The Flanigan sisters prove that reinventing a career sometimes means returning to a previous occupation or employer. Patti Flanigan Medvescek left her role as a laboratory manager in 1991 after 22 years at Methodist Hospital, returning to Clarian Health in 2005 as senior financial analyst. Currently she is program manager in system financial performance at IU Health and member of a specialized team working with chief financial officers.

Nancy Flanigan began her career as a toy sculptor for Kenner Products in Cincinnati, creating the original Star Wars models. After 17 years of family time and working outside the industry, Nancy again works as an independent toy sculptor.

When Boomers think of reinventing their careers, many think of going into a new profession or targeting a new company. A recent Kronos and Workplace Trends survey showed managers and human resource professionals were more accepting of hiring former employees. The survey noted, “there’s a war for top talent in the marketplace. The number one benefit is that former employees are familiar with the company’s organizational culture.”

It is also less expensive for an organization to recruit, hire and train someone who previously worked there. Medvescek initially left IU Health for a promotion to laboratory director at Winona Hospital. Along the way, she earned a Masters of Public Administration degree to complement her clinical background. She was recruited by Roche Diagnostics for a role in their Diabetes Care business in 1990 and spent the next 11 years in roles with increasing responsibility and participating on international teams. “Now I can integrate business intelligence with clinical and financial outcomes when supporting the system CFOs,” explains Medvescek.

Flanigan earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati. After leaving Kenner, she earned an Associate
degree in Multimedia Design and Visual Communications at Ivy Tech. Flanigan was in digital design and marketing while working as an entrepreneur. “During the shift to digital media, the opportunities for sculpting toys dried up.

There are more modern ways of manufacturing,” says Flanigan. To  stay current, she partners with a 3-D printing resource. Both sisters credit networking and staying in touch with former colleagues for their career opportunities. Fla- nigan wasn’t looking for a job as a toy sculptor. “For some reason, when I cleaned out my garage, I kept all my equipment to make models,” explains Flanigan. A former co-worker mentioned that someone was looking for a toy sculptor; she called, and now she’s busier than ever. “I think there is a resurgence in hand made crafts and an appreciation of the expertise involved. I am really not sure what the future holds. I love what I am doing and I am happy at work,” observes Flanigan.

Medvescek remembers an HR person at IU Health saying, “welcome home,” recognizing her previous employment. “I feel like I grew up at IU Health. I started here as a “helper” just out of high school, making $1.25 an hour,” laughs Medvescek. “Now I feel my abilities and experience are respected.”

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