"I found my purpose in life at Dress for Success, being a part of a woman’s transformation," Joi Gordon said.
Dress for Success CEO Joi Gordon has not only helped transform the lives of close to one million women, she’s helped save their lives too.
"Outside my balcony, standing on my 3rd floor ledge thinking this is really it for me," a Dress for Success client remembered. "When the door opened for Dress for Success it was like the entire world opened to me."
"Where did you begin in all this, is this what you wanted to do growing up?" I asked Gordon.
"I went to school, I got my degree in journalism then I went to law school and got my law degree," she explained. "I really thought I would change the world by giving a voice to people who didn’t’ have a voice and that’s what we do here at Dress for Success."
It's all about wrapping their arms around women, to achieve economic independence through a network of support, from clothing, hair and makeup to help them find a job and gain confidence in themselves.
"The mission statement here is really about empowering women to live their best lives and allowing women to thrive both in work and in life it certainly starts with the suit , it doesn’t end there," Gordon said.
"How how do you size somebody up to know what they need?" I asked her. "It starts at the door when we know her name and we know where she is going on her interview. For many of our women they are single moms so it's not only about taking care of herself it’s taking care of her entire family. We suit her from the inside out."
Like Terry, who now has a full-time job at a railroad company.
"They had time for me, they talked to me and they encouraged me," she said.
"This door is open for anyone who needs it, if you need a job and you need support we are the organization to do that for you," Gordon explained. "For me this has been more than a job, it has been a mission and a passion for many years. I grew up here, Dress for Success started with $5,000 in the basement of a church on West 4th street 30 years ago, now, it’s become a global movement, in 143 offices in 21 countries"
As for what we need to do as women and role models to help more women...?
"What young women need are other women to help pull them up," she said. "All women can reach down and help other women and it all starts at middle school age."
So who helped make Joi Gordon the Changemaker she is today?
"When it comes down to it, the very core of who I am is because I was raised by an extraordinary single mom," Gordon smiled. "There is no one greater than my mother as far as role models go."