Meet Annie Dempsey — she’s a Dress for Success Worldwide intern on a mission to learn about the organization’s global impact this summer. Annie is on a trail to visit seven Dress for Success worldwide affiliates in Arizona, Ireland, Scotland, Luxembourg, Lithuania and Portugal. This week, Annie is here at Dress for Success Vancouver to learn about how we engage with our community and empower women back into the workforce! Here’s Annie’s Story:
Annie’s Dress for Success Vancouver Visit
I stepped into the community of Dress for Success exactly one year ago. As a nervous, but excited, intern for Dress for Success New Orleans for the summer, I walked into the New Orleans boutique last June not realizing that my life would soon change. I will never forget the very first Dress for Success New Orleans client that I worked with for her interviewing suiting–Alice. Alice was eccentric, bold, and humble all at the same time. By the end of the summer, I began to see clients, like Alice, who I had suited in the beginning of the summer coming back for employment suitings. They got those jobs that had worked so hard for! The women of Dress for Success New Orleans became my family, and I knew I could not leave just yet.
As a Robertson Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was challenged to craft a creative project of growth and intellectual pursuit for Summer 2018. I immediately gravitated to two major themes: Dress for Success and travel. So, when Dress for Success Worldwide agreed to take me on as an intern to explore several of their worldwide and domestic affiliates, I could not have been more ecstatic. I wondered how a female-focused nonprofit like Dress for Success served so many women spanning so many unique and diverse cultures. How does it create empowering and forward-thinking programs for groups of women that experience the workplace and job search differently every day? In short, I wondered how the Dress for Success model was impacting the lives of one woman in Vancouver, Canada and another woman in Lisbon, Portugal successfully and simultaneously.
During the months of May, June, and July, I will be visiting seven worldwide affiliates: Dress for Success Phoenix, Dress for Success Vancouver, Dress for Success Dublin, Dress for Success Scotland, Dress for Success Luxembourg, Dress for Success Vilnius, and Dress for Success Lisbon. Every time I walk into a new location, I find myself kindly welcomed by the staff, volunteers, and especially clients. Each affiliate has a special story to share. In Vancouver, I have learned about the incredible 10 Dress for Success Vancouver Ambassadors and even some behind-the-scenes action about how staff members Natasha, Marissa, and Jennifer keep Vancouver engaged with Dress for Success. Whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, Dress for Success Vancouver exclaims their values of dignity, inclusiveness, and hope for all women, while broadening the sisterhood that sits as the foundation of this organization. As this is my first visit to the country of Canada, I have also been enjoying the beautiful Vancouver weather, the diverse city life, and the people that keep it alive.
Visits to places like Dress for Success Vancouver allow me to think back to women like Alice in New Orleans who sparked my love for Dress for Success in the first place. Throughout my travels this summer as a Worldwide intern, I am excited to share in the sisterhood of Dress for Success that spans countries and oceans with the common thread of empowering women. So, thank you, Vancouver, for showing me how much of a positive impact Dress for Success can have.