Alison Vaughn | Women Who Inspire
“Giving Hope to homeless and help to the helpless job seeker through Jackets for Jobs” As a recent graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and alumna of The Women's Campaign School at Yale University, sponsored by Yale Law School, Alison Vaughn has developed a track record for serving through excellence as the founder of Jackets for Jobs. For the past decade, this Detroit-based non-profit has helped more than 15,000 women begin new phases of rewarding lives through workforce development and career consultations.
Vaughn celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Jackets for Jobs and has experienced tremendous success, reaching thousands of women during the venture. But with all that she had achieved, things are not slowing down—they’re just getting started.
“So much is happening right now,” Vaughn says. “I just got back from New York yesterday after ringing the bell on Nasdaq. That was awesome because that position is usually reserved for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. So, to be able to do that is really monumental. That same day happened to be World Humanitarian Day. The day was so fitting to be able to ring that bell, and the Lord worked it out so nicely.”
Before she became an entrepreneur and humanitarian, Vaughn was a flight attendant with United Airlines in Los Angeles after graduating from Michigan State University. She recalls her love for the job, but soon realized that she wanted to do more than just serve coffee and tea. She proclaims now that she’s serving people and being a servant of the Lord.
“Our mission at Jackets for Jobs is to encourage others to get back on their feet,” Vaughn says. “We aim to put people back to work, and we’ve been doing that for 14 years, reaching over 15,000 lives as a result.”
Vaughn continues to make it known how impactful the organization has been. “I know that I’m making a difference by helping the job seeker or helping the woman that’s been battered and abused or living in a shelter,” she says. “She’s the woman who told herself that when her husband leaves for work, she was going to run out of the house and leave everything behind. That woman comes to us for help to get back on her feet.”
Taking on this mission was a leap of faith for Vaughn. She says that working for someone else is easy. But when owning a business, she has to worry about other people’s lives, considering payroll and other responsibilities. According to Vaughn, there’s more responsibility there, and it’s a lot of hard work.
Not only does she wear the hat of entrepreneur, but also of motherhood, raising a three-year old daughter. Vaughn knows the challenges, but offers heartfelt words to those women who seek growth in their businesses and also want to start families.
“It’s definitely rewarding. My daughter is the apple of my eye, and it’s my hope to leave behind a legacy and do something meaningful. I want to be a positive role model,” Vaughn shares. “Other women should step out on faith and listen to that inner voice that reminds you that you can do this. I didn’t pay attention to any naysayers or any doubters. I just relied on God.”
On her path to success, she’s had numerous influential people encourage her along the way.
“I am a big admirer of my mother, Oprah Winfrey, and Debra Lee (CEO of BET Television). I haven’t met Debra, but I think she’s a remarkable person. She has the opportunity to influence Urban America. I would love to talk to her because she’s responsible for the content that shapes the lives of African-Americans on television.”
Soon, Vaughn will travel to Dubai to participate in the World Islamic Economic Forum to speak about women entrepreneurship. Vaughn also recently opened a second headquarters for Jackets for Jobs in Botswana, Africa, creating an international reach since 2012.