Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Professional Women’s Group’s Graduation Celebration!

“Since I joined the PWG group, I gained more confidence and enjoy working with others a lot. I am very inspired by the chemistry of this wonderful group. It is a great experience of sharing and learning and this contributed to my success. Many thanks.” - PWG Member

The PWG members celebrate their graduation after receiving their 18-month career development program certification! 
On June 27th, 2015, almost 20 women graduated from PWG! Cheers to their success in completing the program. Here at Dress for Success Vancouver, our clients have the opportunity to enrol in a free 18-month Professional Women’s Group (PWG) program that assists members during the transition period from unemployment to being in the workforce. 

Our PWG Community Action Project ambassador Tarana Sultan and her commitee.

Our moderator, Sally, and our PWG Graduate, Thelma Palma, who shared her inspirational story.

In each monthly session, the women receive guidance from expert speakers, education on handling challenges and personal finance, as well as opportunities to interact and network with each other. The members truly invest in themselves by attending these workshops: by the end of the 18 months, they not only develop professional skills, but also the confidence to move toward self-sufficiency. If you would like to support a woman, a donation of only $30 a month ($360 per year) will give a woman the gift of self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and success through education, mentoring, and professional attire. Your donation will change her life and her family's lives forever. 

Brenda Benham welcomes our graduates into the PWG Alumni group!

The Pyrrha Team Supports Shop for Cause Sale, Benefiting Dress for Success Vancouver

We are so grateful for the help of seven ladies from the Pyrrha team with our upcoming Shop for a Cause sale! The ladies generously put in their time to sort through and organize shoes, purses, and clothing items in preparation for the sale. We truly appreciate the support - without volunteers like them, what we do here to empower women would not be possible.

The Pyrrha team volunteers together to organize clothing and accessories for the Shop for a Cause sale, which benefits Dress for Success Vancouver!
Shop for a Cause is our seasonal, 1-day clothing and accessories sale. From brand-new, to gently-used, to vintage, and to designer, there is a whole range of items at affordable prices. The upcoming sale is 10am to 6pm on July 25th, 2015 at Harbour Centre (555 West Hastings Street), Upper Mall Level. Here is a peek at just one part of the sale space!

"Before" shot of the Shop for a Cause sale space

"After" shot of the Shop for a Cause sale space - the Pyrrha team did an amazing job!
We would also like to announce something very exciting coming up with Pyrrha! Pyrrha has specially made a necklace piece in honour of Dress for Success Vancouver, and will be donating a part of the proceeds to our programs! This campaign will be starting in August. 

The Pyrrha team having fun while supporting the sale! 

Pyrrha's "Unafraid" with Critrine Talisman for Dress for Success Vancouver: 

"Unafraid" by Pyrrha, for Dress for Success Vancouver
The sun on the talisman symbolizes optimism and liveliness, and reminds us that hope shines through even in our darkest times. The citrine stone energizes and draws prosperity and success.

Check out what Pyrrha is about here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Corporate Partner Spotlight: Spark Creations

A few weeks ago we met Lorie Corcuera, co-founder of Spark Creations who also serves as a mentor to countless women in the Dress for Success Vancouver Professional Women's Group. As a company, Spark's mission is to create and inspire loving human connections through both corporate and personal coaching workshops. Read on to find out how they create loving human connections as a corporate partner.

How is Spark Creations involved with Dress for Success Vancouver?
We have the Spark it Forward Race. which is a fundraising event. We raised over $17,000, there were 80 people involved plus volunteers and organizers. It was a great success. We want to continue to partner with Dress for Success Vancouver on some type of event. 

We’re also involve through mentorship and we save two spots for Dress for Success Vancouver women to join our Spark retreat and program. I often facilitate workshops and speak at PWG events.

What is the lasting impact of Spark it Forward?
We were able to share over 2000 random acts of kindness in a 2 hour period and I think a lot of the people who experienced the race as participates, volunteers or within the community will remember these people out there sharing random acts of kindness. That will have a lasting impact. There will always be one person out of the race who will want to spark it forward. 

What makes Spark Creations so passionate about the organization and how do you incorporate it into your company values?
Spark’s values are love, connection, and fun, so their values support and align with our values 100%. It’s an opportunity for us to share our love with these women, connect with them in a meaningful way, and to have fun. Whether it’s Spark It Forward or us mentoring, we want to create a WOW experience for them.

Is there anything else the community would be interested to hear about Spark?
Our purpose is creating and inspiring loving human connection, so whether it’s community or corporate, we’re focused on that. Everything we do is about creating an inspiring, loving, human connection. We continue to do it in the community, we bring it into the workplace where we’re seeing decreases in disengagement, and we want everyone single person to feel seen, heard, and loved. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mentor Spotlight: Lorie Corcuera, Co-founder of Spark Creations

Lorie Corceura, the strong-willed co-founder of Spark Creations brings the same passion she has for sparking connection and creating WOW cultures through her company, as she does as a mentor for Dress for Success Vancouver. Read on to find out why she chooses to support Dress for Success Vancouver.

How did you get involved with Dress for Success Vancouver?
Christina Florencio shared it with me and I had always heard of it even when I was in the corporate world.

My mom was a single mom and she went through a really hard time with my father. There was abuse and it didn’t end so well. We were coming in and out of women’s shelters. Organizations like Dress for Success Vancouver supported her in raising 3 daughters, giving her the support to find a job. It wasn’t DFS Vancouver in particular but an organization of that kind so it’s near and dear to my heart to be part of an organization supporting women.

What makes you passionate about Dress for Success Vancouver?
They’re supporting women who feel alone and need to be a part of a community. Dress for Success Vancouver is about community and about empowering the women, but in a way that builds community so you don’t feel alone. It’s not just about an individual woman and dressing her up but building her confidence by letting her be part of something bigger and part of a community.

How long have you been a mentor at Dress for Success Vancouver?
First time I spoke at the Professional Women's Group was January 2013, and I officially became a mentor April 2014. It’s been over a year.

What do you do as a mentor?
I attend the Professional Women's Group meetings on a monthly basis, but I also have mentees that I speak and connect with on a regular basis. They don’t designate a person to you, but they introduce us as mentors and it’s up to them to respond.

Favourite moments or client success stories that you can share?
One story that I think is amazing is my mentee Serena Cripps. I’ve spent quite a lot of time with her. She was so inspired to do fundraising for the Spark it Forward race. She wanted to start her own group and her own non-profit organization. She invited me to speak at her workshops. We’ve developed a great friendship and trust and whenever she needs help she reaches out. 

What’s the most fulfilling thing about working with Dress for Success Vancouver?
It’s the people, it’s the organizers - Christina, Lucia, Jennifer, Jen and Val. All those people who put their heart and soul into the organization and the women we get to meet everyday. Everytime I go to one of those monthly meetings I cry. It’s just so amazing what they’re doing and I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

Any words of advice for someone going through a tough situation?
Whenever you’re going through a hard time, always reach out to a loved one. Someone you know who is going to be there to listen, to support you and love you and just be there for you. I don’t believe we’re suppose to go through life alone, we’re suppose to do it together.

Most surprising thing about Dress for Success Vancouver?

In general for mentoring, you feel like you’re the one who is mentoring and sharing your experience but they have just as much to share. I feel like it’s a learning opportunity, to connect with people and I feel like I’m co-mentoring because i’m getting just as much from them as they are from me. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

SUMAC RIDGE Pays it Forward to Dress for Success Vancouver

On Thursday, June 4th, Dress for Success Vancouver celebrates IMPACT 360: Celebrating Families, Fundraising for Change. This is the 16th year for the Signature Fundraiser benefiting the three programs committed to empower women into the workforce: Dressing Services, Career Centre and the Professional Women’s Group.

This year, Sumac Ridge will be paying it Forward to Dress for Success Vancouver by being the wine sponsor for IMPACT 360 this year. Guests will enjoy the Sumac Ridge Pinnacle sparkling, along with white and red wine varietals.

Sumac Ridge is kicking off a yearlong do-good campaign. Established in the heart of Okanagan Wine Country, Sumac Ridge is the oldest operating estate winery in British Columbia. In February they invited Miss 604 to help Dress for Success Vancouver Pay it Forward. They offered up $500 so she could help us shop for much needed items at the boutique.

Thank you Sumac Ridge for Paying it Forward to the community and helping us empower women into the workforce. Join us on Thursday, June 4th and get your Sumac Ridge tastings on! Get your tickets now

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Monthly Sponsor Profile: Genevieve Blondin

Dress for Success Vancouver is fortunate to have the support of many outstanding volunteers, one of which is Genevieve Blondin, an amazing advocate of the organization. She has given her time in many ways including in the Career Centre, as a Style Consultant, a Committee Member, and now an Advisory Board Member. She also sponsors a woman with our monthly donor program.  

What do you do?
I’m the Chief Operating Officer at Growing City.

How did you hear about DFS Vancouver?
I had visited the Portabello West craft festival and met two ladies from YES Vancouver. They told me about DFS Vancouver.  I was new in the city and wanted to meet people. I started out helping with sponsorship for Power Walk. 

Why do you choose to support DFS Vancouver?
When the ladies from YES Vancouver talked about DFS Vancouver, it was an org that rang true to me. There are two type of causes I support: the environment and women. Since I already work in the environmental field, I thought in my spare time I would give back to women in need.

What is the most fulfilling thing about supporting DFS Vancouver?
Being able to see women gain confidence and get back out in the work force. Helping them be an active part of society again and making them feel good about that as well. 

What do you hope that DFS Vancouver can accomplish in the next 5 years?
I hope that they continue their growth like they’ve been doing now, they’ve been doing well. I hope that continues to grow over time and I hope that they will be able to grow their team to be able to capitalize on all the opportunities in the market. 

How long have you been supporting DFS Vancouver?
I have been supporting for 2 years. 

I volunteered for the Power Walk event and did quite a bit of volunteering for sponsorship for other events. I was a career specialist for a little while and this year I was asked to be on their fundraising advisory board.I’m looking forward to attending as many events as I can as a guest.

Why did you decide to sponsor a woman through DFS Vancouver?
Volunteering my time with the organization made me realize how much Dress for Success' services (Consulting, Career Centre, and Professional Women's Group) empowered and helped women back into the workforce. My involvement with finding sponsors for events also showed me how much each donation helps the organization grow so even more women benefit from the services provided by the amazing volunteers. For these reasons, I decided to make my donation count by choosing to sponsor a woman through their monthly program.

What does sponsoring through DFS Vancouver entail?
It's the easiest thing! Each month, I have $30 taken directly from my credit card (that's $1 a day!) and, at the end of the year, I receive a tax receipt. Now that I have less time to donate to the organization, this sponsorship program makes me feel like I'm doing my part.

Do you have a favourite story or memory from DFS Vancouver?
I’d say when we were able to bring on a large sponsor last year. A woman from Toronto came to Vancouver and Jennifer and I gave her a tour of the boutique and had a chat. That really helped convince them to come onboard. It just goes to show how powerful the story is, when they get a glimpse of the Day to Day at DFS Vancouver, most people are pretty ready to give. 

Any other thoughts about DFS Vancouver?

Being new to the city, DFS Vancouver helped me integrate into my new life in Vancouver and I’m really grateful for the relationships that i’ve built through them. It feels like a second family. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Corporate Partner Spotlight: Fasken Martineau

Fasken Martineau, a long time supporter of Dress For Success Vancouver and Impact 360. Carmine Boskovich, partner at the firm shares insights into their ongoing commitment to DFS Vancouver.

How is Fasken Martineau involved with Dress for Success Vancouver?
We have been involved with DFS Vancouver for at least 15 years in various board positions, fundraising activities, and clothing drives. It has been a long standing commitment of the firm to DFS Vancouver.

What makes Fasken so passionate about the organization? 
Women are making changes for themselves and wanting to improve their job status to better their lives and their families. DFS Vancouver supports women and their whole family and that’s fundamentally important. 

A really interesting fact somewhat unknown even in the legal community is that DFS Vancouver provides support to the Vancouver legal community. Students in the legal assistant training program at Douglas College are invited to get dressed at DFS Vancouver before their first interview. DFS Vancouver has a connection with the people who work out here and it’s one of those organizations that the firm is firmly committed to supporting because it’s a hand up, not a hand out.

What do you mean by ‘it’s a hand up, not a hand out’?
Women who come through the DFS Vancouver program really need to commit to their life and to their career plan. It's difficult for sure, some women have been out of the work force for a while or even if they just want an upgrade, it’s a lot of work for the women to go through the program. That’s why we love supporting them.

Are there any events that you look forward to the most?
Fasken has always been a really big supporter of the Impact 360 event, we’ve been sponsoring the event for at least 8 years now. One of the speakers that came to the event had a huge impact on me. She was so well spoken and her story was so inspiring, a really great example of the types of women that DFS Vancouver are helping. She came on to find success in her life from a place you wouldn’t have thought.  I was inspired to get involved and worked on the organizing committee for a few years in the sponsorship area.  And, if not me, every year there are Fasken people working on the event.

Impact 360 is always such a fun event and every year there’s something new. They try to make it interesting for people to come again year after year. 

What’s the most rewarding part of the work you’re doing?

I love to hear the stories about the women who have come through the program, and hearing the success stories. One memory that stood out to me is one of the spokeswomen talking about the impact that going through the program had on her children. The change in her confidence and outlook made a big difference in her life and as her confidence grew, so did the confidence of her children. You’re impacting many people within a family, not just one person. 

Is there anything else the community would be interested to hear about Fasken?
Our continuous support of DFS Vancouver demonstrates that we make commitments and see them through. We’re not jumping on the next new exciting non-profit, or the next fancy event. It’s about supporting your partners that are doing great work and you’re supporting people who are doing the day to day.

That’s why we commit to DFS Vancouver to sponsor Impact 360 every year. It makes such a difference to have consistent sponsors to come back to year after year as it allows the volunteers to spend their energy on other things instead of starting from scratch and getting new sponsorship every year.

How did you get involved with the organization?
My friend Ashley Willard-Baumaun has been on the board for the past five years and was the chair of Impact 360 (when it was IMPACT). She has done a lot of great work for DFS Vancouver and she invited me to come out.

One more thing
I did have the opportunity to work with Deborah Twocock and she was an amazing leader. I do think that her legacy has been continued and improved upon. I was involved when Deb was ill and it was a really hard time for the entire organization, she had all the institutional memory. I really respect how the organization went from everything that Deb did to focus on moving forward. I know she’s proud of where DFS Vancouver is today.