Daily News

Dress for Success Announces Mentorship Collaboration with the Links Inc.

SPRINGFIELD — Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts announced a partnership with the Greater Springfield chapter of the Links Inc. Founded in 1946, the Links Inc. is an international, not-for-profit organization that brings together professional women of color to serve their communities through volunteerism and philanthropy. Its ultimate goal is to sustain the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and people of African ancestry.

Formed in 1986, the Greater Springfield Chapter of the Links Inc. is one of 288 chapters. Greater Springfield chapter President Danielle Williams noted that “the goals of Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts align well with the chapter’s operations in five facet areas: services to youth, the arts, national trends and services, international trends and services, and health and human services.”

Pia Flanagan, chair of the chapter’s national trends and services facet, has identified a partnership with Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts as an endeavor that would benefit the chapter’s target community.

The work of the Links Inc. aligns well with the mission of Dress for Success, specifically the Margaret Fitzgerald Mentor Program. This program, named for a Physics Department secretary from Mount Holyoke College who provided help and encouragement for women entering that male-dominated field in the 1970s, pairs women who are overcoming great odds to achieve economic independence with professional women who volunteer to work with them one-on-one. Together, they establish individual goals and work on self-esteem, résumé building, workplace etiquette, interview skills, work/life balance, and more. By establishing a trusting rapport and sharing the wisdom of experience, mentors helps move their mentees from career readiness to action. Though the mentorships last one year, the impact lasts a lifetime.

Beginning on Aug. 14, women from the Greater Springfield chapter of the Links Inc. will serve as mentors to women of color who have been recruited to the Margaret Fitzgerald Mentor Program from both Dress for Success programs as well as their partners in the community.

“This is a unique opportunity for the mentees that we are recruiting,” said Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts Executive Director Margaret Tantillo. “Being able to learn from the accomplished, dynamic, and compassionate women of the Links Incorporated will bring them opportunities to establish or further their careers in ways that they might not have been able to otherwise.”

The mentorships will continue until August 2021, when the mentees will be invited to join the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group.