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Q&A: Relaunch Project leads

Jude Batrac and Michelle Francis are leading the 2021 Relaunch Project – a groundbreaking program by Women in Media and the Google News Initiative.

We asked them about the involvement with the project.

Give us a career snapshot

Jude: I am a marketer, originally from Germany, with a background in media and most recently joined the commercial team at Coca-Cola.

Gender equality and inclusion have always been a huge passion of mine.

For example, I founded the networking initiative Table of Thought that empowers women to overcome their imposter syndrome.

The Relaunch Project is much needed to achieve permanent change by giving women the tools to reclaim their careers.

I am so honoured we get to bring the prototype of this program to life.

Michelle: I am currently on maternity leave at home with my nine-month-old son, and looking to return to work in early 2022.

However, prior to this career break, I was the Head of Digital Strategy at News Corp Australia.

How did you get involved with the Relaunch Project?

Michelle: My friend and now partner on the Relaunch Project, Jude, first told me about this opportunity.

We are both first-time mums.

Jude has just returned to full time work after taking 12 months’ parental leave and I am currently on maternity leave.

We both instantly connected to the program’s purpose, identifying it as something so needed by women in the media.

The Relaunch Project supports women in the media to make a confident and successful shift back to the workplace enabling them to relaunch their career.

Jude and I wanted to be a part of something that could really make a difference.

This program will help the cohort upskill professionally, build confidence through mentoring and exposure to inspirational speakers, as well as raising their profile and rebuilding the personal brand of participants through leadership training, practical workshops and connecting to a like-minded network.

What are you most looking forward to in the Relaunch Project?

Jude: I can’t wait to see these brilliant women unleash their full potential.

The calibre of applicants is very impressive and reinforces how needed this initiative is.

Moreover, I hope that it will send a clear message to all women, demonstrating that it is possible to reclaim your career at any stage.

Michelle: I’m looking forward to seeing these women build a network amongst each other, which can be a source of support even after the Relaunch Project ends.

This industry needs more women supporting women and I really hope they benefit as much from each other as they do from the curriculum itself.

What are you reading at the moment?

Jude: I am obsessed with an audiobook called Squiggly Careers.

It puts a new spin on how to be successful and gives you clarity on how to play to your super strengths, how to define your values, how to build resilience and how to network in a way that works for you. It’s phenomenal.

Michelle: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

She is an incredible author and has written some of my all time favourite books including Daisy Jones and the Six and Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

There is always a strong female lead with a story of adventure, drama and reality.

What is your advice to Relaunch Project applicants?

Jude: Be curious, vulnerable and bring your authentic self.

This program will enrich you in so many ways and will undoubtedly be the best investment you could make into your future self.

If you are riddled with doubt whether you are good enough or have convinced yourself that it’s ‘too late’ then you are probably perfect for this curriculum.

You can still apply or nominate someone who needs to hear about this program.

Michelle: Stay open minded.

We have a range of inspiring speakers and intelligent women joining the program and I think an open mind will see this cohort benefit tremendously from each other, their mentors and the speakers.

Applications for the Relaunch Project closed on Monday November 22, 2021.

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