Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Shear

Meet Barbara Shear, a Writer and Strategic Communications Consultant and Dress for Success Worldwide Volunteer.

DFS: What does Dress for Success mean to you?

BS: Dress for Success is a wonderful organization to promote women’s empowerment. It’s gratifying to be part of a process to help women get back on their feet, develop self-confidence, as well as provide support and encouragement to one another to achieve whatever they want professionally and personally.

DFS: What drew you to Dress for Success and why did you want to be part of the organization?

BS: I remembered seeing a segment about DFS on “60 Minutes” shortly after it was formed and thought what a fantastic way to help women who were struggling get back into the workforce through the suiting process. However, DFS has grown to be so much more than just a suiting organization. It’s helped thousands of women over the years contribute substantially to the economy through its network of programs and services after helping women land meaningful work. At a time when it is so critical for women’s voices to be heard and to help them grow into decision-making roles in companies, I wanted to lend my time and talents to an organization that was focused on doing just that.

DFS: Tell us a story of a client you served that stands out in your mind and that you are especially proud of? How did she impact you?

BS: Early on, I met a woman who came in with her friend. They both looked about the same age, late 40s to early 50s. The woman I helped was going for an interview. We came up with a beautiful outfit for her.  She looked confident and happy, and we were certain she would “knock ‘em dead.”  She was still uncertain. She confessed that she had been out of the workforce for 20 years.  As it turns out, she wasn’t in her 40s or 50s, but 72! She looked amazing, but more impressively, she was re-entering the workforce when so many people retire. She reminded me a lot of my mother who started her own ad agency with a partner when she was in her 20s and didn’t retire until she was 82!

DFS: Describe some of the feelings you have when you are working with a client and seeing that transformation first hand.

BS: I love working with the clients and seeing that sense of pride and self-confidence come to life as they find their ideal outfit, work with the volunteers and staff about how to present themselves, do mock interviews, and then leave knowing they will land a job.

DFS: What is the best part of being associated with DFS?

BS: Getting to know the staff who are so dedicated to enriching the lives of the clients.

DFS: Do you feel you are making an impact by volunteering at DFS? How?

BS: Working with the clients, I feel like I’m helping them build their confidence and self-esteem.  Through the writing and communications, I feel like I’m helping to tell a broader story about the organization’s goal of empowering women in all aspects of society.

DFS: What is your best advice to give to other volunteers?

BS: Get engaged in your passion. That’s when you will make the biggest difference.

Click here to learn more about how you can become a volunteer at Dress for Success Worldwide. 

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