The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

May 7, 2013

Fundraiser Features Local Men as They “Raise the Heel,” Their Own High Heels, That Is

CNHI News Service

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 — CHARLOTTE — Dress for Success Charlotte will hold its third annual 5K Power Walk in Freedom Park on Saturday. Registration is at 8 a.m.; Walk at 9 a.m.

A new addition to this year’s Power Walk for Dress for Success Charlotte is the Stiletto Swagger – where more than a dozen brave (or are they a bit crazy?) men will come out to “Raise the Heel” by walking in their man-sized stilettos to support Dress for Success Charlotte. These men spent time picking out just the right shoes in the right size (one swaggerer wears a size 17) to match their outfits. One swaggerer’s wife even helped embellish his heels, to add that extra something.

Dress for Success Charlotte is looking for community cheerleaders to come out and support the men who are participating in the “Swagger” They include: Tim Barber – Partner, King & Spalding; Chris Best – Wildlife Agent, Pest Control Authority; Ellison Clary – Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC; Tom Lane – COO, Center for Intentional Leadership; David Lewis – Consultant, Accenture; Jay Jones – VP Operations, Gaffney Health Services; Ron Friedland – Retired, Kraft Foods; Tim O’Connor – SVP, PNC Bank; Jeff Rivenbark – Reporter, America Now; Mark Schuch – Certus Bank; Michael Sims – LPL Financial; Howard “Biff” Virkler – Virkler Chemical and Taylor Winchester – Director of Special Events, The Fillmore Charlotte. Charlotte Bobcats Rod Higgins & Rufus will provide words of encouragement to the men as they strap on their heels and head for the starting line.

Each man has committed to raise $1,000, which will go to the programs and services Dress for Success Charlotte offers to women in our community. Many have quickly soared well past that number and donations are still coming in.

Swaggerer Tim Barber explains his involvement, "I became hooked on DFS Charlotte the day I learned the definition of ‘suiting’ a client." My wife became involved in the organization as a style consultant several years ago. She would come home and enthusiastically tell me about that day's suitings. I assumed a suiting was just that - picking out clothes for women to wear.

One day, she received a handwritten thank you note from a client. The note brought me to tears. I realized that DFS Charlotte had not just put this woman in business attire, it had taken a woman whom life had beaten down and restored her self-esteem. I learned that day that a suiting doesn't just refer to dresses or jacket. It is a way to arm clients with renewed self-confidence, so they can successfully tackle the job market and break the cycle of poverty. If walking in high heels will help DFS Charlotte continue its mission, then I will stumble along gladly."

“All these men are passionate supporters of Dress for Success Charlotte,” says

Kerry Barr O’Connor, Executive Director. I can’t wait to see them show their commitment as well as their swagger on May 11.”

Barber will be sporting a pair of sparkly stilettos, rivaling those that Howard “Biff” Virkler showed off to his Uptown Rotary at a recent luncheon. Virkler’s shoes are light pink suede platforms, complete with spiky adornments. All the men are hoping that their swagger is more of a strut and less of a strikeout.