Charitable Choices: Natasha Irvine of Dress For Success Vancouver

Dress For Success Vancouver is a non-profit organization that understands the journey towards professional fulfilment is not just about skills and qualifications, but also about confidence and presentation. That’s why they go beyond conventional assistance to anybody identifying as a woman: by providing not only professional attire but also comprehensive career services and skill-building workshops to their clientele. We spoke to Natasha Irvine, the Acting Executive Director of the Dress For Success office in Vancouver, to learn more about how they empower women in the workplace.

Dress For Success Vancouver

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

We are an organization that empowers women and gender-diverse individuals to gain financial independence through attaining jobs and personal success through a series of professional development programs and dressing services we offer.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Each one of our programs aims to solve something. We offer career programs, dressing services, leadership programs, counselling and workshops to anyone who identifies as a woman. The clothing we attain is sustainable, donated from other working women’s closets. The goal is to make our clients feel positive about their appearance by looking good and having the accessibility to put on an outfit that makes them feel that way. When you go into an interview, being dressed in a way that heightens your confidence highlights the skills you already have. Our regular workshops aim to help women thrive in the workplace, and some workshops will focus on mental health and personal well-being. We have workshops on how to ask for a raise. Our women’s group is a leadership program to further women in their careers. Basically, the keystone in all of this is the network and community gives people more avenues to work with by offering a network of support and opportunity. By extension, their families benefit, and so the community benefits. Dress for Success is a worldwide organization.

When did you start/join it?

I’ve been an employee here for six and a half years.

What made you want to get involved?

The way that the organization made a difference in the lives of the women served is a really palpable difference. You see people come in for dressing services and then they leave with a change in confidence, knowing that they’re going to fit into their interview and the workforce. I’ve been at the organization long enough to see people start their careers as newcomers to Canada, and some of the people move on to have huge personal success in their careers. It is very fulfilling.

How has it changed since?

Our capacity for support has actually increased. We used to run one professional woman cohort and now we have four, we have fewer barriers to our services now, and we’ve partnered with different agencies. We’ve moved to our Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain location, sharing a space with Big Sisters. We are closer to our clients in terms of how we’re easily accessible on the Skytrain line, therefore our capacity to serve has increased.

We used to do one-on-one career appointments in the office, and now we do one-on-one programs helping women nationally and even online! They can receive career support, resume and peer support, and access to local services via our online portals. You can be paired with or choose someone closest to you. We all have access to all local files and help people all over nationwide.

Dress For Success Vancouver

How can our readers help?

Readers can donate or visit our “Ways to Give” page on our website. We also have our Success Luncheon on November 21, 2023. Readers can buy tickets and join us for the celebration to empower women into the workforce.

Do you have any events coming up?

The Success Luncheon

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram | Facebook

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Big Sisters, we share the space with them and they’ve been amazing roommates, we look forward to deepening the relationship in the coming months and years.


About Emilea Semancik 127 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: