Once again this year it was my privilege to support our local Dress for Success here in Halifax, Nova Scotia by attending the annual Tea Party. The goal of this year’s event was to raise nearly $50,000 to support disadvantaged women, many of them single parents.
A fun afternoon of inspiring speeches, fabulous hats, psychic readings, a shopping party and the latest fashions from talented designer Lisa Drader Murphy of Turbine and all in the company of 400 other women, it’s an event not to be missed. Each year I round up a group of girlfriends, clients and business associates to help me fill a table as part of my yearly committment to supporting this worthy cause.
According to their website, “The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since 2001, Dress for Success Halifax has assisted more than 900 women in making a tailored transition into the workforce.”
Dress for Success Halifax has more than 40 volunteers in HRM and could not operate without them. These volunteers include the Board of Directors, personal shoppers, fundraising, and Professional Womens Group (PWG).
Suiting for Confidence is their signature program where interview-appropriate attire and accessories are provided to women seeking employment who are unable to afford the clothing they need to make a great first impression. Women come from many referral agencies including domestic violence agencies, homeless shelters and job-training programs.
Not only can we help by donating our lightly used professional clothing to Dress for Success and by volunteering but we can also offer financial support as well as perhaps offering to lead a training session for the PWG. In addition, groups of women often get together and hold a fundraising event specifically for Dress for Success. A clothing swap with an admission fee or jewellry party is always a fun way to get together with the girls and help a great cause.
Thank you to everyone who helped me support Dress for Success again this year. Stay tuned for more information on the Kick It Up event this fall.
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Posted in Education, Learning, Small Business, Training, tagged Continuing Education, Junior Achievement, Making a Difference, Non Profit Organizations, Our Business World, Small Business, Training on March 20, 2011 |
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The last few weeks I have been volunteering for Junior Achievement Nova Scotia delivering the ‘Our Business World’ program to grade six students. It never ceases to amaze me that kids are interested in business at such a young age. And, wow, do they know a lot of stuff – go figure!
The program focuses on 4 modules:
- Organization – we discuss the skills needed to start a business, all the resources you have to consider and the various types of businesses in Canada.
- Management – we talk about the role of management in a business, the decisions a manager has to make and we focus on how to hire employees and what we need to consider.
- Production – in this lesson we actually produce pens and discuss productivity. Students learn about various methods of production and have fun testing unit production versus assembly line production.
- Marketing – students learn about the imporance of marketing a product most importantly pricing and advertising. We discuss advertising strategies and students create their commercial to sell the pens manufactured during the production lesson.
Every time I think about this amazing program I wish someone had come to my grade six class to talk to me about starting a business. Perhaps I wouldn’t have waited so late in life! And, the other thing I think about is how little I really knew about starting a business back in 2002 when Get Organized! Professional Services was only a dream!
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How we help our clients change was a hot topic at the dining table today. I spent several hours with five good friends and fellow coaches, consultants and trainers this afternoon and the topic of how we each work with our clients, our methods, and our beliefs around how we may or may not succeed in helping them change was certainly a well debated one.
This has me thinking about a fascinating tool I discovered in a book entitled “It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys” by Marilyn Paul. She has created a ‘Seven-Step Change Cycle’ specifically related to organizing.
Here are the 7 steps:
- Establish Your Purpose
- Create Your Vision
- Take Stock of Current Reality
- Choose Support
- Design Systems & Solutions
- Take Effective Action
- Go Deeper to Keep Going
When I discovered this map, I realized that all of these steps are exactly what I do when working with a client. It occurs to me that you can certainly understand the cycle and how it could help guide you through any organizing project. However, I still wonder if answering questions like:
- “What will I see”
- “What organizing systems will work for me?”
- “What are the specific steps I plan to take . . .?”
- “How can I change my thinking?”
is difficult when you are completely overwhelmed by mental or physical clutter. I believe that having the support of a professional organizer and/or a coach is one of the key components in building a support team to help you achieve long term change. That person should be a good fit for your personality, have the credentials and experience to work with you effectively, and be able to support you in a positive way while holding you accountable for your actions and choices.
One thing we all agreed on is that before any individual or organization hires anyone in a consulting or coaching role they have to be willing and ready for change. Allowing individuals to flourish within a changing environment requires trust and the freedom to make choices that are best for both the individual and the organization.
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This week I am pondering why my clients want to become more organized. For many they believe it is because they want to accomplish more and get more done. But shouldn’t it really be about accomplishing less but doing more of the right things? More of the things that are important to us personally? Not doing more work and just being more productive? Should it be about getting your work done more efficiently and then having the time to make a bigger difference in this world?
Last week I attended the Maritime Philanthropy Awards here in Halifax which is what has me thinking about this for myself and others. There was a 19 year old boy named Matthew MacDonald from Sydney who has somehow found the courage and determination to mount a one-man fundraising drive for the IWK despite his physical limitations. And so many others who either work in the charitable sector or somehow find it within themselves to dedicate inordinate amounts of time to raising money for their favourite cause.
Therefore, if we all manage our time more effectively and get more done at work more quickly, do we not owe it to our communities and to the world to get out and do something truly important?
I am involved with a number of volunteer committees myself with Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) so I get to give back to my profession and my focus this year is on the education side of the industry. I am also involved with several committees through CAFE NS (an organization that supports family business in Nova Scotia). And I donate a few hours each year to JANS (Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia) delivering their Our Business World program to Grade 6 students in HRM along with other activities.
I wonder if I really tighten up my schedule and delegate a few more tasks to a virtual assistant, if I can fit in one more non-profit organization? I have the perfect one in mind. Hmmmm….
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