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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.





Filtering by Tag: confidence

2018 National Smart & Sexy© Day Highlights


The Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits


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


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


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

Put Your Client’s Natural Skills To Work

Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.


By Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.

Most people have a pretty good idea of what they don’t do well. In this culture we get ample feedback about where we don’t measure up. From academic evaluation to job performance reviews, the main focus is on areas in need of improvement not on areas of competence and talent. But it is discovering areas of natural skill, things that people have the innate ability to excel at, that will provide them with meaning, purpose, and passion for life.

Those returning to the workforce or preparing for their first real job are more likely than not to be focused on where they fall short. While it is true that they may have many areas in need of improvement, focusing on these at the beginning is a sure way to sap self-confidence and damage self-esteem.

The challenge is to help people achieve their dream of finding employment that they will be good at and enjoy. Interviewing for a job with confidence and knowledge of what one does naturally well is a great way to start out on the right foot and dramatically improve the chances of being hired.

When people have the opportunity to perform their natural skills on a daily basis as part of what they do they find more satisfaction in their work, bring more energy and enthusiasm to work tasks, and are more effective and productive on the job.  

Skills discovery can be a challenge for those not used to thinking about them. As someone preparing people to re-enter the workforce, you can play a vital role in orienting them towards recognizing their strengths by asking them some simple but powerful questions:

1.   What is something that you do that others compliment you on that you think is no big deal?

One of the great ironies of our natural skills is that because they come easily to us, we think that everyone is capable of doing them equally as well. This question can easily help people begin to recognize how they are ignoring a skill that is readily available and acknowledged by others. It gently challenges beliefs about value and reframes the concept of natural skills.

2.   What is something that you know or do well that others don’t get no matter how many times you explain it to them.

This question gets people to focus on what they are capable of that they uniquely bring to a job. A sure sign you have discovered a natural skill is finding something that you take for granted that others are incapable of doing or do only with great effort. It is so simple for you to do that it is difficult to believe that others can’t. The reason it is “simple” is because it is a natural skill for you and not for them! Understanding it and performing it is part of who you are. It is innate.

3.   What are three skills that you would like to use every day?

Those things that we like to do on a daily basis most often give us satisfaction because they are based on one of our natural skills. Find what someone likes to do, and you will find a natural skill at the core. You don’t have to stop at three! The more natural skills people are aware of, the more easily they will be able to know what work they will enjoy doing and to evaluate possible employment positions for a good fit.

As you explore these questions you will change how who you are working with thinks about themselves and their talents and skills. They may find these questions challenging to answer at first, but when they recognize that they already have valuable skills that are distinctively theirs; their ability to find others increases. Skill discovery is an on-going process that becomes easier the more it is practiced.