In her own words:
“I grew up in a very loving nurturing middle class family in Queens, NY. I am the oldest of 4, my mother was a stay at home mom and my father was a hardworking roofer and owned his own business. Every day at 5pm we sat down as a family to a delicious home cooked meal.
Growing up I always did what was expected of me; I got good grades in school, I stayed out of trouble, I went to college, I got a good job which lead to a career in my field of interest, I traveled with my girlfriends and I got married and moved to Chicago. Life was PERFECT, so it seemed!
There was a big void in my life and when I looked around I had everything I wanted and more than I needed. I didn’t know how to shake this feeling or what to do. So, I started drinking a glass of wine every night to relax. This went on for some time, but eventually the wine turned in to rum then vodka. I had never been a heavy drinker, but now I was drinking every day by myself at home and that was all I wanted to do. I had fallen into this hole of hopelessness and depression. I lost my job, and I was about to be evicted from my apartment, so I went home and moved in with my father in Queens, NY. This was the lowest point of my life and I was so full of shame and remorse.
January 2001, I began a new journey. My life changed forever and I had no idea where I was headed. I remember praying to God and asking for help me out of my current situation. After praying, the next day I joined a 12 step program, I went to therapy and continued to pray and meditate every day. I took the time that needed for me to heal.
During the process of rebuilding my career, I was referred to Dress for Success for professional attire and career coaching. I was suited at Dress for Success for my job interview at a non-profit organization called Eviction Intervention Services. God has a funny sense of humor, anyway I got the JOB working with their Development Director! I returned to Dress for Success for my employment suiting (a weeks’ worth of clothing), joined their professional women’s group (PWG) and got a career coach. At Dress for Success, I was always treated with dignity and respect and you could feel that they really wanted you to reach your full potential. They also had AMAZING clothing!
With my background in fashion merchandising, retail management and development in September of 2006, I joined the Dress for Success Worldwide team as the Manhattan Branch Manager, I was promoted to the Director of East Coast Operations and in 2015, I was promoted again to the Director of Dress for Success Worldwide-Central and returned to live in Chicago.
Dress for Success empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the developmental tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since 1997 Dress for Success has provided services for over 1,000,000 in 154 affiliates in 28 countries all over the world.
I have always wanted to help others so for the past 13 years, with the support of an AMAZING staff, DEDICATED volunteers and GENEROUS donors it’s been my JOY to be able to provide programs and services to over 2000 women a year. Today, I no longer feel a void and life is beyond my wildest dreams!!!”
*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about Wendy. This year for my birthday, I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. This is week 52 of 52… We did it!!!
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Year 2 begins September 18, 2019 Tell your story!**