You are passionate about many causes. What do you love about Dress for Success?
Dress for success resonates with me because it gives women a hand up; teaching them the skills they need to be successful in their job search. It’s not just about getting dressed up, it’s about interviewing skills, communication skills, job finding skills, things that may not come naturally and need coaching. Also, the folks who work at dress for success, and those who volunteer their time are so passionate about their mission to help women be self-sufficient, it can’t help but rub off!
Many of our women are getting a second chance to accomplish their goals and, honestly, a good stable life. What advice would you give to a woman just getting started on her professional journey?
It may feel as though getting the job is your dream has come true and the hard part is over, but keeping a job takes just as much diligence as getting it. Keeping the job is extremely important. Skipping from job to job makes each job harder to obtain. Also, learning to save is as important as it is difficult. Saving a small percentage rigorously and regularly is crucial.
What do you think women must know about success? Any misconceptions about what it means to be successful?
I could be wrong, but I think we each get to define our own success. For me it means doing the right thing, even if it is the hard thing, and feeling that if my actions were written in a headline, I could be proud.
A hammer and nail gun weren’t always the tools of your trade. You’ve changed careers. How did that happen? How can a woman change lanes and find her passion?
I changed careers because the universe pulled up, opened the door of a new ride that I knew nothing about, and said “get in”. The universe has never failed me, and it is my nature to jump in. I wanted to be on stage when I was very young (maybe 7 years old) and part of a local summer theater program, but I got terrible stage fright on my first attempt and gave up. It’s gratifying to have the barely glowing embers of that old passion reignited so many years later. And I don’t think it was luck. I think it was an energy I was putting into the universe and the universe responded. I guess what I am saying is that if you want to change lanes, you have to do all the things to be ready for the new lane, keep an eye peeled for the opportunity to move, then joyfully move into it when the opportunity arises.
How important is it for people to have the support of their village or tribe in accomplishing goals?
You couldn’t tell this by meeting me, or seeing me on TV, but I am a loner. Although I like self-sufficiency best, I am aware that I wouldn’t be where I am without a huge team: parents, siblings, teachers, friends, mentors, bosses, co-workers, priests, neighbors. I have learned that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Also, when I help someone else, it makes me feel wonderful. By not asking for help, I am denying someone else the experience of generosity, which is its own kind of selfishness.
What piece of clothing makes you feel confident and powerful?
I feel best in a white button-down blouse with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of flattering trousers with pockets I can jam my hands into.
Any tips for networking and interviewing?
I haven’t interviewed for a job in so long, that my tips may be a little old school. Prep by learning about the company and the interviewer (if possible). Be ready with reasons why you are right for the job. Go into the ladies’ room right before you interview and make yourself big: raise your arms, take a deep breath, plant your feet confidently. Feel the power of the stance. Breathe in confidence (not arrogance). During your interview, sit with good posture. Make eye contact. Answer questions directly and concisely. Ask the interviewer questions relevant to the job. As for networking, I have no skill at it, but have a friend who does it effortlessly and I am always amazed by her. She does a lot of volunteer work and belongs to all the possible professional organizations time allows. She is always extending a hand in greeting wherever she goes. She is genuinely interested in the lives of the people she meets and has some way of remembering even the smallest details about people. This behavior has created a vast pool of people from which she can draw when she has a need.