Bluffton groups help local women dress for success

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comOctober 8, 2013 

Women in Bluffton who are looking for a job or a promotion are about to get a jump on the competition.

The Zonta Club of Bluffton and Bluffton Self Help, will host a "Dress for Success" event Thursday to provide community women with clothes and skills to help them in the job search.

"When we looked at some of the things we could do in our own neighborhood, we thought about many of the women wanting or needing employment or better employment," said Jennifer Stupica, chairman of the club's service committee.

"So this is a way we thought we could help with that."

Zonta and Bluffton Self Help have been collecting work-appropriate clothes to hand out for free at the first-time event. They have been collecting clothes for a couple of weeks and will continue to gather clothes until the event.

At the event, from 4 to 6 p.m., they also will have several workshops to help women look for jobs, interview and dress, Stupica said.

A human resources director from The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, Jolie Bagonzi, will be at the event for a roundtable on resumes, interviews and other job-seeking skills.

Gail Guy, store manager for Doncaster Outlet on Hilton Head Island, said she and assistant manager Sandy Plowdeniz will help women learn to dress professionally with clothes that are in their price range.

They both will go to Bluffton Self Help before the event to put together some outfits that will show attendees different options to impress interviewers, she said.

"I think a lot of people don't know how to dress for an interview," Guy said. "First glimpse of anyone sets the tone. ... It gives them a little of an idea of what you're like and what you would be like on the job."

Representatives from Palmetto Bluff will advice and also conduct interviews for several positions.

Margaret Johnson, director of human resources at the Bluffton resort community, said a variety of positions that don't require resort experience, such as stewards, housekeepers, servers and recreational positions, are available.

The event will give women both skills and hope, according to Bluffton Self Help executive director Lili Coleman.

She said she expects 30 women to attend but hopes for more. Each woman will be able to choose 12 clothing items or accessories, she said.

"They've just been discouraged for so long," Coleman said. "But this event shows there are people out there that want to interview them and are interested in hiring them, so it's rewarding for these women."

Dress for Success

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Bluffton Self Help, 39 Sheridan Park Circle, suite 10 in Bluffton

What: Women can get free work-appropriate clothes and attend workshops about job skills.


Where to donate to clothing drive

  • Palmetto Electric, 1 Cooperative Way, Hardeeville, or 111 Mathews Drive, Hilton Head
  • Palmetto Dental Arts, 347 Red Cedar St., suite 400, Bluffton
  • Bluffton Town Hall, 20 Bridge St. (see Debbie Szpanka)
  • Merrill Lynch, 1 Chamber of Commerce Drive, Hilton Head Island (see Pamela Passananti)
  • Bluffton Self Help, 39 Sheridan Park Circle, unit 10 (label bag "Dress for Success event")
  • Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at

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