This is a sponsored post based on an event I recently attended. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Since I was a young girl, success has been calling my name. In fact, it calls many names but we don’t always know how to answer the call.
We teach girls to study hard, be confident, and go out and take on the world. But do we really show them how to do that? Do we show them how to build a resume that gets them their first interview? Do we talk to them about what exactly to say and do on that interview, whether it’s in person or over the phone?
Empowering Women in NYC
When I was recently in New York City, I had a chance to sit and think about these things and reflect on how I got to where I am today and I got to do it in the company of some amazing women.
I was already scheduled to be in NYC for the New York International Auto Show when the invitation came in to attend a luncheon with ten influencers to talk about TracFone®, Dress for Success®, and the Success is Calling™ program. I thought I knew what the program was about. What I learned is that it’s so much more.
Dress for Success does help women by providing business attire but the attire is a small part of the program. The program is really about empowerment. Empowering women to feel confident in how they look but in also how they present themselves in an effort to gain economic independence.
For the second year in a row, TracFone, one of America’s leading no-contract cellphone service providers, and Dress for Success have teamed up for the Success is Calling program.
Building on the idea of women’s empowerment in the workplace, Success is Calling teaches women how to navigate the critical first step to employment – the phone interview.
If you’ve ever been on the job seeking or job hiring end of a phone interview, you probably know before you hang up the phone whether there will be more to the conversation. Success is Calling helps women prepare for a phone interview in as much detail as an in person interview. And does the program work?
It sounds great in theory but it’s not until you meet women who have participated in the first year of the program and hear their stories that you understand the impact of it.
A roomful of women gathered at Annisa Restaurant in Greenwich Village to share food, drink, and stories. The location was appropriate as famed chef Anita Lo kicked off the event by describing her dedication to empowering women by buying wines from wineries with strong female leadership and even naming her restaurant after the Arabic word for women.
Personal Stories from Success is Calling
As we dined, we had the opportunity to hear from three women from three different parts of the country who all attributed their personal success to their participation in the Success is Calling program.
Simone was not what I was expecting. She was a college graduate with a degree in interior design living in Atlanta who happened to enter the job market at exactly the wrong time. The market crashed and jobs were scarce, especially for interns. So she did what many of us do. She worked odd jobs here and there to make ends meet. She knew how to write a resume and cover letter but never really realized the importance of interview skills. She admitted that prior to the program she would have never had the confidence to stand up in front of a group like ours and tell us how proud she was of her journey.
ShaVaughn caught my attention when she told me she hailed from Baltimore. A series of life circumstances, including an unexpected pregnancy and a father who left the picture, led her to move home with her mother in Kansas City. She knew, though, that she wanted to be a role model for her daughter and find a path to success. With her enrollment in Success is Calling, she nailed an interview with a law firm and is even inspired to continue on the path to study law someday.
Fredericka, who sat at my table, was the one who stole my heart. Hailing from Phoenix, she found herself suddenly a divorced mother of four children (one of which is disabled) who was thrust into the workforce. What she was lacking was self-esteem. To hear her journey of finding herself and learning to love herself showed in her poise and confidence and eventually led her to a job at an industrial company that caters to the aerospace industry.
While we finished our dessert and ate the most amazing butterscotch filled beignets, I could see the excitement on the faces of these women. For most of them, it was their first time to New York City. And despite the room full of unfamiliar faces, each stood up and proudly and poignantly conveyed her own story. What I heard more than career success was the self-confidence and self-esteem to go out and pursue whatever dreams they have.
How to Help Support Women and Success is Calling
So where does TracFone come in? As part of the Success is Calling program, TracFone is providing participants with a new smartphone and year of service to support them as they prepare to enter the workplace. And during the month of April, TracFone will donate 20% of its handset sales at Walmart, up to $525,000, to Dress for Success to help empower women to build successful careers. More information can be found on the Success is Calling website.
As you think about these individual success stories, what had the biggest impact on your career confidence? I’d love to hear your thoughts as I share some of my experiences and thoughts on this over the next few weeks.