Inspired by the work of Kendall Farrell ’92, who helps advance women in their professional careers as the executive director of Bottomless Closet, William Smith Congress President Kim Gutierrez ’17 is leading an effort to establish a closet on campus filled with professional attire for HWS students in need of appropriate clothing for a job or internship interview. In collaboration with the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education, the HWS Career Closet will be launched at 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the ground level of Trinity Hall.
Based in New York City, Bottomless Closet works to reduce the barriers many women face in the search for employment as well as provide on-going support and education so women gain the tools to succeed in their professional lives. The tools and services provided by the organization include a selection of high quality interview attire, one-on-one resume review, and a broad workshop curriculum that promotes professional development, financial management and personal enrichment.
“I was really inspired by the giving that happens at Bottomless Closet, and how the organization inspires women to achieve and aspire for more than they have access to,” says Gutierrez.
“This program will meet a need we’ve seen among our students who are fully prepared for their interviews but lack the appropriate attire to present themselves in the professional manner we know they’re capable of,” says Director of Career Services Brandi Ferrara. “A student’s physical appearance is the first thing that interviewers see when they walk in the door, so having the right professional attire really is a key to interview success.”
In anticipation of the opening, William Smith Congress is currently looking for donations of gently used professional men’s and women’s clothing. Donations can be brought to Career Services in Trinity Hall or can be arranged to be picked up by contacting Gutierrez at Kimberly.Gutierrez@hws.edu.
Farrell, who will be in attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, joined Bottomless Closet in 2007. Under her leadership the organization has increased its budget to more than $1 million; enhanced the numbers of women served annually to 3,000; doubled personnel capacity along with more than 300 volunteers; and was awarded the Accredited Charity Seal status from the Better Business Bureau and Guide Star’s Gold Seal. Farrell has also stewarded corporate partnerships with BNY Mellon, Con Edison, Limited and TJ Maxx and secured Bottomless Closet’s largest grants from High Water Women and Goldman Sachs Gives.
Farrell will serve as a keynote speaker at this year’s William Smith Founder’s Day celebrations on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. She will participate in a joint discussion with Dr. Fay M. Butler ’84, senior director of enrollment management at LaGuardia Community College who is also a social media strategist, author and pastor; as well as HWS Board Chair Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09, owner and partner at Madison Financial Planning Group, who has more than 42 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Founder’s Day serves as an opportunity for the William Smith community to pay tribute to the College’s founder. Inspired by the suffragette movement in nearby Seneca Falls, Smith made the gift to establish William Smith College in 1906 with the intention to provide an educational opportunity that would allow women to live an “abundant life.” Founded adjacent to Hobart College, the first class included just 18 students.