Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An Interview with The Fashion Foundation's Vice President!

From left to right: The Fashion Foundation
Board VP Stephanie Cantelmo with CEO Amanda Munz.
Welcome back everyone to another special Fashion Foundation interview! As we wrap up this awesome series of conversations with the wonderful volunteers and committee members of The Foundation, we look ahead to the fall season that promises new opportunities for partnering schools and plenty of donation events (more updates to follow, so stay tuned).

Before we get into the good stuff for this week’s post, I'd like to give a special reminder that tomorrow—that’s right, TOMORROW, Saturday, September 26th's "Fall Into Fashion Fundraiser" at the TAJ Lounge in NYC is finally here!

If you haven't purchased a ticket yet then don’t sweat it, there’s still time! You can buy tickets by visiting our main website ( or click the link here. If you'd like to find out more information about the event then help yourself by clicking the link here.

Now, without further ado, I am proud to feature one of the most important members of The Fashion Foundation, and a person who is a tremendous asset to the organization. I owe her many thanks as it is she who is responsible for introducing me to The Foundation while also granting me the opportunity to write and edit for this wonderful non-profit.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a dear friend of mine, Board Vice President, Ms. Stephanie Cantelmo.

Stephanie is a graduate of Queen’s College with her Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design; she also holds a Master’s Degree in communication arts through NYIT. She holds the prestigious title of Board Vice President for The Fashion Foundation, and she works side-by-side with our founder, Amanda, on a daily basis to make sure the organization runs smoothly.

From organizing events, attending school donations, writing press releases, designing logos and working directly with the host committee to oversee operations, Stephanie does it all and then some. The interview below will give everyone proper insight to what it’s like to be a key player for a successful startup. Enjoy!

Can you please provide a brief description of yourself? (Hobbies, college(s) attended: major, minor, year graduated; what you’d like to do for your career).

I’m in love with seeing and experiencing new things. My biggest passion/hobby is traveling. Whether it’s an hour drive away or an eight hour flight, I find joy in going places I’ve never been before and immersing myself in that area's way of life.

I attended Queens College for graphic design and then went back to school at NYIT to get my masters degree in communication arts. I currently work in graphic design, but I gained interest in public relations and event planning, so by getting my masters, I’m hoping that will help guide me towards a career in event planning.

What is your daytime job and what is your position/title at The Fashion Foundation?

I currently work as a graphic designer during the day and invest a large amount of my free time in working with The Foundation. For The Fashion Foundation, I am the Board Vice President. Basically, I help out with anything and everything that I can to make The Foundation run smoothly.

Stephanie organizing supplies during a school donation.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about how The Foundation got started, what sparked the idea behind its formation?

Amanda had this idea while she was interning for some of the top designers in New York City. She saw many samples being thrown away so she had the “ah-ha” moment of let's do something with all this waste in the industry. She figured if we can collect these samples and other unwanted clothing, it could be sold in order to benefit students in need.

So a couple of years ago while I was in college for graphic design, Amanda reached out to me asking me if I would be able to help her by creating a logo for a foundation she wanted to start. After hearing the concept, I was immediately drawn to the idea and wanted to be a part of it.

We got together and hashed out the look and feel she wanted The Fashion Foundation to have and hours later the logo that is still used today was created. Ever since the initial logo was created, we have been working together to bring her vision to life.

I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is to work for a start-up organization. What does a typical workday look like, on average, as The Fashion Foundation’s Vice-President?

After finishing eight hours at my day job, I work on Foundation stuff as needed. Since it is in start-up mode, every day is different for me. One day I can be designing invitations for an event, the next day I can be attending a school donation taking pictures and handing out school supplies. This is one of the things I love about being a part of it. I get to be involved in so many aspects that there’s never a dull day.

Gearing up for the very successful
Bloomingdale's event!
What has surprised you most about being a part of The Foundation? Have you learned things about yourself that you don’t think you could have elsewhere?

I’ve learned that it doesn’t take millions of dollars to make a difference. I’ve been able to see first hand how just $3,000 can change a whole school. Sure, a million dollars is great, don’t get me wrong, but with all these small donations we have been able to make so far, we have changed the lives of thousands of students and that’s a great start. We are only two years in, so I’m very excited to see where we will be in two more years and how many more students we can help.

In your opinion, what separates The Foundation from any other non-profit organization that is involved in similar work?

What I love about The Fashion Foundation is that Amanda will go to the school and meet with the principal and go over specifically what their students’ need. The Foundation does not just cut a check and move on to the next school. We get to personalize each donation that we do by ordering the specifics.

On top of that, we then get to go into the school and talk with the students and give out the supplies ourselves as well. I’ve volunteered for many organizations in the past, but I never had the opportunity to help on such a personal level like I do when I’m handing out school supplies to a student.

Can you name a moment during your involvement with The Foundation that was really special to you as a person? Whether it was your experience of being there for its creation, participating in an event, witnessing a donation, etc.

Honestly, there are so many moments that have been special that it’s hard to pick just one. A moment that really touched my heart was during a school donation. Amanda and I walked into the main office of a school we were donating to and a little girl overheard the reason why we were there and walked over to us and said, “what you’re doing for us is really nice, you’re really good people.” It was the sweetest thing I think we both ever heard and a moment we will never forget. That moment proved to us that we need to keep pushing and growing The Foundation so that we can positively impact more students.

Amanda and Stephanie before the start of The Foundation.
You are great friends with the founder, Amanda Munz, even long before The Foundation began. How has the positive chemistry between you and Amanda contributed to The Foundation’s current success?

Amanda and I have been friends since sixth grade and ever since then we’ve always been able to laugh and have a good time together. Having had a solid friendship before the start of The Foundation has definitely helped us in the way we work together.  We know we can count on each other to handle whatever is thrown at us and have a good time doing it. 

Why should supporters attend the “Fall into Fashion Fundraiser” this weekend on September 26th @ 7pm?

There are so many reasons to come hang out with The Fashion Foundation this weekend. Not only will we be raising money for students, you’ll have a great time doing it. There’s going to be great music, wonderful people, amazing raffle prizes, delicious food and of course an open bar.

Here's to these two awesome ladies!
Lastly, can you give our readers a reason why participating and/or donating to The Foundation is worth their while?

Having been to all the school donations, I can vouch that The Fashion Foundation is a wonderful nonprofit to support. I’ve seen the smiles on children's faces when they received a box of pencils, and I’ve spoken to many students who have thanked The Foundation from the bottom of their hearts.

Many people might overlook school supplies, but the truth is, there are way too many students who show up to school without a pencil and notebook. One student said to me, “Thank you! Now I don’t have to use my lunch money.” School supplies should never be a worry for a child, so this is why we need to continue what we are doing.

I’d like to thank Stephanie and all of the generous volunteers and host committee members who have offered their time to do these interviews for The Fashion Foundation’s blog page. As a writer and huge supporter of everything The Foundation does, I can tell you that it is the people who support this organization, whether through donated time, money, clothing etc., that are the reason that The Foundation will continue to grow and achieve the very mission it sets forth: to continue to provide school supplies to the students who need it the most.

As always, don’t forget to follow The Fashion Foundation on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and of course, don't forget to donate to our website at Till next time!


Joseph A. Jungermann is a freelance copy editor and blogger for The Fashion Foundation. He also authors his own personal blog, titled: “A Tuesday Afternoon.” He is the founder of the copy editing company: Elemental Edit, which provides content editing services for students, professionals, and small businesses. Joe obtained his Bachelors of Arts in English at Stony Brook University through their honor’s college in December of 2013. As a passionate reader, writer, and aspiring entrepreneur, he also enjoys playing guitar, reading poetry, and spending time with family and friends.

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