One of the most nerve-wracking times in any young woman’s life is a job interview, a time to suit up and show the employer what you know. However, many women in our community do not have the necessary resources to make this a reality, which is where Marty Kocks-Hamrick’s work begins.
Dress for Success empowers young women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools needed to thrive in work and in life. Dress for Success Fort Wayne opened in May 2013 and has dressed over 825 women since. It is one of 163 affiliates worldwide, three of which are located in Indiana – South Bend, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Marty started her position as the Program Director of Dress for Success Fort Wayne in January 2015.
Marty not only dresses women for interviews and court appearances but also offers additional support services such as editing resumes, assisting with job searches and establishing interview skills. She also maintains relationships with 53 local referral agencies that send her female clients to serve. Most recently, a Dress for Success storefront boutique was secured in summer of 2018, located in downtown Fort Wayne on the bus line. The new location gives more women the opportunity to come into the boutique and find an outfit that suits their needs.
On the surface the program may appear to be the gift of a business suit, but Marty describes it as much more than that. Through the program she is able to help many women find their inner confidence and stability when they need it. Marty says she is very fortunate to have this job and she loves every part of what she does.
One of Marty’s most memorable moments from this job was suiting up a young woman for a job interview. She was short, a little shy and embarrassed at first, explaining she had never worn a suit before. Marty remembers her specifically selecting a black suit with a purple blouse. Once the suit was on, she never wanted to take it off. She saw her reflection and began to cry, “I can’t believe I look this good.” This shy girl was suddenly bursting with confidence, all because of a suit.
Marty empowers women through business suits and through her favorite quote, “if it’s gonna be, it’s up to me.” She tells each of her clients that the only person who can make it happen is you.