The Linda back then was headed toward financial ruin, felt defeated and had lost her confidence and feeling of self-worth.
Even worse – she lost her sense of hope.
Then came the light for Linda Rousseau. She saw it when she arrived at Dress for Success Indianapolis (DFS Indianapolis).
Founded in a church basement in 1999, Dress for Success Indianapolis was built on the foundation of hope it instills in clients. You can ask any of the 18,000-plus women the program has served. People like Rousseau find advocates helping them achieve economic independence with services like Style for Success, which offers interview and work attire, Professional Women’s Group, which provides skills development, and the Career Development Center, which helps with resume building.
It’s all available – and all at no cost.
Regions Bank has supported Dress for Success Indianapolis for over 20 years through financial contributions, associate clothing drives, and bank team members volunteering by shopping with clients at the DFS Indianapolis boutique and helping with interview preparation. And the Regions Foundation, a nonprofit initiative funded primarily by Regions Bank, added its support by awarding a $30,000 grant to support DFS Indianapolis workforce programs.
“You see and feel it, whether clients are there for their first visit to find the right outfit for a job interview or they’ve been plugged in for years and are leveraging resources to grow, both professionally and personally. It’s a place where transformational things happen, and lasting relationships are fostered.”Kate Livingstone, community development manager for Regions Bank
“There’s an energy of unlimited possibilities,” said Kate Livingstone, community development manager for Regions Bank in Indiana. “You see and feel it, whether clients are there for their first visit to find the right outfit for a job interview or they’ve been plugged in for years and are leveraging resources to grow, both professionally and personally. It’s a place where transformational things happen, and lasting relationships are fostered.”
For Rousseau, those relationships – which she calls her “sisterhood” – are now going on 17 years. After landing a managerial role with an insurance company, she went from being a Dress for Success client to a supporter.
“I discovered my primary passion in life about two years after I joined Dress for Success,” Rousseau explained. “If I had not come into Dress for Success, I may have settled for any job to pay the bills and probably would have started my career totally over again at the bottom. And I wouldn’t be an advocate for women and children.”
What does her advocacy resemble?
Rousseau works with DFS Indianapolis clients who are experiencing homelessness to help them transition to stable, secure housing. She helped launch one of the Professional Women’s Groups, too, with a particular emphasis on health.
“My goal is to help build successful, professional women with a focus on building careers and overall confidence while helping our members transform,” she said. “It’s about making a positive impact on someone’s life to help lift their spirits and open their eyes to hopes and dreams.”
Rousseau may be leading the group, but she’s quick to share she’s uncovered a number of valuable life lessons herself.
“I have learned that it is not always about how much you earn, or really how successful you are in your career or your work … it’s about the positive impact you make on people and how you make people feel,” she said. “I always ask myself, ‘What do I want my legacy to be?’ I thrive to do what I can to empower and inspire women and children to achieve more.”
And how does she describe the Linda she sees in the mirror today, versus so many years ago?
“This woman now remembers to be thankful daily, remembers that I am truly blessed and that I am a strong, confident woman who is aware of who she was then and is now living a successful, accomplished life.”
Read stories of additional Dress for Success clients from around the world.