Ruth Koup is the Founder & CEO of Dress for Success. The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Founded in New York City in 1997, Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization offering services designed to help our clients find jobs and remain employed. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and can return for a second suit or separates when she finds work. Since 1997, Dress for Success has served more than 700,000 women around the world. Each year we reach nearly 70,000 women in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, France, Luxembourg and the West Indies.
Q: Dress for Success is such a great organization. What do you want people to know about it beyond what they can find on the website?
RK: Women involved with Dress for Success Affiliates are passionate about what they are doing to make a difference in the lives of others. It isn’t an easy job as most don’t think about the ‘dark side’ of this amazing organization that includes lifting heavy boxes, sorting through mountains of clothing, constantly keeping inventory in size order and maintaining boutiques that are pleasant and inviting. It is nothing less than a monumental task – and of course all of this is done in stilettos.
Q: Do you need anything immediately for women in our area?
RK: We constantly need very small sizes like 00 or 0 or plus size inventory to offer attire options for our clients. We need more volunteers because our clients need contact with professional women as personal shoppers, career center consultant to support their transition into the workforce.
Q: How would others be best able to help?
RK: We have so many ways for women to help but one way is for every woman to consider donating $100 per year to become one of our supporting individual donors that we call Women of Wardrobe aka “WOW”. We feel strongly that our organization could be sustained by a successful campaign. We plan to re-launch our WOW program in 2014.
Q: What’s your hidden passion?
RK:I am not sure that I actually have a hidden passion. I tend to be an open book with social media and speaking engagements, so there isn’t a hidden passion. I am passionate about my work. However, I think there are things that people don’t know about me, such as I loved to sew but I just don’t have time for it anymore. I won 2nd prize at the farm show when I was 16, which for a young girl was an amazing honor. People don’t know that I really love driving the Mobile Suiting Program 17 foot box truck.
Q: What do you love to do outside of your work?
RK: I am in love with my grandson! I look forward to every moment with him. I am in love with antique cars and own 3 to date. I love to drive the ’48 Plymouth!
Q: What inspires you?
RK: Helping others learn to solve problems that positively impact the direction of their lives inspires me. It’s not just giving them clothing; I am talking about giving them tools to become self-sufficient & drive with knowledge as to how to make changes in their life. I have come to know that poverty can be a trap that prevents women from achieving their dreams. I am inspired to help others achieve their dreams and help them see that others do care.
Q: Where do you find your greatest joy?
RK: My greatest joy has been to have a husband that has supportive & loving. To watch our adult children grow and learn about life. I have fully embraced the game changing experience of our grandson with so much delight. Being a Nonna is going to be my greatest joy that still centers around our children.