Humble brag to the left: Shari Dunn calls herself an “agent of change,” but that’s an understatement for the attorney, former news anchor, and now executive director of the Oregon affiliate of international nonprofit Dress for Success. 

Since 2015, Dunn has steered Dress for Success Oregon (DFSO)  in its mission to empower women to achieve economic independence. Says Dunn: “Clothes are a part of what we do, but it’s not all we do.” The nonprofit offers women career coaching, interview and résumé preparation, and access to a professional wardrobe. Locally, DFSO’s partnership with tech company Treehouse is a prime example of how Dunn is thinking beyond the blazer: a cohort of women learn to code and complete an apprenticeship that, with luck, acts as a launchpad for work in the industry. 

“[With Treehouse, we’re] setting the national standard for Dress affiliates around nontraditional women in tech,” says Dunn of the new partnership. “[We’re] getting national notice the city and state should be proud of.”

DFSO’s other recent successes include a partnership with Uber that helps clients get to DSFO programs, a federal contract to work with SNAP recipients, and a $20,000 investment from Wells Fargo for a new office in Salem. 

“Shari is an innovator,” says Cindy Larson, who has served as board cochair for DFSO. “If she sees an opportunity, she will go to whatever lengths and any amount of time to get the job done.” 

The 15th Annual Light a Fire Awards

6 p.m., November 21, Oregon Convention Center


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