Dress for Success Columbus' Beyond the Suit Luncheon

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Dress for Success Columbus, an organization that outfits women in need for job interviews, is gearing up for its annual Beyond the Suit luncheon later this month. On Oct. 24, Dress for Success (learn more about its mission here) is welcoming a panel-including Ronette Burks of the Ohio Reformatory for Women-to speak about women transitioning from incarceration into the workforce. Moderating the panel is Stephanie Capparell, a news editor for The Wall Street Journal and a supporter of Dress for Success. We chatted with Capparell to find out the reasons she's involved with Dress for Success and what she hopes people learn at the luncheon. -Heather Weekley, @heather_weekley

You're a big supporter of Dress for Success, even sending clothes here to Columbus. What do you like about its mission?

I have been donating to Dress for Success for several years now. Then I came to find that my niece was on the board, and I became more involved. I am a big supporter of opportunity for people. For younger people and younger women, they need opportunities. I like that Dress for Success is very focused on that, and the most practical aspect on how to get an interview is how to get your game face on. It's extremely important. A lot of similar organizations don't do this so well. They think everyone is on the same page with how to approach the workplace. The second thing I love is that they have long-term engagements. I think that's extremely important that they stick with these women and help them. It's asking what bigger issues there are and asking what the big picture is.

What do you hope people take away from the presentation at the luncheon?

I want them to understand the big picture and what it means to help someone enter the workplace, especially from an extremely stressful, potentially unorthodox situation. You know that you're one of a certain type of worker…it helps people to know whatever their tendency is, there is a place here in the workforce. These tools erase all the potential negative barriers toward employment. You have to have some ways at looking objectively at what someone's talents are and then you can put them in the workforce. People are wrong when they try to find the perfect industry for themselves. You have to find the perfect thing that you like to do, and then you can fit into an industry. If people open up their mind to the opportunities for someone with their interest and skills, they will be happier.

Why is a program like Dress for Success important for women who are or were incarcerated?

It will help them to be confident and to help them understand that they have a potential in the workforce. There are people that can help them find the best way to enter that workforce and have success.