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Kucera receives first-ever Roslyn S. Jaffe Associate Award

Roslyn Jaffe, director emeritus of Ascena Retail Group Inc., with Jeanne Kucera, assistant vice president of human resources for Maurices, and Elise Jaffe, senior vice president real estate for Dressbarn and executive sponsor of Ascena Cares.

Jeanne Kucera, the assistant vice president of human resources at Maurices, received a first-ever Roslyn S. Jaffe Associate Award honoring everyday heroes who give back to their communities.

Nominated by colleagues from Ascena Retail Inc., associate award recipients were selected from a nationwide search that acknowledged members of the Ascena family of brands who embody the spirit of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards.

Kucera was nominated by her colleague Amy Lundberg, a senior human resource manager, for her long-term support of the Boys & Girls Club, where she is an active member of the marketing advisory board, and for advocacy to increase awareness of the need for blood donations for the Memorial Blood Center.

She is especially passionate about support of Memorial Blood Center due to losing her son to a rare blood disease when he was 11 years old. Kucera and her family continue to keep her son's legacy alive with the continued support of an annual high school workshop in his memory. The workshop teaches high school students to run blood drives so they have the tools they need and encouragement to inspire blood donations.

Kucera has also participated in a Parent Advisory Board to help parents with ill children make the right decisions in their caregiving. She is a valued resource to this vital cause.

The associate awards were launched to highlight the community service of Ascena employees as part of The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards, a nonprofit program that gives financial awards to individuals who are making the world a better place for women and children.

"It is heartwarming to find people like Jeanne Kucera who are so dedicated and compassionate," said Roslyn S. Jaffe, director emeritus for Ascena Retail Group Inc. "She truly represents the heart and soul of our company. We credit our success to our strong team of family, friends and associates. Congratulations, Jeanne, we are proud to call you a member of our Ascena family."

Jaffe was a working mother who, with her husband Elliot, saw a need and had a brilliant business idea for a one-stop-shop that offered the convenience of a value-based, yet fashion forward work wardrobe solution for busy women.

In 1962, the Jaffes seized the opportunity and opened a small store named Dressbarn in Stamford, Conn., and helped transform that one store into what is now Ascena Retail Group Inc., a $7.4 billion retailer with a family of brands. A true trailblazer and entrepreneur, Jaffe believes in the adage, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Understanding the needs of her co-workers, who were also working moms, Jaffe encouraged a close-knit community where associates could rely on each other. In addition, she supported like-minded organizations in the community. A take-care-of-your-own camaraderie is what inspired the company years later to establish Ascena Cares, the company's group of charitable organizations.