Dress For Success Event Celebrates International Women’s Day In W-B

March 9, 2019
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Dress For Success Event Celebrates International Women’s Day In W-B

WILKES-BARRE — It was a day to celebrate women.

Dress for Success Luzerne County and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce held an inaugural International Women’s Day celebration luncheon Friday at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre and it sold out with 150 people, mostly women, attending.

International Women’s Day is observed every year on March 8. This year’s theme was #BalanceforBetter and the initiative was aimed at gender equality and celebrating women’s achievements.

Lindsay Griffin, chief operating officer and vice president of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, said people all over the region attended the event and she was pleased with the turnout.

“We wanted to have an event on a day that celebrates women and all the great things that are happening and that we’re doing,” Griffin said. “This was a great way to come together.”

Linda Armstrong, founder and executive director of Dress for Success Luzerne County, said no one who was in the room wants more than an “equal shot.”

“We’re highlighting the fact that women are called upon to do so much and so often that it’s just time to sit down, relax and enjoy each other’s company and learn how to support each other better,” Armstrong said. “Empowered women empower women.”

Proceeds from the luncheon will provide financial support to Dress for Success Luzerne County, which provides career appropriate attire, job training and educational opportunities that empower local women as they attempt to build careers or re-enter the workforce.

“We empower women all year long,” Armstrong said. “We empower women who need our help and we empower women who need that extra step up to take their rightful place in the workplace. This is a way for other women to join in and help them and help us to help them.”

Since Dress for Success Luzerne County opened in 2010, the program has helped about 1,500 economically challenged women from the area by providing clothing, job interview support and workforce guidance. Its programs encourage self-sufficiency through career development.

Armstrong was joined by Dress for Success client Sarah Marie Dombroski, former Mrs. Luzerne County and a single mother of a 3-year-old son.

Dombroski, who lives in Hanover Twp. and formerly lived in Kingston, said Dress for Success helped her get back into the workforce. She recently got a job as a preschool teacher.

“Dress for Success is helping a lot of women on all different levels if they’re starting over or just getting into the workforce,” she said.

Dombroski added that she thought the International Women’s Day luncheon was “wonderful.”

“I love to see all these women who are shaping our valley together in one place,” she said.

A mentor auction held at the luncheon gave attendees the opportunity to bid on time with local women community leaders Lori Nocito of Leadership Wilkes-Barre, Haley Bianco of WBRE, Elva Valentine of Valentine’s Fine Jewelry, Clancy Cash Harrison, public speaking coach, Maggie Sheehy Zembruski of Dundee Gardens and Suzanne Kapral, Lands at Hillside Farms.

The event featured a speech from Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, licensed psychologist and founder of Not Therapy, an online resource for teen girls. She has been in private practice specializing in the treatment of women and girls for the last 10 years.

Hazzouri, who referred to herself as the only “dancing psychologist,” led everyone in standing up to sing and dance to Julia Michaels’ song “Issues.”

She works to empower girls and women to boost their self-esteem. She encouraged those who attended to lift each other up and “find who you are.”

“There’s only one you,” she told the crowd. “You’re here to change this place.”

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570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh