Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Lisa Hoffman connected with Dress for Success last year through a donation of beauty products. Since discovering this organization, members from our team have volunteered in both Los Angeles and New York. I visited the Dress for Success offices in New York to learn more about how they're committed to changing the lives of women throughout the country.
What inspired the inception of Dress for Success?
In 1997, a philanthropic law student received a $5,000 inheritance from her great grandfather. With a desire to honor his memory and to help others, Dress for Success founder Nancy Lublin transformed a small inheritance into a gift that kept on giving—one that would enable women who once faced personal hardships to earn their own money and build new lives.
Since then, what began as a grassroots start-up known for providing women with professional attire, professional etiquette, and self-efficacy has grown into an international not-for-profit organization promoting the economic independence of women worldwide.
What are your most effective tools in breaking the cycle of poverty among women?
We offer our women more than a suit. We offer her services that take her from being unemployed and searching, to recently employed and adjusting, to gainfully employed and succeeding. Through our Going Places Network, a woman obtains employment; her next step is to retain her status and advance in her career. The Professional Women’s Group provides employed members with employment retention support and provides access to tools and resources to help her advance in her career while achieving self-sufficiency and economic stability.
Through our life-long learning programming she is encouraged to increase her financial literacy and exert her financial capability, positioning herself and her family for life-long success.
How do you feel that beauty products can help a woman achieve professional success?
Dress for Success believes that empowering women begins from the inside, out and requires more than just a suit or a job or their favorite lipstick: it requires an overall commitment to nurturing healthy self-esteem and exuding a sense of confidence that permeates all aspects of their lives.
Confidence and self-esteem are not the same thing, although they are often linked. Confidence is the term we use to describe how we feel about our ability to perform roles, functions and tasks. Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves, the way we look, the way we think—whether or not we feel worthy or valued.
How can people get involved at a community level?
People can volunteer their time, their skill-set, and financially support the organization—no amount is too small. Here are a few ways to help:
- Give confidence by making a financial contribution to Dress for Success. The gracious donations we receive help women transition back into the workforce, become self-sufficient, and financially independent. She benefits, her children benefit, and her community benefits.
- Donate your nearly new professional attire to a Dress for Success affiliate near you.
- Volunteer with us. Volunteering is a meaningful and rewarding experience that has many benefits for the volunteer and the women we serve.
To learn more about Dress for Success, visit their website.