Trang Green -- "Dress for Success"
Our friends at Live Life Boldy introduced us to Trang Green and we were so impressed with her and how much she does for the women of Oklahoma City that we knew we had to do a Hustle Chat with her. Trang Green is the Founder and Board Chairman of Dress For Success Oklahoma City, a nonprofit that helps equip underserved women in urban areas with the tools they need to achieve success. We here at Lady Hustle love highlighting women, but we especially love highlighting women who help other women achieve success. Trang is our very first Hustle Chat with a nonprofit Lady Hustler and we could not be more excited for you to read about her and her hustle.
LH: What's your hustle?
TG: My hustle has always been empowering women. Women are naturally nurturing, but women possess something greater and I love being able to show people that women play a huge role in business and the economy as well.
LH: Yes! We are all about that!
LH: So, how did you first get involved with Dress for Success?
TG: It started in 2013 when I was researching to start my own nonprofit. Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate for women than anywhere else in the world, we are top five for human trafficking, third for women killed in domestic violence and high in teen pregnancy. With all these statistics we don't have a lot of organizations that combat those issues. So I reached out to Dress for Success Worldwide in NYC and started the process to bring a Dress for Success affiliate to Oklahoma City.
LH: Wow, those are some jarring statistics.
LH: Do you feel like the rest of of the country even realizes the need Oklahoma City has for organizations like yours? What was it that initially drew you to start Dress for Success in Oklahoma City specifically?
TG: I don't think they do. It's almost a taboo subject in society that we need a more female focused community. Every time I speak about our organization, the audience is left speechless that these statistics are real and this is happening in their community. I was drawn to Dress for Success specifically because our organization nationally and internationally focuses on women only and their success not only in their careers, but most importantly we want them to thrive in life. I wanted to be a founder of an organization that combats Oklahoma City's issues and let women in the community know that we are here for them. We have not turned our backs on the needy.
LH: That is beautiful. We definitely need more of that in this world.
LH: Since you are so passionate about helping other women, how do you think women can better help other women with their Hustles? How can we support each other in pursuing success?
TG: Unfortunately, women are taught at a young age to compete with one another based solely on how they look, what they have or who they date/marry. Women need to shift focus on empowering young girls to be ambitious, learn to take rejection gracefully, and be intelligent. Women don't have to dumb down because they are afraid men will be threatened. The only way to make sure this happens for future generations is to be uplifting to other women. Rejoice in our fellow females' victory and be encouraging when they fail. The society of women seems to kick one another when they are down. That's not how we help others grow.
LH: Absolutely! That is so good!
LH: What do you feel are the biggest obstacles for women trying to be successful? What are the biggest struggles you've seen the women you work with have to overcome?
TG: The biggest issue we've seen overall is, hands down, self doubt. I've never met a woman before thats never been told "You're beautiful. We believe in you and support you." However, after you are rejected so many times, it's hard to believe that phrase is true. It also is the definition of success. Success has been misconstrued to how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. Reminding women that success is in all actuality, "How happy are you in life?" We want them to be able to look at every aspect of their life and say "There is nothing I dislike about my life. I love me. I love my life."
LH: What do you wish everyone knew about the women you work with?
TG: I wish everyone could know our clients' journey. People love to label others. Our clients are called prostitutes, felons, and addicts. We don't see them that way. We see their story and what events caused them hurt and pain. That transpires into those those mistakes that lead them to prison. I always encourage others to dig a little deeper. Not just what's on the surface.
LH: It must be so wonderful to get to watch them grow and achieve success!
LH: Do you have any favorite client success stories?
TG: All of them are my favorite! I did experience a client that changed my perspective on what I should value most in life. It was a rainy morning in OKC and the rain was causing traffic. I remember that morning I was getting frustrated and was running late to get to the office. I pulled up and there was a young lady standing in the rain clutching her purse outside our office. We hurried inside and we started talking about what we could help her with. She lived in a shelter downtown and had left early to find our office. That was the only time someone at the shelter could keep an eye on her 4-year-old daughter. She had a rough life. Her mother gave her up to live with whoever would care for her. She became a mom too young. Her child's father left when she was pregnant and she was just trying to care for her daughter. After she left our offices with a new outfit, I was in tears. I was complaining about rain and traffic, when I knew that young lady would think that what I was complaining about would be a blessing to her.
A few weeks later she called us back to tell us she GOT THE JOB and we were able to give her more clothes. We even went to the shelter and threw her daughter a birthday party and celebrated because their lives were going to change. The cycle of poverty will stop with her. It was a celebration for us all.
LH: I'm honestly tearing up. Thank you so much for sharing that!
LH: You said that women are often taught to compete with each other at a young age. Who taught you to empower women instead of compete with them? Who do you look up to?
TG: My mom. My parents snuck out of Vietnam as refugees. My mom was eight months pregnant with my older sister when she left on a small boat with a group of people. My father steered the boat. When they landed in Malaysia she gave birth to my older sister. Shortly after, I was conceived and born. She tells me stories of the living conditions there. She shared a birthing room with another lady the day I was born. But since my mom had already had a baby at the refugee camp, she let her have the bed. That lady died during childbirth. I was born shortly after. They waited for 2.5 years to come to America. New country, new language with two newborns. My mom eventually had 3 more kids and both my parents worked 2-3 jobs to support us. They sent us all to college and we are successful because of them. My mom has taught me no matter your social class, color of your skin, or money in your pocket, generosity trumps all.
My dad played a big role in making sure we don't have to be housewives. We were to be educated women who could do whatever and achieve whatever we wanted. No man can give you that. That was refreshing for me and definitely in our Asian culture where women are taught to marry well. My parents are my heroes.
LH: Go mom and dad! Your parents sound amazing!
LH: What has been the most unexpected thing about this journey? What has surprised you the most in your pursuit of your hustle and bringing success to other women and their hustles?
TG: Everything was unexpected! Haha. I had no idea how I was going to do this and how I was going to get funding to operate. I quit my job and pursued this full time. I just felt called to do this. I doubted myself a lot throughout the process, but God brought me to lead others and He has gotten me through it. We got a great office space, and we have gotten an abundance of beautiful professional clothing donated. We got great donors who help fund our operation. It was like others were just waiting for something like this to happen in our community and they were ready to give. It has been blessing after blessing giving women the resources they have been praying for.
LH: That is so wonderful! Sometimes it just takes someone to step out and start the process and then everyone else jumps on board, ready and willing to help!
LH: What has been the most difficult thing for you, personally, during this process?
TG: Personally, it was my doubt. I didn't know if I could help someone who didn't believe in themselves. I had to really just throw all my fears and troubles to the Lord. I knew this was something I had to do. It's hard to change people. But I soon discovered that it wasn't about changing the women we help, it was about showing them their potential. You can't change what you don't know. I realize now that God was showing me my potential too. It has helped me relate to the women we've been able to help. Everyone has doubted themselves. It's the encouragement and having someone believe in you that pushes you to succeed.
LH: Thank you so much for pushing through. We really need more people like you!
LH: When you're not hustling your butt off, how do you like to relax and recharge so that you can continue to do what you do to the best of your ability?
TG: I think time with family is the best thing. It reminds you the value of those relationships. That drives me to make sure the women we help have those types of genuine relationships. I also love being able to see my friends. I don't get to see them often so when we do get to hang, it's a blast. Everyone loves having girl time.
LH: Totally agree! Quality time with people you love is so important!
LH: What advice would you give women about what it takes to be a successful Lady hustler?
TG: I would say never to give up. That's what obstacles are for. To overcome them. As a women in business, you will experience sexism, intimidation, and rejection. But that doesn't mean that’s not what your purpose should be. Keep God first and the rest will fall into place. It's a journey, so learn as you make mistakes and do your best not to repeat them.
LH: So good!
LH: Ten years from now, what do you see yourself doing?
TG: A decade from now I want to see Dress for Success continue to thrive and be attending graduations of our clients' children. I hope by then I have accomplished becoming a mother and still helping everyone I can that needs it.
LH: We hope so too! We can't wait to continue to celebrate your success!
LH: What's next for Dress for Success Oklahoma City? How can the general public help you reach your goals?
TG: Dress for Success OKC is having our first Gala. We hope to be able to show the community what we have accomplished and where we are wanting to go. We want the public to get involved. Come help us suit women, teach a class, edit a resume. If time is not something they can give, we need monetary donations to keep operating. We always have something to do no matter what your skill set is. We can always use extra hands in the office.
LH: That is all so exciting! We hope that some of our readers feel compelled to support what you're doing!
TG: Thank you! We hope so too. If not this will bring awareness to the need to help single moms!
LH: Yes!! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Trang. We are so excited about everything you and Dress for Success Oklahoma City are doing.
If you'd like to learn more about Dress for Success Oklahoma City visit them at oklahomacity.dressforsuccess.org
Thank you again to the Live Life Boldly team for introducing us! Learn more about LLB by checking out the links below.