The following commentary by Nick Deiuliis highlights the unique partnership between for CNX Resources and Dress for Success, which includes preparing The Mentorship Academy students for job interviews with professional attire, headshots, mock interviews, and resume writing workshops.
I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many exciting and inspiring efforts over my career. Being part of the CNX Foundation’s Mentorship Academy has been one of the best of the best, both personally and professionally. The Academy successfully captures all the great players in western Pennsylvania and joins them together to bring about impactful, positive change to the next generation.
A side benefit to the Mentorship Academy effort is getting to know the standouts across this region’s businesses, nonprofit organizations, industries, and educational institutions. One such shining light is the nonprofit Dress for Success Pittsburgh.
Toward the end of the inaugural class of the Mentorship Academy, we partnered with Dress for Success to outfit the students with professional attire. The transformation was unbelievable, both in visual appearance as well as in personal demeanor. You change a person’s look, and you change their confidence level.
With that type of high impact, Dress for Success instantly became a crucial partner to the Mentorship Academy. CNX and Dress for Success grew closer, and CNX recruited Dress for Success to take up office residence in our headquarters building (part of our HQ at CNX initiative). Now we work alongside each other daily and are a proud sponsor of their mobile boutique providing services to women across Fayette, Greene and Washington Counties.
Which brings me to how CNX, the Mentorship Academy, and Dress for Success serendipitously had me contemplating life in, of all places, my bedroom closet. Allow me to explain.
First, understand I am somewhat of a hoarder, albeit an organized one. It hurts me to throw away things that I may end up using again or that, more importantly, hold the slightest sentimental value. I have the ticket stubs to every sporting event I attended in life (at least for ones where they used to print tickets). Every book I read finds a home on a shelf somewhere in the house. I suppose these are not simply inanimate things to me; they are living memories.
For some reason, I followed suit with this behavior when it came to suits, as in my professional business attire. Over three decades ago, I started out as a young, 21-year-old engineer who didn’t own a suit (or know how to knot a tie). So, I had to purchase a few and started with the classic basics of navy blue, grey pinstripe, and black pinstripe varieties.
Through the years I would buy a suit or two, but because my measurements didn’t change much, I never ended up letting go of the older suits. This steady expansion of the wardrobe went on for decades. It spanned nearly ten apartments and houses in the Pittsburgh area, with each move having a step of swiping up the suits on the old closet rack and then hanging them up on the new closet rack. With each progressive move, the closet got a little bigger, but the line of suits got a little longer.1
I see nothing wrong with those suits, including the originals; they are in great shape and a classic gray suit does not go out of style. But in today’s more business casual world, I only need a couple.
That leaves a lot of suits just hanging in the closet. I thought of the male Mentorship Academy students from this year’s class. And then I thought of Dress for Success and the thousands of people they assist across the region. It was time to give up the suits.
That’s how I ended up contemplating life in my bedroom closet. I was staring at that line of suits, ready to take them down to the car to bring them in to Dress for Success. But then it hit me as a scanned the line from left to right.
My adult life was looking back at me on that rack. A suit when I was single and in my 20s. One I was wearing in heavy rotation around the time my kids were born. There’s one I wore at a family wedding and one next to it that I wore at a family funeral. A row of suits covering me at board meetings for the lineage of great companies I worked for.
The older the suit, the more cumulative the history. An adult life’s alpha and omega found, in of all places, on a closet clothes rack. How could I part with them?
Well, it came down to impact. The suit can remain in the closet, never be worn, and have one person appreciate it. Or it can be repurposed and find new life. And maybe, just maybe, help take someone in this region to the next level of realizing their potential.
The car got loaded up. Tanya from Dress for Success was helping me unload them at the office and asked, “Where did all these come from?” I told her it was a long story but that I would try to explain it to her as best I could.
Dress for Success Pittsburgh is always looking for men’s and women’s professional attire (including dress shoes!) in good condition. CNX sponsors the Dress for Success mobile boutique, which provides services to women across Fayette, Greene, and Washington Counties in western Pennsylvania. Contact CEO Tanya Vokes at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you might help.