empowering women to open closed doors GET TO KNOW CEO VICKI BOWEN HEWES T he conspicuous passion and enthusiasm of Dress for Success Columbus founder and CEO Vicki Bowen Hewes and her ability to reach out and touch women from all walks of life is remarkable. While she’s since become synonymous with being an advocate for women in Columbus, it was just a little more than a decade ago that she was thriving in a maledominated career field. In turn, she was no stranger to dressing the part and navigating the corporate community. It was during that time that she began volunteering at Dress for Success in Indianapolis to share her experience. “I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously in the corporate culture if my skirt was too short or my blouse was too low. I thought my giving time at Dress for Success would help women understand how important ‘dressing the part’ is,” she explains. What started out as a few hours of volunteer work quickly transformed Vicki’s outlook and she found herself wanting to do more. “I realized I had no concept of the number of other barriers women in transition faced. Transportation, childcare, understanding the unwritten rules of the workplace, a support network and encouragement from peers were things I had taken for granted,” she says. “I knew that if I had these misconceptions, others must as well. I became impassioned to further the cause.” In 2007, Dress for Success Columbus opened its doors with Vicki at its helm and its storefront windows in the city’s chic Short North neighborhood have invited interest from the passersby ever since “Many people think that we are a clothing boutique and ask to come in and shop. They are surprised to 3 | GET TO KNOW THE CEO learn we are a social service agency. We take that as a great compliment because we want to change the public’s understanding of what those in need deserve and how they should be treated. We help women who couldn’t otherwise access personalized one-on-one services, and these are the most special clients of all,” she says. “Dress for Success Columbus is a place where women in need have the opportunity to regain their dignity and realize their potential,” Vicki adds. “We approach every single woman without judgment. We aren’t concerned with yesterday. We are invested in her feeling renewed and important today, and her holding her shoulders high with confidence tomorrow. “ - Serbennia Davis above: Cheryl Hooker, McQuetta Williams, Vicki Bowen Hewes and Gina Schlosser celebrate the grand opening of Dress for Success Columbus’ new location in February 2011.

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