This Veteran’s Day, United States Marine Corps Veteran and Dress for Success client, Lavet Velez, shares how Dress for Success helped to provide a smooth transition into her new career. Today Lavet is a leader, a mother and mentor- thriving and building an even brighter future for her and her son.
DFS: Tell us a little bit about your background and your time in the Marine Corps? Why did you decide to join the United States Marine Corps? What was your greatest learning experience while serving?
LV: I’ve always wanted a challenge. I remember seeing the ADs as a little girl and wondering why can’t I do that? I want to be one of the few, the proud. I wanted to be a part of something great and do positive things in the world. I joined about a year after September 11th and was honorably discharged in October 2011. My greatest learning experience was that of leadership. In the Marine Corps, I was taught to be accountable and responsible for my work. To take pride in my work.
DFS: What brought you to Dress for Success? Tell us about your first experience with the organization.
LV: I had just relocated to NYC from North Carolina after separating from my husband. I had a three year old and I was desperately looking to restart my career. I had nothing in my bank account and only a few items of clothing to my name. I had just received a job offer from Proskauer Rose and so one of my caseworkers from a local non-profit sent my information over to Dress for Success. I was invited to come get suited for work clothes to help me start off at my new job. I remember going to the suiting appointment feeling broken, insecure and not deserving. Those ladies have no idea how much they uplifted my spirits that day.
DFS: What does Dress for Success mean to you?
LV: For me, Dress for Success reminds me that its okay if I fail. That my story didn’t end five years ago. It reminds me how important it is for women to support each other and how important community is.
DFS: Give us one example of an achievement that happened as a result of your working with Dress for Success.
LV: I have been able to recharge my career, I have a savings account for my son. And more than anything I know my value!!
DFS: Do you consider yourself a leader? Why and how?
LV: I do consider myself a leader because actions inspire others to dream more, learn more , do more and become more.
DFS: What has serving in the Marine Corps and joining Dress for Success done to help you define yourself as a leader?
LV: They have both helped me to understand that its okay to fail, it’s what you do after that matters. Both have given me the tools necessary to get back up after those failures.
DFS: What are you hopes and goals for the future? What’s next?
LV: I hope to continue to learn and grow. I pray that I serve as an example for my son and that he is happy. My future goals are to hopefully buy a home for my son and I and to continue moving forward in my career.
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