Dress for Success announces expansion plans

Stock photo.

Dress for Success Rochester, a nonprofit that provides programs and services to help job-seeking women secure employment, recently announced additions to its leadership team and expansion of its services. 

This fall, DFSR will take its critical career counseling services to meet women where they are, offering coaching services and interview-outfitting consultation on the road with DFS Express Mobile Boutique and Career Center.  

Agency placement services and community organizations can schedule the DFS Express to arrive on-site to service women at those locations. Clients will experience the same service they would at the State Street location, including consultation with a first impression coach and the opportunity to receive wardrobe essentials for their job interview at no cost. 

“Now, more than ever, our services are needed by so many women in our community,” said Colleen Matteson, board president. “As unemployment rates fluctuated over the last year and women were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, we quickly recognized the need to offer greater flexibility for our clients. We worked to transition our in-person services to virtual, helping to serve over 400 women in our community this past year. Now, we look forward to continuing to expand our services and reach more women through DFS Express.”   

The board of directors is expanding the leadership team to better support the organization’s next chapter of growth and appointed Bivette Stodghill as executive director, a newly created role.   

Stodghill has a history of supporting and advocating for the Rochester community, holding leadership positions with the College at Brockport, Rochester City School District, Inspire 360!, Open Minds and Rochester Area Community Foundation. Her experience with nonprofits, government agencies, educational organizations and private business will help DFSR advance its growth strategies and enhance its services.  

“I am elated to bring my energy and multidisciplinary expertise to Dress for Success Rochester and the women we serve,” Stodghill said. “I look forward to building on the strengths and continuing the excellence of existing programs and support networks, while developing new relationships, partnerships and opportunities for women's success. I am particularly excited about the launch of the DFS Express — literally a rolling, extension of the downtown boutique that will expand our services to career-seeking and career-building women. I am pleased to work with our board of directors, partners, volunteers and success ambassadors to empower women's financial, professional and leadership growth.” 

CEO Alyssa Whitfield will work with Stodghill to transition her day-to-day operational responsibilities. As founder, Whitfield will continue to serve as chief strategist, responsible for assisting Stodghill and the board with developing, communicating, executing and sustaining strategic initiatives.  

Whitfield also joined Career Start Workforce Management Group as executive director, community relations, responsible for implementing improved processes and identifying opportunities to further support the ability of Career Start's temporary workforce to maintain consistent work and self-sufficiency. 

“Over the last five years, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside a board that believed in my vision and, together, we’ve built an organization and brand that the community trusts and believes in,” Whitfield said. “We are about empowering and uplifting women to realize their full potential, and adding the new executive director position allows me the opportunity to continue to build my own professional legacy while staying engaged with DFSR as founder. I look forward to working with Bivette, a dedicated and talented person who truly understands and connects with the diversity and culture of the women we serve.”  

The board also appointed Johnita Anthony as program and administrative manager, who will be responsible for managing the State Street boutique and DFS Express logistics and programming. Board member Susie Higgins-Shaver, senior partner success manager at Boomi, was appointed to board vice president and will continue to work with the executive committee in driving the future growth of DFSR.