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Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits
c/o The Women’s Alliance
1775 Eye Street, NW
Suite 1150
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1775 Eye Street, NW, Suite 1150
Washington, D.C. 20006
United States

We’re a growing network of career development nonprofits that provide business attire for women and men seeking work, empowering them to economic independence.

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Blog

 

 

[ACDN Interview Feature] Shevy Lindley, Board Member

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ACDN: How long have you been serving on the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits (ACDN) Board?

S.L.: I joined ACDN 5 years ago as a volunteer on the Technology Committee and later on joined the Board as Secretary.

ACDN: Tell us how you initially learned about Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits and what drew you to participating on the Board of Directors.

S.L.: I was introduced to ACDN by Lynda-Ross Vega who was President at the time since we both lived in Texas and she invited me to join the organization over coffee one day. Since she was a personal friend of mine, I accepted the invitation and was happy to know I would be able to contribute my technology skills and join others who were passionate about ACDN's mission.

ACDN: What roles have you engaged in or currently engaged in? What activities on the board are most meaningful to you?

S.L.: I volunteered on the Technology Committee for 2 years, then joined the board for another few years and am currently the board secretary which allows me to use my detailed writing skills to benefit the organization.

ACDN: What makes ACDN special or unique?

S.L.: ACDN is special to me because its mission resonates with me on a very personal level. My mom was a single parent before meeting my stepdad and she would have been a prime client for ACDN. Knowing that my own mother would have been involved in and benefited from this organization and it makes me extremely happy to be able to contribute my time and energy now to supporting our efforts and giving back to the greater community.

ACDN: How has your role affected you?

S.L.: It's all been positive and makes me feel that I'm contributing to something bigger than myself by being involved in something authentic. Being able to help someone in a position my family used to be in a reward in itself. I love that ACDN has spread to many cities and helps people across the U.S.

ACDN: What is your biggest challenge as a Board Member and how are you overcoming this challenge?

S.L.: I work in an extremely busy corporate environment as an IT Project Manager routinely leading five teams daily in the building, testing and deployment of various projects. Oftentimes my work week can end up being 60 to 70 hours leaving little time to fit in my ACDN duties. I love what I do with ACDN and am a perfectionist so it's important to me to keep my commitments and give my all. Unfortunately, I'll be rolling off the board after this year due to my demanding career responsibilities. I would always want to give the best of me and never like to do anything halfway.

ACDN: Tell us a story about a meaningful project or activity you work on for ACDN.

S.L.: When I started, we were just getting the website up and running and I was very passionate about helping upgrade it with more robust e-commerce functionality to allow members to pay dues, register online for events, and capture important information such as email addresses. I really liked helping to replace old antiquated methods, such as a member mailing in a check with snail mail, with faster upgraded technology that was keeping with the times.

 
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Shevy and colleagues at the ACDN National Conference in Philadelphia, PA. October 18-21, 2018

 

ACDN: My vision for the future of ACDN is…

S.L.: To continue to grow with more organizations joining and benefiting from the knowledge provided while extending our reach to even more cities across America. For example, I'm not sure we currently have Texas member organizations right now but it would be great to continue growing our membership organization base in cities where our board members currently reside. I'd also love to see us do more to sustain the clients supported by our member agencies after they get jobs through increased follow up with a more robust plan to assist with career progression. For example, if someone gets a new job as a secretary how can we help to grow that person so that they can progress to a manager role.

ACDN: If it were not for ACDN,…

S.L.: I don't think I would be as involved in career development as I would want to be. My career is great on its own but I would think "Who are you helping?" I think our lives are worth so much more when we help others and not only ourselves. ACDN has given me a reason and the means to step out of corporate and help someone else with the skills I've attained.

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2018 ACDN Board of Directors. Back Row: Susan Walton, Lance Ekum, Patrycja Warda, Connie Golds, Shevy Lindley. Front Row: Marianne Jones, Tamara Pitts, Gina Diaz, Shanna Moody.

[ACDN Interview Feature] Jeannette Kendall, Executive Director, Success in Style

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ACDN: How long have you been involved with your agency and the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits (ACDN)?

JK: I am the founder of Success In Style, which I started seventeen (17) years ago. We have been members of ACDN for about nine (9) years…can’t really remember when we joined (you were The Women's Alliance at that time).

ACDN: What makes your organization special or unique?

JK: We are a self-supporting nonprofit organization, although we encourage donors and grantors, we do not depend on them. Success in Style (SIS) has four (4) resale shops that support our mission entirely. 

ACDN: How has this work affected you? 

JK: The growth of our organization has demanded that I grow with it. I started the organization as a fashion designer with no nonprofit experience or knowledge…just a bleeding heart with some big dreams. I used my marketing/business sense and my fashion expertise to defy the notion that nonprofits have to be long-suffering and shabby. 

ACDN: What is your biggest challenge as an Executive Director and how are you overcoming this challenge?

JK: My biggest challenge now is to grow SIS to the next level. We need to transition from a working board to a corporate minded, growth-oriented board with perspective, diversity and business experience. While achieving this goal, it is imperative to communicate to the current board, (who brought us to a remarkable level) our gratitude for their valuable contributions while they settle into into their new roles. A lot of research on the life cycle of nonprofit boards has helped us form reasonable expectations and guide our decision-making.

ACDN: Tell us a success story about your organization. 

JK: Success in Style now boasts studios (offices for SIS consultations) at six different locations, but we are extremely proud that three of these studios are on Job Corps campuses in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. When the newly trained students are going on internships or graduating from their program and going to interview for a job in their new trade, we are there for them to suit them up, provide interview etiquette and be their “cheerleader.” After their SIS consultation, many of these young adults often will stay in their suits, even though they have to go back to class — in order to show off their new found confidence!

ACDN: Tell us a client story.

JK: I have a couple to share. Margot came to us while seeking refuge at a domestic violence shelter. She was a stay-at-home mom with two young children. After a life threatening attack on her life she took charge. She came to SIS broken but determined. She had been out of the workforce for a few years so after receiving coaching on current style and appropriate work attire, she was confident and eager to interview. She received an offer on her second interview as a teacher at the school her children attended. Ever since then, Margot has shopped for her clothes at our supporting resale shops and brings her now grown daughters too. Margot was remarried last year and is still teaching and often expresses her gratitude for the support she received at the lowest time of her life.

Jonathan is an immigrant from Morocco. He was such a gentleman at his consultation. He was so grateful for his new look but realized that we were missing something important on our menu of services provided: hair care. He became a licensed hairstylist and now offers one free haircut for each of our clients. 

ACDN: Complete the following sentences...

JK: Being a member of ACDN enables our agency to... "Have access to an incredibly diverse group of individuals with endless resources."

JK: If it were not for ACDN... "Our clients would have really ugly bras (true) AND honestly among other things, ACDN is the best confidence booster to start-ups. I received a visit from the execs at that time; they made me feel truly empowered to follow my vision…and I did!"

Pictured: Clients of Success in Style

Success In Style’s mission is to assist women and men in crisis in becoming employed and self-sufficient. We promote dignity and professionalism through appropriate business attire, practical fashion advice and interview counseling. We enhance our client’s appearance and help them conquer the initial barrier—first impressions. We build self-esteem so our clients radiate the professionalism and confidence necessary to gain employment and build a career. We help improve the quality of life for our clients and their families and the community at large by committing to establish a social culture of equality and respect for all people.

Success in Style has been a member of the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits (ACDN) since 2007. 

2018 National Smart & Sexy© Day Highlights

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The Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits

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The Alliance of  Career Development Nonprofits (ACDN), through its partnership with Smart & Sexy© Lingerie empowers and supports its member organizations with tools to deliver an annual full- or half-day professional and personal development program to celebrate National Smart & Sexy Day. During March, Women’s History Month, eleven of our member nonprofits hosted National Smart & Sexy Day events for nearly 400 women and helped prepare them for employment.  Smart & Sexy© Day is an official holiday noted in the Chase Book of Holidays and recognized annually on March 13th. 

Smart & Sexy© Lingerie allows ACDN Members’ job seekers to be empowered from inside out. To that end, ACDN and Smart & Sexy© Lingerie sponsored a #SupportMeans hashtag contest to invite job seekers to define what “support means” to them.  Winning quotes were selected at each location and are highlighted throughout this piece. 2018 marks the 7th year of the National Smart & Sexy© Day event and to date over 1800 self-identifying women have attended. Many of the event hosts also received proclamations of “Smart & Sexy Day” by their city or state entities. 

We invited the Smart & Sexy Day hosts to share a short summary and highlights of their celebrations:

Click on the links below to read all blog contributions:

Bottomless Closet - New York, NY

Contributed by Alison Zaccone, Bottomless Director of Communications

I am very grateful for the informative sessions, lunch and gifts, all in an effort to make women feel more informed, confident and positive about themselves.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Bottomless Closet held its annual Smart & Sexy Day on March 13, 2018 at the Viacom Headquarters in New York City. The event was attended by nearly 50 women who enjoyed a full day of women empowerment and learning.

The first presentation of the morning was by Alyssa Gelbard, an Executive Career Consultant, Personal Branding Expert and Speaker, as well as Founder & President of Point Road Group. Alyssa talked about “The Power of Your Personal Brand” and the importance of being aware of the image you project to the world in all sorts of different professional and social situations, both in and out of the office.

The next presenter was long-time Bottomless Closet Volunteer Roberta Dougherty, who spoke to the attendees about “What to Wear: Office Culture and your Wardrobe.” Many times it’s challenging for our clients to decode the subtle differences between everything from ‘Business Formal’ to ‘Business Casual.’ Roberta did a great job of breaking down all of the different types of workplace dress codes and how to ace them.

The final presenter of the day was Anisha Bhasin Mukherjee from the blog Dress For The Day, who spoke about “How to Dress for an Interview On a Budget.” Anisha gave the women all of the best tips and tricks for where to shop in the city, where to find the best deals, and how to find great, affordable work staples.

Throughout the day, the women enjoyed participating in the interactive sessions, raffles and giveaway prizes, sharing their favorite #SupportMeans quotes onthe wall, and networking with each other.  A couple of our favorite quotes included: 

#SupportMeans being there through thick and thin, especially when you are at your lowest.”

”#SupportMeans unconditional love.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participants

Career Wardrobe – Philadelphia, PA

Contributed by Jacyln Schrauger, Career Wardrobe Program Director

Career Wardrobe’s Smart & Sexy© Day for 2018 was a lovely, intimate day! It was held on the University of Pennsylvania’s beautiful campus. After breakfast, catered by Bon Appetit Catering, we started with a welcome from our Executive Director Sheri Cole, and then moved into a workshop with the Philly Bra Lady, Karima Renee. She talked about how a bra should properly fit, common fit issues, different types of bras for different body types, and body confidence. All attendees, including Career Wardrobe staff, learned a lot! Then we transitioned into individual bra fittings of Smart & Sexy bras while Megan O’Neill, a wellness consultant, talked with our guests about how to maintain their body confidence and wellness on a budget, sharing tips about sleep hygiene, meal planning, free ways to exercise, and much more. A delicious lunch from Bon Appetit was enjoyed during this time as well. 

In the afternoon, we focused on the “smart” part of Smart & Sexy©, with workshops provided by the Wharton Women in Business organization. The first workshop focused on career mapping, where clients look at their skill sets, interests, and experiences and developed a pathway for themselves with one-on-one support from Wharton volunteers. Following that, Wharton Women in Business lead a segment on negotiation skills, and our clients got to practice one-on-one with them and flex their new skillset in a variety of role-play scenarios. 

#SupportMeans encouragement, hope, education, and networking! Being Smart and Sexy empowers me to be more confident and knowledgeable on my journey to success.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Our keynote speaker was the extremely motivating Nikki Johnson-Huston, who has experienced homelessness, dropping out from college, and poverty in her lifetime before she pivoted and re-entered college, earning not only her Bachelor’s but a law degree and launching her own tax law firm. She is now the Philly Tax Diva as well as a beauty queen as Mrs. Montgomery County. Her very inspiring and personal story encouraged our clients to share their struggles and triumphs with her as well, and the day ended on a note of strong support from each other. All clients and speakers received a gift bag from Career Wardrobe at the end of the day, which included gift cards, jewelry, and other tokens of our appreciation for their time and talents. 

Desert Best Friend’s Closet – Palm Desert, CA

Contributed by Connie Golds, DBFC Executive Director and ACDN Board President

Desert Best Friend’s Closet (DBFC) hosted it’s fourth Smart & Sexy© Day on Friday, March 9, 2018. This year, we opened the event to the public. Twenty-three (23) women applied and were accepted for the program; of this group, 17 women attended.

Our event kicked off with a keynote speech by Dr. Susan Murphy on “Smart and Sexy” self-esteem. Dr. Murphy has presented at past Smart & Sexy© Day events and is always very popular with the ladies. Veronica Vergne of Altura Credit Union presented on “Women and Money,” which was also well-received. Veronica shared that she never had a checking account until her late 20’s because her mother just used money orders and she thought that was how it was done. DBFC’s Matthew Campos presented on “Jump Starting Your Job Search” giving tips on how to effectively and efficiently search for work. Katherine Melbern of the Summit School of Protocol returned to present on how to give proper introductions. Each woman was able to practice and receive feedback from Katherine. Robyn Howard of Keys to Your Closet presented on how to “Build Your Wardrobe on a Budget” which included tips for dressing for your body shape and where to shop.

Two highlights this year were when the County Supervisor, V. Manuel Perez, came and presented a proclamation from the County Board of Supervisors honoring March 9, 2018 as Palm Springs’ “Smart & Sexy© Day.” The other highlight was two high school students from Cathedral City High School’s Digital Arts program volunteered to attend as our photographer and videographer. 

#SupportMeans building someone up; holding them in high regard and assisting where you can.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Jackets for Jobs, Inc. – Detroit, MI

Contributed by Alison Vaughn, Jackets for Jobs Founder/Executive Director

Jackets for Jobs’ 2018 Smart & Sexy© Day was a Success! 

Wednesday March 21, 2018 Jackets for Jobs celebrated Smart & Sexy© Day! We invited 31 ladies anticipating a few no-shows to have a goal of 25 women. 30 women attended our event on a beautiful sunny day. 

We opened the event with an ice-breaker, “What’s in your purse” game and served a continental breakfast. Our first speaker, Darlene Bulger motivated the audience with a powerful poem and speech about self-esteem and brought tears to many. Our second speaker Latrice Macon-Delgado was a familiar face to many because she is a regular guest on FOX 2 News regarding fashion. She gave good pointers about how to dress and fashion trends. The third speaker was very inspirational and a history maker of the sorts, Monica Morgan is an international photographer and speaker. She was also the personal photographer to the famous Rosa Parks. She has photographed everyone from the President of the United States to celebrities. She gave every guest a photo of Michelle Obama that she took at the first Presidential Inauguration. Everyone was so  excited to receive the photo. After Monica spoke, Alison Vaughn, Founder of Jackets for Jobs spoke over lunch about being “Smart & Sexy”. 

The City of Detroit’s Proclamation, proclaiming Smart & Sexy© Day in Detroit was on display for all to see and each participant received a bra/panty set and a gift bag. Jackets for Jobs staff and volunteers assisted each person with love and hugs. 

#SupportMeans...if you support me like a good bra I can conquer the world.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

JLEP Career Closet – Cranford, NJ

Contributed by Florence Baker, Career Closet Co-Chair

On March 20, 2018, the Junior League of Elizabeth Plainfield’sCareer Closet hosted a celebratory event from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Jumble Store located at 110 Walnut Avenue in Cranford honoring Women’s History Month.  Career Closet volunteers assisted women from three community partner organizations with selecting business attire. They also received a professional bra fitting and new Smart & Sexy bra, and training on building a resume, interviewing skills, and building a professional wardrobe on a budget.  The program included a presentation on social media and online tools to assist with job searches and networking.  A panel of professional women discussed how they were able to maximize the use of social media along with traditional networking tools in their careers.  The ladies also received a new computer tote, and a copy of Millennials in Wonderland: Coaching Grads at the Crossroads of Life and Careeralong with the clothing.  

#SupportMeans having the support of friends and family to take a leap of faith in a job change!
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Ladies of Valor Empowerment (L.O.V.E.) – North Miami, FL

Contributed by Alourdes Pierre, L.O.V.E. Executive Director

The 2018 Women's History Month celebration was a quite a moving event for more than 100 members of the community who came out to support and celebrate with Ladies of Valor Empowerment (L.O.V.E.) as they saluted prominent local businesswomen in an annual program entitled "Women Lead with L.O.V.E. – Smart & Sexy© Day" All the action happened again this year at the City of North Miami Public Library. In keeping with its mission to inspire women and girls of all ages to achieve personal and professional success, the North Miami-based nonprofit presented its 2018 Woman Pioneer Award to Enette N. Henderson, State Farm Agent and Financial Services Specialist, and L.O.V.E. Board Member. This career-focused day of enrichment and empowerment also featured well-known community figures sharing stories of how they achieved success, faced challenges, and overcame obstacles as women leaders: including Evrose Philias-Noel, MSN/MPH, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist-University of Miami, and Haitian American Humanitarian; Diana Gonzalez-Whyte, County Court Judge the 11th Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade County; and Michelle Garcia, ED. Dean, Dean of Academic Affairs, Johnson & Wales University, North Miami campus. 

"L.O.V.E.'s annual Women's History Month event allows us to shine a light of awareness to the important work of our dedicated members and the lasting impact they have on the lives of thousands of people in our community," said Alourdes Pierre, Founder and CEO of L.O.V.E. "It is our hope and desire that everyone left this celebration with greater confidence and readiness to start a new chapter in their professional lives." Participants received complimentary gifts from Smart & Sexy©. "We focus on helping women feel good about who they are, because feeling good is looking good," Pierre continued. "Such an event surely helps us to instill in the L.O.V.E. ladies the knowledge and confidence to achieve self-sufficiency through employment." 

#Supportmeans Ladies of Valor Empowerment, number one organization situated in one Of the largest Haitian American community who developing high risk teenage girls to become women leaders for tomorrow with donation of new beautiful bras, interview clothing and summer jobs for the YOVES and employment readiness for the LOVE ladies.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

MadeIt! Foundation – Baltimore, MD

Contributed by Lisa Wingfield, MadeIt! Foundation Executive Director

Madeit! Foundation hosted their first Smart & Sexy© day on March 10, 2018. This event provided great information on issues which affect women daily. The day included women's empowerment sessions in networking, activities, seminars, and great conversation. We had several sessions that focused on health, civil rights, wellness, beauty, and careers. MadeIt! Foundation had great, local guest speakers such as Rebecca Schaffner LGPC, and Roche with Roshe Cosmetics, Keith Merkey MCCR, Chere Goode and our Keynote Dr. Roz of TV One.

Madeit! Foundation was able to serve and help twenty-two (22) women in Baltimore from varying backgrounds and ages. Our National Smart & Sexy Day was a successful event because of all the hard work of our Staff, Board, Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits, and Smart & Sexy© Lingerie brand. 

#SupportMeans success and achievement to reach empowerment.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Suited for Success – Oklahoma City, OK

Contributed by Susan Walton, Suited for Success Executive Director

Suited For Success celebrated Smart & Sexy© Day, March 20that our referral partner, OSU-OKC Project Reach and Project Reach for Work, from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. The event was attended by 35 students/future clients, 4 instructors, volunteers, and amazing speakers. Smart & Sexy© Day is one of our most anticipated days of the year!

We held four principal sessions: (1) “Self Image,” with speaker Rita Maxwell, Executive Director, Wholistic Life Systems; (2) “Clothing Workshop” presented by Charlet Sauls and Maha Moorad, Personal Shoppers to Oklahoma City’s elite; (3) Keynote speaker Bansari Mehta, Medical Practice Administrator, spoke about the challenges she faced coming to America as a young single woman; (4) “Workforce Workshop” was presented by Rachel Rudisill, Director of Marketing, Express Employment Professionals; and the Smart & Sexy Bra-Fitting was lead by Susan Walton.

Attendees enjoyed the swag bags and prizes, but the beautiful Smart & Sexy bras were the best gift of all.  I would like to thank the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits (ACDN) and Smart & Sexy© Lingerie for making this day possible. 

#SupportMeans encouragement; backbone; unconditional love; encouraging others to succeed; family; networking; always willing to help.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participants

Tailored for Success – Malden, MA

Contributed by Elizabeth Hart, Tailored for Success Executive Director

Tailored for Success held its annual Smart, Tailored & Ready! /  Smart & Sexy© Day on March 27, 2018. There were 20 participants in attendance and they were treated to a light breakfast, lunch and goodie bags. The topics covered in this empowering workshop were: “Interview with Confidence,” where participants were given information on the various stages of the interview process; “Social Media & the Job Search,” to encourage those who were not incorporating social media in their job search to do so and how to develop a social media strategy and lastly, the participants were given information on the Massachusetts Pay Equity Law that will go into effect on July 1, 2018 and given information on how to negotiate for the best salary under the new law. 

#SupportMeans a “crutch” meaning that women have to support each other (e.g. give them a crutch to lean on).
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Transforming Lives & Restoring Hope – Roanoke Rapids, NC

Contributed by Stephanie Credle, Transforming Lives & Restoring Hope Executive Director

Transforming Lives & Restoring Hope, Inc. was one of eleven ACDN agencies to host Smart & Sexy© Day 2018.  Our event was designed to empower women in the Roanoke Valley Area. The event was held on March 17, 2018 and was a day-long event.  The venue was the 2ndFloor of the Renaissance Spa, a full-service spa that is adjacent to Lily’s Boutique.  This year’s event included the following themes:

1.     The Importance of Having a Vision

2.     Insights from a Human Resource Manager (Resumes, Interview Techniques & More)

3.     A Professional Image on a Budget (Lessons from a Thrifting Socialite)

4.     How to Get Unstuck (Moving Forward)

Over 20 women attended the event. State and local officials lent their support.  The Mayor of Roanoke Rapids issued a Proclamation, proclaiming March 17th and Smart & Sexy© Day. 

#SupportMeans not just the foundation; yet I see or view it as my pillars between the levels keeping me up.
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

WHW – Irvine, CA

Contributed by Ileana Leos, WHW – Program Executive Assistant

WHW recently celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting Smart & Sophisticated/Smart & Sexy© Day, a full day of employment readiness training, professional styling and individual support for 26 job seekers in transition. The morning was kicked off with breakfast and an impactful and inspirational presentation on Personal Branding. With the assistance of volunteers from Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) of PepsiCo, each job seeker was provided with professional clothing, accessories and foundation garments provided by Smart & Sexy© Lingerie. After a delicious lunch, job seekers participated in Interview Training and learned how to answer some of the tough interview questions. Everyone agreed that it was the perfect way to celebrate the month! One job seeker wrote, “Thank you for helping to empower us as women and for giving us valuable tools to launch us forward on our new positive path of life, success and happiness. WHW provides an amazing wealth of knowledge, support and strength!” 

#SupportMeans uplifting others no matter what. Being that person who encourages others to succeed & gives them the tools to do it!
— National Smart & Sexy© Day participant

Smart & Sexy Day 2018

Ariela Balk, CEO & Founder, Smart & Sexy

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Guest Blogger

Ariela Balk, CEO and Founder, Smart & Sexy 

Support means so many things to me. As a company, we make beautiful bras that support women and help them achieve their idealized physical shape. As a woman, one of my most rewarding responsibilities is supporting other women as they grow their careers and businesses, both financially and through mentoring. Helping shape the future, with more successful women, and women owned businesses is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend my time.

We take pride in supporting women all year round, but in March we get special the opportunity to witness our direct impact first hand. March 13th is officially Smart & Sexy Day and every March (Women’s Month), we team up with The Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits to host Smart & Sexy Day events in cities throughout the country. Smart & Sexy Day Events help give women the tools they need to enter, or re-enter, the work force. There’s more to being successful then just building an impressive resume, it’s about building confidence. Bras aren’t going to change the world, but the confident women who wear them will. Smart & Sexy Day events will inspire women - boosting their self-confidence so that they feel assured, confident, and most of all, employable.

Women who attend Smart & Sexy Day at a participating ACDN location will receive Smart & Sexy foundation garments from Smart & Sexy as well as job seeking skills training from leading local industry professionals and dedicated volunteers. Attendees will also be taught how to shop and build a professional wardrobe on a budget. This year’s events will be taking place at the following locations:

  • Desert Best Friend’s Closet (Palm Desert, CA) – March 9
  • Madelt Foundation (Baltimore, MD) – March 10
  • Bottomless Closet (New York, NY) - March 13
  • Ladies of Valor Empowerment (Miami, FL) - March 17
  • Transforming Lives & Restoring Hope, Inc. (Roanoke Rapids, NC) – March 17
  • Suited for Success (Oklahoma City, OK) - March 20
  • Jackets for Jobs, Inc. (Detroit, MI) – March 21
  • Junior League of Elizabeth Plainfield Career Closet (Cranford, NJ) – March 20
  • WHW (Santa Ana, CA) – March 23
  • Shining Success (Claremont, NH) – March 24
  • Career Wardrobe (Philadelphia, PA) - March 26
  • Tailored for Success (Malden, MA) – March 27

As Smart & Sexy day Marches on, we ask that you take the time to help empower women around you, starting with yourself.

CEO & Founder of Smart & Sexy

Ariela

What does support mean to you? Tell us in the comments below!

[ACDN Interview Feature] Connie Golds, Executive Director, Desert Best Friend's Closet

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ACDN: How long have you been involved with your agency and the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits?

CG: I am the founder of Desert Best Friend’s Closet (DBFC). We are approaching our 10-year anniversary later this year. We joined ACDN in 2011. I attend my first ACDN conference in Oklahoma City and felt like I met the most amazing group of professional women who would help shape DBFC into what it is today.

ACDN: What makes your organization special or unique?

CG: We are the only agency of our kind in our community. I also think what makes us special is that we have grown slowly, but strategically in the past 10 years. We started working out of our garages, then moved to our first space—rent free—after almost 2 years of collecting clothes and delivering to agencies. We now pay rent and are in a more accessible location.

ACDN: How has this work affected you?

CG: When you work in the nonprofit field, you start to see how great the needs are in your community. There are so many nonprofits providing very necessary support in the community.  I am proud to be someone who makes a difference in my everyday life.

ACDN: What is your biggest challenge as an Executive Director <in your role> and how are you overcoming this challenge?

CG: The biggest challenge as ED is not being able to do EVERYTHING that needs to be done. So, I need to pick and choose where to put my time and energy. Sometimes I make the right choice, but not always. I just wish there were more hours in the day!

ACDN: Tell us a success story about your organization.

CG: We are a service provider for the California Department of Rehabilitation. They send us their clients who have a “barrier to employment” and we help lower or eliminate those barriers. Becoming a qualified vendor for this state agency required us to align our policies and procedures with the state of California. It was a daunting task, especially for a small agency like DBFC, but we did it and received a three-year certification.

ACDN: Tell us a client story.

CG: We bring our Job Search Readiness program to the local Dept. of Probation once a quarter. Probation selects who participates. Last fall we met Brandon, 20 years old. Two weeks ago he showed up to “ring the bell of success.” What’s better than getting one job? Brandon had secured TWO jobs! He just beamed with pride when he came in to share his good news. In our business, it doesn’t get any better than that!

ACDN: If it were not for the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits...

CG:  ...I would feel very isolated. Joining ACDN meant that we are part of a larger, professional development organization that provides peer, program and agency support. We would not have grown from a $5,000 annual budget to nearly $200K budget in the last 7 years without the assistance and guidance from ACDN. Plus, they really are a fun group of people whose company I enjoy!

 

Photos curtesy of Connie Golds, Desert Best Friend's Closet

Desert Best Friend's Closet (DBFC) is located in Palm Desert, CA and their  vision is for all Coachella Valley residents to be economically self-sufficient through employment. DBFC educates and empowers their clients for success in employment and life. Founded in 2008, DBFC has served nearly 4000 women and men. They became members of the Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits in 2011.