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Women’s Resource Group Walks to Empower Others in Annual Dress for Success Event

The Women’s Resource Group at UTHSC recently raised $2,800 in support of Dress for Success Memphis, a non-profit serving to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing support, professional attire, and development tools. From left: Brandi Lewis, Toyya Nettles-Pettus, Lauren Arnold Bell, MD, and Queira Peggins.

The UTHSC Women’s Resource Group raised $2,800 during their recent Dress for Success Memphis Power Walk event. The event featured music, food, a make-over wardrobe reveal, inspirational talks by UTHSC faculty and staff, and a fitness walk.

“When I came here and saw they had a gym, I knew our premise of mental health and wellness was good,” said Rhonda L. Treadwell, Executive Director of Dress for Success Memphis, Inc. “I want to thank Chandra Alston and the women’s group here. We have been working together for the last three years. It started off during Covid time with a virtual walk and last year, we did a fashion show in this very gym and were joined by your Chancellor, Dr. Buckley as we walked the runway. This year was a culmination of putting everything together. I am so honored to work with these ladies and all they have done to support Dress for Success Memphis.”

Those that participated in the walk also included the reigning Ms. Tennessee, Betina Hunt, who is the president of You First Community Foundation, which provides services and programs for women and juvenile defenders and helps to bring awareness to the end period poverty movement.

Once the power walk concluded, three speakers from the UTHSC faculty and staff spoke on the event’s theme, “We are Smart, We are Strong, We are Powerful, We are Women!!! Power Walking to Empower Women!!!”

Nakeshi L. Dyer, EdD, assistant professor in the College of Dentistry’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry-Community Oral Health, spoke on the topic, “Strong”, while Jean Perdicaris, MPS, CHIPS administrator, discussed the topic, “Smart” and Jennifer Stewart, BPS, MPS, Academic Technology Consultant, gave remarks on the topic, “Powerful.”

“So, part of the mission for Dress for Success is to empower women,” said Chandra Alston, EdD, vice chancellor of Human Resources and Women’s Resource Group organizer at UTHSC. “We have women on this campus that do wonderful things and the three speakers we had today represented those words very well and they helped us to operationalize and visualize them in a way to propel us forward. We know we have what it takes to be successful here at UTHSC and beyond.”

The event concluded with UTHSC staff and Women’s Resource Group members Brandi Lewis and Queria Peggins working with two women on make-up and fashion styling. All clothes that were modeled by Toyya Nettles-Pettus, payroll specialist, and Lauren Arnold Bell, MD, MPH, FAAP, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine, came from the Dress for Success Memphis warehouse.

Nakeshi L. Dyer, EdD, receives a gift from Women’s Resource Group organizer Chandra Alston, EdD, and member Brenda Young, during the event.

“Everything turned out wonderful,” Dr. Alston said. “I’m just excited how our Women’s Resource Group here at UT Health Science Center were inspired to give back to this organization. We will continue to do this for many years to come.”