“Unassuming” was the word RJE Business Owner Denny Sponsel used to describe Anne Hathaway to me a few weeks ago. As a Stepping Out in Style Chair, Denny was meeting with Anne and myself to ask her to serve as his replacement for 2020. While we stood in the entrance of Hathaway Strategies, located in downtown Indianapolis on Alabama Street, I noticed Anne’s design style was modern and modest, reflective of this adjective. However when we were invited in to her private office, I got a glimpse of a more eclectic Anne. The coffee table in front of the soft furniture was full of snow globes of all sizes. The child in me had to refrain from shaking them up and down they were so much fun. Her office also revealed something else about Anne, that she is a political powerhouse. The walls are covered with dozens of framed photos of herself smiling warmly with congressmen, senators, and presidents, many autographed with personal notes! You can read Anne’s bio and see that she is indeed an accomplished professional having won numerous awards including a recent one where the her alma mater, the University of Illinois, recognized her with the 2019 ACES Career Achievement Award.
Success in business was not what drew Denny and I to seek Anne out for Dress for Success leadership. It was something different. It was her reputation in the community for advocating for women. Along with sponsoring Dress for Success, Anne is president of her college alumni sorority, 4-H House, has just stepped down as the chair for the Julian Center, is the vice chair for NAWBO, is a 500 Circle Member in Pass The Torch For Women, and runs the Lugar Series, an organization committed to propelling women into politics. When asked why she is so supportive of women’s organizations, she will say that she wants to be the kind of mentor to women that she never had getting into the business world. In college, she majored in interior design, because she was told that there was no place professionally for women in politics. Anne certainly proved that wrong. A small town Illinois girl, who moved to DC, worked in the White House Executive Building, started her own business, she is passionate about giving back, so that women starting out today in the workforce today don’t have the same difficult experiences she had back in the 80s and 90s. Unassuming as ever, Anne continues to strive for equality for women in business and in government. And thankfully for Dress for Success, she said yes to Denny’s request and will serve as the Stepping Out in Style 2020 Executive Leadership Team Chair! Look for her on the runway this year as a model at the event, sporting a combination of unassuming and eclectic style.
Contributor: Julie Petr, Executive Director, Dress for Success Indianapolis