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Volunteer Spotlight | Career Specialist Sonia Kenward

The suit. It’s the first thing everyone thinks of when they hear ‘Dress for Success.’ Suiting women in professional attire is a big and important part of what we do. It’s a tangible hook that brings women through our doors. And, once they know about us we can offer them so much more as well. We are able to offer women one-on-one career counselling and workshops through our career center and eventually an 18 – month leadership program through our PWG.

Sonia Kenward is one of our Career Center Specialists who sits down with women for individually tailored meetings to help women to find focus with their careers and direction through their skills. She first heard about Dress for Success when she was the Director of HR at Fasken Martineau where the mining company would host suit drives.

Last September when Sonia started her own HR consulting business, she decided that it was time to give back and help people with her HR skills and immediately thought of Dress for Success. “I thought working with the Career Centre would be fun and make the best use of my skills,” she said, and she hasn’t been disappointed.

Lending her skills to help women gain perspective to overcome hurdles is something she likes doing because she can see such a big impact. “It’s rewarding when — at the end of an appointment — you feel that someone is a step ahead to finding a job or even a dream job.”

When it comes to finding that dream job, she said, “I think we all have obstacles. Weather it’s being intimidated by a process or trying to articulate our skills.” Helping women overcome these obstacles is where Sonia really feels like she is making an impact. “What got me started in HR in the first place was helping people and making a difference in people’s life,” she said.

Now in our Career Center Sonia helps women with everything from practice interviews and resume feedback to creating personal branding and mapping out career goals.

Recently, Sonia helped a client with their LinkedIn profile. It was a client who was overwhelmed with the task, but after just an hour with Sonia she had a renewed hope and vision for her job hunt. “It was great to see her so excited and exploring the power of the tool,” said Sonia.

We asked her why, as a volunteer she chose Dress for Success. “Its about people – women in particular,” she said. “Dress for Success is a good cause that makes use of my skills in a hands-on involved setting. I feel that when people leave the appointment they have they have clarity and have received guidance. They leave armed with more information.”

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