Mary has been many places on her life journey. Beginning in North Africa as one of four children, Mary learned the value of hard work from her parents who worked tirelessly to send Mary and her siblings to school. While she had a very strong familial support system growing up, Mary immigrated to the United States alone and had to find ways to support herself through those hard times. In those trying times, Mary had to lean on her faith and her church. Relying on her parents’ lessons of resilience, hard work and persistence gave her the inner strength and poise required to establish a life in a new country.
Mary holds a BA in Literature and Education and was working as a caseworker for a city organization prior to being laid off in 2009. She was demoted to a lower title with a decrease in pay. This was a difficult time for Mary as she experienced what she called “self-esteem dislocation” because her identity was so closely interwoven with her salary, her job title and her work. It was during this time that Mary came through the doors of Dress for Success. Initially, Mary came to Dress for Success to pursue employment development services, but she discovered a sisterhood that continues to empower her.
Mary was referred to Dress for Success by Workforce1 to develop her resume and prepare for interviews with mock interview training and eventually took part in the suiting program. The suiting experience made Mary feel like an executive and boosted her self-confidence. She knew that with her new professional attire, interviewers would ultimately take her seriously as she now projected an image of confidence and professionalism.
Mary claims that success in her eyes is, “to achieve my desired life goals and realize those goals were truly what I wanted in life.” Thus, with the help of the suiting program and the seminars, Mary has a vision of her career that she is now confidently moving towards. She is pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. Mary also gives back to her community by mentoring and helping women of the Dress for Success sisterhood.