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Our New Logo: Redesign to Redefine

2 Oct

Last year EWI reached a milestone, celebrating ten years of accomplishments and empowerment! As the organization heads into its 11th year, EWI felt it was time to re-envision the empowered women.


EWI marketing materials featuring the old logo

You may have already started to see the new logo on some of our announcements and marketing material and wondered what the story was to prompt the update. Here’s the story:

Throughout EWI’s history the logo has been a symbol of power, strength, vision, and opportunity. Although the old logo had received a tremendous amount of positive feedback over the years, as EWI grows and expands, we wanted to give the empowered women an opportunity to re-define herself as well.

As Marga Fripp, EWI founder, explained to me, “Stylistically, the old logo was created in a stamp-like form that did not posses many shapes. In the new logo, shapes and forms are highlighted in order to visually represent the empowerment in the women on the logo. This empowerment can be seen through the waves and movement in her hands and body – she posses a glow from inside because she is transformed in the way she appears. The stars in the logo have also been given an update. The logo has evolved over the years and Sharmila Karamchandani, ETS Lead Trainer & Volunteer Extraordinaire, added the stars about five years ago. The new logo provides color and meaning to the stars. The gold star represents the American dream of opportunity. The green star represents entrepreneurship and the blue star represents creativity.”


The new and improved EWI logo!

EWI’s website will also be receiving a facelift! While speaking to Mary Louise Marino, I came to understand that the site has been evolving organically for years but recently it became apparent that it needed to be presented in a more streamlined, clear, and simple way. The new website is being created by Omni Studio and as Mary calls them, The Dream Team: Eileen Kessler (who’s also an ETS Mentor) Emily Rauch, Dillon Powel, and Elisabeth Harpe. It was also Omni Studio’s Dream Team that re-defined EWI’s new logo that captures so powerfully all women reaching for the stars and realizing their dreams. We want to extend a special thank you to them for doing such a fantastic job on updating EWI’s brand appearance!

EWI is excited to share our changing and evolving logo and our upcoming new website as our organization grows and expands. Stay tuned as we roll out more in the coming weeks and months!

Written by Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern


Poetry & Prose from Graduates

3 Jul
Cleopatra with EWI Founder Marga Fripp at the Spring 2013 ETS Graduation

Cleopatra with EWI Founder Marga Fripp at the Spring 2013 ETS Graduation

Poetry & Prose from Graduates

This past June EWI had the privilege of graduating 19 women from our Spring 2013 ETS class. The multitude of talents within this group of women  were too great to not include in the ceremony. The graduation event included contributions by four of the graduates, Cleopatra MagwaroReneta Bennett, Tina, and Annette McNeil .

Cleopatra Magwaro, an international lawyer and writer from Zimabwe  is a member of the Spring 2013 graduating class. She showcased her talent for writing in piece inspired by the graduation’s theme of Metamorphosis. Here are her inspiring words:


Metamorphosis has come at the assemblage of these Seasons that bring us altogether, under one common purpose, towards a collage of new endings and infinite beginnings.  I have finally come to Beyond and arrived at Self.  I thought I had learnt new lessons for this new  age of noise and ignorance, what I found instead, was that everything was as it should be, everything which lay beneath the dust of time and doubt, is exactly as it is meant to be.    


All that was needed was to remove the filth that licks away the Shimmer.  It has been there all along, unchanged by changing time: kleopatra- she who gives shimmering glory to her father’s name.  Brighter than a thousand-daylights, hidden glory, deaf to accolade and reproach alike. 


She is looking directly at me in the mirror, speaking about her dreams, her past, how she wants to become who she Is but needs her community of women to stand besides her, like a covering during a whirlwind.  I see myself in women who have congregated at an appointed time of dearth, like the stars of the heavens, to give light to the darkness; these are the sisters of Charity and Hope who assemble in order to change the world.  They bring about the metamorphosis of the world; from within themselves.  They give birth to rain and the dawning of a new Life.  These women will not to be washed away like the sands of time. 


Like my mother says, learning new paths in life will not kill me, kuzivamasango hakukuraye.  Indeed, the beaten path is no longer sufficient; the things we Carry are far too precious to entrust to what we know will never sustain us.

 the Journey past Meta

the Path towards Meta,

the effervescent Beyond Meta

is so beautiful, it will draw

success and peace.

Meta is the Journey to self-




Meta is a Journey worth taking.

the Shimmer of wisdom needs only a hand

to wipe away the film of doubt that clouds tomorrow.

welcome the Dawn, your season when you allow yourself to succeed.

Journey, Path, Beyond, Self, Shimmer, the Dawn…. Metamorphosis.

 © June 18, 2013 “Metamorphosis” by Cleopatra Magwaro



Reneta reciting her spoken word during the Spring 2013 ETS Graduation

Reneta Bennett, a spoken word artist and the youngest of our ETS graduates this Spring performed her spoken word during the ceremony.  It was written as a response to her experience with EWI and how her and her classmates had been transformed because of the program. With a tone of empowerment, Renetta entitled her poem, Women of Certainty.

Women of Certainty

When you gathered your bags
And walked a mile?
When you bottled your burdens like fruit
In a jar?
You were women who walked behind the sun…
Waiting to soar, waiting to run.
Praying for change
And seeking the truth…
Hoping for a miracle that seemed

God has restored
The strength in women,
Making it possible for us [women] to be winners.

Unpack your crown
Those bags were heavy…
I’m glad you’ve realized they
Shouldn’t be carried.
Let your dreams relieve the weights
On your back
And trust the process,
No looking back!

A recent blessing truly adored
Because EWI has opened their doors.
Supporting visions from seamstress to lyricist
When it was deemed worthless.

Stride with your shoulders straight
And head held high.
A Queen on the rise.

© 2013 “Women of Certainty” by Reneta Bennett


Lastly, the EWI celebration of achievements and transformations included a collaboration between graduates Tina and Annette . Tina, a music lyricist, decided to write a song for the ceremony that would capture the feeling that EWI had given to her. Keeping it in the EWI family, the song was sung by another ETS graduate, Annette McNeil.

Annette singing Tina's 'Ode to EWI' at the 2013 Spring ETS Graduation

Annette singing Tina’s ‘Ode to EWI’ at the 2013 Spring ETS Graduation

Ode to EWI

Sometimes we need a helping hand
and someone to tell us that we can.

When you are down and
seems all hope is gone
what remains is your dream
that dream is restless because it’s not done
that dream is your passion and desire
that burns like a flaming fire,

Then comes EWI
to help your dream be realized
and give you a reason why
you can aim high and touch the sky,

Yes, that’s EWI

EWI will give you knowledge to grow
and support and a spotlight
where you will shine and glow
and let your talents show,

Yes that’s EWI

Sometimes we need a helping hand
and someone to tell us that we can.

Often we feel lost in the midst of this world
and become a disillusioned girl,

EWI help you put the pieces back together
to complete God’s purpose and plan
and inspire you to give yourself a name in this
glorious land
because sometimes we need a helping hand
and someone to tell us that we can.

You are not alone
EWI is a place to belong
EWI keep sharing
EWI keep caring

We all love you EWI
Thank you EWI!

© 2013 “Ode to EWI”


Empowered Women International would like to say a huge Thank You to the graduates who thoughtfully prepared and contributed their work to the graduation program. It was great to see everyone perform and we are proud of our Spring 2013 class. Way to go empowered women!

In Letter to the Editor, Good Things Happened on Spring2Action

17 May


The April 17 Spring2Action online philanthropic and giving event was a day filled with excitement, energy and dedication. The whole Alexandria community came together to raise money and left a lasting and meaningful impact on all of the non-profits involved during the event.

Perhaps the most important footprint this special day left was none other than here at the headquarters of Empowered Women International. With the help and support of everyone involved we were able to raise $30,497 and won an additional $2,850 in prizes from ACT for Alexandria.

thumbThis huge milestone for EWI and the women in our Entrepreneur Training for Success was recently documented in a letter Marga Fripp wrote to the editor in Alexandria Times, which was laster picked up by the Nonprofit Roundtable e-Newsletter. The letter, “When city residents get together good things happen,” highlights the mission of EWI and what it stands for, and expounds how people with similar visions coming together can accomplish huge results in a single day. With ACT for Alexandria’s meticulous work, our contributor’s relentless support, and our wonderful board members, volunteers, and staff we have made great strides to make the world a better place leaving a lasting legacy and a community of change-makers.

twitter 165px POWER OF SHE

We thank Alexandria Time’s for publishing the letter and deeply gratified for the generous and continuous support of all who made Spring2Action a day to remember!

To read the letter, please visit:

Chithra Jeyaram Selected with her Film Mijo to enter in PBS Online Film Festival

19 Feb
8201137230_3a0516c018Chithra Jeyaram is the founder and creative director of Real Talkies, and a graduate of our Entrepreneur Training for Success, Class 2012. She is an award winning documentary filmmaker who communicates the realities of life as it unfolds, focusing on nuances that cannot be dwelled upon or deliberated in mass media. Through her films she breaks societal barriers, builds bridges, changes attitudes and takes risks.


One of her amazing films, Mijo, an evocative portrayal of a mother and child’s intimate relationship in the midst of life altering medical events, was selected in the PBS Online Film Festival. Watch and vote for her film from March 4 through March 22; the film with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Chithra!!!

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

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.

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

Sushmita Muzumdar: Chai, Stories & Art

30 Oct

Sushmita Muzumdar, 2007 ETS Graduate and artist, has her first solo show entitled, Let’s Tell Our Tales: Everyday Stories as Artists’ Books & Collages.

Sushmita is a book artist and writer, she specializes in writing stories with handmade books.  She believes in the power of storytelling, and seeks to create art through each wonderful tale.  Her pieces are beautifully intricate and articulate, combining literature and fine art.

Sushmita’s show will be held from Nov 3rd to the 18th at the

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

In honor of EWI’s 10th Anniversary, she is holding a special Chai, Stories, and Art Tour for EWI friends and supporters!

Join us for the free event on Sunday November 11th,
from 2-4pm

Click here to RSVP!

Learn more about Sushmita’s bookarts and her special invite to you:

Sushmita received her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Arts from Bombay University in India and subsequently worked as an art director in the advertising industry in Mumbai. Sushmita volunteers as a docent with the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries of Art (National Museum of Asian 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, view her website at Handmade Storybooks.

Steel Magnolias Show to Benefit EWI, this Thurs/Fri/Sat!

22 Oct

Just a reminder, this weekend only, Group Therapy Productions presents Robert Harling’s comedy-drama STEEL MAGNOLIAS, at the Convergence Sanctuary.

In honor of the 10 year anniversary, all proceeds from the show will benefit
Empowered Women International!   

STEEL MAGNOLIAS focuses on the camaraderie of six southern women who talk, gossip, and harangue each other through the best of times and comfort and repair one another through the worst. The play is alternately hilarious and touching with six female characters that are delicate as magnolias yet as strong as steel.

Performances will be:

Thursday, October 25th at 7:30 pm
Friday, October 26th at 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 27th at 5:00 pm
Saturday, October 27th at 8:00 pm


The Convergence Sanctuary
1801 N. Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA

Tickets are a suggested $20 donation, but no one will be turned away, please pay what you can to support EWI.

Tickets may be purchased from any cast member or email us at

About “Group Therapy Productions”

What do you get when you cross a group of sensitive actresses, a director, producer, little money but an abundance of inspiration and energy, and a burning desire to help others?  Group Therapy Productions.

The roots of “Group Therapy” can be traced to Charles Dickens.  In December of 2011, the members of “Group Therapy” were all involved in a production of A Christmas Carol at the Little Theatre of Alexandria.  Whether it was the show, the holiday, shared values, or just love of theatre, this group of women formed a strong bond that they refused to break.    The women began meeting to discuss and share their new acting ventures, classes, and life experiences.  One member jokingly called it “Group Therapy”, and the title stuck.  It was in April’s “Group Therapy” session that it dawned on them that they had the perfect cast for Steel Magnolias, and the idea took off.  In keeping with shared feelings to provide an uplifting environment of support for each other, they want to continue that objective, the fostering of women supporting women, and all proceeds from the production will go to Empowered Women International.

CAST:   STEEL MAGNOLIAS is produced by Kendall Hermsdorf and Hannah Wolf, directed by Robin Parker and showcases Janette Moman (Truvy), Rachel Gray (Annelle), Suzanne Martin (M’Lynn), Maria Ciarrocchi (Shelby), Tricia O’Neill-Politte  (Clairee), and Mary Lou Bruno (Ousier).

We are so appreciative of your generosity, thank you Group Therapy Productions!

Kate Campbell Stevenson Takes Women Back to the Future

10 Oct

EWI Chair of the Board of Directors, Kate Campbell Stevenson, is finishing writing a new one-woman show, Forging Frontiers: Women Leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Kate’s new show will feature Louise A. Boyd, Arctic Explorer, who led SEVEN Arctic Expeditions in the 1920’s and 1930’s and in a change of format will also feature contemporary STEM leaders from NASA Goddard.
Forging Frontiers will debut in Baltimore and Montgomery County in January 2013.

More information about her various one-woman shows, performance rates, and booking dates contact

Kate: or 301-622-1588.

Upcoming Performances with Kate Campbell Stevenson

October 27
Women: Back to the Future Performance and Workshop Women’s History: It’s Real! It’s Relevant!  It’s Revolutionary!
Teachers Retreat
Broward County, FL

 November 29-30
Keynote Speaker and Workshop Presenter
New Jersey Association of School Librarians

For more information, please visit