Tarana is one of Dress for Success Vancouver’s ten client ambassadors that will be walking the runway on May 9th at IMPACT 360 | Flourish. Her story of resilience and giving back is an inspiring example of what Dress for Success strives to accomplish with all the women that come through our doors. Here’s her story:
There are a lot of accomplishments in my life that I am proud of. Back home I helped to build a Vocational Education School for refugees and vulnerable population in a conflict affected area from 3 vocational classes into an institution. I worked as an Emergency Response Coordinator in Georgian Republic after the war with Russia. Then, I moved across the world and started everything from zero.
I came to Vancouver in February of 2012 from Azerbaijan and it was one of the most challenging phases of my life. Even with over 15 years of professional experience working with International NGO’s and having a degree in International Development from an American University, I was still faced with tough job market in Vancouver. I was discouraged and lost my confidence while I struggled with two part-time jobs.
When I first came to Dress for Success, I would have never imagined where I would be today. I was lucky enough to be referred to DFS’s Professional Women Group Program. This program introduced me to opportunities that allowed me to connect with other professional women and grow my network. It served as a great resource for learning about women’s issues in Canada including challenges and opportunities of their professional careers. DFS helped me regain my confidence through different development workshops, volunteering, mentorship opportunities and more. And, it helped me to realize how pretty I am!
I remember how I started believing in myself again. It happened when I was selected as a finalist for Community Action Project – a small grant program. I was given a chance to do my own research project. As a part of the program, I attended the Dress for Success Summit in Alexandria, Virginia where I received a Project Management Certificate. This project was one of the most unique experiences in my professional life. It allowed me to extend my network, and to advance my communication and leadership skills. It was a great experience where I gave back to the community and to Dress for Success Vancouver’s Professional Women Group.
Through Dress for Success Vancouver, I have met a lot of wonderful and inspiring women that helped me grow my career, boost my self-esteem and get where I am today. In Vancouver I worked with Immigration Services and helped thousands of Syrian refugee families to settle in BC. And, right now, I work with Aboriginal Friendship Society of Vancouver and I am coordinating one of the biggest events – National Indigenous Day 2018 on June 21st.
I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am today, personally and professionally, thanks to the encouragement and belief of the Dress for Success Vancouver team.
Photo: Broda Photography