on-one meetings with Financial Advisors.

“I never would have come to the point where I could aspire to be a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley had it not been for the generous time that these people gave to me,” she said.

Among those Morgan Stanley staffers helping? Bob Hatala, manager of a Charlotte branch office, Financial Advisor (and FAA coach) Shaun Ferguson, Financial Advisor Tony Prudhomme and Regional Diversity Officer Adrienne Everett.

“They gave me incredible support,” Susan said.

If she had just jumped back into the day-to-day, Susan doubts she would have had the confidence or preparation to ensure a smooth transition back into work life.

“I knew what I loved,” she said, “but I never would have had the guts to make the jump, had it not been for the preparation I got in the Return to Work program.” Shelley O’Connor, Co-Head of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, is enthusiastic about Susan’s progress and hopes more people can experience the program as it grows. “We are excited to expand Morgan Stanley’s highly successful Return to Work program into local Wealth Management markets across the country,” O’Connor said. “Wealth Management Return to Work is an effective new way to attract successful professionals like Susan into Financial Advisor careers by tapping into a large and experienced talent pool that already has many of the skills and contacts needed to succeed in our business.”

The program looks to attract more talented people who, like Susan, have been out of work for an extended period of time.

Wendy Murphy, a Financial Advisor who co-founded the Murphy Group at Morgan Stanley in 2009 with her husband, knows the story well.

“I’m a huge advocate for the Return to Work program because I’ve traveled that path,” says Wendy. “I left corporate America in 1989 after the birth of my first child and I had 14 years at home before getting back into a corporate setting.”

While it may be daunting, Wendy hopes that potential Return to Work applicants realize that they accumulated valuable, tangible skills while they were away from the office. “Don’t sell yourself short,” says Wendy. “Take a look at what you’ve done. Anyone who has been successful in a home setting is highly entrepreneurial. You’ve been in charge. You’ve raised a child. You ran the PTA. People who have been out of the work force for caregiving or raising a family are getting huge life experiences that are directly applicable in business.“

Susan has completed the 10-week Return to Work program and has accepted a role in Morgan Stanley's Financial Advisor Associate Program. She knows now, thanks to the support she received from Kristen Sario and the entire team at the Morgan Stanley Carolinas Complex, that she has the tools to succeed.

“It’s like being lost in the woods,” says Susan. “You can’t find your way, but then someone comes along and they have a lantern. But they don’t just give you the lantern and point. They take the lantern, put their arm around you, and say, ‘Come on, I’ll walk with you.’ That’s what they did for me, and I know now that I’m going to succeed.”

Learn more about Financial Advisor Associates and other Financial Advisor Development programs.

Read more details about current openings in the Return to Work program and to apply.