MVRC Partner Spotlight: Dress for Success Helps Women Vets Shine in the Business World

For 20 years, Keisha proudly wore her military uniform and excelled in the logistics field. When she left the military, Keisha faced a new and daunting challenge: how to translate her technical skills, experience and leadership to the civilian workforce. She encountered another barrier, too, which was how to select and afford a new professional wardrobe.

Keisha luckily discovered Dress for Success Triangle NC and connected with Katrina Holley, the Veterans Coordinator for Dress for Success. Ms. Holley, an Air Force vet herself, not only secured help for Keisha with a resume update, job search and interview coaching, but provided suiting and image coaching, as well. Dress for Success outfitted Keisha in professional attire that she said gave her the confidence to sail through the interview and land the job. The Dress for Success boutique also provided five more outfits to make the change work.

“That’s a success story that we see repeated over and over,” Holly explains, “and each one is as exciting and rewarding as the last.” For the vets who are moving into a new world, may be suffering from PTSD, or may just lack the confidence to venture out, Dress for Success is making a big difference.”

Dress for Success Triangle serves any under-employed and unemployed women in the area by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. All ages and skill levels are welcome to the programs at Tillery Place off Capital Blvd. in Raleigh and in Northgate Mall in Durham.

Dress for Success Triangle’s Executive Director Beth Briggs can’t say enough about the thrill of the work DFS is doing for Triangle women. She noted, however, that studies show women vets have a much higher rate of unemployment than male vets. So, for the past two years, DFS has reached out especially to women veterans and military spouses and hired Holley to be the Veteran’s Coordinator. Dress for Success served 122 veterans or spouses in 2015 and has already worked with more than 100 in the first half of 2016.

Briggs gives huge credit for Dress for Success’ accomplishments to volunteers, foundations, corporate sponsors, generous individuals and others who donate money and clothing. One-quarter of Dress for Success Triangle’s income comes from its quarterly inventory sales, which are open to the public.

“We’re planning a major event of new designer items with our upcoming Shop for Success event on September 17, 2016, in Raleigh,” Briggs said, “and at our Northgate facility in Durham the weekend before Thanksgiving. You’ll be able to purchase beautiful clothing for a fraction of the cost, and it all goes back into Dress for Success programs.

“We have beautiful clothes, and we help create beautiful new careers and lives for the women who need us.”

Career development, suiting, leadership, support groups and employment retention are among the ongoing programs that Dress for Success Triangle provides after the initial meetings with women. Briggs says that overall 55%, and probably more, get jobs after coming to Dress for Success. The 10-week job-acquisition “Going Places Network” program boasts a 74% success rate.

The women Dress for Success serves run the gamut: divorced and single mothers in their mid-30s (DFS median age), women who left the workforce to raise families and want to work again, students right out of college, kids coming out of foster care at 18, and increasingly military vets or spouses who served for years and now want new opportunities.

“We have image and career coaches who can work with everyone,” Briggs says.

The nonprofit, run by a small staff and over 350 volunteers, has been in business since 2008. This year, it will serve 2,000 women and is poised to celebrate its 10,000th client soon. It is one of the most successful in the worldwide Dress for Success network of 350 programs.

For further information, call 919-286-2128; email at trianglenc@dfstriangle.org ; and reach Katrina Holley at veterans@dfstriangle.org. Watch the web site www.trianglenc.dressforsuccess.org for details about the big special sale events.  Volunteer. And shop!

Advertisements