Written by Paige Dawson Rodriguez on Friday, February 24th, 2017
A charitable event like no other, Attitudes & Attire hosted their 21st Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show today. Some 700 of us packed the Dallas Market Center to listen to powerful client stories, celebrate award winners, look at fashion, dine on a scrumptious veggie plate, and for a few lucky folks, win a raffle prize.
If you aren’t familiar with Attitudes & Attire, I invite you to take a look at the agency that builds confidence and self-esteem in women who are lost, fallen and alone. They offer workshops to help with resume-building, interview preparation and securing financial control and give each woman new business-ready attire so they are prepared for the next step. A&A also has programs such as Hopeful Smiles that partner with local dentists who give women the confidence to take on the world with her smile and Boots to Heels that help veteran women transition back into civilian life after deployment.
A&A Founder and long-time friend, Lyn Berman, has worked towards empowering and helping women for more than two decades, and our team at MPD Ventures has supported her and Attitudes and Attire since the beginning….even before we were technically MPD Ventures as I was a member of the founding board of directors and event chair for an early luncheon in the 1990s.
Fast-forward to our company founding in 2001 to now and we’ve spent hundreds of hours helping with their marketing and public relations needs. We’ve also served as an annual sponsor for the luncheon for all 16 years that we’ve been in business. While I’ve long passed my term limits as a board member, our own Maureen Paulsen stepped up and has been on the board for a number of years now. We even curated the music for today’s fashion show; thanks to Kris Relja’s help.
The most fun though is for our office team and some of our clients to join in and attend the yearly luncheon. We try to mix up our invite list each year to introduce more folks to this organization. Today, we stacked the table our team and a group of fellow women business owners…who also happen to be cherished clients. (Jane, Alice, Rachel & Patricia, thanks for taking a long lunch to join us!)
While I’ve had the pleasure to attend every luncheon to date, I’ve never witnessed the direct-from-the-podium challenge grant we saw today. This year’s Honorary Chair Janet Jensen, proposed a matching like no other for those in the room.
For every $1 donated at the lunch, she would match it for $5. So, $1 becomes $6. Plus, she would match the funds raised from raffle tickets at 1 to 1. Our table did our part to maximize the challenge; I’m eager to hear the results.
It is always moving to hear the stories of the women who faced challenges that went through the program and completely turned their lives around. Many were fighting depression, anxiety and most challenging, being alone during a dark time. Whether their circumstance was caused from poverty, prison, abuse, military transition or life-changing accidents, they all felt A&A taught them to set boundaries and goals, love themselves through hard times, and cultivate compassion not only for themselves but for the people around them. We heard from three clients with impressive turnaround stories….and unbelievable confidence to speak in front of some 700 of us.
After completing the workshops, each client felt joyfulness and the courage to speak up and stand out. It encouraged them to find a place where they belong and feel special. One client faced a life-altering disability, she was a marketing executive that ended up on disability and was lost. She felt that she didn’t know who she was but through the workshops at A&A she regained confidence, focused on herself, learned to interview, set up a LinkedIn profile, and reestablished herself in the marketing industry. A&A encourages women to get out of their box and focus on becoming a better version of themselves than they were the day before. It is hard to eliminate stressors from your everyday life, even if you’ve made dramatic improvements, but A&A gave these women means to deal with stressors and to persevere through hard times.
In closing words, Anna de Haro of iHeartMedia said in Spanish “hoy por ti, mañana por mi” – today you, tomorrow me – meaning that today may be a day that you need the help of someone else and to return that favor when they are in need of your benevolence and help. Thanks Lyn Berman and the A&A team for being here yesterday, today, and tomorrow for countless women in Dallas.