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Dress for Success looking for mentors to make 'magic' (5 photos)

Feds announce $13,000 for 'absolutely brilliant' new Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie mentorship program

Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie is looking for a few good women.

The non-profit organization recently received a grant from the federal government through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) for $13,000 they’ll be using to expand their mentorship program, and are looking for 20 recently-retired businesswomen to help share their expertise with women who are entering the workforce.

“We’re looking for women who have been in business, preferably those who have experience managing and supervising staff to be able to provide feedback and input to clients,” said Linda Reid, executive director for Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie. “Our clients are so diverse.”

The Professional Women’s Group Volunteer Mentor information session, which ran on Wednesday morning at the Barrie location, was also attended by the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors who toured the facility, learned more about the program and spoke with some mentors and clients.

“I’m so impressed with this,” said Tassi. “Even as a Member of Parliament, dress is so important. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. When I stand up in the House of Commons and I’m dressed in a way that I feel confident... I’m different.”

Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie provides assistance to women at critical life transitions of employment or re-employment.

Their three cornerstone programs are the Suiting Program (Professional Clothing Assistance Program), the Professional Women’s Group and the Breakfast Club. Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie works with local agencies that refer clients who are actively seeking employment, have scheduled job interviews, or have recently acquired a job.

“As the Minister of Seniors, seeing you inviting seniors back to share the gifts, talents, experience and wisdom they have... magic can take place,” said Tassi. “This is absolutely brilliant.”

The Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Simcoe-Muskoka have also donated $20,000 toward the program this year, and CEO Dale Biddell was on-hand to provide remarks as well.

“This project was clearly the favourite among the group of members,” said Biddell. “This is spectacular. I know this doesn’t happen overnight. I’m already thinking of other ways we can gain financial resources.”

Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie is the first affiliate in Canada to launch the Professional Women’s Group program.

“This is brand new,” said Reid. “There is no template or manual on how to do this. So, we’re writing the manual.”

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, please email Linda Reid at


Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings nine years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering county matters, court, Collingwood and Barrie matters
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