putting the right heel forward
CharityLadies: Encouring female power-meetings and industry breakthroughs
Around 50 young professional women—from psychotherapists to graphic designers—gathered last night for CharityLadies' inaugural, quarterly event.
The intention of CharityLadies, a co-brand under Citizen Generation (founded in 2009 and recently restructured), is to provide support for women, by women. Sure, it's easier to ask for $10 at the door of an event and then make a lump donation somewhere; but instead, CharityLadies implemented a mandatory "fee" of either one gently used business suit or one gently used formal dress. The collected items will be donated to Dress For Success, whose mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire among other services, and Prom Rack, which provides prom dresses to foster youth and Central Texas area girls with financial limitations, respectively.
After the invited women had some time to network and circulate within the 360 Condominium Club Room, attention turned to this quarter's selected entrepreneur, Jordan Martin of fashion line, Dekla. One female entrepreneur will be selected every quarter and given the opportunity to present their business to the gathered (and markedly ambitious) group and then open a forum for feedback and discussion.
On this particular evening, five models presented Martin's playfully feminine fall and spring collections, after which she asked the audience, quite genuinely, for constructive criticism. The goal of this open dialog is to help push the entrepreneurs' business goals forward by forging unexpected connections within the room. For Martin, this would mean finding a way to have Dekla carried in Austin boutiques. With so many driven women in an intimate setting, at least one industry breakthrough is almost guaranteed to be made.
CharityLadies impresses as a program that puts its money where its mouth is, reinforcing its female-friendly mission three times over. "As our inaugural CharityLadies gathering, tonight's efforts are making it extremely easy for us women to help each other," said Citizen Generation Executive Director Alex Winkelman at the close of the evening. "We've gathered over 50 outfits to donate to our selected beneficiaries, and we are having fun while encouraging a local entrepreneur and each other. It's a ripple effect, putting smiles on faces as our work trickles down."