From feeling hopeless to happy

workNet DuPage helped Betty regain confidence and land a new job

An unexpected midlife jolt brought Betty Bacigalupo to workNet DuPage.

According to Betty, after two plus decades climbing the corporate ladder, “It was the first time I had found myself without a job.” A lifelong DuPage County resident who grew up in Downers Grove and now lives in Aurora, Betty worried she wouldn’t get a new job. Her three biggest fears included age discrimination, needing a CPA for upper management roles, and – most worrisome – losing her home.

Thanks to hard work, perseverance, and help from workNet DuPage, Betty found her footing. Today, six months later, she’s gainfully employed as the Controller for Ray Graham, a nonprofit empowering people with disabilities. In addition, she’s currently enrolled in online classes to pursue that CPA.

Recently, we sat down with Betty for a Q&A.

What did you do before you found the workNet DuPage Career Center?
I spent 26 years working my way up from an Accounts Payable Associate to a Controller/Director of Finance.   


How did you hear about workNet DuPage?
In December 2019, a month after losing my job, I saw a colleague’s LinkedIn post recommending workNet DuPage. He credited the career center with providing financial assistance to help him complete a BA program. His post came at the most opportune moment -- my first time without a job feeling hopeless.


What did you want to accomplish at the center?
I wanted to learn how to update my resume, conduct a job search, and gain confidence.


Discuss the training you received.
One-on-one coaching allowed me to focus on what I needed to do: GET a JOB and stop beating myself up! I also received group training with a fantastic, supportive cohort of fellow job seekers. We gave one another nonjudgmental feedback. 


What surprised you about the experience?
workNet DuPage’s friendly atmosphere, the counselors’ willingness to help, and shared desire to see us land a job! Best of all, there was no sugarcoating.


How did workNet DuPage’s services benefit you?
It put things in perspective to know there were other people my age in the same position. I found the seminars helpful and appreciated Jennifer’s encouragement when a few interviews didn’t pan out. She assured me it just wasn't the right fit. 


How did you land your new job?
Jennifer emailed me a job posting. I reached out to the recruiter who told me I did not qualify without a CPA. When the same recruiter came across a Controller position, he contacted me to set up an interview. The interviews went well, but after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, I never heard anything. After several weeks, Jennifer suggested I be proactive and reach out directly to the company. Within a week, they offered me the position.

What is your role on the job?

As the Controller for Ray Graham, a nonprofit empowering people with disabilities, I’m responsible for the day-to-day accounting operations, and managing the finance team through work allocation, coaching, mentoring and problem resolution. I also maintain a system of internal controls and budgetary guidelines.


How has your life changed?
workNet DuPage helped me regain my confidence, land a new role, and meet lifelong supporters. I feel focused and ready to tackle the world.  


Would you recommend the workNet DuPage Career Center to a good friend?
Most definitely!! I cannot say enough about workNet DuPage! Everyone there wants you to succeed. You are treated with respect and dignity. They build you up!  But you have to want it too….it is not handed to you!





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