Archive | October, 2013

A Sneak Peek at Who’s Who at the Holiday Gift Marketplace

31 Oct

Look who will be at EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

The marketplace is a unique shopping experience for holiday gifts and  a crowd-sourcing platform for engaging customers in providing ideas, connections and services that support local businesses.

Sunday, November 24th 
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)

Suzanne Morgan- Native Spirit



Meet Suzanne, a Native American artist that has been making unique jewelry and leatherwork for most of her adult life. She developed her technique and passion for leatherwork by a Cheyenne craftswoman in Oklahoma and learned her bead working skills from Indian elders.

Image Suzanne established her business called Native Spirit in 1991.  Lets help Suzanne reach her goals of expanding her work force so that she can attend more events and sell more of her products. Do you know a shop that will to sell locally made jewelry? Can you help Suzanne expand her business? Then come to EWI’s First AnnualMarketplace event and help contribute to Suzanne’s dream!

Velma Crawford – Veez Ties That Bind

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Velma’s work modeled by EWI staff.

Empowered Women

Velma Crawford

After learning how to quilt from her grandmother, Velma was able to master the art at a very young age. Year later during her graduate studies, Velma taught a class named “The Art of Basic Apron Making.” After teaching the class she received several orders from students and friends for her aprons. . Inspired by the love and strength of her grandmother she launched her own apron business. In order to grow her business Velma is looking to find stores in which she can market her dress to grow her clientele. She is also looking for help in order to update her website. Could you be the designer boutique she’s been looking for? Are you a website wiz? Then come to EWI’s 1st Annual Marketplace and indulge in fashion while making a change.

                                                                           Nadia Janjua- Nadia J Art 

Empowered Women

Nadia Janjua

Inspired by her spiritual and emotional connection to faith, Nadia’s passion is to beautify the world with her hands. With Bachelors in Fine Arts and a Master of Architecture Degree, Nadia decided to start her own business, Nadia J Art, in which she creates art in fulfill her passion. In order to expand her business Nadia is looking to manufacture, outsource, and develop partnerships for distribution. Do you know a possible retailer? Manufacturing company? Come to EWI’s 1st Marketplace event and help Nadia’s business while buying beautiful works of art for your home.

Nadia's phone case designs.

Nadia’s phone case designs.

Free Admission

Let us know you’ll be there and RSVP NOW!

Written by Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern.

She Did It! Charlene Tells Her Story of the Marine Corps Marathon

30 Oct
This past Sunday, October 27th was the BIG DAY. Charlene Gatewood, our very own and very dedicated ETS mentor, ran the 38th Annual Marine Corps Marathon to support the professional and educational goals of women with her fundraising campaign, Charlene’s Race to Empower Women. We are so proud of her and enormously grateful! In her own words, she shares her story of that day:
Dear Friends and Family,
Well, it’s over and this is my last email on the subject, so forgive me if it’s a bit long.  Yesterday started off very cold.  When I picked up my race packet at the Expo, I received the official marathon shirt, a long sleeved gray shirt with lots of emblems and the MCM logo commemorating the occasion.  I layered that shirt under my light-weight jacket to ensure that I stayed warm.  I had gloves and wore some panty hose under my yoga pants.  My fanny pack was loaded with paper towels for my runny nose and Clif Mocha Gel Shots for energy – I was ready.
We got to the Crystal City parking garage about 6:50 am and the line of runners and their families waiting for the shuttle buses was already down the sidewalk and wrapped around the circumference of the garage.  We parked and got in line.  The buses were taking runners first and when enough family members were gathered, they would get on a separate bus.  Walter was 2 buses behind me.
When we got to the Pentagon parking lot, I immediately started walking toward the starting line.  As I walked, I saw 4 parachutes floating down – 2 with humans and 2 with the U.S. flag.  It was quite a sight to see the flag unfurled and blowing in the wind and floating down to earth.
There were so many people and many of them were skimpily dressed, some with plastic bags over them to keep them warm.  I was very comfortable. There was music blaring and camera panning the crowd. The gun went off for the wheelchair racers and a few minutes later for the runners.  It took over 3 minutes for me to cross the start line.  As we ran up Lee Highway, I took off my gloves.  I could see that runners were discarding clothes in the street, but I was determined not to leave anything I brought with me.  Just as we were climbing the hill toward Spout Run, I realized I had on too much.  I tried to unzip my jacket, but the zipper got stuck and wouldn’t move no matter how hard I tried.  I was less than 3 miles in and knew that I couldn’t run the whole race that way.  So, I stopped, pulled the jacket over my head and pulled the shirt over my head.  At that point I’m standing in the street with only my sports bra, but I really didn’t care.  I put the jacket back on and tied my MCM shirt around my waist and ran the hill.
The spectators had some very interesting signs.  Most stated that we were “running better than Congress” but my favorites said that “this was the worst parade ever”!
The course turned right at West Potomac Park.  By mile 12 I felt my bladder would burst, but every porta-john I passed had long lines and I couldn’t waste time or slow my momentum.  As I entered the West Potomac Park, I saw a large tree with branches and leaves all the way to the ground. I ran over, went into the seclusion of the leaves and came out relieved. The shoulder of West Potomac Park was lined with the photographs of fallen Marines who died between 2011 and 2013. It was very sobering and sad.
I continued running nonstop and got to mile 17 in 3 hours and 30 minutes. I knew that I was doing well.  I walked about half of the next 3 miles but got to mile 20 (on the 14th Street Bridge) at 12:35, still not bad.  I anticipated finishing in another hour and a half.  However, that’s when I decided to stretch – bad idea.  I must have pulled something because when I started to walk I had pain in my right hip.  It was less painful when I ran but I was so tired by then my running was sporadic.
When I finally made it to the finish line, I reacted the same way that I did 11 years ago.  When the young female marine put the medal around my neck I burst into tears.   When I looked up, a woman at the end of the lane took my picture – it was of my ugly cry face, not the pretty one, but I really didn’t care.  It as over, I was done, mission accomplished!
I would like to thank all of you who contributed your financial support to Empowered Women International and those of you who supported me emotionally. God bless you!  A very special thank you to my love, Walter, who singlehandedly raised $2,460 though his Masonic affiliations and my beloved daughter, Saronda, who gave $325. My total is now $3,870, only $130 shy of my goal.
My biggest contributors:
Columbia Commandry Knights Templar $2000 (Walter’s affiliation)
Lafayette Dupont Lodge $460 (Walter’s affiliation)
Saronda Gatewood-Royster $325 (my lovely daughter)
There is still time to give.  Empowered Women International operates 12 months out of the year serving women in need.  Please consider supporting this organization in the future.  You can mail your contribution to Empowered Women International at 320 S Henry Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314.  Don’t wait for my next marathon, because there won’t be one; I’m done! 
By the way, I beat my 2002 time by 3 minutes and 50 seconds!
Love you all and thank you,

Bringing Empowerment to Papua New Guinea

30 Oct

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 12.13.54 PMFor eleven days in early November, Marga Fripp, founder of EWI, will be embarking on an extremely exciting journey to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Women in Papua New Guinea face violence, discrimination, and marginalization constantly. These barriers are hard to overcome due to the lack of opportunities for entrepreneurship, education, and training. Papua New Guinea ranks 156 out of the 186 countries in the United Nations Development Program’s gender inequality index. Women are also face gender based violence, which reinforces their cultures inferior status. Despite the struggles, there are still many women who are overcoming the odds and using their success to help improve these conditions.

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Marga Fripp EWI Founder

 Marga will be going to Papua New Guinea with the US State Department to teach and empower women in these situations through workshops and visits. The trip objectives include:

  • “To foster women’s empowerment by sharing practices for leadership and collaboration.
  • Raise awareness on the importance of including women in the country’s economic development through media interactions and meetings with local decision-makers.
  • Give keynote remarks at the launch of the first ever PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
  • Encourage women entrepreneurs to use innovation and creativity to grow their businesses and find new markets.
  • Motivate university students to become entrepreneurs and explore the endless business opportunities available in PNG during the country’s economic boom.”

When talking about the upcoming trip Marga exclaimed “I hope that in a small way I can contribute all I’ve learned over the past 2 decades about women’s empowerment to inspire and empower change makers in Papua New Guinea. We’re spreading the seeds for change widely, and I hope we see dignity and opportunity blossoming for women at home and around the world.”

We look forward to seeing what amazing things Marga will accomplish in Papua New Guinea and look forward to continued international empowerment!

Shop for the Holidays While Building Dreams

24 Oct

Look who will be at EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

The marketplace is a unique shopping experience for holiday gifts and  a crowd-sourcing platform for engaging customers in providing ideas, connections and services that support local businesses.

Sunday, November 24th
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)

Aida Mady
Cooking and Beyond

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 4.47.49 PMMeet Aida, a baker since childhood who has turned the baking skills learned

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 4.52.02 PMfrom her mother while growing up in Egypt to create Cooking and Beyond. Aida is excited to share her delectable treats, but she needs a little help with effectively launching her business.  Do you know of an affordable commercial kitchen? Are you a social media guru? Could you be a marketing maven?  Then come to EWI’s 1st annual holiday gift marketplace to meet Aida, purchase her goodies and offer your expertise all in the name of empowering women!

Elizabeth Coker
Ma Lizzie’s Cakes and Catering

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 5.22.36 PMElizabeth’s compassion led her to bake with the health of others in mind. Saddened by a child having to Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 5.01.21 PMcelebrate his birthday with a loaf of bread instead of a cake, Elizabeth set in motion Ma Lizzie’s, a catering company that delivers delicious baked gluten free cakes and pastries. Let’s help Elizabeth continue to help others by using your business savvy to partner her with larger companies. She could also use some legal expertise for contracts. A small business real estate pro could assist her in finding a store front.  If you or someone you know could help Elizabeth, then EWI’s 1st annual holiday gift marketplace is the place to indulge your sweet tooth and make a difference in a woman’s life.

Paulette Mpouma
The Africa Memory Game

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 11.34.31 AM Paulette can appreciate Africa’s rich history and she knew that others would too if it was presented to them in a fun, creative way!  Paulette put her love of Africa and her ingenuity to use to create the Africa Memory Game.  Her entrepreneurial spirit has propelled her into the international market, but she could use some help from experienced entrepreneurs to keep the momentum going.   We all know the importance of Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 4.56.46 PMmarketing and distribution of a product.  Or making the right contacts within the media can breathe life into an entrepreneur’s dream.  Better yet, social media is where innovative conversations begin.  Use your entrepreneurial expertise to further Paulette’s business dreams at EWI’s 1st annual holiday gift marketplace.

Free Admission

Let us know you’ll be there and RSVP NOW!

Written by Veronica Hughes, a freelance writer with a passion for global women’s issues and social justice. You can learn more about her over at her blog, Lifestyle and Thoughts

Interview with Reneta Bennett, Pressing Through Mentoring

23 Oct

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 9.59.18 AMReneta Bennett, EWI Spring 2013 graduate, is using her compassion and inspiration from a friend’s  death to encourage youth and young adults alike. Bennett realizes that  songwriting and poetry has the power to encourage, inspire and save lives.  Her own love of poetry coupled with life experiences has given her the  motivation to start Pressing Through Mentoring, a unique business that  caters to the needs of young people. 

 Reneta please tell us a little bit about you?

 I’m a 25 year old mother of a 6 ½ year old girl named Dior, and an  only child from both parents. My day job is a Pharmacy Drug  control and inventory specialist for Walter Reed National Military  Medical Center.  “Sometimes I consider myself as a complex being but I’ve realized I’m just a woman; transitioning into adulthood has become an amazing experience—trial and error, love and balance…I’m grateful for all things God grants within my lifetime.”

Five years ago my best friend passed away in a fatal crash; during her funeral someone recited a few of her poems, and I realized how sad she was throughout her life. A few of my friends write songs, excerpts and poetry…behind their writings are oppressing thoughts and insecurities. I began to realize that spoken word should be introduced as a coping mechanism for the adolescents and young adults. How many lives can we actually save from suicide or dangerous paths if the youth were offered a judge-free zone and outlet?

Pressing Through Mentoring was inspired by the voices hidden between the lines on paper. The program was inspired by [my love of poetry since childhood]. Pursing this business has become a pleasure and a great experience gained through the love of people. Our future generation inspires me to be great and influential. Being able to change a few lives is a motivating force.

 What is Pressing through Mentoring?

Pressing Through Mentoring, established in May 2013, is a program that incorporates spoken word into self-empowerment techniques and community activism [for children and young adults]. The program offers a six week workshop, mentorship, and a finale performance. The target age group is 10-24 year olds.

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How do you measure the success of PTM?

Continuing the dream measures success…

What keeps you going?

Understanding that fulfilling a purpose on Earth that is selfless keeps me going…

What is one of your proudest moments?

Winning 2nd place in a Capital One business pitch contest

What are some of the challenges of pursuing Pressing Through Mentoring?

Obligating time to Pressing Through Mentoring outside of my full-time job…

 Are you seeking volunteers? Interns?

Yes, volunteers and dedicated mentors; must be interested or willing to participate in spoken word activities. If interested, please email me at

How can readers learn more about Pressing Through Mentoring?

Check out my blog:

What are some empowering words that you have for women?

Understand that your worth isn’t measure in value; your worth is a reflection of the love given to oneself. Become the vision bold enough to impress another’s dream…

 What are some of the lessons that entrepreneurship has taught you?

I’ve learned that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t an overnight happening. You must be dedicated and God fearing; faith will carry you through the process. Being patient and allowing others to guide you…

Written by Veronica Hughes, a freelance writer with a passion for global women’s issues and social justice.  Her life’s goal is to leave the world a better place that she found it. She also enjoys covering fashion, food, music and culture. You can learn more about her over at her blog, Lifestyle and Thoughts

Be a Champion and Give to Charlene’s Run. 4 days to go!

23 Oct

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 1.10.52 PM

As the Marine Corps Marathon date of October 27th creeps closer, so does Charlene’s target date to reach her goal of raising $4,000 to help transform the lives and livelihoods of many immigrant and low-income women and their families through EWI’s entrepreneurship programs.

Charlene has raised about $3,000 toward her goal and with 4 days to go you can be a champion in supporting Charlene’s run to empower women!

Click here for Charlene’s fundraising page!

A message from Charlene: 

“On Monday, Columbus Day, I tried for the 3rd time to run from the Belle Haven Marina to Mt. Vernon and back.  My first attempt was on July 4th.  For this run, I wore shoes that I had not been training in thinking they would be better.  They were not.  By the time I got to Mt. Vernon, I could barely walk.  My toes hurt so badly, that on the return, I stopped several times to sit and rest.  Since I was alone, I had no choice but to finish it.  The second time was the Saturday before Labor Day.  My fiancé rode his bike to accompany me because of the ordeal I had on Independence Day.  At mile 4, my calves cramped so badly I could barely walk.  It seemed that these 14.5 miles were beyond my reach. After finishing the 20 miles on October 6, I felt I was ready to conquer Mt. Vernon and on Columbus Day, I did.  I ran the entire 14.5 miles, stopping only once to stretch and drink water.

I am so excited that the government shutdown has been lifted and the MCM is on.  I can’t wait to get out there and am determined to beat my 2002 time of 6:13!”

Want to read more about Charlene’s story? Click  here to read a previous blog post.

Thank you all for your continued support.  Please give generously to Charlene in support of Empowered Women International and enable other women to spread their wings and soar!

We want to thank Charlene so much for her determination to raise the fund in order to support all the women in EWI. She is an inspiration to all of us.

Written by: Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern.

An Inspirational Meet & Greet with New Women Entrepreneurs

21 Oct

Last Wednesday EWI held its Meet & Greet for the new incoming Entrepreneur Training for Success Fall 2013 class! It was the first time all students, interns, trainers, and staff had a chance to come together, get to know each other, and have an orientation of what’s ahead. EWI is so excited to welcome in this inspiring and diverse group of women.

Welcome the Fall 2013 Class – Aspiring & Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs!

Staff, interns, and trainers welcome the Fall 2013 Class – Aspiring & Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs!

There are 26 women from over 10 countries including Guatemala, Cameron, Somalia, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Bolivia, among others. With 26 women come 26 aspiring small businesses including a resume writing, financial services, jewelry, art, photography, child care and learning, Italian ice cream and desserts, hair styling, cleaning, clothing and textiles, and more. It’s a powerful testament to the creative ideas and drive women have all over the world.


New students and entrepreneurs, Sonia & Macha

I asked Brenda Yoboue, Non- Profit Management Intern what her impressions were. “First of all, it was very exciting to finally meet the students. I had previously met one student when she came to interview and it was very nice to see her again. Overall, I thought that the event was very informative. Seeing so many women from different backgrounds show their entrepreneurial side was very inspirational. I will definitely attend some of the ETS classes.”

New students and entrepreneurs, Jessica & Cynthia

New students and entrepreneurs, Jessica & Cynthia

Speaking from my own personal experience, the ETS Meet & Greet really put into perspective what EWI does for the community. In talking with the other interns, meeting so many amazing, strong, and intelligent women reminds us why we were so passionate about joining EWI in the first place. It was somewhat of an emotional experience, that level of inspiration we all felt while listening to the students’ stories. We are all eager to supporting all the women as they let their ideas take flight and launch their micro-enterprises!


EWI is incredibly grateful to all our trainers, mentors, partners and supporters for giving women the opportunity, skills and knowledge they need to launch their business. Our work with women entrepreneurs is possible because of your dedication to women’s empowerment and understanding of the power of entrepreneurship to give greater economic mobility to all women.

A big thank you to Jen Cubas for photographing the event.

Written by: Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern

Coach’s Corner: Putting the Mouse Down for a Change

17 Oct

This week, I’d like to stress what is actually a very traditional, seemingly unsophisticated aspect of marketing: the importance of making direct, personal contact with prospective customers.


Velma Crawford & Lyzbeth Monard practicing the art of networking

Much of the material available on marketing these days emphasizes new, innovative e-marketing techniques. Now, there is no doubt that this approach should certainly be part of your overall strategy. However, call me old-school, but I am a firm believer in the necessity of getting up from the computer and venturing out into the real, rather than virtual world, because that is how the long-term customer relationships that will eventually form 80% of your business must be cemented.

updated networking 2

Kate Campbell Stevenson connecting

As we have discussed previously, as a beginning, independent entrepreneur, what you are really selling is yourself, at least as much as your product or service. Your goal is to make prospective customers feel comfortable with and trust you. This will take a little time, but it will result in the bonds of loyalty that are absolutely essential for your ultimate success. You may prove me wrong, and if so, more power to you — but I don’t think this can be accomplished purely through the click of a mouse.At this point, I can envision those of you who know me thinking: “Sure Howie, your computer skills are in the lowest 1% percentile of western civilization, so of course you think this way.” And you’d be absolutely right! But I’m not advising you to forgo e-marketing, just to supplement it with a healthy dose of shoe leather. I don’t particularly like to discuss my own marketing and networking efforts at this blog, but in this case, I think a few specific examples will help clarify my point:


Morella Ewell networking at an outreach event

1. About two months ago, I read briefly from my upcoming civil rights memoir at an open reading at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. The center’s assistant director, who was running the session, asked me afterward to keep in touch with him. I did, and now I will be invited to present my book to the Writer’s Circle community when it is published.

2. Two weeks ago, I discussed my memoir and displayed civil rights memorabilia at an open house at Studio Pause in Alexandria, hosted by E.W.I.s own Sush Mazumdar. Less than a week later, I was offered several paid writing assignments by a photographer who discussed her work at the same open house.

3. Last weekend, I took a marketing and blogging workshop at the Writer’s Center, where I chatted and exchanged business cards with several other writers taking the class. A few days afterward, one of those students, an administrator at the Baltimore Museum of African-American History, invited me to read from and promote my book there when it is released.

Could I have secured these invaluable marketing and promotional opportunities by e-mail? I don’t think so. Was I just lucky? Perhaps, as I’ve certainly undertaken similar networking efforts which did not yield results. But get out there enough, and good things will come your way. They may not be the ones you most expected, but new horizons will open to you.

updated netwroking 4

Aida Mady networking at a benefit event

I’m no expert at literary marketing — in fact, I’ve just recently started down that path. I’m used to music marketing, which is a whole other world. Accordingly, I try to target events and venues where I figure to enjoy myself and feel comfortable. I’m not likely to attend a convention of science fiction or children’s book authors, because I won’t fit in, which will be obvious to prospective customers. I travel light — just a business card is really all you need to make your first connection. Later on, you can follow-up with more information on yourself and your business, and send out a sample of your work.You may not see yourself as a natural marketer or salesperson — I know I’m certainly not. So, as Jerry “Iceman” Butler used to sing, “Make it easy on yourself.” Bring along a friend for company and moral support, particularly if you tend to be shy among new people. Better yet: let your comrades in the EWI community know when and where you will be reading, exhibiting, cooking, dancing — whatever. We will be there to support you, so keep us informed of your appearances (by now, you may have noticed that I’m not exactly reluctant to let you know of my music and reading schedule!).

Remember: it’s Empowered Women – not Woman — International. We’re all in this together!

Take care,

By Howard Feinstein, Empowered Women International Board Member

Coach’s Corner is a bi-weekly blog for the EWI community, passing along news, events, articles of interest, and tips on growing your business.  We are all on this journey together, and no one — certainly not yours truly — has all the answers.  Accordingly, I hope you will contribute your ideas and experiences to this forum as well, c/o


Mark Your Calendars: EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

16 Oct

Sunday, November 24th
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)

The event is not only a unique shopping experience for holiday gifts that support local women entrepreneurs and their businesses, but also a crowd-sourcing platform for engaging customers in providing ideas, connections and services to support local businesses. EWI’s goal is to harness the talents, creativity and networks of the Washington DC area residents and invest them in growing the local economy.

Gifts for Cause screen shot

Entrepreneurs will be marketing and selling hundreds of handmade gifts, fashion accessories, natural skin care products, games, fine art, home décor, baked goods, and specialty gift certificates.

nadia j
Artist Nadia Janjua will be there!

Guests will have the opportunity to meet 25 highly motivated women entrepreneurs and their micro-enterprises, hear their stories and understand their needs for growing these businesses. Guests will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas, services and contacts to help propel these start-ups forward.

All women entrepreneurs participating in this event have launched and grown their businesses with the help of EWI’s entrepreneur incubator, business coaching and mentoring programs.

We look forward to seeing  you there!

The Marketplace is co-sponsored with the Educational Foundation of WNDC.

Since 2002, EWI has helped more than 3,000 women rebuild their lives, establish careers and pursue the American Dream. Empowered Women International (EWI) is an award winning nonprofit organization that creates jobs and economic opportunity for immigrant, refugee, and low-income women in the Greater Washington DC Area. 

Save The Date for EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

7 Oct

Empowered Women International is excited to announce its 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace on Sunday, November 24th from 11am-5pm at The Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20036, near Dupont Circle.

There will be hundreds of unique handmade gifts, accessories, natural skin care products, games, fine art, home décor, baked goods, specialty gift certificates, and more, all created by EWI artisan entrepreneurs.

Gifts for Cause screen shot

This is our first public event showcasing top-notch women entrepreneurs who have launched and grown their businesses with the help of our entrepreneurship programs. You’ll meet the entrepreneurs, hear their stories, discover unique gifts for the upcoming holiday season and give the gift of empowerment with every purchase.

Mark your calendars! We look forward to seeing  you there.