A local psychologist and a Beckley Common Council representative are teaming up to help local people achieve success.
Dr. Kristi Dumas of Dumas Psychology Collective and Ward III Councilman Robert Dunlap have launched the “Beckley Success Closet” on the first floor of Dunlap’s law office at 208 Main St.
The Beckley Success Closet is an extension of the Women in Business initiative, a series of webinars and special events that Dumas launched in October to give local women a start in business. The series offered information on peer mentoring, writing business plans and other helpful information.
Success Closet will provide professional clothing for individuals who are transitioning into the workforce and for those who are working but don’t have money to get the wardrobe that helps them to reach personal goals, Dumas said.
Dunlap, a local attorney and developer, said that he realized the importance of an initiative like the Beckley Success Closet when speaking to a worker who was cleaning his Beckley office.
“In a conversation we had, she mentioned that she was cleaning around 15 offices a week and that she wanted to take on more offices but she was running out of time to fit in her additional clients,” said Dunlap. “One hurdle she continued to run into is that she lacked the confidence to make the right impression on the bank to assist in securing a small business loan.”
The woman told Dunlap that most of her wardrobe was made up of clothes she wore professionally while she was cleaning offices.
“I recall her saying that she just didn’t have any expertise and that they would take one look at her and know that she was not ready to start her company,” said Dunlap. “I had this stored in the back of my mind for quite some time.”
In October, Dumas launched her “Women in Business” initiative. Dunlap’s firm sponsored a section on “Getting Started in Business and the Legal Things You Need to Know.”
After that collaboration, Dunlap said, he and Dumas discussed the next step in elevating local women and helping them get started in business.
Both Dunlap and Dumas found the idea of the closet to be a natural fit.
Dumas explained that professionals in the region may donate brand new or gently worn professional pieces to the closet. Those who are on their way “up the ladder” may come by the closet to find the perfect outfit for their career and business goals.
The idea is to remove a practical stumbling block to success and to help women (and men) to move forward in their careers.
“We just need to find ways to take out that crazy glass ceiling,” said Dunlap. “There’s only so much I can do, as a councilman.
“We have to get community organizations involved,” he added. “The one thing 2020 taught us is that government will certainly not fix all our woes.”
Dunlap, a local developer who is experienced with remodeling and construction, donated the space and turned it into the Beckley Success Closet, while Dumas developed a steering committee of local professional women to oversee the closet.
“I just want to make sure our local aspiring career women understand that they are supported at every level in our city, whether it be government, nonprofits or in the private sector,” said Dunlap. “It’s all of our jobs to make sure that support is felt.”
Dunlap said that clothing drop-off may be coordinated at the convenience of donors. Donors may bring in professional clothing that is clean and brand new or gently worn during regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dumas said those who would like to access the closet may call Dumas Psychology Collective at 304-278-3338 to reserve a time.
On Jan. 18, volunteers are preparing the Closet. Those who would like to volunteer may contact Dumas Psychology Collective.
Dumas encouraged donors to bring clothing to the Closet at 208 Main St. on Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.