Dress for Success Vancouver Helped Me Create A Beautiful Settlement Story
Dress for Success Vancouver (DFSV) is true to their words. DFSV gave me dignity, inclusiveness, and hope when I was a newcomer to Canada. They helped me clarify my personal values, enhance my skills, and create a supportive network throughout my journey.
As someone who has immigrated alone, their support and services were very precious to me.
I have nothing but wonderful words for Dress for Success Vancouver. Let me tell you why.
Dress for Success is a global not-for-profit organization that helps women achieve economic empowerment by providing professional outfits, career services, and skills development.
It was established in 1997 in New York and has expanded to almost 150 cities in 25 countries. In Canada, it has more than 12 locations including Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto.
I first heard of Dress for Success Vancouver from two women in a pre-employment workshop. They caught my attention because they seem to be so excited about receiving beautiful professional clothing.
A month later, I was referred to DFSV for a suiting service. It was my turn to be impressed by the wide array of gorgeous clothes, shoes, and accessories. But what struck me most was the warmth of the volunteers and staff as they helped me find the right outfit. I left the DFSV boutique with a bag full of free clothing and accessories plus a heart bursting with renewed confidence.
Career Centre and Workshops
As a new immigrant, I knew that effective workplace communication is important. I was fortunate to attend a couple of DFSV training sessions on this topic
The Career Centre offers much more than communication workshops. Their volunteer HR professionals provide one-on-one consultations on:
- Job search
- Career change
- Resume and cover letter
- LinkedIn profile
- Interview preparation
Professional Women’s Group
In 2013, I was invited to join the DFSV Professional Women’s Group (PWG). Through this program, I was able to enhance my life skills, learn about Canadian culture, and clarify my personal values. I also had the chance to widen my professional and personal network. All of these helped me create my niche in Canada.
I joined PWG during one of the lowest points in my career. At that time, I felt frustrated, rejected, and isolated. I would see people go about their daily life with a routine and purpose while I am stuck in my job search. The thought of moving back home lingered in my mind, but it would be impossible to get back the life I left behind. On the other hand, I did not feel that I belonged to any group or the Canadian society. PWG helped me rise above these struggles. Each meeting gave me a feeling of belonging, being invited, and having a purpose.
I started volunteering for PWG the month after my graduation because I wanted to stay connected to this wonderful organization. Also, I knew I won’t be able to find excellent resource speakers and valuable information free of charge anywhere else. As time went by, volunteering has become a habit and advocacy. In fact, this sparked my commitment to community involvement and women empowerment.
Professional Women’s Group Alumnae
After graduating from PWG, I joined the PWG Alumnae. Through this volunteer-run program, we continue PWG’s mission, skills enhancement activities, and camaraderie. During our monthly meetings, we listen to speakers and practice our public speaking skills. I had the chance to introduce speakers, thank guests, and give presentations during these meetings.
Five years after I started volunteering, I stepped up to become one of the DFSV ambassadors. I think of myself as a passionate volunteer but a reluctant speaker. However, DFSV believed in me.
As mentioned in my bio, I had the honor of speaking at the 2019 Global Dress for Success Affiliates Conference and the 2020 Success Luncheon. To prepare for these events, I was coached by two amazing women: a TED, TEDMed, and TEDx coach as well as an author and communications specialist.
As an ambassador, I participated in numerous workshops including storytelling, public speaking, and mentoring. I also had my share of fun. I joined photoshoots and dress fittings. Then I walked the runway twice for the Impact Gala fundraising events.
DFSV Is Much More Than a Not-For-Profit Organization
I have used the skills I sharpened in DFSV in the workplace. Now, I host meetings, make presentations, and facilitate courses with more confidence. I have also gained clarity on my personal definition of success.
Actually, I was inspired to create this blog by the DFSV Ambassador Program’s mission to share stories of inspiration, resilience, and triumphs.
DFSV is not just a not-for-profit organization that helped me thrive in Canada. It has armed me with clear goals, sharpened life skills, and a supportive network. It continuously fills my bucket of confidence, courage, and hope throughout my immigration journey.
I arrived in Canada alone but I found a family in Dress for Success Vancouver.
Note: There are also organizations that cater to men. For those who are in the Vancouver area, check out Working Gear.