AN inspirational Cork woman has been honoured for her work empowering local women to achieve economic independence.
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 its establishment in 2013.
The charity provides a support-network, professional attire and developmental tools to help women thrive in work and life.
Dress For Success was originally founded in 1997 by New York law graduate, Nancy Lublin, and now operates in more than 150 cities and 30 countries worldwide.
Over the years it has helped millions of women gain confidence and become self-sufficient.
Some 800 women in Cork have managed to achieve success in the workplace as a result of the initiative, with more than 500 transitioning to employment.
The movement has also helped drive the local economy.
Clients receive an average of €1,500 worth of life coaching through the service.
2019 also marked the Cork branches fifth year in existence. During this time it has relied on fundraisers and donations to stay afloat.
Carmel O’Keeffe extended her gratitude to both the Cork Person of the Year founder, Manus O’Callaghan and the people of Cork.
“At Dress for Success Cork, we are so grateful for the continuous support of the people of Cork,” she said. “This award recognises both a team and a county that is committed to creating an equal opportunities society.”
Carmel decided to set up the charity following the sudden death of her husband and the subsequent loss of the couple’s interior design business, in the height of the recession.
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.”
Led and run by 30 volunteers, Cork Dress for Success is located at 123 Patricks Street, Cork City and is open from 9am to 2pm every Tuesday to Friday.
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.
For more information on the Cork branch of Dress for Success visit https://cork.dressforsuccess.org/