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Dress for Success Luzerne County Women in Power Series: Jasmine Giddings image
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March 05, 2024
Dress for Success Luzerne County Women in Power Series: Jasmine Giddings
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During the month of March, we celebrate both Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Both are an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Dress for Success Luzerne County has brought that message home to NEPA with their Women In Power Campaign, where we’ve partnered with them to highlight incredible women in our community all month long. Each woman was asked to answer five questions about work, life, and the power of representation. 

Meet Jasmine Giddings

Jasmine Giddings is Multicultural Director at King’s College, where for the past eight years she has dedicated herself to helping the college embrace diversity and support the identity of every student through educational and social programming. In this role, the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized her in their Diversity Equity and Inclusion Business Leader Highlight. Jasmine also is the Widmann Art Gallery Coordinator, where she finds local artists in the Wyoming Valley to display their artwork at the gallery. Jasmine was also the first Diversity Equity and Inclusion Chair at King’s College and was in that role for two years. She is the choreographer/director of the Abundant Praise Dance Ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church. You will also see her singing and directing the Mass Choir at Mount Zion, as well. She is a member of the NAACP and NEPDEC (Northeastern PA Diversity Education Consortium). Jasmine and her husband Jimmy are the proud parents of four children, Ijahnae, Abel, Tae’Bron, and Jae’Leigh.

What makes a woman powerful? Do all powerful women have the same characteristics? Is there room for different kinds of power?

 When I think of the word “powerful,” I think of strength that encompasses the whole person. Emotional strength, which focuses on someone who is okay with being vulnerable and being empathetic. Mental strength, which would focus on self-care and knowing when you are not okay. The physical strength of someone taking care of their physical body and living a healthy lifestyle. And spiritual strength of looking beyond yourself, being able to reflect on who you are and becoming your best self. All of these things that make up mankind, can make you strong when you look at it in this way. Powerful women utilize this power and influence they have to be impactful and inspiring to others and the world around them.

What does “inspire inclusion” mean for you and how can you use your voice to help inspire inclusion?

Inspire inclusion allows us to ask the question: “Whose voices are not being heard?” Always look around the table and see who is missing from the room and what perspective is missing from the conversation. I would say the best thing to do when you notice voices are not being heard, is invite more people to the table to gain the new perspective that you may not even be thinking about. However, in many circumstances, that may not be a possibility. As you get to know more people and talk to them about their lived experiences, you can bring up their perspective and be a voice for those not in those meetings. If you are a person in a role that can help bring about change, start there. The main thing here is to speak up. Do not remain silent.

Who were your female mentors in your career, and how would you suggest growing leaders identify possible mentors for their growth?

My mom was my number one mentor because she gave so much of her herself to build up others. She inspired, encouraged, and had many teachable moments, not only for her kids, but for anyone who was in her presence. When looking at leaders, I look at the impact they have on those they work with. I look at their work ethic, their persistence, and most importantly, their motives in why they do what they are doing.

What barriers have you faced in your life (professionally and/or personally that you feel comfortable sharing) and how did you overcome them?

I think a barrier I faced is just being confident in who God has created me to be. You can be confident and humble. It is okay to talk about your achievements and your strengths. The barriers I have had were battles within my own mind to actually believe that I can do something more and not feel defeated. Even if others believed it, I needed to believe what I could do, or more importantly, what God could do through me.

As a powerful woman, what would you tell a woman who is struggling in her career and/or having a hard time finding her own voice?

Networking and forming relationships has helped me to see a bigger picture. Getting out of my bubble and seeing what is happening in the world, not just from a distance, but talking to people with different lived experiences than myself has helped me to start to speak up and become an advocate for change. Another piece of advice I will give is to never compare yourself to others. A quote that rings out to me is: “Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” It’s time to change our mindset from comparing to become better, to comparing ourselves in order to learn and support one another.

 

About Dress for Success

Dress for Success ® is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to nearly 150 cities in 30 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 2,000,000 women work towards self-sufficiency.

Since Dress for Success Luzerne County became operational in December of 2010, the program has reached 2,500 economically challenged women from the area by providing clothing, job interview support and workforce guidance. Dress for Success Luzerne County continues to create programs to enhance economic and social development, encouraging self-sufficiency through career development and employment retention.