Joi Gordon: Helping Women Achieve Success

November 18 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Realizing Your Full Potential

We often talk about following your passion or finding your dream job, but many women struggle to just find a dang regular job! Maybe you were laid off or you relocated to a new place. It’s easy when you’re in the first, second, sixth month of being jobless to let the negative self-talk seep in.

Today, let go of the “I’m not good enough” badgering inside your head. You are good enough. Let me repeat it again. You ARE good enough.


When on a job hunt, the most important accessory you can wear is confidence. The next most important thing is, of course, your outfit. What you wear matters in a job interview. It’s one of those hard-to-swallow facts of life. Your resume should speak for itself, but it doesn’t. In fact, 65 percent of hiring employers say clothes might just be a deciding factor when choosing between two candidates with similar qualifications.

But what if you don’t have the funds to buy a power suit or get your nails done in the effort to impress? It feels like you need the job in order to be able to afford the right look in order to get the job. But maybe you just need to know about today’s Woman to Watch.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide

That double-edged sword is one reason why I love the nonprofit organization Dress for Success. Under the leadership of CEO Joi Gordon, Dress for Success provides low-income women with outfits that help them land a job.

Founded by a second-year law student in the 1990s, Dress for Success has helped nearly a million women in 20 countries throughout the world. But the organization is about much more than simply a new outfit. The group works to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. So, whether it’s something as simple as getting a job searcher a nice suit, or providing her with ongoing support through career counseling, Dress for Success offers long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty, land that good job and get on a path to success.

For her part, Joi is definitely a passionate woman. She started her career as an assistant district attorney, but though the work was important, she wanted to find something that felt more fulfilling. She joined the board of Dress for Success and not long after, had a light-bulb moment: Her day job often dealt with incarceration, which seemed to tear people a part, whereas Dress for Success gave people hope.

When Joi decided to commit all of her time to the nonprofit, it was a decision met with little support. Her parents hail from the Caribbean, and were very proud of her success as a lawyer. But her mother knew that Joi would be successful in any venture she took on, telling Joi she should be fearless and follow her dreams.

In the 17 years Joi has led the nonprofit, it’s grown from two employees to more than 30. And many of the women the organization has helped have found a new sense of trust in society and strength in themselves.

If you want to empower other women to find their success, consider joining the 10,000-member Dress for Success volunteer team by contributing your time, or make a much-needed donation of gently used clothing to help deserving women get a fresh start.


When it comes to landing the job you really want, remember, confidence is key. But a nice outfit never hurt. As motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar says:

“You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

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