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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Organization Helps Women Find Job Success

By EMILY RAMSEY
Managing Editor

BUSINESS ATTIRE: From left, Dress for Success Tulsa Board President Katherine Skorvaga, Executive Director Ronda Adkisson and Board Vice President Kuma Roberts stand in Dress For Success Tulsa’s new location at 3103 S. Harvard Ave. in Tulsa.


EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers


It has been said, in reference to a well-known fairy tale, that one shoe can change a person’s life.

That is not far off from the motto of Dress for Success, an international nonprofit organization that provides clothing and career services for women in search of employment.

It is those services that helped to put Nancy Sposato on a new life and career path eight years ago.

In 2007, Sposato was holding three part-time jobs and looking for a fresh start and employment that would provide health benefits. She approached Dress for Success Tulsa after learning about it through the YWCA.

“Dress for Success helped me build self-esteem and self-confidence,” says Sposato. “It helped me build a strong foundation and to set realistic goals going forward.”

In May 2008, she was hired as a medical transcriptionist by St. John Health System, where she remains presently employed.

Dress for Success began in 1997 with the Tulsa affiliate opening in 2001.

Women receive one outfit for their job search and then can return to the store for additional outfits once they have obtained a job position.

“Our goal is to provide them up to a week’s worth of clothing,” says Dress for Success Tulsa Executive Director Ronda Adkisson.

The organization also offers career services including the Going Places Network, a seven-week course for unemployed and underemployed women, where they gain job searching and professional skills. “Our goal is to have clients employed in seven weeks,” Adkisson says.

The second offering is the Professional Women’s Group (PWG), which is available for women who have found employment. The group provides ongoing support and guidance regarding various areas of life, including work/life balance, health and wellness, and civic leadership. “When women realize that they can give back, that starts to increase their value because, many times, in the past they did not felt like they had anything to offer,” she says.

Women are referred to Dress for Success Tulsa by more than 140 nonprofit organizations, agencies, shelters, colleges, and technical institutes and are not charged for the services provided. Additionally, on occasion women will walk into the shop on their own, looking for guidance.

In addition to improving women professionally in local communities, Dress for Success is serving a much larger purpose of championing women’s rights, Adkisson says.

For example, she mentions a woman whom she knows who lives in Poland and spent two years waiting for her government to approve her application to open a Dress for Success affiliate location in her country.

“These women are changing mentalities in their countries, changing the way people look at women’s opportunities,” says Adkisson, who has been with the organization for eight years as its executive director.

Dress for Success Tulsa will hold a grand-opening event to celebrate the move to its new location at 3103 S. Harvard Ave. on April 7 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m., followed by tours of the store that will be open to the public.

Updated 03-28-2016

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