A Publication of WTVP

For the past 10 years, Dress for Success Peoria, an affiliate of Dress for Success Worldwide, has empowered over 1,400 local women to achieve their professional goals. As the group’s name implies, they provide women with the professional clothing needed for interviews and day-to-day employment situations. But that’s not all they do. Dress for Success is also a network of support, offering membership in its Professional Women’s Group (PWG) to help members in networking and learning new skills.

Jennifer Kincaid, lead mail room technician at Caterpillar’s Mossville location, got involved with Dress for Success in 2007. She was suited and started attending PWG meetings, where she learned about interview skills and personal dress, and was given a boost in confidence as she sought to advance her career. “It gave me the confidence to believe in myself and believe I was worth applying for these jobs,” said Kincaid. The recently-promoted Kincaid credits PWG with helping her through the process.

In June of 2005, Crystey Switlik had just graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and insurance. She was referred to Dress for Success by a friend who had just gotten involved herself. She saw the program as an opportunity for Switlik to not only receive professional clothing, but assistance with her resume and interview skills as well.

After landing a job with Great Central Insurance, now called Argo Select, Switlik continued attending PWG meetings. “It helped me keep my goals in mind and helped me actually pursue those [goals],” she noted. One of her goals was to obtain her master’s degree, which she completed last year, thanks in part to PWG’s support.

Amanda Dunn, the friend who referred Switlik to Dress for Success, also recently went back to school, inspired by the support she received from PWG members. “We talk about goals every month at our meetings,” she said. “[Going back to school] has been one of my goals for awhile, and it seems the women in the group can definitely help me stay on track.”

Now a Dress for Success suiting program coordinator, Dunn got involved when she went for an interview suiting herself five years ago. A year later, she was working there part-time, and after a brief maternity leave, was offered a full-time position, which includes some accounting work for the Peoria Friendship House, Dress for Success Peoria’s fiscal sponsor.

As interest in PWG has increased significantly over the past few years, the program was split into two different groups—one that’s more basic for new members, and a more advanced one for those who have been involved for at least a year. And as Dress for Success Peoria continues to grow, Program Director Laura Clark said they’re hoping to expand a new mentoring program called Women 2 Women, in which professional women from the community volunteer to mentor Dress for Success members. iBi

» On January 30th, Dress for Success Peoria will host a recognition ceremony to highlight its successes in the community. The event, “A Decade of Success,” will recognize 10 honorees and feature a silent auction and raffles. It will take place from noon to 2pm at the Hotel Père Marquette. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (309) 671-5200 or email [email protected].