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It’s always open enrollment in the school of life: Meet Earlene – 1 of 52 Phenomenal Women

Meet Earlene:  “Be still and believe God, it’s not going to come on your time.”

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

When Earlene lost her job of 12.5 years as a bank manager she was 50 years old, she was at a loss for what to do next as the options offered by her former employer diminished the time she had served her company. After going on over forty interviews with no job offers in hand, Earlene was eventually referred to Dress for Success. She didn’t have a resume or know who to be competitive in an interview situation. This organization has served as Earlene’s “second family”,  a welcoming place where the door is always open to her no matter what. “The ladies at Dress for Success gave me my confidence back,” Earlene said. “It’s not only about the clothes, it’s an organization that believes in you.”

No stranger to challenges in life, Earlene found herself as a first time mother at fifteen years old. With the help and encouragement of her mother she was able to get her high school diploma.The road to success is paved with hard work and dedication and after raising her two daughters, Earlene went back to school to earn her bachelor degree in Business Administration after age fifty. When people asked why she’d go back to school at that age, she said it was now, “my time.” “I raised my daughters and it is now my turn.” Earlene not only graduated from Argosy University in Chicago, but was surprised and delighted to hear she graduated with honors as she crossed the podium.

Currently Earlene is a retired and grandmother of two.  She now volunteers weekly at Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. Sharing her story gives Earlene great joy as well as assisting others. Director of Dress for Success Worldwide Central, Wendy Wilkins, says that Earlene is a true giver. She is always there to help! With the encouragement of her second family at Dress for Success as well as her writing mentor, Earlene has written her first book. Earlene’s Journey is now ready to be published.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
Earlene and Director Wendy Wilkins ©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

Deeply rooted in her faith, Earlene is inspired and encouraged every morning when she recites Psalms 23 and  27. They have provided comfort and strength for her during even the hardest times.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

Earlene’s attitude about being a continuing student of life is contagious. Her love for her family and community runs deep. All who know her are truly blessed!

This is part one of a 52 week series.  This year for my birthday 🎂 (It’s today 9/12 :),  I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts the of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each others stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!


  1. Liz Liz September 12, 2018

    Great piece. Can’t wait for the next 51!

    • amyboylephoto amyboylephoto Post author | September 12, 2018

      Hope you’ll join the feature!

  2. ttaylor2u ttaylor2u September 16, 2018

    What an inspiration to hear Earlene’s story — with faith, all things are possible! Thank you for highlighting this phenomenal woman 🙂

  3. Heather Heather September 29, 2018

    I just read Earlene’s story and was so moved. You are truly awe inspiring.

  4. Earlene Harris Earlene Harris April 7, 2019

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I was really move by the words you all have express in your comments. I have written a book call Earlene Journal, My book is about being an teenage mom, and how I lose my job at the age of 50 years old. Dress for Success give me my confidential back. Dress for Success show me how I can get my power back with the help of God and his son Jesus. You can order my book on amazon. Thank you and God Bless.

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