How Women Can Get Ahead by Dressing for Success

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Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) –- Dress for Success Worldwide CEO Joi Gordon discusses how her organization empowers women by helping them gain employment and self-sufficiency. She speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

America is getting back to work.

One organization that has been instrumental is dress for success worldwide.

The organization has helped more than 650,000 women work towards employment and self-sufficiency.

The chief executive spoke with me about how they have expanded to more than 130 offices and 15 countries.

It started in new york city, 17 years ago.

It was started by a young woman with $5,000 who believed she could change the world.

She has done that.

Today, 130 offices in 15 countries.

We help women get back to work.

We start with how she looks and feels.

We give her the suit, the issues, the handbag, the makeup.

More importantly, we give her the confidence she needs to walk through the door and look and feel dressed for success.

We have a host of other programs that are wraparound services.

We have programs for when she lands her job.

What kind of program do you put them through?

It is one thing to walk in the door.

You have got to feel comfortable wearing the clothing.

You have to feel comfortable looking for the job.

Our newest program is called going places.

We focus on what happens to the woman if she does not land her job.

We focus on the career search, the interview, the resume, the tools shinnies, how she markets herself.

We give her the boost she needs looking for a career in pictures she has the success as she is looking for work.

. where does the money come?

We're fortunate in that we have wonderful corporate sponsors.

We're largely corporate supported.

It is probably a non-traditional model from the regular non- profit.

We are largely corporate support.

Many of our corporate friends understand if we can get a woman back to work to take care of herself and family, it helps the economy.

Great corporate support is how we are thriving.

What about the demographics of the women who come to dress for success?

It depends.

In america, the majority are women of color.

Outside of america, the demographics change.

The woman is about 35 to 45. she is a little older.

80% are single mothers.

They're not just mothers.

They are single mothers.

They are the primary breadwinner in the family.

It is critical that she finds a job.

The breadwinner in the family.

What kind of job she going after?

In most cases the women are looking for entry-level employment.

You will see a lot of women going into retail or administrative assistants positions.

The economy has changed some of that.

It is not like when we started in 1996. it is any woman who is unemployed who needs a hand up.

We find women with a lot of experience but today are out of work.

She may be able to go into a position at the managerial level.

It depends.

Is there any educational level necessary to participate?

Not at all.

You just need to be unemployed and need support from an organization that cares about your success.

Have you noticed any change or transformation in the kind of skilled people bring to the job search and the way that they relate to wearing certain types of clothes over the last decade or so?

A lot has changed in the popular culture.

A lot has changed searching for a job.

Aiken backtracked when i was in the job market 20 years ago.

You were able to apply for a job walking into a company and filling out an application.

Most jobs today require you to be able to apply online.

A lot of our women struggled with that.

There is still the digital divide between those who have and have not.

It can be a struggle to find employment if she has to have a computer.

Getting her up to speed on how to apply for jobs is much different from in the past.

Trends definitely are changing the way a woman will feel confident in the clothing she wears.

We like a classic look.

The suit is important.

That is not going to change.

When you go on an interview, it is important to be dressed for success.

The suit is a no-brainer.

If you can put on a nice suit and great pair of shoes and a smile, that is half of the battle.

We have women who have come to our organization from horrific situations.

It may be prison, domestic violence, or homelessness.

Today they are working women.

Their children are thriving.

They get to see a mom that works and a role model at home.

They are great success stories for themselves and their family and ultimately their community.

My thanks to joi gordon of dress for success worldwide.

The s&p 500 closing lower by nine points today.

The dow jones industrial average loses 70. the nasdaq falling about 13.5 points.

One stock we're watching is zillow.

Share is moving lower by 7%. shareholders are not as clearly we did not necessarily taking the new purchase easy.

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