The Journey is Often a Zigzag Line: Marga’s 2012 Commencement Speech

8 Oct

June 23rd, 2012, our president Marga Fripp gave a wonderful commencement speech to our 2012 graduating class.  Luckily, we’ve acquired a copy of that speech!  So please let these wise words of inspiration be a source of strength as we enter into this Fall 2012 season.  And as we near the 10 year anniversary event, may we reflect upon just how much EWI has accomplished in its decade of existence…

“It’s not the destination that matters, but the journey of learning and self-discovery you took to be where you are today.

You’ve come a long way, Empowered Women Class of 2012. You’ve traveled from faraway places – where there were no roads carved for transporting your dreams.  Many of you had to build the road yourself working long hours and often sacrificing days, nights, and time with the loved ones.  The journey of building your own dreams and claiming your freedom is never linear. It’s often a zigzag line.

The pursuit of happiness–a fundamental right we all have in this country– does not come with a remote control where you push a button and it activates your happiness. It’s something you can earn by building yourself, day by day.

I’ve learned through my own pursuit of happiness that nothing is impossible when determination, passion, and creativity meet. The alchemy of these qualities allows people to thrive and empowers them to finally give themselves permission to be creative, to be happy, to make a living doing what they love, and to be fulfilled.  And once you are happy and fulfilled, the world becomes a better place for you, for your family, and for the whole community.

So here is what I hope you will do:

Dream big.

 Don’t be afraid to imagine a world in which you and your children live a fulfilling life. Dreaming at any age gives you a sense of youth and possibility. Inside our souls we’re all dreamers – creatures filled with endless energy, wisdom, and potential.


Always stand up for what’s right! Learn to stand up and speak up for justice, for human rights, for jobs, for women, for peace and opportunity. If there is no law – you must draft one. If the law is broken – you must fix it. If the law has been forgotten – you must bring it back to life. You see, as a leader, you can’t rest. Your cause is your life!

 Be grateful.

Be grateful and always thank all those who are part of your journey and success. Don’t forget that we are not alone; that our successes are made up of millions of small encounters with people who are helping and shaping our ideas and ideal.

Give back to those in need.

Go beyond the here and now of your life. Identify a real need in your community or in the world and do something about it. You will inspire everyone you know to join you and change the world.

Go the distance!

Life is a marathon, not a race! Prepare yourself to train, compete, collaborate, fail, sacrifice, persevere, endure, complete, and excel. Above all, prepare to rise again every time you fail. Without failure there is no learning; without learning there is no growth; without growth we’re empty shells. Prepare to run the marathon of your lifetime!”


See more photos from the 2012 commencement exercises at

View our Flickr album here


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