Media Release June 2016

Books bring comfort to Brisbane children and an international award for Erin Crawley

After creating something big to give back to deserving younger members of Brisbane’s community, Erin Crawley was named the Dress for Success® Worldwide Community Action Project winner 2015.

Erin is a passionate member of Professional Women’s Group (PWG), a group operated by not-for-profit Brisbane organisation Suited to Success, which offers clients vital support, practical information and inspiration once they succeed in getting a job and are going through a period of adjustment to  a new workplace.

Erin’s winning project, Books for Comfort, was born in June 2015 after attending the international Dress for Success (DFS) Success Summit, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Summit was attended by DFS clients and program coordinators from six countries and almost 60 cities.  It aimed to equip participants with real-life knowledge that they could apply to their own professional paths and personal lives, as well as their local communities. Erin came away from the Summit with the confidence and inspiration to want to help children from domestic violence families by creating a safe and comforting place for children to enjoy books when visiting community services.

Erin’s story

“I joined PWG in April 2011 after significant personal challenges. I was unemployed and needing a lot of help. I felt my skills weren’t current and I doubted my employability, let alone my ability to co-ordinate a suitable outfit for a job interview. I wasn’t even a complete person then,” Erin said.

Five years later, Erin is permanently employed as Facilities Administrator and Receptionist at Registered Training Organisation Kaplan Australia.

Books for Comfort

Erin’s Books for Comfort project saw her undertake a magnificent makeover of a corner of the Forest Lake Child Safety Service Centre and provide more than 200 families who use the centre access to hundreds of books and a special place to read them.  Including fiction and non-fiction, science, general knowledge, picture and tactile books, the books are housed in a beautiful and colourful corner with special reading pillows for children to rest on while reading. The children are also encouraged to choose a book and take it home to keep.

Erin said she faced significant challenges to complete her project including sponsorship, participation and tight timeframes.

“It all came down to the overwhelming support and help of my friends from the PWG and the Goodwill Satellite Rotary Club,” she said.

“I’ve learned it is okay to plan ahead, even if there is a little bit of an unknown. Rather than fear and worry about the risk of not getting the project finished, I learned to have faith in my abilities and my team to get the job done.” 

Creating a sustainable business model

Erin plans on continuing to make an impact by developing a sustainable business model to continue Books for Comfort including selling branded reading pillows through a homeware store with the proceeds going directly to fund additional Books for Comfort reading corners.

Erin is thrilled to have been invited back by the Dress for Success Worldwide Board to this year’s Success Summit in June in Chicago, Illinois to receive her award and share the lessons she has learned with others.

“One of the hardest things for me in completing my project was acknowledging and accepting that my support network — including the safe space of the PWG — would be there for me, that I was worthy of that support. That was huge and quite overwhelming; a real a-ha moment,” Erin said.

About Suited to Success Brisbane

Suited to Success Inc (STS) is a community-based not-for-profit organisation that provides its clients in Queensland with high quality services designed to overcome barriers to employment, improve their confidence and employability, and enable them to thrive in work and life. Suited to Success manages Dress for Success Brisbane and Professional Women’s Group Brisbane.

About Dress for Success Worldwide

Dress for Success Worldwide is a not-for-profit organisation 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.

About the Brisbane PWG

Dress for Success Brisbane’s Professional Women’s Group (PWG) offers local women support, practical information and workshops relating to the five pillars of

  • Work / life balance
  • Health and Wellness
  • Financial Awareness
  • Workplace Etiquette
  • Civic Responsibility

to assist them when entering the workforce and going through a period of adjustment.