With a record-breaking crowd of more than 400 women and a few good men, the 7th Annual Trade Secrets dinner was held Wednesday, March 18 at Knollwood Country Club in West Bloomfield to raise funds for the JVS Women to Work Program. Proceeds help women enter the job market after difficult life transitions such as divorce or their spouse’s unemployment.
The event was headlined by Melanie Bergeron, chair of Two Men and a Truck. Bergeron also serves as chair of the board of the International Franchise Association.
“Trade Secrets is all about supporting, empowering and encouraging women,” said Paul Blatt, JVS executive vice president and COO. “Melanie Bergeron, whose company is the country’s largest franchise moving company in the U.S., shared her ‘trade secrets’ with JVS friends and supporters, making this event the place to be.”
The event was co-chaired by Liz Elkus, Cheryl Margolis and Shayna Silverman of Bloomfield Hills, and raised more than $160,000. The monies will provide career counseling, job search training and skills assessment to women of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds who must find immediate employment to support their families following separation, divorce or the disability or unemployment of their spouse or partner.
Stefanie Steinberg of Waterford was honored at the event for reinventing herself after a sudden divorce left her feeling worthless and unprepared to enter the workforce. The stay-at-home mom had looked forward to going back to work once her son was old enough to start school, but the divorce left her scrambling to provide financial stability for her family.
A friend recommended JVS and the Women to Work Program. Steinberg credits the program for helping her through one of the most difficult times in her life.
“The Women to Work Program takes individuals who are at low points in their lives and gives them not only skills, but the hope and the confidence to hold their heads up high and move into the future and a better life,” she said.
Through the process of uncovering her marketable skills, updating her resume and practicing interviews, Steinberg’s confidence rebounded. Today, she enjoys fulfilling work with two non-profits who appreciate her computer skills and creativity.
The Women to Work Program has helped thousands of women like Steinberg during its 42-year history. This spring, the program is expanding and will be offered in two locations: Southfield and Detroit. Information meetings will be held on April 7 (Southfield) and April 8 (Detroit). For more information, visit www.jvshumanservices.org/women.