Mt. Olive Woman Directs Dress For Success With More Partnerships And Fundraisers

Mt. Olive Woman Directs Dress For Success With More Partnerships And Fundraisers

By Cheryl Conway
With more partnerships and fundraisers, the new director of Dress For Success
Northern N.J. hopes to grow the non-profit to support a greater number of women
seeking jobs and confidence to succeed in the workforce.
Kimberly Iozzi, 45, of Budd Lake began on April 30 in her new role as executive
director of Dress For Success Northern N.J. covering 10 counties throughout the
state. As the former executive director of the Newton Housing Authority for 15
years, Iozzi brings years of experience in government and nonprofit management,
dedicating her entire career to empowering low and moderate-income families
achieve economic self-sufficiency, personal development and growth.
When she saw the position open for Dress For Success advertised through the
Center For Nonprofits, Iozzi says she jumped at the opportunity.
“I was looking for a change,” she says, as she describes her passion for helping
women succeed in the workforce.
Dress for Success Northern NJ- 10 Counties, servesMorris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon,
Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Passaic counties. While it is an affiliate of the
Dress for Success Worldwide organization, it is an independent 501©3, responsible for its own
fundraising and operations. It relies solely on corporate, foundation and individual contributions
to serve its clients at no cost to them.
The mission of the organization is to empower women to achieve economic independence by
providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive
in work and in life.
“The goal is to provide all developmental tools, get the interview and do well and to build their
confidence,” says Iozzi.
All of the programs are offered at no cost to participants. The organization served more than
1,500 women last year, ages 18 to 64, and is well on its way to double that amount this year.
“I really want to do more locally to generate support for the mission through both
educational events, fundraising, and more,” she says.
As the new executive director, Iozzi oversees the day-to-day operations of the
organization.
“We run nine programs,” she says, and have 600 volunteers with three paid staff
members that manage the programs.
One of the programs is a Career Center in which women get assistance with their
resumes, interview and online job searches.
Another program, Steps For Success offers a 10-week job ready boot camp for
unemployed women to break down barriers and provide an extra push to assist a
woman in getting a job.
“The women come from all different backgrounds,” says Iozzi, not just those who
are disadvantaged. Some are stay-at-home moms trying to get back into the
workforce, others are first time clients trying to enter the workforce.
Other programs include mentoring, technology skills, time management and
budgeting and Foundation For Success in which women are provided tips on how to
keep their employment.

A Professional Women’s Group is also offered to provide monthly networking
meetings featuring speakers to discuss professional issues, personal growth,
budgeting and balancing.
The Mobile is another program in which a van visits agencies by appointment and
operates as a boutique with volunteer stylists on board to play dress up with suits
and help women build confidence.
“Its largest suiting was for 70 people,” notes Iozzi. Women are given a referral
sheet, are sized and pick their outfits from colors of suits and shoe styles from
heels to flats, and also receive a one hour training session.
“It’s amazing to see the transformation that happens,” says Iozzi. The Mobile
“brings suits to them, does training,” covering interview tips, how to engage, how
to shake hands, what questions to ask.
With the main boutique at the Madison Community House in Madison, Iozzi hopes
to expand to include satellite offices in each of the 10 counties “so people can
donate, get clothing and training,” closer to where they live.
Bridge to Success is another program in which clients can engage in a bimonthly
job search after they go through steps of training, explains Iozzi.
“This bridge helps them with their one on one to give them the tools,” she says, to
succeed.
Since women are served for free, Iozzi stresses it is “so important to have grants
and donations.”
While the majority of the women are referred to Dress For Success by partnering
agencies, the organization will connect with all women who need assistance. Some
partners include the Women’s Center at the County College of Morris in Randolph,
and Jersey Battered Women’s Service.
“We need more referral agencies to refer clients to us,” says Iozzi, “partnerships from every level. We
are looking for community ambassadors” to hold suit drives for suits, shoes, handbags and jewelry,
“whatever makes up a professional. Or host a fundraiser or empower hours to donate a percentage to
Dress For Success.
“We need to catch up with our donations so we can grow moving forward,” says Iozzi. With “only four of
us on staff we definitely need support.”
Some ways to get involved include: Be a referral agency to enroll clients in suiting and training
programs; donate professional attire; coordinate a suit, accessory, toiletry or shoe drive;
volunteer to provide free one-on-one job coaching/mentoring; be a personal shopper for the
mobile suiting unit; be a personal stylist, helping clients select appropriate attire for a
professional look; provide a training on personal and/or professional development topics; host a
lunch-n-learn to learn about the programs; help coordinate a "Walk today so we can run
tomorrow" 5K; host fundraisers or donate proceeds from events; be a speaker; make a one-time
or recurring donation.
In its 20 th year, Iozzi says “I know we are doing something right.” Clients seek jobs in all areas from
doctors, accountants, customer service, corporations and even Emmy writers.
“It’s crazy the diversity we have,” says Iozzi, who was selected recently to serve as vice president for the
Morris County Human Relations Commission.
“While most people immediately think of us as 'the suits,” it is so much more than that. Our
organization is all about building confidence, not just in appearance, but through the
development of key competencies that are essential to excel in the workplace.
“You can look good but you may not have the skill set,” she says. “We offer many programs and
are always looking to do more.”

Dress For Success recently held its largest fundraiser with its gala in May at the Park Savoy in
Florham Park. She plans to host the organization’s first fashion show in the spring of 2019. On
October 19 she is looking for a venue to recognize the first suiting ever held for a woman
through Dress For Success, and will also plan a golf outing and other smaller events.
In her role for just two months so far, Iozzi says “I love it. Every day is just a fulfillment; you are
making a difference in someone’s life. We are changing lives. She’s now able to support her
family. We are giving women confidence, if they lost it along the way. Everybody has a story.
We are building them up, giving them the tools they need to be successful.
“You can’t buy that satisfaction or making a true difference in someone’s life. I love my job. I’m
at a point to make a real difference and this is definitely it.”
Dress For Success Northern N.J. is one of three branches in N.J. and the Madison office is one
of 154 offices in 30 countries worldwide.
“We are here and we need help,” she concludes. “If people have ideas for fundraisers or
partnerships, I’m open. I tend to think outside the box.”
Iozzi can be reached at her email address:kim@dfsnorthernnj.org or visit
northernnj.dressforsuccess.org.

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