Dressed for Suc­cess

Not-for-profit group suits up women for re-en­try into work­force

The London Free Press - - LIFE - JOANNE RICHARD FOR POST­MEDIA NEWS

Dress your best to be your best. That’s im­age maker Yana Brikker’s motto and she clearly wears suc­cess, and helps oth­ers put their best pro­fes­sional im­age for­ward.

She’s all about fash­ion and pas­sion and phi­lan­thropy — even when her own life was un­rav­el­ling and frayed.

“I’ve had a tough and chal­leng­ing life but I pulled out of it like a champ and noth­ing gives me greater joy than cham­pi­oning oth­ers around me do the same,” says Brikker, a cer­ti­fied im­age and life­style con­sul­tant who vol­un­teers her time to em­power women to reen­ter the work­force through the Dress for Suc­cess bou­tique suit­ing pro­gram.

Brikker has her­self has faced and over­come over­whelm­ing chal­lenges and brings com­pas­sion and un­der­stand­ing when build­ing up other women’s con­fi­dence and wardrobes. Be­ing an im­mi­grant from Rus­sia her­self, she un­der­stands fi­nan­cial hard­ship and be­ing new to a coun­try.

Brikker also plays a vi­tal role in trans­form­ing women, styling new looks and lives, and help­ing them break the cy­cle of poverty.

“It’s about more than sim­ply a new out­fit and ac­ces­sories,” says

I’ve had a tough and chal­leng­ing life but I pulled out of it like a champ and noth­ing gives me greater joy than cham­pi­oning oth­ers around me do the same.” Im­age and life­style con­sul­tant Yana Brikker

Brikker. “Out­fit­ting th­ese women, show­ing kind­ness and car­ing, is a amaz­ing trans­for­ma­tional ex­pe­ri­ence that builds con­fi­dence, self­es­teem and helps them find mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment.”

As well, she makes time to col­lect gen­tly used cloth­ing from her clients which she brings to the suit­ing pro­gram for the less for­tu­nate.

An in­ter­na­tional not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, Dress for Suc­cess pro­vides women with the tools they need to achieve eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence and thrive in the work­place — in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing them with pro­fes­sional at­tire.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion re­lies on many ex­perts who gen­er­ously lend their sup­port.

As owner of Ask Yana Inc. im­age con­sult­ing, (askyana.com), Brikker re­vises, re­vamps, re­vi­tal­izes and loves “trans­form­ing men, women and teens into the beau­ti­ful and confident in­di­vid­u­als they as­pire to be with­out break­ing the bank,” she says.

“Dress­ing well will not only in­crease your self-con­fi­dence but it also im­presses and at­tracts other peo­ple. Proper groom­ing and a pro­fes­sional ap­pear­ance are im­por­tant to gain re­spect in the work­place. The way you look and carry your­self cre­ates an im­pres­sion on the peo­ple” you work with, she adds.

Each woman gets a unique oneon-one ser­vice and re­ceives two for­mal out­fits to pre­pare her for job in­ter­views, ac­cord­ing to vol­un­teer Liz Ark­wright, teacher turned stylist. Once a client suc­cess­fully lands em­ploy­ment, the client re­turns to Dress for Suc­cess for ad­di­tional busi­ness-ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing to help build a pro­fes­sional mix-and-match wardrobe.

For Ark­wright, vol­un­teer­ing per­fectly pairs her love of work­ing with peo­ple and with fash­ion.

“It is very grat­i­fy­ing to as­sist women to be­come in­de­pen­dent and confident cit­i­zens,” she says. I have also made many new friends through vol­un­teer­ing at Dress for Suc­cess.”

Yana Brikker, an im­age and life­style con­sul­tant, vol­un­teers her time to em­power women to re-en­ter the work­force through the Dress for Suc­cess bou­tique suit­ing pro­gram.

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