You might remember our campaign a few months ago with Mastercard to launch their Relaunch Your Career scheme, open to all Hopscotch members as well as the wider world of women in the UAE. Well, we're very pleased to announce that Kuntay, a Hopscotch member from day one, has secured one of the three coveted positions on the three month programme.

We first met Kuntay at one of our workshops almost a year ago.  Mum of three young boys, originally from Kazakhstan and with a background in finance, she's never failed to impress.  A finalist for our Mentor ME scheme with Mastercard at the start of the year, she always made an impact with her professionalism, enthusiasm and dedicated attitude to get that dream job.  We are absolutely delighted for her and wanted to share her journey to inspire others to keep going and take every opportunity!

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Hopscotch: Hello!  Tell us a bit about your background.

Kuntay: Hello! I am a native of Kazakhstan and a finance professional with a diverse background gained in 15 years of experience in oil & gas and banking.  Through out my career I held multiple international assignments in the USA, Colombia and UAE. As a family of three we moved in Dubai in 2012, both my husband and I holding new assignments. Over the following years, we have had two more children joining our family when I decided to take care of children full time. 

H: How long have you been looking for work opportunities and what kind of tactics have you used?

K: My interest in the market resumed in the second half of last year (2016). I was looking for the niches that were specializing in women empowerment, gender diversity & inclusion, i. e. places where I could interact with similar people, mainly women, who were also on their paths of career reconstruction. My action plan was simple - to go out and network, get in various events and learn, also let them know about myself. This is where platforms like Hopscotch, Lean In and LinkedIn were very helpful to raise my awareness on what's happening and most importantly be part of such events to guide me through my search. 

H: How did you hear about Mastercard’s Return To Work scheme and why did you decide to go for it?

K:  Initially i read about this program through Hopscotch and Linkedin platforms. The program appeared just in time for my professional aspirations to be tested. Mastercard is a technology company on the forefront of innovation, diversity, inclusion and social interaction. It is also one of the first organisations in the Middle East to openly promote policies including  mentorship, relaunch your career, women in leadership, flexible working schedule, extended maternity and paternity leaves to name few.  All these features made me interested to go for it. 

H: What was the interview process like?

K: First, I had a phone interview with HR. Then I had a few more interactions via email and phone to finally go for a job interview with the stakeholders. It was held in a panel interview style, where they asked a combination of competence and behavioral type of questions. At this stage I was not aware whether I passed or not, but I felt really good. 

H: What did you find attractive about the scheme?

K: It's a three month program giving the company and myself opportunity to learn about each other, whether we are fit for each other needs. Additionally, I was interested in the change of industry. Mastercard is a great place to start that transformation. 

H: What do you feel the benefits are of such initiatives and what do you hope to achieve?

K: The benefits are endless, starting from your self-esteem and confidence upped to finding yourself among such a dynamic and positive workplace that helps you grow as a professional in the team of driven people. Even if there is an end to a program, one gets a taste that's hard to forget and it pushes towards new ventures. 

H: Finally, how will you look to balance your time with family once you begin?

K: I did work with a family alongside before. I am extremely grateful to my amazing friends and family for their ongoing support. I wouldn't be able to do it alone. In a nutshell it's teamwork; it takes a village to raise a child.

Let us know what you think of these kind of programmes below and any experience you've had?  And remember to sign up with us to be the first to learn about future initiatives!