Bottomless Closet – Meet the New Executive Director

Bottomless Closet is a nonprofit organization operating in New York City. It works to serve disadvantaged women to prepare for the workforce. It helps these women transition from unemployment and public assistance to employment and independence. There are many women who attest to its impact on their lives. It has helped these women build core proficiencies for success, increase self-confidence, and boost self-esteem. Bottomless Closet has transformed the potential and vision of these women tremendously.

What Does Bottomless Closet Do?

Once she has a job interview scheduled, a woman is referred to Bottomless Closet through a network of partner organizations. Then, the woman gains access to the many services of Bottomless Closet including resume review/preparation, interview coaching, and a broad workshop series. The name of Bottomless Closet comes from one of their unique services: the selection of quality clothes for interviewing. Women particularly love this service. Melissa Norden, newly appointed Executive Director says,

"People walk in with their heads bowed down and walk out with a greater sense of self-worth."

In addition to a makeover and curriculum, a female client with the Bottomless Closet organization is entitled to a one-on-one resume and interviewing prep session. This is often invaluable for women. According to Melissa, this is an integrated process. Volunteers work with people to prepare their resume and go through potential interview questions. Some people have a more up-to-date resume than others; but the interview prep and boutique visit, take about one and a half hours. Women learn tips on interviewing that can serve them for years.

Follow up

Bottomless Closet doesn't stop there. There is a workshop series available after you leave your session at Bottomless Closet. It covers how women can develop professionally, manage finances, and enrich their personal lives. As an added incentive, Bottomless Closet offers two certificate programs to enhance a woman's resume, but it is not required. The workshops are offered over 3 trimesters beginning in January, April, or September. Each trimester is 3 months long. The workshops include the following topics:

  • Goal Setting
  • Budgeting
  • Insurance, Taxes, Annuities
  • Debt Reduction
  • Writing A Will
  • Student Loans
  • Saving For Retirement
  • Investing
  • Buying A Home
  • Helping Your Child Succeed In School
  • Budget Travel
  • Book Club, and
  • Theater Outings

This is not a comprehensive list of the workshop series covering Professional Development, Financial Management, and Personal Enrichment. To see how these workshops are divided into each category, visit the Workshop Curriculum page of bottomlessclosetnyc.org. Clients are encouraged to participate in as many workshops that interest them. 

Melissa Norden

Melissa Norden stepped in as the Executive Director of Bottomless Closet on March 28, 2016. She has a lengthy and impressive resume, serving with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). At the ASPCA, Norden served as Senior Vice President, Chief of Staff and General Counsel. While she was there, the ASPCA boomed. During her career there, she managed a $150+ million budget and a staff of over 700. She also oversaw the creation of a new grant program that allocates $15+ million annually across America. About the transition to Bottomless Closet, Norden had the following to say:

"I am thrilled to serve Bottomless Closet, where we help transform women’s lives with clothing, insider tips, and empathy, all of which work together to instill confidence and a sense of dignity that will be invaluable in their job searches and future careers." 

A Model Program

Norden informed us that Bottomless Closet works through referral partners in the 5 boroughs. Those agencies help the individuals get interviews, then Bottomless Closet prepares them. The partnering agencies are well-established colleges, the YMCA, and other charities. To see a list of referral-partners, go to www.bottomlessclosetnyc.org and click on Referral Partner, then Referral Partner Finder. 

What I Wish EVERY Job Candidate Knew

To get some recommendations on how to interview well, check out the following book: What I Wish EVERY Job Candidate Knew: 15 Minutes to a Better Interview by Russell Tuckerton.  Tuckerton has spent 20 years interviewing and hiring people at multiple Fortune 500 companies. This book gives you insight into the other side of the table at a job interview. Get out of your head!

MWBEzone

If you're woman, you should check out available grants and federal contracts at MWBEzone.com. Choose from the Categories, Geographic Focus, and Funding Source. Under categories, you should choose Financial Assistance, Women, and Workforce. MWBEzone is a search engine specifically for minority and women-owned businesses. This will lead you to all related grants. You may be able to find grants for individuals whom are looking to improve their career status. 

For instance, I found the following two results when I searched for the aforementioned categories:

Scholarships to Mercer County, New Jersey Women to Attend Higher Education Programs While Working

Deadline: 06/15/16 

Grants to Brattleboro, Vermont and Rhinebeck, New York Nonprofits and Working Women in Need of Support

Deadline: 07/01/16

Remember to sign up with a pricing plan at GrantWatch.com in order to view the entire grant or contract. 

About the Author: MWBEzone Staff Writer with contributions from Melissa Norden.

Sources:

When Hiring a Business Consultant

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a fast-talking business man or woman? Aggressive, passionate and observant? Well, despite your business acumen, you most probably will need a business consultant at some point during your career; Maybe at the start of your business or to make changes to adapt to altering markets. According to Joe Gross of Joe Gross Marketing, Inc., (previously of MWBEzone.com),

“A business consultant should be knowledgeable, experienced, and trust-worthy. In addition, the business consultant should have an understanding of the field of the product.”

Characteristics of a Business Consultant

Without these characteristics in your consultant, you will find lack-luster results in your business growth. It is important for a business consultant to be knowledgeable. You are depending on them, so don’t let the tables flip.

Find someone who knows what they are doing and can work with you to write a thorough business plan. This means they should have managed their own successful business and have knowledge of how to write the following sub documents:

  • executive summary
  • company description
  • market analysis
  • organization and management
  • service or product line
  • marketing and sales
  • funding request
  • financial projections, and
  • appendix.

According to Joe Gross:

“The most important thing a business needs to know about writing a business plan is to have a complete understanding and vision of what they want to achieve. This means their goals in business. They should want and need a financial understanding of costs and profit margins as well as have steps A-Z in place.”

Next, it is necessary for the business consultant to be experienced. Without prior experience, a consultant may not know how to problem-solve. For example, your business may have a very unique aspect to it that should be highlighted both in the business plan and in marketing strategies. An inexperienced consultant may look over this fact.

Finally, it is important for a consultant to be trust-worthy. If he/she is spreading confidential information about your company to competitors or the public at large, it can be disconcerting. More than that, it can be damaging. This is why it is important to look for trust in your relationship with your business consultant.

Also, the consultant should have a good understanding of the market in which you will be burgeoning. It is incumbent upon the business to include a market analysis in their business plan. Your consultant should research your market and your competitors. He/she should look into the available sales records of competitors or established companies and communicate to you what to expect. If you have questions, contact Joe Gross at 718-435-6250.

Hiring a Consultant Simplified:

If you want some tips on how to hire a business consultant, check out this book on kindle: Hiring a Consultant Simplified: A Strategic Planning Approach by Christopher Kern. This book will help a small business to decide on a business consultant. It will help you to decide on the scope of work defined for the consultant and how he or she can help you accomplish your business goals.

Be Picky

Be discerning when searching for a business consultant. Don’t settle for someone who only puts in half the effort. If you follow Joe’s formula, you should find a reliable consultant with whom your business can grow. A good business consultant will even help you figure out a crowdfunding project for your small business at Uhelpfund. He/she will help you decide from the 100 categories to match your project. Or, they may refer you to MWBEzone.com to help you search for and apply to grants.

Grants and Crowdfunding

Searching for small business grants on MWBEzone will lead you to the pricing page of GrantWatch.com, the parent company of MWBEzone, to subscribe for one of the reasonable pricing plans in order to read the entire grant and apply. Grants can help fund your business, without debt. And at MWBEzone, you will find grants tailored for women and minority business owners. You can even find government contracts there!

Crowdfunding is like opening up a fundraising campaign. Contributions come from all over, depending on who views your campaign. At Uhelpfund, you will display pictures or videos to depict your organization’s cause. If you are looking for start-up funds for your business.

You may choose a variety of up to 6 categories like below and include categories that describe your business:

What a great idea to use crowdfunding to pay for your business consultant!

About the Author: MWBEzone.com Staff Writer with contributions from Joe Gross. The consultant Joe Gross of Joe Gross Marketing, Inc. can be reached at 718-435-6250.