For Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the empowering women that work at our affiliate locations all around the world. These ladies are making an impact in someone’s life every single day and we thank them for their commitment to the organization. Throughout the month of March we will be featuring the women who are truly making a difference at their affiliate locations. Women’s History Month is all about recognizing the achievements of women and we plan on celebrating every day. Women helping women is what Dress for Success is all about and we see that power of women coming together impact a number of lives. We asked 12 women from 12 different countries about Women’s History Month and what motivates them to continue to do what they do for Dress for Success. Come back to our blog throughout March to get to know the ladies that make it all happen behind the scenes. Meet Alina Dobosz-Sztuba, of Dress for Success Poland.
Dress for Success: How many years have you been with Dress for Success?
Alina Dobosz-Sztuba: 7 years
DFS: What bold action did you take to make a change or a difference?
ADS: All my life I have set challenges for myself; changes have been in my life permanently. First, I taught German and Norwegian at a university for 10 years. Later I established the firm, a 20-year production of textiles, with 130 employees, and then I started a leisure center, a center to creatively spend your free time. Now I work in several organizations philanthropically. I have changed myself and today I influence and mentor other women’s changes, both mental and external.
DFS: Can you describe a moment when you helped someone at Dress for Success that moved you or special achievement that you’ve accomplished during your time at the organization?
ADS: There have been a lot of moments. For 7 years I led a workshop for women as a part of Dress for Success Poland, Greater Poland program. Every year and also during current jubilee, 10th edition I observe women’s achievements in their professional lives. Women who we support at the workshop are interesting personalities, sometimes lost due to complex life stories. I remember a client I worked with whose body trembled while she was talking about herself. She had a nervous tick which made fluent speech impossible. She experienced a traumatic separation from [her] toxic husband and took care of 2 daughters on her own. Gradually we started to soften emotions, work on her private life and next [work on her] career goals.
Another client loved reflexotheraphy, but she could not manage on her own. She had no money to open her own parlour. We set short-term and long-term goals, tasks, looked for customers she visited at homes offering free services at the beginning. She devotedly presented techniques and advantages of reflexotheraphy. Being consistent and determined she believed her life would change. To earn a living she worked as a shop assistant, not having a permanent contract of employment. Her diligence, determination and [confidence] that her work would make an effect entered clarity in her mind. Although it took 2 years, customers started emerging. She now has a small and beautifully equipped parlor with a spiritual atmosphere for [her] patients and customers. She continues to deepen her knowledge through [classes] and training. She does not earn a lot but can afford to pay rent and maintenance of children. However, the biggest success and achievement, is her physical and mental condition. She is calm [and] confident and it’s a great satisfaction to see her working independently.
DFS: Who do you thank or recognize this Women’s History Month that have helped make the advancement of all women possible?
ADS: Women’s contribution to world achievements [has] lasted for centuries. From the early centuries women – also Polish women — have had a considerable influence and impact on life both social and political. Thanks to their knowledge, passion and interests women showed that their share in life development is much wider than attributed. The fight for equality, equal rights for women and men should be achieved. In Poland, a woman who paved the way for women in science was Maria Skłodowska- Curie. The great Polish scientist received the Nobel Prize twice, in 1903 and 1911.
DFS: What motivates you to continue your work at Dress for Success?
ADS: Dress for Success gives me a lot of satisfaction and the best feelings of emotions among the nongovernmental organizations I work with. Since I coordinate the assistance program for women who strive for financial independence, I introduce successful female personalities who want to instill a desire to fight. Every woman can succeed following our program. The program has improved every year, but the direction is the same. Dozens of workshops are run by the top-class trainers, psychologists, lawyers, job coaches and employers. The participants of our program receive tips first hand.
Our aim is to change workshop participants mind. We pull them out of their comfort zones and teach a non-standard way of thinking and problem solving. We want to make women financially independent. Our participants must understand that strength and success are inside them. We show that outer obstacles are their inner ones.
Visit poland.dressforsuccess.org for more information on how you can get involved on a local level.