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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coming Full Circle

This past week I took some time off from my clients to work with the organization Dress for Success.  Dress for Success Triangle NC was founded in 2008 and their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women succeed in work and life. Those who regularly follow my blog know I am passionate about helping others, whether with the Sisko Foundation, a grass roots organization supporting women with breast cancer, or in the variety of donations and committees I serve on to provide my services for those in need.

I believe if my memory serves me, which we know it often doesn't, it was after meeting Pat Nathan, the founder of Dress for Success, I decided I absolutely had to help her with the mission of the organization. Have you ever met someone and knew what they were doing was so very important on so many different levels that you wanted to be involved? Pat's passion and compassion led me to knowing that I could offer my skills to this organization with my knowledge of fashion, lifestyle dressing and teaching poise and confidence to all that I work with. Success Suits Her is an annual luncheon put together by Dress for Success and is a fundraising event for the organization. Since the organization is devoted to helping low income women make tailored transitions into the workforce, the unique lunch will offer Triangle professionals an opportunity to hear women who have been through the program tell their inspiring story and model clothing selected specifically for their job goals and aspirations.

This is the second year I am involved in working with the models, who are former clients of the program. It's so much fun to work with these women by choosing age and size appropriate clothing, teaching them how to walk the runway and the dialogue preparation for telling their incredibly passionate story. Once again, I am humbled by their inner strength and drive to move forward and better themselves. This year I had the opportunity to work not only at the Durham office, but also at the more recently opened location in Raleigh.
Each of the women had a story to tell. As I engaged the ladies, I found they began to open up with their own challenging stories, often involving loss or heart break. One of the most uplifting encounters was with a woman by the name of Tia. Tia had an upper level marketing job when she lived in Washington, DC. Her husband was transferred to the area and the family had to move and away her job went.  After a few years of looking she has been unable to secure a position that utilizes her talents and job experience. While living in DC, she was part of a similar organization that assisted women in their job search and provided clothing and counseling. Tia relished the opportunity to help others as she was secure in her job and community and never believed she would be on the end needing that same support. As you can imagine, the transition from being in a position to help to requiring help has taken some getting used to.

Tia was so happy to find Dress for Success and discover they could help her. Though the past few years have been stressful, Tia has reached out to help others and volunteered with The Girl Scouts of American and led large events at her church. Using her skills and diversifying her job search has enabled her to have interesting potential prospects. In counseling her for what she could expect during the luncheon, I reminded her that being asked to tell her story was a wonderful opportunity to share with others her many life experiences and what she could offer potential employers. For many women who come through the program their experience is not only successfully finding employment, but the ability to give back to the program with their skill set and need to nurture others. Tia has already begun to fill those shoes, and I am confident with her smile and inner strength she will find her way. As for the others I have dressed and guided in preparation for the luncheon, I look forward to hearing how the audience was wowed by their lifestyle dress, their swagger down the runway and heart warming story of moving forward with the help of a group of women who embrace them and want to see them succeed.
To get tickets to this event, click here. In the meantime, for those out there struggling with their image as they continue to move forward in either their job or lifestyle, know that I am here to help!

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