Archive | September, 2012

Lunchbreak at EWI!

28 Sep

Charlia and Jeremy chow down on some chicken wings at Virtue Feed and Grain

Charlia eating some ribs from Bittersweet

Melinda with some Fish and Chips

Mina enjoying some gelato from Killer ESP

Charlia eating a balloon

Latte and Pulled Pork BBQ pie from Killer ESP


Perri enjoying her beverage at Killer ESP


Mina got a little carried away with her red-velvet-cake-gelato…


PARTY with EWI at the 10th Anniversary Event!

28 Sep

EWI recently put together a team of mathematicians, and after days of calculations, we are able to verify: Empowered Women International will be turning 10!

That’s right, a whole decade EWI has been around.  And in honor of this momentous milestone, we will be partying…

Saturday, December 1st from 5-8 pm at the Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda, MD.

This is more than just a 10 year anniversary, this is an opportunity to recognize all the wonderful things that EWI has done, and to toast to the next 10 years.

We expect 200 supporters and benefactors to attend.  Our guest speaker will be Congresswoman Connie Morella, who will help transition us into an evening of music, dancing, auctions, and delicious food from around the world.

The  event will showcase EWI’s own changemakers and their micro-enterprises, and will feature live music, culinary demonstrations, and art by graduates of the EWI entrepreneurial program.

The spirited band Rita Clark and the Naturals will be joining us with a live performance of jazz, blues, zydeco, funk, rock and cajun. The band is the capital area’s go-to band for first-class Louisiana-style, ultra-danceable rhythm & blues.

Tickets  are on sale at $75/person until Nov 1, 2012 and include a sit down  dinner of international culinary delights, live music and an inspiring evening of art, creativity and women’s stories.

Tickets are available, and will increase to $100/person after November 1.

Make a tax-deductible donation, to help us empower more women.

Become a sponsor, and be part of this exciting event. Marketing opportunities are available to promote your company!

Our goal is to raise $75,000 by December 1st for our new program “Grow My Business”

Grow My Business will be a 9 month extension of our Entrepreneur Training for Success program.  It will help ETS graduates and other women entrepreneurs to build solid business plans and access capital.  Please contribute.

We  hope you will join with us to celebrate a decade of powerful work in  helping newcomers make America their home, creating jobs through entrepreneurship, and carving new pathways to self-sufficiency for  women.

Thanks for all you do to support our work!

10th Anniversary Special Guests:
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek
Rita Clark and The Naturals Band

Benefit Donors & Sponsors:
Amina H. Shafi, Brian Hartman, Dianne Lorenz, Eileen Kessler, Joanna K. Lyckberg, Larry E. Paul, Melissa Reitkopp, Mimi Hassanein, Risa Bender, Synthia Woodcock-Dang, CariBeat, Awards Limousine Service, Inc.

Student Spotlight: Elda and Lyzbeth

26 Sep

Imagine a world in which baked goods are currency… Where, instead of bank vaults, there are bank ovens… Wallets are discarded to be replaced by tupperware… In this world, Elda and Lyzbeth are queens; the richest women in the world…

But until this dream of mine comes to fruition, these two ETS students will have to make due with their wonderful smiles, and delicious cake pops.


The story of Elda and Lyzbeth’s baked goods begins in Latin America…

Lyzbeth grew up in Peru, and attributes her culinary skills to her mother.  She recalls the parties her mother would prepare, with sandwiches, appetizers, drinks, desserts, candy, cake and much more. Similarly, Elda remembers her childhood in Mexico, where her mother would take the reins and put out lovely displays for each party.

Upon coming to the United States, the women settled down and started families of their own.  Soon, they were assigned the task of birthday duty for their own sons and daughters.  The two recall having to buy different cakes for different children, and often feeling the homogenous selection of cakes was just sub-par.  Elda and Lyzbeth became disappointed in American culture,  noticing a lack of birthday-party preparations, and citing mothers as being “too busy” to properly furnish each event.

Elda LARUE family photo Lyzbeth Monard family photo

Then the idea occurred to them, why dont we cater birthdays.  Why dont we provide a service that is too often overlooked in this bustling American society.  So, Elda and Lyzbeth began practicing, researching, and creating beautiful cakes and baked goods for their friends and family.  The two felt a “magic” in each cake, and would celebrate after each beautiful accomplishment.  Soon enough, the culinary duo were comfortable enough to act upon the suggestions of their loved ones, and begin a business of their own.

Lucky for them, Lyzbeth had a friend in the ETS program at EWI.  They saw her business grow with the help of EWI, and aspired to find the same success.  Through the ETS class, Elda and Lyzbeth hope to be able gain a better understanding of the market and how to sell.

Elda Larue & Lyzbeth Monard /Cakes

“…Every time we did a cake and delivered a product, it [was] so much fun to see their faces, the reaction in people, it is really like, ‘hey we did something good’, and it makes us feel good inside, and if we can achieve that every single time and go bigger, I think that would be wonderful – it helps us inside, helps us monetarily, it’s like the whole package”.

Here at EWI, we know these two women CAN and WILL succeed. We are so excited to have them in our ETS class, and we look forward to watching them grow and prosper.

Best of luck, Elda and Lyzbeth!

-Jeremy Brandt-Vorel
Media and Outreach Intern

Alexandria ETS Update

19 Sep

 Although it is only our second class, there is a very strong bond stirring among the students and mentors, and it’s really delightful to watch unfold. During every session, I learn so much about starting a business, artwork, self-mentoring, and other people!

This week, I had the privilege to see all of our students’ vision boards, which they created and then shared with the class, describing their goals and how they plan on achieving them. During each person’s presentation, other students eagerly shared their advice and thoughts on each others’ visions. Some students even brought in their own products.

Dinelles showcased her beautiful towel cakes; a creative way to present linen gifts.

Amoy brought in her lovely jewelry.

Elda and Lizbeth brought in a tasty cake pop treat, that was shaped like little chicks, which they claimed represented the students as they begin their journey towards successful entrepreneurship.  At first, I didn’t want to eat my cake pop because it was too pretty to never see again. However, I’m very happy I changed my mind and decided to try it, because it was absolutely delicious.

Towards the end of class, we discussed marketing strategies and how to calculate pricing products. I learned about all the different factors that have to be taken into account, such as time spent, materials, transportation, intellectual contribution, etc. One of our mentors, Amina gave a very inspiring thought, when she claimed that self-satisfaction is not a prerequisite for getting a business started, and that we can work on ourselves as we are working on our businesses. Sometimes, we even find ourselves along the way. I totally agree with Amina’s statement and cannot wait for next week’s class!

– Mina Alemzadeh
Entrepreneur Training for Success Intern (Alexandria)

Sandra’s Art Selected in Durant Center Exhibit

19 Sep

Congratulations to Sandra!

Sandra, an ETS student and recent EWI scholarship recipient, has had 2 pieces selected to be presented in the Young at Art exhibit in the Durant Art center of Alexandria.

Sandra comes from a family of very strong women dating back to 1861, in Washington DC. Her introduction to art has been through nature, by watching and appreciating the different ways that nature reveals itself artistically. Her multi-media talents are in metal-smithing, enameling, fabric art, beading and papermaking, to name a few.

Unable to pass up something discarded that could have another life, she’s been picking up things for years, thinking of how she can use it and make a difference. It all comes together in her gorgeous creations of reclaimed, up-cycled, and recycled dolls and hand bags. These are truly object of art, and objects that she uses to spread the word about the life-cycle of materials and the importance of re-using items. “This should not be a fad, but the norm for the average person and available to anyone,” she insists.

To hear more from Sandra and see her lovely pieces, please join us for the Young at Art exhibit opening reception this

Thursday September 20th, from 5pm-7pm
at the Durant Art Center
1605 Cameron st
Alexandria, VA 22314


Sandra's dolls, jewelry, & bags

Sandra's dolls, jewelry, & bags

EWI at Ten Thousand Villages Event, Saturday September 22

18 Sep

Join us

for an evening celebrating women artisans in Alexandria and around the world.

A percentage of sales will benefit Empowered Women International.

Recent EWI grads will be present to share their stories.

Come shop, learn, and mingle with a purpose…

Saturday, September 22

7-10 pm

Ten Thousand Villages

915 King St

Alexandria, VA 22314


Please RSVP to a Ten Thousand Villages staff or volunteer, call 703-684-1435.

Or email

See you there!

2 ETS Grads, Sarah & Nadia, Featured artwork TONIGHT at Busboys & Poets, Washington DC

18 Sep

TONIGHT, come see ETS graduates Sarah Jawaid and Nadia Janjua, as they open their exhibit “Humanity and Nature Divided”, a contemplative look our relationship with nature.

These two artists will be presenting their mixed media pieces, as well as answering questions, tonight from 6-8 pm.

Come out and see some truly talented young women at:

Busboys & Poets
1025 5th st NW
Washington, DC

see below for more details…

Nadia Janjua

Nadia is a practicing architect and professional artist based in the Washington DC area, working under the business name NJARTitecture.  Born to Kashmiri-Pakistani parents, Nadia grew up in the forested mountain of Western Maryland with her three siblings, strongly influenced by the solitudeand beauty of her natural surroundings.  She started drawing before she could write, and started painting with oils as an adolescent.  Over the past fifteen years,she has explored different paint mediums, photography, graphic design, ceramics, and printmaking; eventually spending the majority of her time nurturing her painting ability.

See more of Nadia’s work on her website

Sarah Jawaid

Sarah was born in Southern California and transplanted to Washington, D.C. a few years ago. She received a B.S. from the University of Southern California in Public Policy and an MA in Urban Planning from the University of California, Irvine.  As an urban planner Sarah finds herself constantly thinking about how spaces affect people and the environment, and this motivated her to begin exploring through art.  Most of her exploration involves paint on canvas. Each one of Sarah’s works is truly an extension of herself and a glimpse into her internal world. It is the external spaces and the spaces within herself that move her to action.

See more of Sarah’s work on her website

EWI welcomes Jeremy!

14 Sep

Jeremy Brandt-Vorel, Social Media and Community Outreach Intern

As our organization grows, so too does our staff.  That’s why all this week we will be highlighting a new member of our team.  Today, we would like to welcome our new Intern of Social Media and Community Outreach, Jeremy Brandt-Vorel.

Jeremy is serving as the Social Media and Outreach intern for Fall 2012.  Jeremy is a recent graduate from Christopher Newport University with a B.A. in Communications, as well as minors in Studio Art and Spanish.  Having close family ties overseas, and frequent opportunities to travel abroad; an organization that serves an international cliental is of particular interest to Jeremy.  He hopes to be able to more fully appreciate the tribulations of his own immigrant relatives, as he helps refugees and immigrants in his local community.  With academic concentrations in Communications and Art, Jeremy hopes to be an integral part of the EWI team. Outside of the office, Jeremy enjoys boardsports, fishing, and film.

As the Social Media and Outreach Intern, Jeremy will work hand in hand with the EWI team to better promote the organization through online media.  Jeremy hopes to help create a greater online presence, so that more people in the community can benefit from the work of EWI.

EWI welcomes Charlia!

13 Sep

Charlia Acree, Entrepreneur Training for Success Intern (Rockville)

As our organization grows, so too does our staff.  That’s why all this week we will be highlighting a new member of our team.  Today, we would like to welcome our new Intern of Entrepreneur Training for Success, Charlia Acree.

Charlia Acree is the Entrepreneur Training for Success Intern (Rockville) for Fall 2012. She is a recent graduate from University of Maryland College Park. She majored in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. During her undergraduate career, she co-founded two student organizations, the Black Communication Society and the Black Psychology Association, both aiming to assist underrepresented students connect to their respective departments and provide them with resources and tools for academic and professional development. Charlia has worked for Estee Lauder and PANDORA Jewelry, both of which contributed to her helping women look and feel beautiful. She is passionate about supporting women and encouraging their goals and dreams. Charlia brings her Public Relations training and experience with marketing, branding, strategic planning and sales to Empowered Women International.

As the ETS Intern for the Rockville class, Charlia will work closely with the trainer to coordinate classes, activities, and assignments. She will build and maintain strong relationships with the students and mentors and ensure that the semester runs smoothly for everyone.

EWI welcomes Melinda!

12 Sep

Melinda Allen, Non-Profit Development Intern

As our organization grows, so too does our staff.  That’s why all this week we will be highlighting a new member of our team.  Today, we would like to welcome our new Intern of Non-Profit Development, Melinda Allen.

Melinda Allen is a graduate from University of Mary Washington where she received a BA in Art History with a focus in the contemporary arts.  While attending UMW she was involved in many campus activities, including Student Leadership Program, Orientation Leader, and Art History Major Representative.  She also has first-hand experience with a variety of artists as she has both interned and worked at galleries, including C24 Gallery located in the artistic hub of Chelsea in New York City.  Melinda is excited to learn more about the non-profit sector for the arts as well as the opportunity to aid impoverished women.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling.

As the Non-profit Development Intern, Melinda will assist with research, fundraising, and proposal writing while working alongside the EWI team to help build the organization.  Melinda is particularly excited to be a part of the 10th Year Anniversary of EWI that marks not only how EWI has come in just a decade, but recognizes all of the graduates of EWI.