Twice a year, in April and October, NCJW receives an invitation from Karen Clark, volunteer coordinator at POWER (Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery), to participate in the GlaxoSmithKline business education seminar, and we always say yes!
The seminar is a one-day event hosted by GSK at their campus in Robinson. The aim of the coordinators, the Women’s Leadership Group, is to impart crucial skills and knowledge to POWER clients completing their final stage of recovery as they begin job searches. Experienced professionals are on hand to teach resume writing skills, lead mock interviews, guide them in conflict resolution and proper behavior in the workplace, and (this is where we come in) stress the importance of dressing appropriately for your interview or new job.
Typically, eight to ten brave POWER clients volunteer to model two outfits (one interview appropriate, the other “casual Friday”) selected with help from NCJW retail staff or volunteers. The models then show off their ensembles during a two-part mini fashion show, emceed this year by Rick Dayton of KDKA.
While models change into their outfits for the second half of the show we present the Mix-n-Match. During this segment, an NCJW representative showcases fashion basics (i.e. black slacks, grey skirt, navy jacket, white blouse) selected from Thriftique to demonstrate how to build a wardrobe for under $50, and how they can turn those basics into dozens of functional, office appropriate looks with the help of tasteful accessories. October’s seminar featured our friend Cheryl Chotiner (pictured, formerly of Cheryl W) who generously and enthusiastically stepped into the role of Mix-n-Match presenter and expert fashion advisor. She was amazing during the Q & A! (FYI: She feels very strongly about the return of full- and half-slips!) Cheryl told me after the show that she found the experience to be fun and very rewarding.
As thanks for their participation, models are asked to choose one of their outfits to take home. Additionally, each seminar attendee is offered a $20 “Suit Yourself” voucher to shop at Thriftique to use toward building their basic wardrobes. Although it may take a little prodding to get some of them onto the stage, the models are thankful for the experience and report getting a real confidence boost just when it was needed. We’re also pretty happy to know that the fashion show and Mix-n-Match are routinely voted for by the seminar participants as the favorite segments of the day!
NCJW is proud to be a part of this exciting program. Thank you GlaxoSmithKline and POWER…see you in the spring!
Lynn Tomasits, Director of Retail Operations