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Athena Podcast Series: Athena Finalist Tanya Vokes Mallory

Interview by Jonathan Kersting

Athena Awards Podcast Series


In this episode of the UPMC Health Plan Athena Podcast we talk to Tanya Vokes Mallory, CEO of Dress for Success, about her passion to help remove common barriers women face while looking for a job.

Discover more about Tanya Vokes Mallory

Tanya Vokes Mallory began her career in corporate human resources with roles in workforce development, recruitment and diversity and inclusion. 

Following her passion for advocating for women, she joined Dress for Success Pittsburgh in 2013 as Director of Programs & Operations. Since becoming CEO in 2017, she has focused on removing barriers women face in obtaining and retaining employment through the launch of mobile boutiques and virtual resources to reach women across five counties in Southwestern PA.

Under Vokes Mallory’s leadership, Dress for Success Pittsburgh has continued to grow, serving 4,000 women in 2019 with a network of support, professional attire and development tools. When the mobile boutiques and many in-person efforts were sidelined in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, Vokes Mallory and her team pivoted to begin serving clients virtually. Online meetings allowed them to assess client needs, ship clothing and supplies, review resumes, and conduct interview preparation—providing critical support to help women feel strong and confident as they entered and returned to the workforce during unprecedented times. With a passion for empowering women, Vokes Mallory helps women achieve success by encouraging them to reach their full capacity. She not only embodies the mission of her work, but she also lives it as a tireless mentor and advocate for her staff and clients.

Nothing is out of the realm of possibility if it will support the women she serves. Her service to the community happens at many levels and includes acting as a former member of the National Aviary Night in the Tropics Host Committee, current member of the Host Committee for Junior Achievement of Western PA’s Inspiring Success Awards Luncheon, and helping women gain financial independence through her relationship with WELD (Women for Economic Leadership Development) whose mission is to develop and advance women’s leadership to strengthen the economic prosperity of the communities they serve, and to provide women with specific tools to enhance their individual economic status. She was also involved in planning WELD’s annual keynote event held in honor of Women’s History Month and designed to advance dialogue around women’s issues, challenges and opportunities.

She spreads her message of empowering women through frequent speaking engagements on topics that include personal branding, women’s empowerment and leadership, career path exploration and transition between industries. In 2019, her speaking engagements included Women’s Interactive Network (WIN) Pittsburgh, Robert Morris Women’s Leadership Series, PPG Women’s Leadership Council and the Women’s Business Network. In 2018, she was awarded the Junior Achievement of Western PA’s Inspiring Success Award in Business and Finance and was featured at Washington Health System’s annual All for Her event designed to educate, motivate and inspire while focusing on women’s health, wellness and empowerment. She is a graduate of the Leadership Pittsburgh XXXVI Class and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Labor Relations, both from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.