For Mother’s Day we celebrate not only the bond between mother and child but the perseverance, boldness and triumphs of the moms we serve globally. This Mother’s Day we are celebrating the bond and triumphs of Cezara and Deniza, two generations of Success Ambassadors who have gained confidence and courage in their personal and professional lives.
Cezara has been through many crises in her life that consequently her daughter Deniza experienced as well, “I went to hell and back and [Deniza] was behind me.” Deniza and Cezara’s story of survival begins in 2003 with the death of Cezara’s husband and the kidnapping of Deniza by the very people she called friends. Luckily,
Cezara managed to recover Deniza from her captures and was given the opportunity to escape to the United States by a seemingly hopeful second marriage. Her American dream took a turn for the worst when Cezara found herself as a single mother again after relocating to New York to escape from her abusive husband.
While in New York, things seemed to be falling into place, with Cezara earning an associate’s degree in Office Administration, and Deniza starting to feel like she finally had a home. That was short lived because soon after Cezara suffered a debilitating third degree burn due to housing malpractice. The trauma and the recovery from the incident left Cezara unable to take care of herself and her daughter. After a short time however, Cezara was thankful to find support in the hands of a third husband who relocated her and Deniza to Cyprus, but quickly escaped back to New York in 2013 after that relationship turned abusive. Cezara and Deniza moved back to the United States with just the clothes on their backs much like they did nearly a decade before, but this time Cezara made a promise to herself that this move would be for good. After spending time in several women’s shelters around NYC, Cezara made good on that promise when she walked through the doors of Dress for Success.
“This organization can really help you if you lean in and let it. No one judges the other, we all make mistakes but Dress for Success teaches you that good can come out of those mistakes!”
Tensions began to mount between mother and daughter during this emotionally strenuous transition and Deniza decided to move back to Cyprus once she turned 18, “I despised my mom. As a kid, I blamed her for everything. Her dependency [on a husband] made me want to be independent.” Fortunately, a failed relationship in Cyprus brought Deniza back to the one person in her life who has been a constant support and best friend to her, her mother. When she returned, Deniza was met by a new Cezara, not the same woman who depended on a husband for opportunity but a newly employed, financially empowered mom, who with the tools and guidance she received from Dress for Success, was confident about their future!
“Dress for Success gives you the confidence to step out of your comfort zone and create self-defined success. They remind you that you are not alone…it is like having big sisters or a mom guiding you, helping you to find your confidence!”
Today, Cezara and Deniza are living their best lives. They both wake up in the morning with a positive attitude knowing things can be worse. They are extremely humbled by their past and grateful for their future. “We began positive thinking even with the bad. If I did not marry [my] second husband, we would have never came to the United States. If we did not move to Cyprus, Deniza wouldn’t have had a very good education. Good things came out of every situation.”
Deniza is going back to school and starting a new career, “Because of Dress for Success, I have the confidence now to go for what I want. I always hear the voices of my mentors from the Professional Women’s Group reminding me that I can do it. I am an asset.” Cezara wants all mothers to remember that “your priority is your children and your family, but do not forget you are still human. You have a purpose. You don’t have to be stuck where you are.” Deniza wishes women her age will take the help if they need it. She says “I wish everyone could have the same classes I’ve had. I wish more young women could learn what I’ve learned about finances, investments, stocks, etc.”