Jerri Rosen started Working Wardrobes in 1990 with $200 and a mission to restore confidence to domestic violence survivors and help them find jobs. Over the past three decades, the organization has grown to help over 110,000 clients who have overcome challenges on the journey to employment, including substance abuse, domestic violence, incarceration, homelessness and military to civilian transition.
Rosen has announced that after 31 years of service, she is stepping down from her position at Working Wardrobes in order to pursue more hands-on ways to help other non-profit organizations.
“I’ve learned so much about people in need and the people who are making a difference in our world,” says Rosen. “I want to put that learning to work in innovative ways as I consult for other nonprofit organizations.”
Rosen is also focused on the women of Orange County, who have been hit hard by the pandemic, and are experiencing record unemployment due to the need to stay home to care for children with schools and daycares closed.
“I’m going to work on initiatives to empower more women to speak up, to be heard, and to bring their best thinking to work and life.”
Working Wardrobes has launched a search to find Rosen’s replacement, led by Envision Consulting, an LA-based consulting and search firm. They hope to have the organization’s next CEO onboard by the summer.
Internally, a succession plan is being formulated, and the executive team is working on a 3-year strategic vision for the organization.
The past year has been particularly challenging for the organization. A fire in February 2020 destroyed its headquarters, and the COVID pandemic crippled fundraising efforts by canceling events and speaking engagements and closing the retail stores that raise money for the non-profit. Yet, despite the setbacks, the organization reached a revenue of $6M in 2020, opened a new Donation Center in Irvine and a Career Success Center in Santa Ana.
“Working Wardrobes has been rebuilt to last,” says Rosen. “We have beautiful new facilities, a strong executive and management team, and an outstanding staff, all dedicated to getting people back to work, with dignity.”
Rosen is working on a book about her journey with Working Wardrobes. The memoir will be called Pants on Fire and is expected to be released later this year.
After a transition period lasting several months, Rosen will step down as CEO of Working Wardrobes on December 31, 2021.