It Takes a Village

Dress for Success Austin hosts the In Her Shoes documentary premiere.

Walk the red carpet in front of the historic Stateside Theatre and be inspired by a documentary full of female willpower and the Austin community spirit, all in support of Dress for Success Austin. Dress for Success Austin will host a unique premiere event of the documentary In Her Shoes Nov. 12 at the Stateside Theatre, with live music, drinks, hors d’oeuvres and prizes.

In Her Shoes tells the story of Betty Staehr, her battle with homelessness and the community that helped her. Staehr is a former client of Dress for Success Austin, a nonprofit that promotes economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career-development tools to help them find success in their work and lives.

After overcoming tough times, Staehr became employed and returned to Dress for Success Austin to participate in the Professional Women’s Group. Each year, the PWG nominates one woman to go to a worldwide leadership conference called the Success Summit. Staehr was selected and she understood her responsibility to lead a community action project upon her return. Staehr picked a project near and dear to her heart: homeless women. She organized a shoe drive and worked with Austin City Council members to raise awareness for this cause.

“She wanted to make the city aware of the need for beds for homeless women without children,” says Judy Chambers, Dress for Success Austin’s executive director. “At any time, there may be as many as 400 homeless single women in Austin, but there are only 50 beds for single women without children.”

As Staehr’s community action project progressed, a group of women from the film organization Reel Women took notice. In Her Shoes Director and Producer Brandy Rainey Amstel had a vision for making a film that demonstrated the power of filmmaking in bringing attention to a cause. Thus, In Her Shoes was born, telling Staehr’s inspirational story, and demonstrating that when nonprofit organizations, business owners and women come together, they can make a bigger difference in the world than any one of them could alone.

Chambers says she hopes this documentary will open people’s eyes further to the need of helping homeless women, and raise funds for Dress for Success Austin.

“What we would like viewers to take away is that being homeless can happen to anybody,” Chambers says. “An illness, change in life circumstances—each individual person is not that far away from having bad things happen.”

There are 124 Dress for Success affiliates in 13 countries, and Austin is the only affiliate to premiere a professional documentary about the organization and one of its clients. The film features many local nonprofits, including SafePlace, Trinity Center, Goodwill and Salvation Army. Each one of these organizations plays a vital role in improving the everyday lives of people in need throughout Austin.

“It takes a community to solve social problems such as this,” Chambers says. “So, yes, this is about Dress for Success, but it is also about the 75-plus agencies we work with. It takes a village, as the old saying goes.”

To be a part of that village, readers can purchase tickets to In Her Shoes through the Stateside Theatre at austintheatre. org, become a sponsor or donate in-kind goods to be raffled before the premiere. For more information, visit

Austin Woman Sponsored Events

Girl Scouts of Central Texas S’more Soiree Nov. 3 and 4, Lake Travis

Visit for information and to register. Your attendance helps Girl Scouts of Central Texas provide leadership opportunities to thousands of local girls.

Christmas at Caswell House Nov. 3 – 10, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit a magical winter wonderland and shop for everything you need for the holiday season. All proceeds benefit the Austin Junior Forum. For more information, visit

Executive Women in Texas Government Annual Conference Nov. 4 and 5, Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center

For more information about registration and keynote speakers, visit

More Than a Party/ Game Celebrity Golf Tournament Nov. 11 and 12

More Than a Party will take place at the home of Tess and Greg Peters Nov. 11. More Than a Game Celebrity Golf Tournament will take place Nov. 12 at the Barton Creek Resort. For more information, visit

Easter Seals Walk with Me Austin/Resource Fair Nov. 11, The Domain

The 5K run begins at 8:30 a.m., and the one-mile family walk begins at 9 a.m. The community resource fair takes place from 9 to 11 a.m. For more information and to register, visit

Junior League’s A Christmas Affair Nov. 14 – 18, Palmer Events Center

This four-day holiday market will benefit the Junior League of Austin and the community services they participate in, including Coats for Kids and FIT (Food In Tummies). For more information, visit