On Wednesday, September 28, in the SCC Boardrooms, students fiercely strutted their stuff on the Saint Leo runway to benefit the charitable organization, Suit Up.
The Alpha Sigma Tau sorority and Career Planning partnered up to put on a fashion show that featured appropriate business attire to support Dress for Success, show a changed philanthropy, and kick off next week’s Career Fair.
Twenty-eight students modeled and participated in the two-hour fashion show and included informative segments on professionalism. A point system was implemented to account for donations and votes received per student model. The incentive was a $50 Macy’s gift card, awarded to the two lucky winners that gained the most support.
The fashion show began with an introduction from Alpha Sigma Tau’s Juliette Stratas, an informative session from Dress for Success Representative Judy Bensinger, and important lessons on interviewing skills from Career Planning’s Matt Battista. The fundraiser earned and donated all $520 in proceeds to Dress for Success.
The brains behind this fundraiser was Alpha Sigma Tau’s Little, Juliette Stratas, who said that “showing students how to dress for success while raising money to donate all of the proceeds to Dress for Success would help women struggling in poverty” which she also mentioned, went along with her “sorority’s Six Dimensions of Wellness.”
When Juliette was asked if she had any background in event planning, she responded with, “this is the first event I’ve ever put on.”
Her impressed Big and the sorority’s vice president of community relations, Katie Holt, said the reason the sorority hosted the event was because women’s wellness fell under their “occupational, intellectual, physical, and social Dimensions of Wellness.”
Holt explained that this event displayed the sorority’s new philanthropy that they can now “choose partnerships as long as they remain under the six initiatives.”
Because the event was inspired by Career Planning, Matt Battista had two intermissions during the fashion show to teach the audience important lessons on interviewing skills. Battista first explained that the first and most important thing to do is leave a good impression on the potential employer. He then went on to describe and have student participants display the perfect handshake.
Battista explained, “ the perfect handshake includes keeping eye contact, confidence, and not forgetting to smile.’ He said to avoid the dreadful “claw and bro hug” while making your first impression and handshake.
Followed by that, Battista informed the audience of the all-important elevator pitch. He said, “the elevator pitch was used back then when people would get into an elevator and explain why they would be the perfect person for the job in sixty seconds.” He used this example to show how people need to deliver everything they can condense in under a minute to tell the employer that they are the right person for the job, the key things about yourself.
Battista gave tips on making the major first impression during the elevator pitch. He said, “keep it simple, talk about your passions- tied to why they might hire you, and make sure it is of current relevance.” He stressed that “no one knows you better than you know yourself” when forming an elevator pitch.
Judy Bensinger, a representative from Dress for Success, spoke of how the organization “gives women from poverty-stricken or tough circumstances the hope, confidence, and style that they need to start over.”
Dress for Success was started 19 years ago in New York by Law student Nancy Lawson, who inherited $5,000 and wanted to change the world. She got the idea from a girls’ party where she asked her friends what would help them the most, they all thought of professional attire. She explained how ever since 1998, there have been more than 11,000 women served and they are still going strong. The organization works hard to provide a program in first impressions, expressions, computer skills, and putting together a look to get them ready for a job.
Bensinger commented on how this was a “great opportunity and first time being able to reach young people.” She said, “This is a great time for college students to start thinking about professionalism and dressing for success.”
Bensinger then gave seven tips on how to make an impression: 1. Smile 2. Firm handshake 3. Introduce yourself 4. Look friendly 5. Make eye contact 6. Look smart in attire and attitude 7. Sit down only when you are told to.
Bensinger also added that studies show that there is a 7-second rule to making an impression, she encourages that “dressing the right way can show that you are smart, confident, and serious.” She says that simple things college students should keep in mind during an interview with a prospective employer are to “speak clearly, be comfortable in conversation, be confident, profess approachability, trustworthiness, friendliness, and look the part for the company.”
“There is a great spirit among students of Saint Leo, they really care about each other and are serious in promoting professionalism and was happy Dress for Success could add to the experience,” stated Bensinger.
The event ended with a dance party on the runway, with all students still dressed in business attire and packed with knowledge on professionalism. The fun will continue next Tuesday at 6:00 PM in the Gym, located in the Marion-Bowman Activities Center.