Last month, Dress for Success Central NJ – 7 Counties held its 4th annual Women’s Empowerment Breakfast at Trenton Country Club, where Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver addressed 250 guests with an impassioned keynote address entitled “Empowering Women at Every Level.” Ms. Oliver spoke about her career in public service and how she worked strategically to achieve her goals. Oliver encouraged the audience by stating, “No one has to give you power – we learn to empower ourselves and it starts with a healthy self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to stand up for yourself.

“The Lieutenant Governor delivered the perfect message for our audience,” said Melissa Tenzer, CEO of DFSCNJ. “She encouraged our women to be mindful of the opportunities available to them and to think strategically in their efforts to advance their careers.”

Gina Pearson, a graduate of DFSCNJ’s “Designing Your Future” 9-week program, stepped up to the podium to share her journey.  As she concluded her comments, Ms. Pearson encouraged the audience to, “Invest in the human soul, it just may be a diamond in the rough.”

Other DFSCNJ clients were highlighted as they stood up and briefly explained how the organization has impacted their lives.  

“Our women each have their own remarkable stories about their ‘keys to success’ and that’s what really matters,” said Tenzer. She added, “Hearing these stories, fills those who follow with the confidence and self-worth that they, too, will become employed and become the next generation of community and business leaders.” 

Neisha Kelly received the surprise of a lifetime at this year’s breakfast. Ms. Kelly was awarded the Dress for Success “Community Action Project” (CAP) award for her work on an international project in which all 134 Dress for Success affiliates participated.

This year’s project was about the organization’s commitment to transforming Women’s Financial Health in each local community by heightening visibility, providing education, engaging and interactive workshops, and opportunities for women to take control of their personal finances and guard their financial health and wealth. The CAP theme was “Women in Poverty” and the title of Neisha Kelly’s report was “Your Journey to Financial Freedom.” This project was an epic moment in Neisha’s life as she learned that she ranked in the top 10 of affiliates from around the world.

Sponsors for the breakfast included Bloomberg, Investors Bank, Capital Health, Mercadien, Comcast, PNC, Robert Half, Stark & Stark, Robert Wood Johnson, Withum, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Rue Insurance, PSEG, and, The Olsen Foundation.  

The money raised from the breakfast will help fund the full continuum of career programs and services provided by Dress for Success Central NJ which empower women to achieve economic independence. To learn more about DFSCNJ, please visit You can also follow DFSCNJ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Dress for Success Central New Jersey is dedicated to empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. The organization provides job readiness, educational, career mentoring and image enhancement programs that support clients through every stage of their employment journey – from pre-employment needs to professional development. Since opening its doors in 2007, DFSCNJ has served 7,500 women and girls.

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