Blog Post: Dress for Success - Vancouver
By Danielle Knight
I recently had the pleasure of connecting with a group of women who are working to lift up others in their community. The not-for-profit organization is called Dress for Success Vancouver, and my visit to their headquarters, left me inspired, empowered, and totally motivated to get involved.
Dress for Success Vancouver is part of the larger mother ship Dress for Success Worldwide that has been empowering and supporting women around the world since its inception in 1997. DFS Worldwide was founded by Nancy Lublin, at the time, a 20 something New Yorker with a $5,000 inheritance and an intention of changing the world.
Change the world she did! Lublin elicited the support of a group of nuns and launched the organization out of a church basement in Manhattan, New York. The organizations mandate was to create a world without poverty where all women are empowered
“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”.
The organizations philosophy is that through empowerment and lasting solutions; women break the cycle of poverty and can provide lasting change for their families.
Now, just over twenty years later, Dress for Success Worldwide has over 154 offices in 30 countries and has empowered over a million women to economic independence.
As part of my visit to Dress for Success Vancouver, I found out that the Vancouver Chapter was the very first International affiliate, and that since opening their doors in 1999 DFS Vancouver has empowered more than 32,000 women into the workforce.
With current unemployment rates at an all time lows, Real Estate at record highs, and over 2,900 people immigrating to British Columbia every month I knew I had to find out more.
Dress for Success Vancouver supports women through three programs:
a) Dressing Services
b) Career Centre
c) Professional Women's Group (PWG) – an 18 month leadership program
From the get-go I was excited, the early morning light was streaming in through the windows, we walked past racks of top-notch professional women’s attire, shoes, handbags, scarfs and other accessories and we made our way through to the office - I knew this was going to be a fun experience!
The first day I arrived for my interview with Dress for Success Vancouver, I was greeted by the Executive Director, Jennifer Halinda, and Natasha Irvine, the organization’s Marketing & Communications Manager.
Both were keen to help me experience a short version of the program benefits and learning outcomes available to DFS clients. From the get-go I was equally excited and the early morning light streaming in through the windows, we walked past racks of top-notch professional women’s attire, shoes, handbags, scarfs and other accessories as we made our way through to the office - I knew this was going to be a fun experience!
I started with Suiting. I was paired with Val, one of the volunteer DFSV dressing stylists; we worked together to find the perfect outfit for me! Val was very consultative, patient, engaging and compassionate.
Watch the video below to see me find my perfect outfit!
Dress for Success Vancouver has dressed over 30,000 women since it started in 1999. It is through the dressing services, that you will be given an outfit that they feel comfortable in, and is work appropriate. Val tells me that, “It is consistently amazing, that with a new outfit, there is a newfound confidence in each woman.”
Next up was the Career Centre. This is where I sat down with Sue, an HR professional that volunteers her expertise to ensure that your resume is transformed into what employers are looking for. The career centre specialist will also go through mock interviews and help explore career opportunities in your field. The Career Centre ensures you are ready for your first interview.
Watch the video below to see my mock resume review!
Professional Women’s Group
The third program that DFSV offers is the Professional Women’s Group (PWG). The professional women’s group is a two-year program that focuses on retaining your job and developing your professional skills. It was my privilege to sit down with Tarana Sultan – a woman who has gone through Dress for Success Vancouver’s full suite of programs and who is now giving back to the organization as an ambassador.
Watch the video below for her personal story and her heart-warming experience!
Impact 360 Gala Fashion Show
Each year Dress for Success holds their annual gala in May and with the goal of connecting the Dress for Success Community, fundraising and celebrating the success of women who have gone through our programs. Ten amazing client ambassadors walked the runway in fashions from Turanbout Luxury Retailers. In a tremendous show of support from the community Dress for Success Vancouver raised over $115,000.
Watch the video below to see the community of people that support this organization, why they do it and what you can do to get involved too.
Dress for Success Vancouver continues to aspire to a world that fully harnesses the powers of women and recognizes their role in economic sustainability. There are many more women that can use support in the lower mainland. It only costs $360 to sponsor one woman through our full suite of programs. With over 1 million women helped worldwide, and over 12,000 volunteers, this organization runs on donations.
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
If you are a women who is looking for work or making a career transition, Dress for Success Vancouver would like to help you. Dress for Success is a non-for-profit organization and all services are free of charge. If you would like to go through this program, please contact Dress for Success Directly at: (604) 408-7923
WAYS TO SUPPORT
To sponsor a woman visit: http://donate.dfsvancouver.org
To volunteer visit: https://vancouver.dressforsuccess.org/get-involved/volunteer/
To become a corporate partner visit: https://vancouver.dressforsuccess.org/get-involved/corporate-partnerships/
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Danielle is passionate about sustainability and missions that are connected to social and environmental causes. Danielle is an ecommerce consultant danielleknight.ca and founder of EverModernLife.com a brand dedicated to showcasing products that are good for people and the planet. Danielle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Physical Geography with a minor in Business from Wilfred Laurier University. She lives downtown Vancouver with her husband and her yellow lab, Bella. After writing this article with Sustainability Television, Danielle is very proud to say she is also now a volunteer of Dress for Success Vancouver.