BS Biology 2008
executive director, Dress for Success
If Dress for Success was just a way to distribute used clothing, it wouldn’t be nearly as successful in helping women overcome barriers, re-enter the work force and re-establish their financial independence.
In addition to providing workplace-appropriate clothing, shoes and cosmetics to women in need, Dress for Success also provides career mentoring, a computer lab where women can compile their resumes and networking opportunities.
Recently, Dress for Success introduced a mentoring program where business leaders work to help clients succeed.
“It’s powerful to have women helping other women,” said Briana Rickman executive director of Dress for Success. “A lot of our clients have come from abusive relationships, or prison, and they don’t have shoes or coats. Our volunteers help them so they can at least have a pair of shoes and jeans so they can go for an interview.”
And there’s no shortage of success stories. “We had one woman who came out of prison. She used our suiting program, and we got her involved in the career center and professional development workshops.
“After that workshop she said she had applied for a job that she said she would never apply for. After coming to our workshop she got an interview, and she practiced answering the questions and she got the job.”
Rickman worked for the Girl Scouts for more than five years before she began working at Dress for Success. As executive director, she works with more than 50 volunteers. More than 60 referring agencies recommend women to Dress for Success.
“Our goal is to not only help women obtain employment, but to help them maintain and advance in their employment,” Rickman said.
Rickman said she was happy in her previous job. But after a friend mentioned that the position was open at Dress for Success, she researched the organization and realized it could be a good fit.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?
It's myself. I have many big goals and plans for the future and I want to make them all happen tomorrow. I am a big-picture thinker but sometimes have a hard time planning out all of the necessary steps to make my vision come to life.
What’s the best business advice you have received?
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Who gave you that advice?
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Continue my work to empower women and to help them plan a financially stable future. There are so many women in our community that maybe do not know about our services, or do not have access to other services and do not know where to start. I plan to implement an outreach program, so that we can serve as many women in and around our community as possible.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Going on adventures with my family. We love camping, fishing, four-wheeling and exploring our beautiful state.
Which living person do you most admire?
My mom. She has always worked so hard to provide a great life for me.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?
I measure success by the stories told by the women that we serve. There have been many times while in the community that I’ve run into women who utilized Dress for Success at some point in their life, and the lasting impact that we have had on their lives is unbelievable. Without our help, some have said that they wouldn't be where they are today.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My almost 5-year-old daughter. I have immense pride in the spunky, confident, kind and adventurous person that she is. She teaches me so much every day through her generosity and kindness toward others.
I’m happiest when I’m... surrounded by the people that I love, oh, and wine.
Article & photo credits:Billings Gazette