Dress for Success Vancouver
There are many great individuals who both merit and receive accolades and attention in Vancouver View’s Success & Style column, yet now a special mention must be bestowed upon a charitable organization of impressive range and substance. This year, Dress for Success Vancouver celebrates its tenth year of promoting the economic independence of disadvantaged women. They provide appropriate business attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help these women thrive in professional work and life. Indeed, when speaking with DFSV Executive Director Deborah Twocock, her sense of enthusiasm and respect for the women her organization aids shines through in every sentence.
Dress for Success Vancouver hosted its annual fundraising gala, IMPACT: An Event for Change, earlier in April at the stunning Birks Building downtown, where testimonial speaker Mary Ann Becher’s amazing story helped move the philanthropic audience to contribute just over $90,000 for the charity. When asked about her personal favourite success story, Deborah Twocock poignantly replies that she hasn’t one particular tale that moves her most, but many “little vignettes”, moments of courage and generosity that have kept her motivated and inspired for the last nine and a half years. Deborah contemplates for a moment, then fondly reminisces about one woman who walked into the office with a beautiful Anne Klein suit. This woman had been assisted by Dress for Success two years prior and was now working at a tech firm. The Anne Klein suit had helped give her confidence during the interview and now she was returning it to the charity in hopes that someone else might find strength in it. These wonderful stories, Deborah states, happen quite frequently around the office. The suits that are given to these underprivileged women symbolize DFSV’s faith in every woman’s ability to succeed.
The first Dress for Success office was founded in 1996 in New York City, and the organization has been operating in Vancouver since its creation in 1999 by Astrid Levelt. Today there are 83 locations across North America, and the charity is gaining momentum based on clothing and financial donations from companies and individuals wanting to help. DFSV has provided over 10,000 sets of business apparel so far and positively impacted over 1,000 women this past year alone. When asked where she thinks DFSV will be in the next three years, Deborah is excited to reveal that they are hoping to open a new ‘trades’ section, catering to non-traditional jobs, as well as to expand to more cities across Canada. It’s fascinating to learn what something as simple as a new outfit can do to someone’s self confidence—it shows a person that change is possible and success well within reach.