From Our Chair
"If you change a woman's position economically, you change her whole household."
-Juanita Ingram, Esq.,
Founder & Board Chair of DfSGL
Thank you for connecting with Dress for Success Greater London. It is an honour and indeed a privilege to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and provide you with a brief overview of our history and where we are going.
I started my journey with Dress for Success in the United States in 2008, serving as a model for various fundraising events and a dressing volunteer. Since then I served in numerous volunteer capacities over the last 11 years. In 2013, while residing in Ascot, I received a call from the Worldwide CEO asking for my assistance in re-establishing the presence of Dress for Success in London.
I still recall the first client that I served. Her name was Tina and she had overcome a great deal of adversity. She was a domestic abuse survivor and homeless. Her strength and tenacity, coupled with the support she received from Dress for Success, led her to full-time employment and a new lease on life due to her economic independence. Countless experiences such as this continues to compel me to support the work that our volunteers do.
I continue to travel back and forth from the US to the UK and support the work being done in London because I truly can see myself in so many of the clients that we serve. Whether coming from a sensitive background such as Tina, or simply being out of work for an extended period of time, the women we serve are brave and determined to change the trajectory of their lives. When the economic crisis of 2008 hit, my company’s entire legal department was made “redundant” or as we say in the US, downsized. It was unexpected and extremely upsetting. Consequently, I know what it is like to apply for numerous jobs week after week. I know what it is like to give your all to a job and for no fault of your own, suddenly find yourself without employment. I understand and I am committed to being an agent of change for as many women as we can reach.
While the demographics of the women we serve vary greatly, one common thread that connects all of us is the experience of unemployment and how it affects our self-esteem. We want to be the network of support that not only enables women to get back into the workplace, but to do so with newfound confidence.
The process of starting this affiliate began in November 2013. We opened the doors and saw our first client in February 2015 and we remain focused on continuing the legacy of helping unemployed women succeed at their job interview and ultimately find economic independence. We have the benefit of being an affiliate of a large and well established worldwide charity organisation, present in 154 offices and 30 countries, which has been in existence for over 20 years.
We focus on giving each client a very dignified experience when they walk through our doors. Unlike others who provide similar services, we offer our clients a differentiated experience where dignity, respect and self-worth come together to build confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem while they are on the road to economic independence. We re unique in our global established brand, partnered with our local understanding of our clients and supporters.
Each affiliate of Dress for Success is a stand alone organisation with its own board of trustees and operational staff.
While our current Greater London affiliate is successfully emerging from its initial three year start up phase, we are grateful to the ongoing support from our Worldwide organisation and sister affiliates as we continue to leverage a global platform that provides for shared learnings, best practices and global corporate social responsibility opportunities.
This again makes DfSGL unique in its ability to help women in London though the implementation of well established practices and program with the backing of a time tested and trusted global organisation.
We have a 67% success rate with the clients that we serve and that is largely due to the volunteers and staff that make it all possible.
Thank you again for connecting with us and we look forward to continuing the work that we do to see women thrive and succeed in London.