Dress for Success supports women
- Andrea Ledding | March 09, 2020
When Morgan Kalk was a post secondary student, she was invited to Dress for Success to choose gently used business clothing for job interviews and other events where she would need to look professional.
For $20, Kalk and other students were able to fill a bag of clothing from an inventory of items left over from regular Dress for Success clients. She chose clothes in which she would feel confident at interviews, professional networking events, and galas.
Beyond clothing, Kalk received support and advice.
“There’s a community of women and men who want to see other women succeed, so they push them out into the community with newfound confidence and the boost that they needed,” she said.
Dress for Success in Saskatoon is part of an international charitable organization operating in 25 countries. Local chapters work with other non-profit and government agencies, which refer women entering or re-entering the workforce.
Kalk, a recent graduated of Edwards School of Business, first encountered Dress for Success when she was a student at Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT). After the $20 shopping spree, she was invited to a one-on-one “suiting.”
“This time I had a personalized experience where I got to go in, got some coaching and influence in all sorts of outfits over several hours, and they provided me with a care package of things I might need going into the professional world, and a makeover,” said Kalk. “That was really exciting for me, above and beyond.”
Dress for Success volunteers also offer guidance and support for upcoming interviews.
“With this boost, (clients) start to succeed and see what they’re capable of. And that starts a cycle of women who want to see other women succeed, it certainly has for myself,” Kalk said.
Kalk, from Lac La Ronge Band, is now an associate with DCG Philanthropic Services.
In early March, she was a guest speaker at the organization’s annual fundraiser, Nutrien Ensemble, where she was nominated as a local hero.
“I think that heroes come in all shapes and sizes and what really classifies a hero is somebody who has a strength and is willing to share that strength to elevate the people around them, and that’s exactly what Dress for Success does.
“You don’t have to be wearing a cape, you can wear a business casual jacket and see an opportunity to elevate another woman, remembering when you were in that position and helping others do the same. Hopefully I can impact another women or multiple women the way have and do the same thing and continue that cycle.”
In 2019, 29 per cent of suitings were provided to clients who self-identified as Aboriginal. That rose to 41 per cent over the past five years.
Dress for Success accept donations of new or gently used business and professional attire for women and is also looking for more agencies that would like to refer clients to them. Current referral agencies in Saskatoon include SIIT, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Aboriginal Teachers Program and the YWCA.