Hello YES Community!
Brenna here, introducing myself as your 2021 YES Executive Board President and WOW, that feels a little weird to say. Can you believe we’re only a few short weeks away from 2021? It’s pretty hard to imagine when this past year has felt as long as five years and as short as two months all at once. Like many of you, I can hardly wait to start planning for next year. But before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate 2020. Again, feels a little weird to say! However, despite all of the challenges and roadblocks we’ve experienced this year, I can’t help but be proud of what YES was able to accomplish.
We dug deep, got creative, and put in the work to make sure Dress for Success could persevere for women in need. Like many other businesses and nonprofits, Dress for Success Columbus was greatly impacted by the stay-at-home order and other necessary protocol changes in response to COVID-19. When the boutique was able to re-open in May 2020, YES members were some of the first volunteers in the door! Since then we’ve continued our commitment to Dress for Success’s programmatic and financial sustainability. Whether we were volunteering at additional FAB Sales, supporting D3 and Beyond the Suit, or redesigning our fundraising strategy, the YES community has shown up and SHOWN OUT.
We focused on mental health and supporting one another through difficult times. In a year where it was impossible to ignore or put off the stress of changing work expectations, the loss of regular personal interaction, and other life disruptions, YES chose to emphasize mental health for our community. In May we ran a Mental Health Awareness campaign on our social media channels, including an IGTV series highlighting some of Columbus’s self-care gurus! In June we invited members to “De-Stress with YES!” providing the opportunity for a very important and therapeutic conversation about inequality in our community. Just this month, my fellow Board Member Jenn Cartmille opened up about her mental health journey in honor of World Mental Health Day on our blog. We all know that mental health is essential to our well-being, but I’m so grateful to be a part of an organization like YES that truly makes it a priority.
We learned A LOT about working from home and continue to create opportunities to grow virtually! If you’re anything like me, the transition to working from home was a struggle. I went from working “hands-on” and traveling three days a week to sitting behind a screen at a makeshift office in my dining room. Still, I was blessed to remain employed. Not all women in our community were so lucky. So in this last half of the year, we’ve made it our priority to find new ways to support women in the workplace and getting back to work. Hopefully, you were able to join us for the Know Your Worth Panel where we talked about salary negotiation and career advancement. Or maybe you were able to snag a new headshot for your conference calls at our annual Headshot Event! If not, there’s still time to join us on Nov. 10 for our Networking from Home event with Chris Borja! The rules are changing every day as we all adjust to “the new normal.” YES is as committed as ever to making sure you have the support and resources you need to succeed!
WOW, again. What a wild, sometimes frustrating, and yet wonderful year it’s been. But what comes next? It’s still hard to say what 2021 will look like, and if it’ll even be all that different from 2020. I can tell you that for me, and my vision for YES, the goals are simple and true to what they’ve always been. I want to keep building our community, making YES a space where every woman in Central Ohio feels represented, valued, and empowered. I want to continue innovating, finding new ways and new partners, to not only support but advance the mission of Dress for Success Columbus. Finally, I want to keep growing. Personally, alongside you, because of you, for our future, for the future of women we’ve yet to meet and in-service to those who have come before us.
The thing I’m looking forward to most is to keep connecting with all of you – I am a part of YES because the opportunity to serve alongside empowered women is essential to the success of all. I encourage you to reach out if I can be of service to you and your journey! I can’t wait to meet you and see what we can accomplish together in 2021.
– Brenna, 2021 YES! Columbus President