Tracey Gilmore I Operations Director at The Clothing Bank

Empower, impact and independence are three significant words to Tracey Gilmore. Formerly the co-founder of Dress 2 Impress, a non profit organisation that helps low income and unemployed women prepare to enter the workplace, Tracey joined up with Tracey Chambers and together they founded The Clothing Bank. Today, the work of this generous spirit enables other women to not only learn the craft of entrepreneurship, but also to grow in self esteem and confidence. As one of South Africa’s gems, paving a positive way forward, Tracey also shares generously about her warm self here:

tracey-gilmoreAbout my Life Mission | My life’s mission is to participate fully, be present and available to help South Africa build an inclusive society that encourages equal access to opportunities and financial freedom for all.

My Definition Of Success | To feel and be empowered enough to make life choices. The biggest choice being our attitude to life and those around us. Victor Frankl put it so eloquently in his book Man’s Search for Meaning when he said “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I Am Driven By | Creative simple innovative solutions that provide real income generating opportunities for people who would otherwise continue to be left behind. Witnessing sustainable transformation. There is nothing more energizing than seeing people who were once filled with a sense of self-doubt cautiously approach opportunities and trustingly pick up the tools of support offered to them. Once they embrace the hard work that it takes to facilitate real change they turn their lives into a wonderful sequence of choices.

My Highlights | Growing up in a bubble under apartheid disconnected us from each other and one of my biggest highlights has to include discovering the eclectic mix of colourful cultures and sub cultures within our rainbow nation. These learnings have reduced the spaces between.
Graduation day at The Clothing Bank presents a major highlight and it is a celebration of perseverance, achievement and triumph over hardship
Being a mother to three sons has to top the list as my life’s highlight, I love watching them become young men and begin to discover their life’s purpose.

The Magic in me Originates From | I have a deep tolerance for diversity so my sense of community is strong and I am able to look in the mirror and challenge my assumptions. I do not fear change as it is the only constant.

The Difference Between Good And Great | Knowing your why and understanding what makes you tick can turn your life’s work into something profound. Doing something you believe to be worthwhile and taking people on the journey with you is rewarding and leaves you with a deep sense of peaceful purpose.

A Key Talent | I am steady and a good listener I can adapt to and embrace most situations with an open mind. I am curious and I consciously try not to judge people because we do not know what challenges each one of us is facing.

tracey-gilmore2Principles, Values and Ideologies I Live By | Treating people with dignity and respect is at the core of my value system. If we do unto others as we would have them do unto us, the world would be a much better place.

Lessons I Have Learnt | Over the past seven years my journey with The Clothing Bank has taught me more lessons than I ever could have imagined: most importantly that opinions are not facts, assumptions are dangerous, there is power in work to change lives and that we are ultimately, with the best intentions in the world, not in control. Life happens to every one of us.

Dealing With Doubt | When I feel self-doubt creeping in I consciously try to remain open and in the moment and if that doesn’t work I practice self-talk and reflect on positive past experiences that made me feel comforted and secure. It is these feelings that help brace my vulnerabilities.

 

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | The internet is an incredible tool and a close ally of mine. I spend (too much) time randomly searching for new ideas and innovative concepts to inspire me. It is also important to make time to spend with likeminded people in deep meaningful conversations. Watching documentaries on various subjects also keeps me curious and wanting to learn more.

My Future Dreams and Ambitions | My dream for South Africa is for us as a nation to buy into a shared, clearly developed and strategically created vision for our future. There is so little time and so much to do.As an organisation we will actively and consistently seek to develop income-generating opportunities for under resourced South African’s.

The Best Advice I’ve Received | Understand your strengths and manage your weaknesses

tracey-gilmore3Advice On Building Wealth | The topic of wealth in my opinion is subjective and our attitude towards it is often a result of our childhood experiences. We all have a personal, dualistic relationship with money – part healthy and part not. I believe it is the measure between the two that determines if or how we choose to build wealth. I am not an authority on the subject, building wealth is not something that has played a motivating role in my life. I ultimately believe there is enough to go around and extra to be shared.

I Am Inspired By | By people who have overcome adversity, people who manage to walk alongside their seemingly surmountable challenges and not be consumed by them.