Archive | April, 2012

Social Media Workshop Recap

30 Apr

One week ago, I had the extreme pleasure of hosting a Social Media Workshop with Empowered Women International’s Entrepreneur for Success Training Program.

For those of you who weren’t there, or if you wanted to recap what we went over, I’ve included the slide show here.

Social Media Presentation

I had so much fun getting to talk with this enthusiastic, inspiring group of women! I have full faith that each and every one of the will be successful in their chosen career paths, and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to get to work with them!

Thank you so much for having me there to teach your class, and thank you to EWI for asking me to be a part of your incredible program!

Raffle at 4pm!

30 Apr

Thank YOU for making donations and spreading the word! Thanks to you we have raised $7,930 from 214 donors!

It’s is now 4pm which means it’s time for another raffle!

Many thanks to Juliana for donating a beautiful print of one of her original photographs entitled “Too Tall for Camouflage”!

“Too Tall for Camouflage”

Juliana Kerrest has always been passionate about art. While she enjoys many different mediums, she currently focuses on embroidery and photography. She runs two Etsy Shops to sell her work: Athena’s Musings for her stitch art and Eleventh Muse for her photos and digital art. Juliana worked for EWI for a year and a half, and opened the Shops after becoming inspired by the women artists she encountered day in and day out who were turning their ideas and skills into businesses. You can learn more about her and her work at or

The lucky winner is……….

Congratulations to Amitava Mazumdar! Thank you for your support of Empowered Women International- you are the one who made a difference!

Next raffle will be held at 5pm!

Hannah – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

30 Apr

At the EWI marketing lab, on April 14th, I worked with Sabrina and Doler.  Both women wanted to start small businesses and needed assistance with social media platforms and various professional resources.  Coming into the Marketing Lab, I wasn’t sure I would be able to help out or be able to give advice that would be applicable.   However, very soon into it I realized that all of my education and experience would be very helpful with what they needed.

First, I helped Sabrina.  She is working towards launching a business in which she creates customized birth chart necklaces that come with charts that explain the necklace meaning.  Sabrina and I hit it off right away and immediately began bouncing ideas off of each other.  After making a list of everything she wanted to get done, I helped Sabrina create a Twitter account, a Pinterest account, a Facebook account, and helped her link her Pinterest account to her Etsy store so that people who found her products on Pinterest would be able to go directly to her Etsy store and purchase it.

We also worked on creating a little statement that she could place on all of her sites and business cards to help her brand the product better.  The knowledge that she had of astrology and the zodiac was fascinating and listening to her explain learning how she created the necklaces with their individual charts that explained what the placement of the beads meant was captivating.

The second woman I worked with, Doler, had a slightly different business path. Instead of selling a product, she wanted to sell her talent and start cooking classes.  She was looking to rewrite her artist statement and do so in a way that really emphasized all of her expertise relating to her new business venture.  After we rewrote her artist statement, we began organizing her resume so that it showed off her cooking skills and related experience. As the owner of several restaurants and food, she has had several different careers and really knows and loves vegetarian Indian cuisine. I loved talking to Doler about her accomplishments, her interests, and hearing about how her restaurant operated and the kinds of food that she makes.  She had so many stories to share and I can’t wait to be able to take cooking classes from her, I am sure that they will be fantastic.

The entire day was amazing and it felt great to be able to use the skills and knowledge that I have developed while in school and interning to help Sabrina and Doler achieve their goals.  I hope to stay in touch with both women and see their future successes.  I also look forward to more opportunities to work with EWI at their events.

I am from Pennsylvania and a junior Communication Studies/Political Science double major at Furman University, located in South Carolina.  I came to DC through The Washington Center (TWC).  As well as volunteering with EWI, I am currently an intern at Book Hill Partners, which is a DC-based public relations firm. I’m interested in all aspects of the field of Communications and Media and have had a great time in DC this semester developing my professional skills through TWC.

3 Days Away!

30 Apr

We are 3 days away from our biggest fundraising event of the year – Spring2Action Day! Last year, Empowered Women International WON, with the most number of contributions made in 24 hours. Are you the ONE to help us do it again? If you haven’t already done so, you can make a pledge NOW to give to our campaign by clicking here.

In 24 hours …on May 2nd only… just by making one donation of $10 or more, your gift can multiply thousands of times.

With your help EWI can win up to $30,000 in grants and prizes with which we can fully transform the lives and livelihoods of immigrant, refugee and low-income women in our community.

Please give generously, share our page with your network, and help us find new supporters for our cause.


Loris – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

30 Apr

Marketing Boot Camp and EWI

Since the first moment I heard about Empowered Women International I knew this was a project I was very interested in and one that I would enjoy. I can relate to the women immigrants in several levels: first of all, I am a woman. I am from Mexico, and even though I am currently in the United States under a Non-Immigrant Visa, I am not an American citizen; therefore I have something else in common with the people EWI works with. Finally, something that I enjoy a lot is making arts and crafts; I like making jewelry, sewing, painting and drawing, among other things. So what a better match than EWI? As I continued learning about EWI, I got even more excited about interacting with and helping the women from the Entrepreneur Training for Success (ETS) program.

On Saturday, April 14th the day finally came when a group of interns from The Washington Center and I were going to spend the morning helping the women from EWI. A few days before this, we got brief biographies of the women we were going to be working with. I read Addie Gail’s information and was immediately inspired by her story. A small business consultant, Addie has been fighting hard throughout her life to succeed; not letting obstacles stop her from reaching her goals. When I met her, Addie seemed very enthusiastic and eager to work with me. This motivated me even more to start learning more about her and helping her with whatever she needed.

We briefly introduced each other and I asked Addie to tell me more about her life and her career. When she talked about her work I could tell that she was passionate about it and also very knowledgeable. She wanted help editing her biography and preparing it for an important meeting she was going to have during the week. Addie mentioned she won an award in 2003 which she was not sure if she should include or not. I encouraged her to put it in, since she should be proud of her achievements. We both worked on her biography and whenever we did not exactly agree on something, we would talk about it and listen to each other’s opinion. I thought it was a very interactive
session in which we both worked on her document together (great teamwork!).

After editing and formatting her biography we switched to her business cards; this was a quick task since she already had a previous design. We moved things around a little and added some information. Once we were done, we were pretty satisfied with the final results.

Working with Addie and attending the Marketing Boot Camp with the women from EWI was a great experience and, if I was staying in D.C., I would definitely continue volunteering with them.

Loris is a senior studying marketing at ITESM University in Mexico, where she’s from. She is currently an intern at the Trust for the National Mall through The Washington Center. At the Trust, she works with the development team, particularly with corporate sponsorships, preparing for the Annual Benefit Luncheon and Ball on the Mall.

Clint – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

30 Apr

Marketing Boot Camp

I had the privilege to volunteer with Empowering Women International (EWI:
for their marketing boot camp on April 14. EWI is an organization that was created as a way to use
the arts and entrepreneurship to create a cross-cultural exchange and to empower women to start
their own businesses.


I was introduced to LaDon who is starting her own photography company Lens
and Love ( LaDon has worked in the non-profit sector and is
currently a part-time consultant. She has four children and wants her children to witness her “building
a business and a pathway” for herself. She is changing her career path and plans on launching her
photography company this summer.

LaDon and I sat down during the marketing workshop to brainstorm, talk about photography,
and discuss the launch of her new company. We instantly ‘clicked’ as she showed me some of her
pictures and discussed her favorite styles and techniques. She enjoys photographing people because she likes capturing memories. She wants to start a series of photographs that focus around the first stages of life. She is going to start the series with pictures of soft portraits of the mother-to-be and she will end the series before the baby is a year old. LaDon and I discussed the best ways to launch Lens and Love. She already has a website with some of her photography showcased. We discussed how she can use Facebook as a networking and advertising tool to keep in contact with old clients and find new ones. I reminded her that Twitter can also be used to network, find models, and highlight her services. She will be creating a blog that will detail her evolution as a photographer, artist and businesswoman.

EWI has helped LaDon create a detailed and extensive business plan. She has plans to buy new
equipment and she knows how many clients she would like to have by the end of the year. Within a few years she wants to expand to include other photographers in different markets within the United States. LaDon eventually wants to be in a position to share her talent and her passion with new burgeoning photographers.


I met Denisse in the afternoon session of the marketing boot camp and she
wasted no time in discussing her business plans. I was in total awe of Denisse’s tenacity and the amount of research that went into her ideas.

Denisse, who is a marketing and journalism student, loves art and music. She told me that she
gets inspiration from daily life and she wants to create a venue where music and art lovers can come
together to share, create and enjoy their craft. She started EWI`s Entrepreneur Training for Success so she can network, brainstorm and discuss her ideas now so that after she graduates from her marketing program she will be able to start her business.

First, Denisse and I discussed venue size and services. She took inspiration from BusBoys and
Poets but wanted her establishment to be a little less busboys and a little more poets (meaning more
art and less food). Denisse wants to start with a lounge that doubles as an art gallery. The lounge will
have artists performing music or poetry daily. She will expand it to include music recording and she has already networked with a producer. She plans on using her journalism classes to be able to interview and talk with older and emerging artists. Denisse even had plans to expand it further to include other aspects of performing arts.

Next Denisse and I talked about the importance of keeping informed and being involved in the
music and art community in and around Washington, D.C. We discussed the best way to utilize social
media. I suggested that she should use Twitter to find out about local concerts, exhibits and artists.
Denisse said that she was going to use Facebook to post some of her articles and interviews once
she does more writing for her journalism class and that this will create followers for her that will be
potential customers in the future.

Denisse is imaginative and creative. She has a quiet resolve and a deep and focused vision. I
suggest keeping an eye out in the lifestyle section of the newspapers for her.

I graduated from high school in 2001 and started university the following fall. I did not enjoy university and I quit after two years. I had a series of different jobs over the years. I worked in restaurants and hotels, I worked at a ski-resort, and worked for an energy services company for almost two years. However, my heart was not in any of that work. I decided to go back to school in 2006 and I have almost completed my degree in Political Science from the University of Regina (in Saskatchewan, Canada). After I graduate this fall I plan on working and eventually going to graduate school.

Wendy – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

27 Apr


Clementine discovered her passion for floral arrangement only recently, but is taking big steps to expand her newly named business—Fruit of the Spirit Floral. I helped Clementine with her florist resume, which was something that was new to me, having never made an artists resume before. We searched online for other Florists resume examples, as well as their websites.

We talked about the necessity of photography in the development of her business, as she has very few pictures of the work that she has done.  With more photographs of her work, I believe she can really start expanding her business—starting a Facebook page or even her own website could act as a portfolio of her work.

When talking about potential markets she could explore, she had a lot of wonderful ideas. As she is not 100 percent comfortable with fresh flower arrangements yet (she plans on taking classes this summer), for now she will concentrate on silk flower arrangements. With this, you can market people who have allergies to flowers. Silk arrangements are also very cost effective, as you can keep the flowers for long periods of time without having to replace them. Clementine felt that hotels and even funeral homes would be attracted to this idea, and I think those would be excellent venues to pursue.

Again, another sweet and intelligent women with a real talent. EWI is an amazing organization.


Mariam has been in the United States for 5 years. She has spent the majority of her life in Tanzania, where she attended school and raised her son. Mariam decided to purse her dream of making crafts full-time, hence her move to the States. “The challenges of working and exporting from a developing country were quite difficult,” she said.

Mariam is sweet, obviously intelligent, and passionate. I admire her excitement, and how she is continually looking for ways to improve her business.

Her beautiful handbags are made out of Kanga, a traditional cloth decorated and worn by Swahili women. The cloth has evolved since its conception in the 19th century, when women used to draw the designs by hand. The original Kangas were inspired by the African bird, a Guinea Fowl (pictured below), now also known as the Kanga bird. The birds’ intricate feather pattern and bright beak make it unique to other birds. Today, the Kanga cloth Mariam uses is made in a textile factory in Tanzania.

Both men and women in Tanzania wear Kanga cloth, but the men would never wear it in public (only inside their homes). Women use it as a cover-up, for their babies, to clean, etc. It is a part of their life. And that is what Mariam is trying to share with us, a part of her culture.

“This cloth reminds me of childhood, youth, womanhood, my mother, aunties, grandmothers, neighbors, events, celebrations, politics, sports, Swahili phrases, and friends, friends, friends,” Mariam said.

It was so interesting to learn about Kanga and what an impact it has had on Mariam’s life, as well as others.  I was so happy to meet her, and hear her inspiring story.


Diana – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

27 Apr

To use my knowledge and skills in social media and marketing to help others is the goal
I had when I decided to volunteer for Empowered Women International. When I heard
they were in need of volunteers to help for their Marketing Lab, which involved strong
women with goals of launching businesses, I jumped at the opportunity. My experience
as a volunteer for the Marketing Lab was remarkable and I gained a lot of knowledge
from the two ladies I worked with as well as learned how my skills can be put to great

Elizabeth is the first person I worked with at the Marketing Lab. She is from Ghana
and worked as a baker for many years. After being laid off from her job as head baker
at Giant, she decided that she wanted to launch her own bakery called Ma Lizzies.
Elizabeth’s goal was not to have a typical bakery, but one that caters to people with
special dietary needs, such as people who are diabetic, lactose intolerant and those with
celiac disease. She wanted to make baking items that could be enjoyed by everyone.
Her idea started when she became very health conscious and saw the high rate of people
with celiac disease. When working with Elizabeth, our primary goal was to put together
a marketing and business plan that she could share with others. We started off with
defining her mission statement, she wanted to make sure her mission statement showed
that she catered to everyone even those without special dietary needs. We worked
together to craft a message that would show her abilities as a baker and showcase her
reason for starting the company. Elizabeth is very passionate about opening up her
own bakery, she explained to me all the necessary steps and work she put into making
sure her goal is able to be accomplished. The best part of my experience with Elizabeth
was hearing her thoughts on life and how even through her hard times, she continues to
appreciate life and to strive for more different opportunities.

The next person I worked with at the Marketing Lab was Chantel. Chantel is originally
from New York but decided to move to the Virginia area. Chantel is very passionate
about being eco-friendly and her goal is to launch a website called Creative Reuse. Her
idea involves showcasing recycled art and different ways to reuse recycling material.
When working with Chantel, our main focus was to brainstorm logo ideas because her
logo is going to be the brand for her website as well as if she decides to take the website
to another level. She wanted a logo that would standout and provide a clear message of
website content. This became a challenge because we wanted to make sure the logo did
not give the impression that her website was a typical site about recycling. We looked
through many clipart examples and played with Adobe InDesign to create possible logos
that would give her website an edge but still stress the importance of recycling. I truly
enjoyed working with Chantel, I loved hearing her reason for starting her website as well
as her ambition to accomplish her goals. I decided that I wanted to continue working
with Chantel throughout my timeframe in DC because I want to make sure her final logo
possesses the visions and ideas that she shared with me.

Working with these women was inspiring. I loved seeing how throughout their hard
times, they are taking chances regardless of the risk to accomplish their goals. Both of
them are not afraid to fail because they know its just another lesson learned and they
will continue to try again. After speaking with both of them, I am working to apply the lessons they have taught me into my life as I endure into this journey as a new college graduate. Empowered Women International’s Marketing Lab was a great experience and something I will forever cherish.


Carissa – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

27 Apr


When Jane and I did our introductions, we soon found out that we had more in common that we
expected. If you don’t know, I am from Minnesota and go to school there. Jane also went to school in
Minnesota when she was younger. It was like we had a connection before we even began the session.

Jane had such a warm personality, it was impossible not to be drawn to her and her business ideas.
Jane’s cancer survival story was really personal and I found it incredibly brave of her to be able to sit down with me and share her journey through the terrible disease.

Jane’s business plan to spread her message through writing, speaking, and personal coaching is a
unique idea that I think will be very beneficial to many women. I can see Jane being very successful
with her business because of the amount of apparent passion and energy she has for this cause. Jane encompasses such a great desire to help other women through life battles and I think others will find her message very rejuvenating.

The majority of our time was spent analyzing the business card she had designed. I got to see how it
had progressed to its current state and Jane explained to me what she hoped to accomplish through the card. I am so excited to see the final design and wording she comes up with to include on the card. The rest of the time was mainly spent on going over her business plan. It was clear that Jane had put a lot of thought and energy into the plan, and I was so inspired by her writing.

I left Jane’s session feeling extremely motivated, because even though I had not gone through her
struggle and I would never fully imagine how she had so much strength, she was able to pass her
positive outlook and kindness onto me in just the short time we spent together.


If ever anyone was organized and had a great sense of the fashion world, it would be Kelley. When Kelley described her style consultanting business to me I was absolutely awestruck. She had so much drive and ambition and it was clear that she was going to work hard to achieve her highest goals. Kelley is going to strive to become the best, and has no intention of settling for anything less.
I was so impressed with Kelley because of her ability to see where she wanted to be in the future. Kelley depicted a crystal clear image of who she wanted to be and what role her consulting business was going to have in her life. She had a great start on her business plan and I was happy to offer her assistance wherever it was needed.

With little knowledge of the fashion world, I initially felt overwhelmed by hearing all of Kelley’s experience. She had so much familiarity with color and clothing, but I found myself entirely engaged in our fashionista conversation. Since Kelley’s family has a history with style, her mom being a former model and her sister a current model , it was easy to understand how she got started. What amazed me the most was how effortlessly Kelley was able to talk to me about her dream. She seemed so confident in herself, and for this I greatly admire her.

I approached this bootcamp thinking I was going to be the teacher, that I would be the one sharing my knowledge with the women of EWI. Although I was able to offer advice about my area of expertise, I figured out that the bootcamp was an opportunity for me to learn too.  Not only did I learn to never ever wear the color pink to a job interview, I learned the importance of setting goals and working hard. I also learned how important it is to network in your field and to get in contact with others in order to spread your ideas even further.

Kelley was very proud to share with me her ideas for her business and I cannot wait to see where those ideas take her. I am really looking forward to see how her business transforms in the near future and plan to stay in touch with her. Who knows, I might need some fashion advice some day.

I am currently a student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, Minnesota. I am studying
Mass Communications. I will graduate next year with a double major in Public Relations and Electronic Publishing and a minor in Business. I spent the semester in Washington, D.C. as the Communications Intern for the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), which is a part of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Alexi – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

26 Apr

During the Marketing Boot Camp, I had the pleasure of working with Edith for my first part of the morning. She was great, we immediately clicked and I felt like I had known her for awhile. We started out by talking about her vision and what she wanted to accomplish that day. After we chatted for awhile and I thought to myself, “we are going to need more time.”

She had great ideas and passion for what she wanted to do. We started the morning off by reviewing and going over her resume. She said she wanted to work on her resume because it was one of the hardest parts for her to do on her own, which I totally agreed with. I learned very quickly that she had excellent experience in her field and a lot to offer. We worked together, going through each section, trying to condense all of her information.

That took some time because Edith had to explain her previous experiences and what certain things meant in her field. It was so interesting to hear about her experiences with different organizations and the women she worked with. Some of the stories she told me were very hard to grasp but it only made me admire Edith and what she does more.

As Edith said, “My passion is helping people and helping women to have greater self-esteem.” She initially told me about her idea and what she wanted to do, but then added on to that with many different aspects that go along with her business plan. She has been a case manager with the homeless shelters in Washington, DC for many years and has grown to love what she does.

Her passion has taken her towards starting her own shelter, called “Symbas Place.” “Symbas” is the acronym for “serving your mind, body and spirit.” Edith hopes to use her experiences in human services to teach homeless women the steps they need to take in order to prepare them for job interviews and entering back into the workforce. Edith’s business would provide a variety of opportunities for women who need shelter, mentoring and professional coaching in order to succeed.

It is obvious, after spending little time with Edith how much she wants to make a difference and help the women around her to become independent, educated and successful. I hope Edith stays strong with enthusiasm and continues with her passion of helping to empower women currently living in homeless shelters throughout DC.

I had a great start to the Marketing Boot Camp and to continue, I had the delight of working with Carole in the afternoon and she was wonderful. Carole was a very determined and kind person to work with. We started our session off by learning more about each other and her goals she wanted to reach. Once again, I wish we would have had more time together.

Carole is looking towards expanding her current organization, The Global Development Network/iEd., into a registered non-profit. Carole explained to me that the Global Development Network/iEd is a network of international organizations and experts that provide international/ domestic development activities linked to school and university settings. Schools become the community hub for education, communication, and economic activity. Her goal is to strengthen academics and academic leadership, bolster entrepreneurship, prepare students for the global workplace, create sustainable schools, and increase tolerance.

We spent a lot of time going over Global Development Network/iEd. It took me awhile to fully understand what the organization was about and what Carole was trying to accomplish, but it is obvious that she knew what she wanted to do. She has everything figured out, but now it is time for her to make the big transition into a registered nonprofit. She also asked my opinion on her accomplished website. She thought it would be a good idea for me to read things and go through it because I am unfamiliar with the organization. We also briefly discussed her resume and what she included to showcase her skills.

Carole completely impressed me with all her ideas and past accomplishments. She seemed like the perfect person to start an organization like Global Development Network/iEd. She has already personally approached schools to help them develop virtually cultural exchanges with other schools. I feel like she is almost there with the success she has already had with the schools on board with Global Development Network/iEd. Now she needs to get the word out to people and other organizations that can help Carole complete her goal and bring her the success she deserves.

With her past experience, working with organizations like Global Development Network/iEd, she has the background and knowledge to know what is needed in order to be successful. I have faith that Carole is going to thrive in with her organization. She has all the skills to create her own business and be successful at it.

My name is Alexi. I am currently a junior at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. I am majoring in public relations with a minor in art. I am pursuing a career in event planning and I am interested in the non-profit sector. This semester I have been interning with The Department of the Treasury in the Civil Rights and Diversity doing special emphasis programs. My title is the Special Events Intern and during my time here I have gained experience in many different aspects relevant to planning events. In my free time I like being outdoors and practicing healthy living activities. I thoroughly enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends.