10.24.2013 / Blog Posts Community Events
On Saturday, October 26th, WOW is volunteering with Women Giving Back, an organization working to provide clothing, shoes, and accessories for women and children emerging from the transitionally homeless systems of Northern Virginia.
We sat down with the successful business ladies behind WGB, Terri Stagi and Fiona Hughes, to get an inside look at where they draw their inspiration, how WGB came about, and more! Terri, founder & president of The Stagi Group, has been married for 34 years and has two grown children - the oldest of which got married this month! Fiona, Marketing Director for Stanley Martin Homes, is also married with three grown boys - two are PGA pros and one is a Paramedic with Arlington County, VA. Originally from England, Fiona has lived in the US for over 30 years.
What inspired you all to create Women Giving Back?
We were tasked by the Board of HomeAid NoVA (who was made up of all men besides Terri) to find a way to involve the great women in the building industry. We spoke to local shelters and they said that their greatest need was clothing for the women & children in shelters/programs. So, we hosted an event called "Cocktails for a Cause" and asked our various networks to bring donations. After that, we were off and running!
Do you have a favorite memory associated with WGB?
We all have so many wonderful memories, but the best are the ones where you can actually say you that you have made a difference in someone's life. We all complain about things that go wrong in our own lives, but the challenges facing the ladies we serve bring everything into perspective and keep us all focused on how lucky we are! This year we were instrumental in helping a woman who had escaped an abusive situation overseas with nothing.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve experienced since launching?
Initially raising money, awareness and obtaining a space from which to operate were key challenges in getting WGB off the ground. Now the biggest challenge has been logistics -- staying on top of the donations that come in and getting them out onto the floor. That's why we are so grateful to have WOW come volunteer for WGB! It helps us out a lot!
What advice would you give to women looking to start their own community initiative?
Find something you can be passionate about. We had no idea Women Giving Back would turn into something so powerful, both in our own lives and the community.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Look at who you spend your time with...they help to define who you are. Keep striving for the goals you know are right and never assume that something cannot be obtained.
What has this entire process with WGB taught you about community outreach?
You have no idea what the depth of giving is until you start getting involved in something like WGB. We are constantly amazed at what women and children are capable of. Even some of our clients have come back to volunteer with us, which is a really great thing to witness. In addition, community outreach can be frustrating because obvious and logical solutions to problems are not always well received. Being of help to any group is hard work but very, very worthwhile in the long run.
Why do you think these sorts of organizations for women are necessary?
At any moment in time one of us could also be faced with a huge challenge, and women can and should use all their strength to empower others by positive actions...if something is wrong, figure out how to fix it, don't ever complain! Women are amazing. We are involved in so many various things and often times all at the same time, and outreach is often overlooked. It's the most rewarding thing we've done (other than kids!).
Where do you hope to see WGB in the future?
While we are volunteer operated and run, it will be tough to do more than one day a month - there is an enormous amount of work involved in the logistics behind gathering, sorting and displaying the clothes we give away. We just finished a 3 year strategy session with HomeAid. WGB is receiving a much larger focus in the next 3 years including permanent space, fitting out the warehouse for better organization, and perhaps partnering with programs providing other services.
Who’s your favorite Redskins player and why?
Terri: My maiden name is Morris…so of course it's Alfred Morris (my brother from another mother)! He is awesome. I love watching him run. Reminds me of the old days (can you tell I'm a HUGE fan?)! I have jerseys for Alfred and Brian Orakpo.
Fiona: RGIII for his eloquence and positive attitude! I'm a Brit, so I'm still trying to learn the game of football!
Click here for more information about the Women Giving Back event on October 26th - WOW and WGB need your help!
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