Dress for Success and the women who lead

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Thursday, March 9, 2023
Dress for Success and the women who lead
This Women's History Month takes a look at Dress for Success. Two women took different paths to achieve their roles within the organization.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- This Women's History Month report takes a look at Dress for Success and how two women took different paths to achieve their roles within the organization.

She used to be the highest ranking woman in Major League Baseball, now Michele Meyer-Shipp runs a nonprofit aimed to help lift women up and help them land the career they want.

And for one woman who lost everything in Superstorm Sandy, it ended up becoming a lifesaver.

"It was devastating to, you know, look at my kids and say, you know, it's, it's this part of our lives, it's over for now," said Star Arbouin, a day care owner.

Hurricane Sandy left a path of uncertainty in Arbouin's life.

"I lost my home and my business all in one shot," she said.

The at-home day care she started was forced to close. As bills piled up, so did the anxiety.

"The actual day of eviction, there was a like a quiet calm over," Arbouin said. "I could just do nothing but watch them take my things."

The Middle Island family was displaced for four years. While Arbouin ended up getting a job during that time, an introduction to one organization would be her key to rebuilding.

"They gave me about a week's worth of clothing," said said.

"Then they showed me how to interchange the blouses, skirts, you know, to seem like I have more," Arbouin said.

The organization helps women achieve economic independence, beyond just finding a suit.

Michele Meyer-Shipp runs the nonprofit organization. She hung up her corporate suit as Major League Baseball's Chief People and Culture Officer overseeing human resources. She was the first Black woman in that role and the highest-ranking woman within the company at the time.

"After about a year of doing that work, trying to help everybody with every issue, they were navigating with the pandemic, with social justice issues. I actually found myself exhausted and as a woman of color was personally impacted by both the pandemic and the social injustice," Meyer-Shipp said.

She made the life-changing career move in 2021, one of the thousands of women in the country who quit their jobs during the pandemic as part of The Great Resignation.

"They were having to step out because their kids didn't have a school to go to, because their aging parents needed to be removed from a nursing home that was you know, overtaken by COVID," she said.

A few months into her hiatus, life tossed Meyer-Shipp an opportunity she couldn't miss.

"I've always wanted to help other people, and this allows me to do that in a very direct way," she said.

Helping women bounce back after life's curveballs.

Arbouin now serves as a brand ambassador for Dress for Success.

She plans to start her own spa business, catering to women who need a boost for life's next chapter.

"I have my confidence," Arbouin said. "Not only is it returned, but it is it's I feel stronger than I have been in the past."

The organization is hoping to ignite that same fire in others, launching "Your Hour, Her Power" in honor of Women's History Month. It's a campaign to celebrate women who lead and inspire those with aspirations to do so.

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