5 Questions for Sonia Jacobson

Dress Success Miami Celebrates 20 Years

Sonia Jacobson

Dress for Success Miami promotes 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.

Sonia Jacobson leads Dress for Success Miami and is bringing their 20th Anniversary Gala to the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne. SocialMiami asked Jacobson five questions to learn more about the non-profit and their upcoming gala.

Dress for Success Miami does not only provide suits to the clients. Tell us about the training and how you prepare clients for the job interviews as well as ensuring that they retain employment.

We go way beyond the suit… Our training program provides the following: how to develop a professional image; resume enhancement; personal branding; how to transfer skills to today’s job market; how to answer questions on a job interview; mock interviews… We bring in a panel of career specialists and HR professionals to assist with mock interviews … Everything to prepare a client for the actual interview. Once a client finds employment they are eligible to join our Professional Women’s Group (PWG) which meets monthly and addresses workplace issues. We want clients to retain their jobs and also continue with their education so they can bet their positions.

You founded Suited for Success in 1994. What inspired you to do so? When did you join Dress for Success Worldwide. Tell us the difference between Suited for Success and Dress for Success Miami.

Suited for Success is the original company which I founded in 1994. My inspiration came from a TV program on CNN about a program in Chicago called the Bottomless Closet which is the first program of its type to provide clothing to welfare women. The lightbulb went off and I called Chicago that day to get more information. A month later Suited for Success was incorporated. Dress for Success began in 1997… In 2006 we joined them as DRess for Success Miami which is our women’s program. Suited remains as the men’s program and youth program which began in 1998.

Tell us about your very first client.

Our first client was a 23 year old welfare mother who was missing an eye due to an accident. She was so happy to receive clothing for her job interview but I knew we had to do more. I contacted Bascom Palmer ( eye hospital) and they agreed to provide the surgery pro bono. A women’s organization I spoke to agreed to raise the money needed to pay for the prosthetic eye and 3 months later our client had a new eye. She went on to get a job, raise a family and will be our guest this year at our 20 year anniversary celebration.

What will guests expect at the 20th Anniversary Gala? What is the theme? The ticket price? Any details that you can share.

“Gangstas, Gals and Glam” is the theme for our Gala , October 11 th at the newly renovated Rusty Pelican ballroom. We will have cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, dancing, entertainment and a full casino. Honorary chairs are Maritere and Jon Secada and Star Jones. Tickets are $500 per person. Sponsorships are still available and for information the contact is Sonia Jacobson at sj@suitedforsuccess.org or 305-444-1944 x306

You have assisted over 50,000 clients for the past 20 years. What inspires you everyday to do what you do?

My inspiration comes from seeing the faces of the women (and men) we see everyday who come in not sure what they are getting and leave with a renewed sense of hope and pride in their appearance knowing that a job and a better future are available for them with a little bit of help from Dress for Success Miami!!

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