Sometimes, new clothes can mean a fresh start and new opportunities for a woman and her family.
That is the idea behind Dress for Success Indianapolis, which helps women obtain not just a new outfit, but also the tools to help them succeed in work and life. Indy’s Child spoke with Shayla Pinner, marketing and development director for Dress for Success Indianapolis to learn how this organization is helping women and their families thrive.
What is Dress for Success?
Our program helps women enter the workforce and achieve economic independence. We started in 1999 and are coming up on our 20th anniversary. We have served more than 16,000 women, and only serve women. Our Suits for Success program provides a full interview outfit, including accessories, purse, underwear, shoes, briefcase or portfolio if we have them, and a coat in the winter.
What else do you offer to women?
Our career development program teaches resume writing, interviewing skills and conducts mock interviews. We also have a computer lab to help with resumes and job searches.
We also offer a professional women’s group for women who have gone through the suiting program and career development program, and have attained employment. It is a support group with the goal of increasing employment retention and advancement. Financial literacy is a piece of that for themselves and their families. We believe poverty and financial instability can sometimes be generational. Instilling tools, support and resources helps secure employment, which women can then teach their families. We hope to eventually break the cycle of poverty in Indy and get more women into sustainable careers.
Tell us about the women you serve.
Dress for Success is known for serving disadvantaged women, but we also serve women who have fallen on hard times for whatever reason, such as a layoff, a divorce, or transitioning from being a stay-at-home mom to entering the workforce. We serve women of all education levels and socio-economic backgrounds. Call us and we can tell you what agencies can get you in and refer you to us. Even the most successful woman can find herself unemployed or seek to advance her career or make a transition.
How can the community help you?
We thrive on volunteers. Our number-one need is workshop facilitating, specializing in interviewing, resume writing or social media. We also need personal shoppers to help during a one–hour appointment. We have a full boutique, and volunteers suit women from head–to–toe with interview and/or workwear, and help with what could be the biggest day of these women’s lives. Stock room and administrative volunteers are welcome, as well. Donations of professional women’s shoes and coats are needed, too.
For more information, visit Dress for Success Indianapolis here.