Rebecca Flood, executive director and CEO of New Directions for Women, has dedicated her professional life to helping women overcome the traumatic effects of substance abuse in their lives.
The seriousness of her career and the demands of her work schedule often consumed her priorities, and Flood became known in this community for her personal sacrifice, placing her own needs behind her work of assisting other women.
One of Flood's most ardent supporters throughout three decades of her involvement in New Directions for Women is Carole Pickup, who has not only provided financial support for the work but has also been a major cheerleader, providing much-needed encouragement for countless women facing serious hurdles.
In addition to her background in childhood education, Pickup, a mother and grandmother, also was involved in the fashion industry for a number of years. Recently, she approached Flood with the idea of offering her a style makeover.
"I can't think of a woman who deserves a little special treatment more than Rebecca Flood," Pickup said. "She is one of the most selfless women in this community so it was time to give her some personal attention that she has given to so many others."
Pickup also shared that nonprofits in Orange County face financial challenges given various cutbacks from sources of funding, including the government. It is crucial for the CEO of New Directions for Women to present a formidable business image because she is dealing with agencies, organizations and donors in the professional world.
"Rebecca always dressed very nicely and in a very feminine fashion with a fondness for touches such as bows on her shoes and floral printed fabrics," Pickup said. "We talked and decided that it would be fun to do a complete summer fashion makeover, so I enlisted the help of a few personal stylists to make a difference for Rebecca."
Pickup turned to her fashion experts at the Balboa Bay Resort, where she is one of the new owners of the legendary Coast Highway property. The hotel houses a boutique known as The Collection, led by fashionista Alaina Taylor, who went to work with Pickup selecting a new wardrobe for Flood.
Together they chose a soft yellow blazer by Canadian manufacturer Cartise and paired the blazer with beige slacks by American clothier Piece of Cloth. Pickup added a soft creamy off-white tank top under the blazer and a selection of jewelry by designer Nature's Gem, an artist based in Florida and carried by The Collection.
While the fashions were being prepared and tailored for Flood, the stylists at Studio Six Salon were transforming her from a blond to a soft brunette. Hairstylist Janet Colton joined forces with Yvonne Lee, a makeup expert, and manicurist Ken Wright, spending most of a day creating a new look for Flood.
The stunning results can be seen in the before and after photographs proving the adage, "what a difference a day can make." Flood said that the reaction from her staff, friends and associates was overwhelming.
"She is a beautiful lady inside and out with a tough job that never gets any easier," Pickup said. "Rebecca changes the lives of women each and every day through her work at New Directions. This one day belonged to her."
To learn more about the work of New Directions for Women, call Tanya at (949) 705-7165. New Directions for Women also operates Repeat Boutique, a clothing resale shop on 17th Street in Costa Mesa.
THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.