Working Wardrobes is a local nonprofit organization that empowers men, women, veterans, and young adults to overcome difficult challenges and confidently reenter the workforce. In its 26th year, Working Wardrobes prides itself on getting people back to work, and helping to build confidence, resiliency, and self-sufficiency.
We recently sat down with the organization's longtime CEO, Jerri Rosen, to learn more.
You've been at the helm of the organization for over 30 years, is there a particular story that stands out?
There have been many incredible moments but one standout involves an event for transitioning military at Camp Pendleton. A young marine whose feet had been badly burned came in a wheelchair and our personal shoppers helped him find a new suit, shirt, and gorgeous tie.
I later asked the 30 marines in the program to line up and ‘strut our makeshift runway.’ Last was the wounded marine who slowly raised himself out of his wheelchair so we could see how proud he was of his new success suit. I’ll never forget the cheers, applause, tears, and incredible courage.
What are you most grateful for in your career and life?
I have so much to be grateful for, including the incredible people I’ve met through Working Wardrobes – donors, volunteers, staff, and clients. I’ve made life-long friends and each has made my life richer.
Can you tell us about your boutique in Laguna Niguel, "The Hanger"?
The Hanger is “guilt-free” shopping at its finest! Our Laguna Niguel store is led by Nancy Luxon who takes our mission to heart, ensuring that every customer knows they are important. Shoppers are wowed by our quality merchandise at unbelievable prices. Most importantly, every purchase provides workforce readiness services to our clients.
At the end of this year, you're stepping down. What’s your next adventure?
I’m retiring and we’ve found a fantastic new CEO, Bonni Pomush, whom I hope everyone in Orange County can meet.
I’ve been working on “Project Jerri” – putting together ideas of what to do with my time. I’m a volunteer coach with Executive Coaches of Orange County and already have four nonprofit CEO clients. I’m also on the Advisory Council of Women in Security and Education supporting my belief that women need to make prudent financial decisions.
I’ve started a memoir. And given the tumult of 2020, I’m calling it “Pants on Fire!” It’s about my 31-year journey and the vital role of volunteerism.
There will be time for travel, classes, exercise, and seeing what else life might bring. One important goal is to be a better friend – 100% present without having to dash back for meetings or phone calls. Sounds glorious!
Learn more at WorkingWardrobes.org