Sheri K. Cole, Executive Director
Sheri Cole is the Executive Director of Career Wardrobe, the nation’s largest independent, community-based non-profit organization that assists women transition to work by providing free professional clothing and career skills training. Annually Career Wardrobe helps over 5,000 women throughout the Philadelphia region with the clothing, skills and confidence necessary to achieve self-sufficiency with 50-60% of clients successfully finding employment.
Beginning as a small, grassroots organization run mostly by volunteers, Career Wardrobe has seen a 90% increase in demand for its professional clothing and image consultation program during the current economic downturn. It has grown from being an agency with minimal staff and a budget under $150,000 to one that employs 10 and has a budget of over $800,000. Among Career Wardrobe’s expanded programming is the Gateway to Success Education Program which encompasses a 2-week job readiness curriculum, resume review and one-on-one expert support for women transitioning to work. In 2009, Career Wardrobe further expanded its services by opening The Wardrobe Boutique, an upscale recycled clothing store to benefit Career Wardrobe and make high-quality, low-cost clothing available to all women.
Ms. Cole is Career Wardrobe’s first executive director and has been with the agency since 2000. Prior to this role, she worked as Acting Development Director and Agency Liaison for Women’s Way, Development Associate for Fairmount Ventures and Program Associate at Women’s Alliance for Job Equity (WAJE). As a volunteer, she has also served as Board President of The Women’s Alliance and assisted in planning the Alice Paul Institute’s Leadership Awards.
In 2009 she was selected to join Leadership Philadelphia, an organization whose mission is to mobilize and connect the talent of the private sector to serve the community. And in 2003, Ms. Cole was honored by The Philadelphia Business Journal as one Philadelphia’s “40 Under Forty,” for her leadership and community involvement.
Ms. Cole holds a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute as well as a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Philosophy from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Originally from Ohio, she has been in Philadelphia since 1994 and lives in Center City.