Archive | November, 2012

Meet Kamila!

29 Nov

Kamila Barbour, founder of Barbour House Publications believes that her life and work are a culmination of her experiences as a woman, a visionary and a creative mind. She loves using her talents to formulate artistic, practical and effective means of visual communication in print and she appreciates designers who incorporate classic visual communication techniques with the latest trends in design. After more than 12 years of seeing herself as a publisher, she finally created Barbour House Publications to be a portal through which artist, writers, designers and educators promote their written work and establish the latest trends in Islamic Arts.

Kamila was inspired to start Barbour House after years of poorly illustrated and designed books in the Islamic market filled shelves. She always felt that she could improve the presentation of some very good pieces of work that were unfortunately disabled by poor design.

“Because I found myself a single mother years after giving up a career, I needed to move into the next phase of my life with a well thought out plan leaving no time wasted while getting the most return,” said Kamila, “I joined EWI after months of watching and seeing the results of other entrepreneurs that graduated from their program. I decided that EWI could also help me lay out a clear plan of action after years of trying to figure it out on my own.”

So far, she has set her dream into motion with the help of a wonderful sisterhood of like minded visionaries.

The sense of Empowerment that she has gained in the last few months is even visible in her own daughters. They have come up with so many ideas of their own and she fully expects that they can achieve anything they imagine.

Kamila prays that in time Barbour House Publications becomes the beckon for showcasing the trailblazers and educators for Islamic arts in America and across the globe and we are certain that it will be!

  Charlia Acree
Rockville ETS Intern

Meet Winter!

28 Nov

Winter is an artist who’s background is originally in fashion designing, a survivor, and a woman who possesses many talents. Winter’s current passion lies within creating allergy sensitive and nutritious sweets and desserts that are accessible to consumers of any age or location.

Winter has been waiting for the right time and setting to launch her “date butter” product. She understands the difficulties that those with food sensitivities face when going out to eat, and she finally wanted to create a product that could please anyone’s sweet tooth, while at the same time retaining nutritious and beneficial qualities.

The EWI program was first introduced to Winter by a successful graduate who heard her story and saw her potential. Winter had explained to her the skills she possessed and her future goals, and the EWI graduate encouraged Winter to apply herself by joining the program.

Winter’s favorite moment in the program thus far was during the meet and greet session where she was able to hear alumni and mentors speak about their experiences, and also their words of encouragement, self-confidence, and reassurance. This is where Winter heard a mantra that she continues to repeat to herself, “I believe in me, I BELIEVE in me, I believe in ME.”

“What I enjoy most about my business is the look of joy and surprise when people taste my foods, and knowing that they are consuming foods that are not only good for them but taste good as well.”

Winter believes she has gained the determination, skills, and confidence that she needs to be a successful entrepreneur. Her goal for the future is to have a full line of organic sweetened desserts accessible in national and local health food and grocery stores.

Graduate Feature: Upcycling with Sandra

20 Nov

Artistic expression has always been key to Sandra’s identity.  Coming from a long line of strong women, dating back to 1861 in Washington D.C.; Sandra attributes nature as her introduction to art.  “Watching and appreciating the different ways that nature reveals itself.”

As she progressed through life, Sandra found beauty in all things.  Reminiscing upon her time as a lab technician at the National Zoo, she recalls the beautifully dynamic colors and shapes of living tissues, as she viewed them through electron microscopes.  She now maintains the perspective that “everything within the universe is art.”   This perspective is clear in her unique style of upcycle artistry, where she “view[s] the world and life in its many forms… and the universe [as] a vehicle for inspiration.”

Within the past 10 years, Sandra has refined her artistic ambition.  She now focuses mainly with textiles, metals, found objects, clay, brass, copper, paper, and thread; creating designs in a recycled, “up-cycle” design.  Appropriately, her business name is From Scraps to Treasures.

“My products are created from discarded items.  From Scraps to Treasures has a three part mission; one is to inform, inspire, and to implement the process of reuse, repurposing, and up cycling as a way of living; the second part of the company’s mission is to reintroduce the importance of making quality handmade items , thus creating a sense for pride for items made in America by individuals and families; and the third portion of the company’s mission involves  introducing hand sewing and the process of making handmade items, through creative individual instructional kits.”

Much like many other ETS students, Sandra joined EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success class “to gain an understanding of how to start and organize a business”.  She has truly excelled in the class, and would receive the “Ms Congeniality” award, if we offered one.

“I am still amazed at the quality and the expertise the program provides.  Everyone involved with EWI has a unique exceptional gift and a passion to share.”

As graduation is just around the corner, we asked Sandra to reflect on what resonates most from her training….

“Always strive for the best, stay focused, keep a plan, network, produce quality, and never give up.”

Sandra, we wish you the best.

– Jeremy Brandt-Vorel
Media and Outreach Intern

Graduate Feature: Cake Artists Lyzbeth and Elda

19 Nov

Lyzbeth and Elda met through their daughters, who are both in pre-school. Soon, they became good friends and realized that they both shared the same passions—love for their children and love for celebrations. Both women are self-taught bakers and their company, “D’Ellizia” was founded after many friends urged them to enter competitions, create a business, and seek out wider opportunities to market their spectacular talent. Together, they work to make “dreams out of cakes.” What they love about their business is that it is a fun and unique job and there is never a day that is the same because no cake is alike. They see every cake as a new challenge and every time they come back triumphant!

A Peruvian native, Lyzbeth moved to Arlington 10 years ago, and when she had her first daughter, she knew she wanted to keep the same traditions alive that she grew up celebrating in Peru—particularly when it came to celebration. Coming from a Mexican family, Elda has been surrounded by celebration her whole life, and has always to share with others the wonderful parties she makes for her four children filled with spectacular centerpieces such as piñatas and cakes. Both women knew they had a remarkable talent and made a great team, but were not reaching maximum potential when it came to marketing and sales. That is the moment when Elda and Lyzbeth turned to EWI and began working to make their visions a successful business reality. They have received expert advice on pricing techniques, budgeting, and legal aspects—all of which have contributed to their concrete and modified business plan.  According to Lyzbeth, “I feel that this training helps you not only to grow at a business level but to believe in yourself and boost your confidence so much that you feel you could do anything.”

Have You Reserved Your Tickets Yet?!

15 Nov


Join us to celebrate 10 years of innovation and social change, and invest in the next decade of women entrepreneurs.

December 1, 5-8pm
Rock Creek Mansion, Bethesda MD


Event Program

Keynote Speaker
Congresswoman Connie Morella

Former U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-Md.) was the first female member of the Maryland General Assembly to be elected to the U.S. Congress, where she represented Maryland’s 8th District from 1987 to 2003. During her 16 years in the House of Representatives, Morella was known as one of the few remaining moderate Republicans and developed a reputation as an advocate for women, children and families.

Inspiring Women Innovators

Velma Crawford, an EWI graduate entrepreneur sharing her passion and inspiration for making one of a kind aprons.

Ingenious Art from Salvaged Materials

Alison Sigethy’s Striking Sea Core Bublle Tubes will be on display during the event.

Art and Culinary Demonstrations

Artful Desserts by EWI Entrepreneurs Elda and Lyzbeth

Sit-down Buffet Dinner and Cash Bar

Enjoy a Wonderful Selection of Culinary Dishes from Around the World

Aida May, a gourmet chef and EWI graduate, will be presenting dishes from Egyptian Cuisine.

Silent and Live Auction

A fine selection of auction items including:

Weekend Vacation in an Idyllic American Town
Spa Gift Certificates
Gourmet Gift Baskets
Original Paintings and Quilts
Exclusive 10th Anniversary Jewelry
Silk Art Scarves & Aprons
In-home Wine Tasting
Tickets to Musical Perfomances
and much more…

Live Music with “Hurricane” Howie and the spirited band Rita Clarke and the Naturals

Special guests to include

Flory Jagoda, Jewish-American and Bosnian guitarist, composer, and singer; a lifelong supporter of EWI.

Andy Shallal, Washington’s most successful entrepreneur-artist-activist and the owner of Busboys and Poets.

Diana Katz and Joane Kasprovicz, fouders of the Giving Circle of Hope

Tickets are tax-deductible and available online, by phone or check:
Phone: (571) 312-4781
Check: 320 S. Henry St.
Alexandria VA 22314

Get Yours HERE

10 Years Ago in Photos

9 Nov

A lot has happened in the past 10 years.   But through the tumult, Empowered Women International has grown.  What was once just a dream in young Marga Fripp’s head, is now a fully functioning, international organization.

In honor of our 10 year milestone, here are a few photos of our staff, so that we may reflect on how far we’ve come…

(and If you haven’t already, RSVP to our 10 year anniversary gala HERE)

President & Executive Director, Marga, now

Marga, then

Program Manager Mary, Now

Mary, then

Outreach Coordinator, Perri, now

Perri, then (on the right)

Perri, and the origin of her hipster influence (bottom left)

Development Associate, Alexandra, now

Alexandra, then

Alexandra, then

ETS Rockville Intern, Charlia, now

Charlia, then

Charlia, then

Media and Outreach Intern, Jeremy, now

Jeremy, then

Jeremy, then

Development Intern, Melinda, now

Melinda, then

Melinda, then

Video and Film Intern, Sam, now

Sam, then (bottom right)

ETS Alexandria Intern, Mina, now

Mina, then

Mina, then

Till the 20 year anniversary!

Sunday Plans?

8 Nov

Sunday looks to be a lovely day, a beautiful 70 degree day in our nation’s capitol.  And with the Washington Redskins on bye week, there really is no excuse to be sitting at home all day.

I just wish there was something fun to do…. Something the whole family could enjoy…. Something interesting, interactive, and intellectually stimulating…


I just remembered…

This Sunday, Sushmita Muzumdar will be holding her first solo show and workshop featuring her lovely artisan-handmade-books, Chai, Stories, & Art!  A place where one can appreciate intricate art, the beauty of old-fashioned story-telling, and walk away with something one created all on their own.

Either way, I know where I’ll be this Sunday from 2-4 pm…

Popcorn Gallery at Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Boulevard
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Care to join? We’d love to see ya! So please let us know if you’re coming with an RSVP HERE

Sushmita received her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Arts from Bombay University in India and then worked as an art director in the advertising industry in Mumbai! She volunteers as a docent with the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries of Art in Washington DC where she was trained in Asian art history. She is a graduate of EWI’s Training for Success program and lives in Arlington with her son, daughter, and husband. For more about her interesting life, view her website at Handmade Storybooks.

EWI at the Ladies Philoptochos Society of Saint George BAZAAR

7 Nov

Come one, come all!

This Saturday, November 10th, the Ladies Philoptochos Society of Saint George will be hosting a Bazaar of holiday arts, crafts, and more. Including…

  • Holiday decorations
  • Handmade artistry items
  • An assortment of jewelry
  • A variety of specialty crafts
  • Home accessories, collectibles, books and more.
  • And Greek delicacies

More importantly, EWI will have a table, featuring art from our own: Azeb, Velma (About Velma), and Mariam (about Mariam)!

The Bazaar will be from 9am-5pm at
the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George
7701 Bradley Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817
(301) 469-7990

“The Ladies Philoptochos Society is the charitable heart of the Greek Orthodox Church.”

Admission is $2.00

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Our Military Kids (

EWI in the Community: Speaking at the New Neighbors ESL classes

7 Nov

Today we were given the opportunity to speak with the charming students of the New Neighbors ESL classes, at Christ Church in Old Town.  It was a great chance for us to extend our services to some of the newest immigrants in Alexandria.

At 10:30 sharp, Perri, Mina, and I began with a dazzling presentation; extolling the virtues of our wonderful organization.  With strong diction and poise, Perri delivered a knockout punch of a speech, that left the students on the edge of their seats.

Our table was soon swarmed with beaming eyes and bright minds; and in a flash, our pamphlets were gone!   It was great to see so much ambition, even through the barrier of language.

All in all, we felt our presence was very well received.  Hopefully we will see many of their faces in the coming ETS classes. Special thanks to Susanne O’Neill for arranging the event. For more information about New Neighbors ESL classes, see their website at

Till our next adventure…

– Jeremy Brandt-Vorel
Media and Outreach Intern

Steel Magnolias Review

6 Nov

A Touching Story with an Empowering Message, Group Therapy’s Production of Steel Magnolias was a Hit! This adaptation of Robert Harling’s original 1987 stage-play featured an all-female cast to portray the six heroines living in a small Louisiana town.  Centered onTruvy’s Beauty Spot, these women gathered regularly to share their triumphs, tragedies and celebrate love and family. With no scene changes and the absence of male characters, these empowered women shined bright as their individual stories unfolded in the Mecca of femininity, the hair salon. As I intently watched the play, I also noticed that the audience laughed and cried, clearly as moved by these sincere portraits of strength and compassion as I.

“I was incredibly impressed by the performance; it was both a treat and a pleasure to attend opening night!” EWI Nonprofit Development Intern, Melinda Allen said of the production.

The show shared many memorable messages. A quote that stood out to me came from Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie when she exclaimed, “I’d rather have 30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special!” Lucky for us, we had 90 minutes of something spectacular!

Hosted in Alexandria’s Convergence Sanctuary, which formerly housed the EWI office, this weekend-long enactment donated all proceeds to EWI and contributed to fundraising efforts  for our upcoming 10 Year Anniversary Benefit.

– Charlia Acree
Rockville ETS Intern