Hill acknowledged that returning to work took "a big dose of humility."
"If you don't have that big dose of humility, I don't think you can do it, because it's quite humbling," she says.
Seeing return-to-work employees as assets
Some companies are beginning to offer 'returnships' — internship programs to attract talented job seekers who have taken career breaks and need to revamp their skills. In 2016, IBM launched a 12-week reentry program that helped the company source 17 interns, according to IBM executive Jennifer Howland, who oversees the program. Like Hill, many were women who had been out of the workforce for up to 20 years.
Howland sees that as an asset: "They're not out trying to find themselves like you might find with a university student who's in their late teens and early 20s. They know what they want to do."
According to Howland, returnees have fewer job relocations because many already own a home, are less likely to go on maternity leave or have special childcare needs and have years of professional experience. She says they are typically enthusiastic about getting back to work.
"It's humbling to see that this small program could have so much impact on the women who go through it, and they're visibly in tears when they leave," says Howland.
Few companies have formal reentry programs as part of their diversity initiatives, but those that do often expand them once they realize how effective they are at attracting skilled employees, according to Fishman Cohen. Currently, 30 companies participate in the program.
"In the STEM programs, 60-100 percent of the interns are converting to full-time employees," Fishman Cohen says. "Those numbers are stunning."
Returnships: The key to easing back into the workforce
Haritha Choudhary was one of the women who found employment at IBM after taking a seven-year career break to raise her son. Formerly an electronics engineer at Motorola, Choudhary was apprehensive about returning to work. Through the IBM reentry program, she received training in data science, a field much different from the one she left behind.
"During my internship I had to use new programs, new tools, new applications ... so it was a bit of a learning curve," she says.
The program included a number of on-boarding programs that introduced Choudhary to the corporate culture, resources and people at IBM. She said the program boosted her confidence and helped her transition into the workplace. It also gave her a chance to put her training into practice without a lot of pressure.
"The realization that my engineer brain was still functioning along with my mommy brain was such a relief for me," says Choudhary, who is now a full-time employee with the company in Westchester, New York.
The returnship was the first and only job Choudhary applied for when she decided to rejoin the workforce. The engineer doubted she would have found work without it, despite her 10 years of professional experience.
"I definitely don't think [I would have been able to find work]," Choudhary says. "It was the reentry program that was the key to being able to return successfully."
This article originally appeared on NBC News.