An article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about last year’s First Annual Women Rock! event:

Women Rock aims to bring more to Success

// Buzz up! //
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In less than a year, Dress for Success Pittsburgh has expanded to include branch offices in Greene, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties. To celebrate its growth, the nonprofit organization wanted its first fundraiser to transcend the ordinary. Thus, “Women Rock,” a showcase that features music, dance, poetry, theater and photography Friday at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

“We’ve never had an event that paid tribute to the women that we serve, but at the same time offer the city something that is consistent with our mission,” says Leah Lizarondo Shannon, chief executive officer of the organization that was founded in 2005. “Because we’ve grown so much … we needed to have a fundraiser providing the operating funding to sustain all those branches.”

Dress for Success has branches in more than 90 locations in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Poland and the West Indies. Its mission is to promote economic independence for disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career-development tools for women who have job interviews. Since 1997, approximately 450,000 women have benefited from Dress Success, with 40,000 per year in the United States.

“The women we serve are women who have gone through so many challenges that life has thrown at them,” Shannon says.

“Women Rock,” Shannon adds, also will shine a spotlight on women who have succeeded in artistic endeavors. Among those scheduled to perform are:

• Singer and songwriter Joy Ike

• Greer Reed-Jones and the August Wilson Dance Ensemble

• Jazz singers Jessica Lee, Shawnee Lake and Stevee Wellons

• Poet Vanessa German

• Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company featuring Nailah Blu Lewis, Cheryl El-Walker and Kim El

• The Typewriter Girls and Una de Luna

• ABAFASI, a musical performance group

• Photojournalist Renee Rosensteel, Sarah Shepard and Heather Mull

• DJ Carla Leninger with Global Beats

• Kellee Maize, singer and partner in Nakturnal, an events and promotions company.

Shannon says that the evening also will provide the artists, musicians and performers with a showcase for their sometimes unseen talents.

“A lot of them are Pittsburgh veterans,” she says, “but this is the one event that’s just for them.”


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