Roc Girls to Know: Meet Alyssa Whitfield of Dress for Success

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Photography by Tracy Koflanovich of Tracy Jade Photography

Tell us your name, age and what you do.
My name is Alyssa Whitfield, I am 47 years old. I am a career & style coach and founder & CEO of Dress for Success Rochester.

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Give us little of your history.
I grew up in Boston and moved to Auburn, NY during middle school. It was a big culture shock to say the least, I adjusted quickly, but I could not have survived without my girlfriends. I think I must have been born with the knack for making friends, I also just had a innate sense early on that girls should be there for each other. That passion for maintaining relationships and my love of fashion are the basis for my work as a career coach and for founding Dress for Success Rochester, an organization that addresses the needs of women who women who wish to achieve economic independence by providing professional coaching and image consulting to help them thrive in the workplace.

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Tell us more about what you do.
I work with any woman who wants to improve their professional image, elevate their career and increase their impact on their community. It’s that simple. The part I am most proud of is that we are able to see the impact of our work immediately. When a woman who has come for a first impressions coaching session and leaves my boutique with a huge smile and a newly found confidence, I know we’ve done something good. Then when she calls us back and says “I got the job!”, well then, we know we are changing lives! What sets us apart is that we don’t stop there. We keep working with them throughout their journey providing support that we hope will keep them advancing. It’s all about helping them attain job that will lead to a meaningful career and by meaningful, I'm talking about work in which they will thrive, and in turn their family will thrive.

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Tell us what you've learned since starting Dress for Success Rochester.
When it comes to running a purpose driven organization, the most important thing you can do is get some BBF’s “Business Best Friends”, because you can't do it alone. The reason I say BBF’s is because everyone knows that best friends will be there to support you, but they will also be there to call you out when you are messing up and get you back on track. Dress for Success Rochester would not be where we are now if it wasn’t for our board and volunteers that have truly become my tribe. They would do anything for us and in turn, I am able to see my dream come to fruition.

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I am finally working within my true calling. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
— Alyssa Whitfield
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The other thing I’ve learned over the years is that the need for women to be successful in their careers transcends any socioeconomic status. I kept getting calls from women that were already working, asking for career advice, networking tips and of course, guidance on dressing more professionally. So I decided to translate that formula for success and launch a premier coaching service that allows ALL women to go where they want to go in their careers. I am finally working within my true calling. It just doesn’t get any better than that! 

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List some of your favorite things about Rochester. 
Rochester is a much more interesting place than people give it credit for. Besides the giving nature of this community as a whole, it is exciting to see that we have so many fabulous women running things, it’s just fantastic! 

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Anyone who knows me, probably can find me at Panache Vintage & Finer Consignment on any given day. I look forward to Fashion Week of Rochester every year. It gives us a Big City energy. I absolutely love the food and the atmosphere at the Cub Room, if you’ve never had their s’mores dessert, you haven’t lived. The music scene is good here too, I try to get around to all the music festivals and I will go to any place that Danielle Ponder & the Tomorrow People are playing. I truly love the vibe at Anthology, I think it is one of the best places to catch a concert or have an event, in fact, we have our annual Success in the City fundraiser there in May. The owner Phil, just gets us. He will do anything to make sure we have the best time.

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