Carmel O’Keeffe, the organiser of the free service Dress for Success, which helps women find employment by providing them with professional coaching and attire, has been named May Cork Person of the Month. Pictured at the award presentation l/r Manus O’Callaghan, Awards Organiser; Ronan McManamy, M.D. Irish Examiner/The Echo; Ann-Marie O’Sullivan, AMO’Sullivan PR; Carmel O’Keeffe, Cork Person of the Month; Paudie Donegan, Lexus Cork; Karen O’Donoghue, Irish Examiner/The Echo; Pat Lemasney, Southern. (Picture: Tony O’Connell Photography)

The founder of the ‘Dress for Success’ Cork branch, Carmel O’Keeffe has been named Cork Person of the Month for May to mark her contribution to the organisation since she established it in 2013.

Dress for Success Cork is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and developmental tools to help women thrive in work and life, all at no cost to the client.

The original Dress for Success branch was founded in 1997 by New York law graduate, Nancy Lublin, the organisation now operates in over 150 cities and 30 countries worldwide, and has helped more than one million women become more self-sufficient.

Workplace success

Since the founding of the Cork Dress for Success branch, the organisation has helped over eight hundred Cork women achieve workplace success, with over 500 transitioning on to paid employment.

This has generated multi millions in earnings from employed clients. On average, each client receives €1,500 worth of coaching services, with over 700 women receiving one on one sessions.

Cork Dress for Success is unique from other branches in the training they offer. Unlike other branches, the team at Cork Dress for Success helps women work on both professional and personal development, assisting them to develop a positive growth mindset.

Higher self-esteem

97% of women who have visited the Cork branch have experienced higher self-esteem, with 94% of clients feeling that their self-confidence is greatly improved.

Led and run by 30 volunteers, Cork Dress for Success is located at 123 Patricks Street, Cork City and is open from 9am – 2pm every Tuesday to Friday.

Carmel O’Keeffe is committed to transforming the lives of Cork women. Speaking on the successes of the Dress for Success organisation and being honoured with a Cork Person of the Month Award.

Carmel said: “At Dress for Success Cork, we are so grateful for the continuous support of the people of Cork. This award recognises both a team and a county that is committed to creating an equal opportunities society.”

Speaking about Carmel’s commitment to the organisation, awards sponsor Ann-Marie O’Sullivan said: “Dress for Success is an amazing initiative designed to support Cork women pursuing professional development. Carmel’s dedication to supporting the women of Cork both professionally and emotionally is inspiring. She is a truly deserving winner of this award.”

Carmel O’Keeffe’s name will go forward with the other monthly winners for possible selection as the Cork Person of the Year 2019 at a gala awards lunch, which will be held in Rochestown Park Hotel in January 2020.