Archive | July, 2011

Join Us: WLMA Nonprofit Expo

27 Jul

Have you been wanting to learn how to get involved with EWI or are you looking for opportunities to serve on a board? EWI is participating in the Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Alliance expo on September 14th. This is a perfect opportunity for women looking for more ways to get involved with local nonprofits.

We hope to see you there!

From the WLMA website:

Women represent 48% of the workforce, but comprise only 15% of the nation’s boards of directors. WLMA is working to change that and is hosting a special Fall event, bringing together WLMA women with leaders of local and national non-profit organizations who are interested in increasing involvement within their organizations, including seeking qualified candidates for their board of directors.

Please join us for a short panel discussion on how to navigate non-profit board service, followed by an intimate meet and greet with representatives from participating non-profit organizations at the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, home of the historic National Women’s Party. The non-profits will be located throughout the house in an expo-style forum for you to meet and learn more about the organizations and their volunteer needs.

Date »
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time »
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Panel discussion begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.
(Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.)

Location »
Sewall-Belmont House & Museum
144 Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(Closest metro: Capitol South)

Registration Fee »
$20 advance ticket price/$30 at the door

Register by clicking here.

Continue reading

EWI Artist Graduate Evelyn Brooks Design’s to be Sold Nationwide!

26 Jul

“EWI gave me the confidence to continue growing my career as a Hispanic American jewelry designer” -Evelyn Brooks

Empowered Women International would like to celebrate the recent success of 2007 Entrepreneur Training for Success Program graduate Evelyn Brooks. Evelyn Brooks Designs will be featured nationwide in Uno Alla Volta’s online and mail order catalog!  Uno Alla Volta, is dedicated to preserving cultural heritage through the sale of their unique offerings crafted from artisan from around the world.  They pride themselves in offering treasures that are intricately handcrafted uno alla volta (one at a time).  Evelyn Brooks beautiful hand crafted collection fits perfectly with this mission and spreads the artist’s work to customers across the nation!  Evelyn prides herself in her native Peruvian culture and believes that there exists an enigmatic sense to everything in Peruvian art and her beautiful hand crafted pieces reflect this.

 Evelyn graduated from EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success Program in 2007.  Evelyn stated “My experience with EWINT has been a gift from GOD. EWINT is part of my life, my family and my destiny. Taking the training for entrepreneurship  class was just the beginning of my professional career as a jewelry artist, without my portfolio I wouldn’t be able to introduce myself to galleries/boutiques interested in my work.”

Evelyn continued, “When I came to this country and started my jewelry career I met a wonderful woman named Marga Fripp, who I consider my mentor and someone who is providing opportunities for artists who are serious about taking their art professionally to the next level. EWI is always creating new programs and improving existing programs, to help more inmigrants like me, making their dreams come true.”

“Now my work is going nationwide through Uno Alla Volta catalogs. Last month I was recognized as one of the most active and prestigious entrepreneurs within the US Hispanic Business Community by Latin Vision New York. Next month my work will be available at the prestigious Baltimore Museum of Arts, The National Building Museum of Washington DC and  Spanish Art in Sacramento California.”

In addition to Evelyn’s expansion nationwide she was awarded the Fashion Chamber Choice Award of 2010 and the Young Entrepreneur Award of 2010.  Congratulations to Evelyn Brooks and to the continued success of her business and career as an EWI artist!

Visit Evelyn Brook’s Website to learn more about the artist and her work.

View or purchase Evelyn Brook’s work at EWI’s Online Store.

Featured Item of the Week: Ethiopian Mother and Children Painting

25 Jul

This weeks item of the week was painted by EWI artist member and Entrepreneur Training for Success graduate, Naomie Belayneh.  Naomie is an artist and painter from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After graduating from the Addis Ababa Fine Art School, she attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio for a year. Naomie then moved to the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, where she has appeared in numerous exhibitions and displayed her work at various different venues. She has been a member of Empowered Women International since 2008.  Naomie commented on her artistic process:

“I start with a sketch in my sketchbook. Once I finish that, I prime the wood and then apply sand to it. I let this dry for 24 hours, and then I paint the image on it. When that is finished, I spray varnish and wood stain on the back.”

This beautiful original piece of fine art is painted in acrylic on wood, featuring two sisters. The piece of wood measures 12 x 7 3/4 inches and there is a hook attachment on the back to allow for easy hanging.

This week only receive 10% off any of Naomie’s paintings on our online shop by entering the coupon code: NAOMIEPAINT

To view more photos or purchase this item please visit our Etsy Shop.

Meet Nadia Janjua

22 Jul

Nadia sharing her dreams at our biz plan pitch.

Born to Kashmiri-Pakistani parents, Nadia grew up in the forested mountains of Western Maryland with her three siblings, strongly influenced by the solitude and beauty of her natural surroundings.

Nadia, a self-taught artist, was born with a strong inclination towards the arts. She started drawing before she could write, always coloring and drawing images. Nadia says she gets a lot of her creativity from her parents. Her father would frequently take her to the library in the evenings, and would borrow drawing books, and draw everything in them. She grew up always working on projects with her father whether it was installing a ceiling fan, planting a garden, building bird houses, or fixing the house plumbing.  Her mother used to tell her stories of how she loved to sing in her youth and Nadia would often see her design little doodles in between her daily tasks.  Nadia says, “but it’s not her just her sense of creativity that she passes on to me, it’s truly how dedicated and driven she is with every task she sets her mind to.”

When Nadia was 16 years old, she came across “The Bob Ross” Painting show on NPR, and started videotaping shows.  She bought her first canvas and set of oil paints through instructions on his show, and for many nights to follow, would paint alongside Bob while the rest of the family slept.  In college, she pursued a Major in Fine Arts, with a focus in Ceramics. Then she entered Graduate Architectural School and through her training in Studio learned to apply the same rigor and strong concepts to my art work.  Over the past fifteen years, she has explored different paint mediums, photography, graphic design, ceramics, and printmaking, eventually spending the majority of her time on nurturing her painting ability.

Nadia is inspired by the challenge of capturing potential, nuance, and nostalgia in all of her works. Through her paintings and her architecture, she explores narratives of her past, present, and future in the hopes of not only processing her own life journey, but also striking the viewer to reflect more deeply on their own personal narratives.

Continue reading

Meet Renee Huggins SinClair

21 Jul

Renee Huggins SinClair is passionate about fashion, and particularly about handbags.  Originally from California, in her former career she worked as office manager at her family’s auto garage, yet Renee always had a creative force within her she wanted to express. Renee began her journey as an artist by studying the history of the handbag.   When you meet the artist you will learn something new and interesting about handbags.  Interesting facts such as who the fathers of handbag design are, like Louis Vuitton and Coach, or how handbags as we know them were derived from horse saddlebags.

Renee moved to DC and started her quest to become a handbag designer.  She began by enrolling in a sewing course, to master the skills and craftsmanship of stich work, patterning and design.  Renee then became a student of Empowered Women International’s Entrepreneur Training for Success program to learn how to launch her handbag business, “Beloved Handbags”.

“Beloved Handbags” is composed of three lines, cloth shoulder sling bags, baby diaper bags and pleated day bags.  All of Renee’s bags are created from unique fabrics and each is one of a kind.  Renee plans to expand her collection to include fancy evening clutches in the near future.

Renee is currently continuing work on her sewing techniques and working with the DC Fashion Chamber of Commerce to begin selling her handbags from a cart near the waterfront in Georgetown.

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.

Meet Gloria Valdes, “Tarasca”

20 Jul

Gloria in her home studio.

Gloria Valdes, “Tarasca”, a painter from Mexico, realized she was different from the rest at a very young age. Gloria, diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD, in addition to suffering from Osteogenesis Imperfecta – a bone disease impeding her movement gradually quit both work and the physical activities she enjoyed and took refuge in painting.

Gloria Valdes Tarasca displaying her first painting ever created.

Completely self-taught, Gloria began building her own fantasy world from which she receives, and puts back into her work, colors and shapes inspired by her ancestral people, the Tarascans, original inhabitants of Michoacán state, in western Mexico, where she was born, and for whom, and in their honor she has named herself.

Her art, she says, is as much as expression of her personality as it is an opportunity for psychoanalysis. “Painting is a medium through which I become patient and psychoanalyst. One of the things that I enjoy the most is seeing an idea realized in a painting. Its the thrill of knowing that I can create something from nothing”.

Gloria’s vision is to use art to honor and bring to the light the names of many people around the world, who have remarkably contributed to society. Gloria says that while she has been painting as a hobby and exhibiting for many years she was unsure of how to present or promote herself to the public or how to find the right path for her future artistic endeavors.

"Carnivorous hands" 18 x 24" Oil on canvas 1981

“Through EWI I was exposed to a large number of professionals from different fields who gave me both guidance and inspiration to help me launch my business. My greatest accomplishment is that I now have  the confidence to present myself as an artist to the public.”

Gloria worked with EWI mentors and her mentor, Ivana to focus on her niche, learn how to create print reproductions of her original pieces, price and market her work, apply for grants, and design promotional materials.

In addition to Gloria’s portrait work she has done many pieces inspired by social issues and causes that she champions. Some issues that Gloria raises awareness for through her art include environmental conservation, human trafficking and sexual abuse, and cultural anthropology relating to indigenous tribes and identity.

To learn more please visit Gloria’s website:

You can also check out our recent visit to Gloria home studio here.

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.


Meet Odette Umurerwa

19 Jul

Each day, until July 23rd, we will be introducing you to one of our current Entrepreneur Training for Success students. These women are artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs with talent, passion, vision and entrepreneurial drive to start-up their own businesses and lead change in their communities. Read about the amazing work they are doing and join us on July 23rd as we celebrate their graduation.

Odette Speaking sharing her story at our Donor Reception event in June

Odette Umurerwa, a mother of two, was born in a refugee camp in Uganda, the daughter of Rwandan parents fleeing violence in the region. From a young age Odette has had a natural talent as a community organizer and entrepreneur.  At the age of 7, Odette and her brother created a cooperative in their refugee camp.  Along with other children in their community, they started to sell eggs from the chickens they owned, allowing them to buy more chickens, clothes, books, and pay the fees for their friends to go to school.  Based on this experience, Odette wrote a book called Learning to Help Ourselves and Others.

Odette joined EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success with two purposes: (1) to develop a food business and (2) empower other immigrant and refugee women and girls to reach for the stars. While in training, Odette developed a business plan to offer Rwandan cooking classes and catering for anniversaries, birthday parties, intimate dinners, and special events. She also plans to explore opportunities to sell her food at cultural festivals and later on own a food truck.

Odette’s passion for cooking stems from her belief that cooking brings people together, something she finds joy in doing.  Odette’s ultimate goal is to lead by example, and empower girls around the world to succeed in school and conquer the challenges they face in life.

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.

The Top Five Reasons to Attend Women Architects of Change!

19 Jul

Students on the first day of training.


1. Meet our architects of change.

2. Be inspired by their life-changing stories.

3. Experience COMMUNITY BUILDING, ART and DEVELOPMENT by supporting local small businesses.

4. Learn how all these women give back and the multiplier effect their investment has on our global community.

5. Meet EWI talented volunteers and mentors who work tirelessly to transform our women’s lives.

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.

Meet Kamar Derder

18 Jul

Each day, until July 23rd, we will be introducing you to one of our current Entrepreneur Training for Success students. These women are artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs with talent, passion, vision and entrepreneurial drive to start-up their own businesses and lead change in their communities. Read about the amazing work they are doing and join us on July 23rd as we celebrate their graduation.

Kamar Derder, a mother of two, moved from Morocco to the United States in 2001 to live closer to her three brothers and three sisters.  When she was a little girl she learned how to sew from her mother and began making quilts from colorful scraps of scarves and towels in her home. She went on to become a talented designer and decorator, running a successful business from her home in Morocco.

Kamar first came to EWI in 2010 to learn how to market her design skills, but then some difficult events in her life prevented her from building her business.  In 2011, she returned to EWI and is about to graduate from our Entrepreneur Training for Success program.

In just three months we have seen Kamar start her business, Kamar’s Design, and develop new creative ways to generate income. Most recently, Kamar had an exhibit with her sister Amal at our We the People Project. Together, the sisters hosted a Moroccan room where they displayed the garbs of their homeland, showcased Kamar’s designs, served traditional Moroccan tea, and sold Amal’s jewelry and Kamar’s handmade fancy Moroccan inspired soaps.

Kamar at a recent EWI Home Party, where she offered guests 15 minutes of massage for $15.

Kamar at a recent EWI Home Party, where she offered guests 15 minutes of massage for $15.

A few years ago, Kamar went to school for massage therapy.  After starting the Entrepreneur Training for Success program in April, Kamar realized that offering massage therapy in addition to pursing her design business would be a good way to increase her earnings. In a short time she has started to build a client base in the DC metro area.

When asked about the role EWI has had in her life, Kamar says, “I will be thankful all my life for the help that EWI has offered me.”

If your are interested in hiring her for custom design or massage therapy please contact Kamar at  You can also shop Karmar’s home decor on our online store.

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.

Featured Item of the Week: Blue Handmade Fused Glass Dish Set

18 Jul

Read More to Receive a Special Discount!This weeks featured item was handcrafted by EWI artist member and graduate of EWI’s Training for Success Program, Deborah Schran.  Deborah started out as a painter and printmaker, and found that the art of creating fused glass lended itself to similar interplays with light, color, design and creativity. She stated,

“It is great fun to work in this medium – every time the kiln is opened, it is an exciting event”

This beautiful dish set was created through the intricate method of fusing glass. To make a fused piece, requires that glass be selected, individually cut, pieced, glued and fired. Some pieces require multiple firings in a kiln. The artist has created an eye catching pattern in a vivid range of color, including blue, white and golden yellow. The smallest dish measures 4.5 x 4.5 inches, the medium is 5.5 x 3.7 inches and the largest measures 9.4 x 4.9 inches each with a .5 inch lip. These dishes will make a gorgeous statement in your home and can be used for display or for serving treats.

For this week only receive 10% off your purchase of any of Debbie’s hand crafted glass art on our Etsy Page.  Use coupon code: DEBBIEGLASS. This discount only applies to sales made through our Etsy shop- follow the link below.

To view more photos or purchase this item please visit our Etsy Shop.

To learn more about about Deborah please visit her website: