Ashro Woman: Shara M.
Meet Ashro Woman of the Week, Shara M. from Jacksonville, FL.
Shara describes herself as “fierce, full-figured and fabulous.” As a certified business, lifestyle coach and SHE-EO of her own nonprofit, we would also add the words, generous, tenacious, accomplished and visionary.
For 20 years, Shara’s organization, Suited for Success has provided suits, career and job coaching to men and women seeking employment. She is passionate about helping people get a second chance at life as they re-enter the workforce.
Her biggest struggle and greatest triumph is continuing her journey with Suited for Success. Sometimes working for a nonprofit really means “nonprofit,” but Shara believes in her vision and the mission behind her organization.
Shara’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. In fact, Suited for Success was recently named an honoree in the 2021 CNN Champion for Change!As the SHE-EO of Suited for Success, Shara dresses up daily to represent her brand. She describes her style as classy, chic and corporate.
Her best advice to Ashro Women? Walk in your own style, grace and fashion. “Show the world who you are by showing up daily with a smile, a song of praise in your heart and a colorful outfit that expresses your mood and magic.”
|Which city do you live?|
|Which state do you live?|
|How would you describe the Ashro woman? How do you embody her?|
|FIERCE, FULL FIGURED, AND FABULOUS! I have been a Fierce and Fabulous in my style for years. Always confident no matter what size I was. As I began to hit the “Fabulous 50’s” I began to become more full figured than I wanted to be, but no matter what size, I always made sure I was “Suited For Success”.|
|What do you do for a living? What do you like most about it? What don’t you like?|
|I am a Certified Professional Business and Lifestyle Coach and the SHE-EO and Founder of a nonprofit organization called Suited For Success. For the past 20 years, we have been providing suits, career and job coaching to men and women in transition seeking employment. I love that I can help men and women get a second chance at life as they reenter the workforce. It has been a long journey and sometimes a hard journey, because nonprofit truly means “nonprofit” sometimes but you still have to work as though you have a million dollars because you believe in the outcome of your Vision.|
|How do you spend your free time?|
|Free Time is “ME TIME”. As an entrepreneur, and nonprofit founder, it is rare to even get free time. After maintaining a successful organization for over 20 years, you learn to value time. I love to Travel, Shop, and enjoy my “Girlfriend Getaways”.|
|What small thing makes you happy?|
|Sitting in my “SHE-SHED” in the evenings, enjoying a glass of wine, listening to Jazz and talking about my next destination Getaway with my Girlfriends. Even smaller than that, just sitting still, meditating and being able to tell God “Thank You”!|
|What is your best dish? Who do you make it for—and where do you typically serve it?|
|My best dish is Baked stuffed Salmon with Seafood, I make it for myself when I feel like celebrating a great day, I typically eat on my Patio in the “She-Shed” if weather permits.|
|What has been your greatest struggle…and your greatest (or latest) triumph?|
|My greatest struggle has definitely been continuing to keep my nonprofit going even when I felt I didn’t have the financial and corporate support needed to reach the goals I set in my vision. My latest and greatest triumph was my nonprofit being named a 2021 CNN Champions For Change Honoree for work I have been doing in my community for the past 20 years. I can truly say that sometimes we feel the work and passion that we put into our dreams are not being noticed, but perseverance is the only option.|
|Who influenced you the most in your life. Why? And in what way?|
|The biggest influence in my life has been a combination of several Strong and Powerful women who I have followed and learned from throughout my early career and up to this current day. On a personal level, My Mom, as a single mother to three children, I saw first hand that it could be done and I saw her work at Ford Motor Company as a Receptionist, she dress nice every day and learned about Fashion early on. As an adult, First, Susan Taylor (Essence) she exemplified Style and Grace, Oprah (Super Soul Sundays) I learned so much about myself and how to process life from watching her shows, Michelle Obama (First Lady) what can I say, Style, Grace, Smart, Beautiful, Educated and just plain Amazing. I have other amazing influential women in my life who help me daily by just being positive and encourage me to be better daily.|
|Do you volunteer or do charity work? Tell us about it!|
|Yes, I have been the Vice President, on the Board of Directors for Dress For Success Northeast FL, I support several local Girls organizations working with pre-teens and young girls on their Journey into Womanhood, and it has been a blessing to me to see them grow up. I also work with at-risk young men who have been incarcerated, and are transitioning back into the community through a mentor component of my nonprofit. I pair them with men from several men’s organizations like Fisher’s of Men and 100 Black Men.|
|Are you in a sorority? Or is anyone in your family in a sorority? If so, which one and what does it mean to you?|
|No, I am not, but I have a huge network of women in sororities and national women’s groups who volunteer with my nonprofit (AKA’s, Delta’s, Links). These women have donated clothing, helped with community service projects and that has meant the world to me and the women I serve through my organization.|
|What do you love about fashion and style?|
|I love that Fashion is fluid and ever evolving. I love that Style is a “Personal” statement that we decide to project into the world that describes who we are and how we want to be known to those who see us.|
|Has anyone in particular influenced your style?|
|Yes, I have followed the Supermodel, Iman and her fashion empire for years. I love her Chic and Fashion savvy style. She makes looking Fashion ready affordable and easy for women of all ages, and sizes. I am also a huge fan of statement jewelry, and Dr. Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry gave me the opportunity to not only make money from doing something I loved and wearing the most beautiful statement jewelry pieces I have ever seen but it gave me the motivation to reach for my own goals of turning my passion of jewelry into a profitable business. As a Business Coach, I help others with branding their business and one of my signature brands is the statement jewelry pieces I wear that has always been a conversation starter for me, so I never meet strangers. Just new Bling Queen sisters.|
|What occasions/events do you dress up for? (for example-do you often dress up for church, cultural events, charity events, going out, etc.) And how often do you typically get dressed up?|
|I dress up for life “DAILY”. My company name is Suited For Success, so how can I not Show Up and Show Out. I love everything about fashion and the beauty industry. I was a licensed cosmetologist for over 10 years, and had my own salon and I loved the idea of transforming, creating and bringing the natural beauty out of my clients. I use to attend the Ebony Fashion Fair Fashion Show every year, and I remember my jaws hurting from smiling the entire show. I was amazed by the beauty, colors, styles and not to mention the good looking models. That motivated me to want to always dress up.|
|How has your style evolved over time?|
|Yes, my style has evolved but has remained Corporate, Chic and Sassy. I have always worked in a corporate environment (Banker mainly) and I love wearing suits, a line skirts, crisp white blouse, but as I ventured into my own business I took that same concept but replaced one or two of the pieces with my own version of Corporate Chic with a pop of “Bling”.|
|Do you wear hats? How often and what type of hat? Do you wear them to church? If so, be sure to share a pic of you in a hat with us!|
|Yes, I love Hats. I actually have a large hat collection. I don’t wear them as often as I would like now, but I still collect them and enjoy wearing them when I can. I have never been to the Kentucky Derby, but I am adding that to my Bucket list real soon. The women really know how to SLEIGH those large floppy hats and wear the most sleek and sassy outfits to match.|
|Do you wear headwraps? How often? Where did you learn how to tie it? Share a pic of you in a headwrap with us!|
|No, I have to say that I have yet to master learning how to tie one. That too is on my list of fashion to do’s.|
|Do you wear wigs? How often and what length or style? If so, be sure to share a pic of you in a wig with us!|
|No, I have been blessed with naturally long and extremely thick healthy hair and I am grateful, but they allow women the opportunity to change their style so easily.|
|Are you a woman of faith? How does that faith affect your life? Please tell us more.|
|Absolutely! I like most, was raised in the Church and I love the Lord with all my heart. My faith has grown more and more with each passing year that God has allowed me to see another birthday. My Faith has increased in so many areas over the past 10 years after surviving a divorce, surviving loss of family and friends, and recently after sustaining during Covid 19. I have always been the type of person that wanted to seek out the spiritual meaning of God and how it applied to my life and journey. I know for sure that Faith is real, Faith will be tested, Faith will carry you through any obstacle you face if you believe and trust that God will see you through. During Covid, I started watching a Evangelist, who hosted a weekly Wake, Pray Slay prayer call and it spoke to me so clearly in so many areas of personal things that I was going through, but most of all it confirmed my Faith that God is still in control.|
|Do you attend church? What church do you go to and what do you love most about it?|
|Yes, I did attend in person prior to Covid. I was attending Bethel Experience (Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr). What I loved about the service was that the Bishop always found a way to break down his message in the simple terms so that everyone could understand what God’s word was saying. I loved that he ministered to young, old, middle aged and to see how the entire congregation was moved during the sermons was amazing. Not to mention the Praise and Worship just set the tone for a great word. I am a woman of faith, and I am so grateful that I can have Church before I go to a building to have Church. My praise, worship and offering is already done before I walk through those doors.|
|How are you passing along your faith traditions onto your children/grandchildren?|
|I actually start with my children. They are both grown adults who I am glad I have a great relationship with. My Son and I talk daily, just about life, goals, dreams and winning the Lotto :), my daughter and I talk, text, email daily and that’s what I love that we don’t need a reason to communicate. It comes natural. That is the tradition that I want my one and only granddaughter to learn. You should always be able to communicate your feelings to your parents, family and loved ones while they are living and able to hear what you have to say. I do believe in giving flowers to the living.|
|Are you a First Lady or a Pastor?|
|Your best advice?|
|My best advice for other Ashro Women would be to always walk in your own Style, Grace and Fashion. Show the world who you are by showing up daily with a smile on your face, a song of praise in your heart, colorful outfit that expresses your mood and magic. I feel we all have “Magic” that captures someone’s attention daily. Walk like you are on a Runway!|
|What lessons has motherhood (or being a grandmother) taught you?|
|Motherhood has taught me that it’s not just about me anymore, it’s about the life and legacy that I want to leave for my children, and my children’s children. We all have a contribution to make in this world, be it big or small, I truly want my children to understand what that “DASH” in the middle of the sunrise date and the sunset date truly means. Leave a mark on the lives of the ones you bring into this world that will forever live on even after you are gone.|
|Are you an Ashro Credit customer? If so, how has our credit helped you?|
|Yes, I have been able to wear some amazing and beautiful clothing and accessories because I was able to use my credit.|
|Do you have a memory to share of when you first heard about Ashro or when you received your first catalog?|
|I use to see the catalogs come in the mail for my Mom, I would always sneak them and look at them first before I would put them with her mail. I have been an Ashro Fan for a very long time. I’m so glad I can now wear the fashions that I use to just dream about when I was younger.|
Thanks for inspiring us, Shara!
If you’d like a chance to be a future Ashro Woman of the Week, share your story with us—then watch your weekly Ashro emails to see if you’re featured next! Already filled out our questionnaire? Then you’re all set (you may see yourself featured in next week’s email)! Make sure to tell your friends and family to sign up for emails. We can’t wait to see you!