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Dress For Success Denver Celebrates Win
by Tara Becker

During tough times, and these are tough times, is when women are at their best. Banding together and rallying for a common cause. Case and point was at the Dress For Success (DFS) fundraiser on Monday, September22, 2008. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house. It’s hard to image that as of 3-years ago there was no Denver office for DFS. “We are back in Denver and thriving” says Joi Gordon, CEO of Worldwide.

What is Dress For Success? The Dress For Success mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

When women come in to be fitted, they don’t know what to expect. So, they actually don’t expect much. They are pleasantly surprised when they arrive at the offices trimmed in charming colors and words of encouragement such as “bloomapostrophe and “beautifulapostrophe adorning the walls. And, what they receive from the volunteers is the utmost respect that provides self-worth and confidence. By entering the DFS world, they receive suits and support for a lifetime. For when a woman puts on a suit, she’s transformed.

That’s what DFS is all about transforming lives one woman at a time. Giving her the tools to get a job and keeping it. Because by transforming her life, you are also transforming the lives of her children. 1100 women in Denver with an average of 2+ children equates to approximately 4000 lives that have been changed since they re-opened their doors back in 2005. When children see their moms go to work, it changes the dynamics in all of their lives. It’s not about changing clothes. It’s about changing lives, individuals, families and communities.

The key to a successful DFS affiliate is in choosing the right individuals such as the director, staff, board member or volunteers. They need to be just a little different than the traditional “non-profitapostrophe person. Possess certain talents beyond the norm, they need to be a cheerleader, a motivational speaker, have style in fashion and beauty. Not the least of which is that they care and want women to succeed. These are powerful women.

DFS now has 90 offices in 7 countries. There has been a surge in the international market for women. “They are where American women were 13-14 years ago,apostrophe explains Joi Gordon. “They are realizing that they have a voice.apostrophe They, too, can overcome the odds.

Joi Gordon started her career working at the Bronx DA’s office. This is what gave her insight into the lives of people. “There’s a story in everyone,apostrophe she says. This transitioned into working with a non-profit for crime victims. This is how she heard about DFS. Within 30-days of finding out about DFS, she was on the board of directors and by the end of one year she was on staff. To make a difference that is life changing giving hope and strength is part of her journey.

You can give to DFS in different ways. If, you don’t have the time to volunteer or be on the board, then donate suits or speak at the Professional Women’s Group (PWG). To find out more out about DFS, what they do, how they do it, and how to get involved, please visit the Denver affiliate at www.dressforsuccess.org/denver or email denver@dressforsuccess.org.