CLEVELAND — Dress for Success Cleveland doesn't just give women clothes; the organization also helps them build the skills needed to be successful. The organization does it with volunteers committed to making a difference.
During this Women's History Month, we're introducing you to some of the people being honored by Dress for Success and News 5 for their contributions.
We begin with Carrie Carpenter, a senior vice president for Huntington National Bank.
From the 15th floor of the 200 Public Square building in downtown Cleveland, Carpenter reflected on her chance to go to college and make connections needed to help launch her career.
"There are a lot of women that don't have that. That don't have the funding to go to college, aren't on that trajectory," said Carpenter.
The Vice President, Regional Manager of Corporate Affairs for Huntington Bank is doing her part to help change that.
"I have a track record of being very vocal supporting women in our community," said Carpenter.
Early on, Carpenter found her personal mission aligned with Dress for Success Cleveland.
"I've long been committed to empowering women in the workplace and gender equality."
Dropping off some of her business suits is how Carpenter first connected with the non-profit.
"A lot of people just think of it as a place where they can donate their business attire," said Carpenter.
This month, volunteers from Huntington Bank will kick off a financial empowerment series for Dress for Success.
"It works to help empower women in the workplace, empower women financially," said Carpenter.
Repairing credit, planning for retirement and entrepreneurship are among some of the topics that will be tackled.
Outside her corporate role, Carpenter also stepped up to help women excel personally and professionally.
"I actually started a women's networking group with some friends in Cleveland a few years ago. We've now grown to 28,000 members on Facebook," said Carpenter.
Women's Networking Group-Cleveland is helping close the gap that can prevent growth.
"Now women post job opportunities, they ask for advice in the workplace," said Carpenter.
This year, Dress for Success Cleveland is honoring Carpenter, as well as five other individuals, for their work promoting women.
Carpenter, along with two others, are being honored specifically for their success in male-dominated career fields.
"I'm very lucky to get to apply that lens to our community, identifying issues that need to be addressed and working philanthropic resources and the wonderful non-profits we have in town to address those issues," said Carpenter.
All this month, News 5 is partnering with Dress for Success to highlight empowered women who are being honored by the organization. Dress for Success is also holding "Your Hour, Her Power," a donation drive during Women's History Month in March, to raise donations for their program and to drive employees in Northeast Ohio to make a difference.