Welcome to M2057's Spotlight Series: In Her Own Words, a monthly series featuring dynamic, stylish, and powerful women that inspire us. This month, the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Dorri McWhorter, demonstrates what it means to be joyful, funny, smart, and stylish all at once.
"WORK IS LOVE MADE VISIBLE"
That is my favorite quote, from Kahlil Gibran, and it defines where I sit in my life. I’m lucky in that I do what I love. At the YWCA we focus on fulfilling our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, and our impact is so significant—we serve more than 200,000 women and families, and just continue to push outward. We recently launched WOMN, an exchange-traded fund on the New York Stock Exchange that promotes gender equality and combats sexual harassment in the workplace. On November 15 we’ll hold our annual Leader Luncheon honoring women leaders and our allies (ally Howard Tullman is one of this year’s honorees—get tickets here!). And for Giving Tuesday, November 27, a group of us are going to ring the bell at the NYSE. All of what I love about the world is coming together.
DON'T PUT ME IN A BOX
What I’ve learned is that I’ve been on a quest to show up authentically and be a role model for others. I’m a CPA by background and had been on the board of the YWCA for years, and I wanted to bring that background of management consulting and accounting to the organization. I’ve now been CEO for five years, and when I came we grew from $10 million to $22 million.
This can be really hard work, but I tend to be a joyous and happy person, and sometimes people can see that as being unserious or frivolous. I just take that on—I can celebrate joy and femininity but still be brilliant and, say, launch the WOMN fund.
People will say, “You don’t look like an accountant.” Well, what does an accountant look like? Or, “She seems so nice, but can she get things done?” What does being nice have to do with getting the job done? Or, because I’m an advocate for having fun, I’ll hear, “You don’t act like a CEO,” which is meant as a compliment, as if we’ve projected so much misery into these roles. Why do we think fun and work can’t go together? We can serve joyously.
FASHION THAT FITS MY BODY + MY LIFE
Work is a part of life’s expression, and visual self-expression and fashion are such a part of that. My style is cheerful and vibrant, but with an edge. For me it’s very much about fit, and what looks good on my body shape. I know women get discouraged when something doesn’t fit them, but I try to think of it like, “This piece just wasn’t made for your body. And that’s okay.”
I have so many M2057 pieces—one of my closets is just M2057!—because they fit my shape. The pencil silhouettes like Stella and Georgia are some of my favorites—I have each of them in three colors! I’m a full hourglass, and I don’t want something too boxy that just hangs off of me. I need the roundness in my hips but more fit in the waist and arms. Even the leather dress is comfortable and fits so well. It’s like Maria made it on a dress form just for my body!
I am very thoughtful about the occasion I’m dressing for, and M2057’s styles are so flexible. I can find something for every occasion and I’m always comfortable, even in a more fitted form. I have very long days, and I always look as good when I end the day as when I started. When I travel, I take the pieces out of the suitcase, hang them up, and they’re ready to go.
M2057 is my fashion soundtrack. The clothes give me permission to show up in my truth and my style. It’s so easy, and you look so good without a lot of effort. I can’t wait to come in and play for fall!
Photo credits: Lydia Kearney Carlis, YWCA; Chicago Woman Magazine