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716 Style: Meet Evelyn Kessler, founder of International Child Advancement Inc.

716 Style: Meet Evelyn Kessler, founder of International Child Advancement Inc.

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Name: Evelyn Kessler, 42.

Who she is: Founder and president of International Child Advancement Inc., "a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower orphans and underprivileged children worldwide through education, vocational training, and mentoring." (ICA is holding a wine and chocolate tasting fundraiser March 21.) Her family is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. A native of Amherst, she left Western New York with her family in 1986 to return to the Congo. She left there in 1994 when the conflict in neighboring Rwanda began to trickle into the Congo and moved to Paris to attend high school. She returned to WNY in 1997 to continue her education and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Medaille College. A local bank officer, she has been featured in Success magazine. She and her husband, Steven, live in the Ken-Ton area with their two children – Ymani, 13, and Leo, 8.

What she's wearing: Black-and-white checked "Long & Lean" blazer and black pants from Banana Republic; white cami from Express; blue belt; Nine West red suede pumps from Nordstrom Rack; panda pendant necklace – a gift from her children; "Dream" and "Hope" bracelets – gifts from a cousin living in France; Pandora bracelet – a gift from her husband and children; earrings from J.Crew; Cole Haan eyewear from Sterling Optical, Town of Tonawanda.

Signature piece?: "That's a tough question because I switch it up all the time. Honestly, I love fun shoes."

Listen to Evelyn Kessler describe her daily approach to fashion:

Fashion statement: "So getting ready in the morning for me involves a three-step process. First I check my schedule to see what I have going on for that day –  if I have any meetings, speaking engagements or any events in the evening. Then I move into determining what the weather is going to be like – because after all we are in Buffalo – so I need to know if it's going to snow, rain, will it be sunny? From there I figure out how I  feel. Do I feel like looking girly; do I want to wear a dress? Or do I need to feel empowered  and therefore do I need to wear a power suit? So I take all those three things into consideration and put together my outfit. I like to define my style as classic with a pop – and that pop might be a color or a statement piece that stands out from what I'm wearing for the day," she said.

Last purchase: Navy blue sailor pants with gold buttons from LOFT.

In the market for:  Black pumps with 4-inch heel. "I want something to pop on those shoes. I don't care if it's a bow in the back but something needs to pop," she said.

* Take a look at last week's 716 style feature:

716 Style: Meet Charlene Minx of Salon de Coquette


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