Becky Jo admits she was relieved and excited when Dress for Success Columbus CEO Vicki Bowen Hewes asked her to instead finish her internship in the organization’s suiting boutique. It was there that she brushed up her resume and interview skills and picked out one of her favorite yellow tops that she says she can’t stop wearing. “Doing the internship when I got home proved it even further,” Becky Jo says. “It affirmed, yes, yes you can do this. It just kind of redeveloped my sense of security.” Becky Jo had learned sign language in prison and she was already fluent in Spanish. She also had at her disposal a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a history in home rental and sales, but Becky Jo admits she hadn’t put those talents to use as much as she had others that could earn her thousands per night to fund her previously lavish lifestyle. She knew she was going to need help if she was going to make it through not just a transition to the outside world, but to a whole new life coming out — one that doesn’t include her high-scale neighborhood or her son and daughter who she can’t see without violating her parole. “Everything I ever acquired as a mother and a spouse in my home life was gone out of my own mistakes,” Becky Jo says. “It was just nice to feel like I could have that added support” of the Dress for Success sisterhood. Following Becky Jo’s internship, Vicki connected her with another non-profit organization that was looking for a bi-lingual bookkeeper who could set up appointments for Spanish-speaking clients. Becky Jo planned to drop off her resume in person, but not before stopping by the Dress for Success Columbus boutique for a personal styling session. Wearing her new grey, two-piece suit, she walked into the organization’s office, and after she met the small staff, she found herself in a familiar situation — she wasn’t ready to leave. “I just got it in my heart, I’m not leaving this building without this job,” Becky Jo says. And so she didn’t. She’s been working part time there ever since and is currently training to take over a full-time position. She’s also developing night classes where she’ll teach sign language and working to pull enough grant money together to get back to teaching a GED class that will put to use all the homework assignment samples that she acquired in prison and can’t seem to let go of. “It is never too late to reinvent yourself,” she says. “If I didn’t believe that, I couldn’t keep going.” Before prison, Becky Jo says she never would have considered that she’d be capable of leading the type of accomplished life that’s she’s working toward now. “I see every little thing differently now,” she says. “It feels good to be home.” - Melissa Dilley going places network A Dress for Success Worldwide initiative, The Going Places Network presented by Walmart was created in 2009 to help unemployed and underemployed women gain professional skills and confidence to accelerate their job searches. All this is done through weekly training sessions, one-on-one career coaching and networking opportunities. In 2013, Dress for Success Columbus brought the transformational curriculum to the Ohio Reformatory for Women in an attempt to reach out to women who are attempting to rebuild their lives during a vulnerable time. All the women in the program were able to take part in a graduation ceremony and upon their release they’re welcomed into the suiting boutique to prepare for interviews and jobs. In previous years, Dress for Success Columbus offered Going Places Network at St. Stephen’s Community House and OSU Carepoint East. SUCCESS LIVES HERE | 8

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