Tag Archives: 2012

A Celebration of Women Entrepreneurs… Fall 2012 ETS Graduation!

11 Dec

 On Saturday, December 8th, we celebrated the graduation of seventeen newly launched women entrepreneurs. The talented and courageous women are following their dreams and passions to independence, leadership, and empowerment. Bravo!

Thank you to all the supporters – donors, friends, family, mentors, and volunteers – who continue to make this all possible.


Fall 2012 EWI Entrepreneur Graduates


Caryn Amy Reitkipp, Rashunda Baily, Amoy Steven, Catherine Gulzar, and Winter Walker


Irina Katz thanking her awesome classmates as Marga Fripp, Perri Weldy, and Sharmila Karamchandani look on…


Trinidad Coopman’s Latin American fusion cuisine and Irene Naguib’s Egyptian cuisine were out of this world!


Nichole Swinson, Chithra Jeyaram, Dinelles Sakyi, Irene Naguib, Irina Katz, Jennifer Smith, Lyzbeth Monard, Elda LaRue, and Caryn Amy Reitkopp


Dinelles Sakyi eying Winter Walker’s divine NuDelish Date Butter



A crowded room of family, friends, supporters, special guests, board and advisory board.



Shirah Cohen, Dianne Lorenz, Howie Feinstein, Deborah Blank, Marga Fripp, Magaly-Galdo Hirst, Mary Louise Marino, Mimi Hassanein, Kate Campbell Stevenson, Julie Kantor, and Laura Levengard


Jennifer Smith, savoring the sweetness of the moment!



Grace Allen taking a moment at her marketplace table, Oracle Ink



Kamila Barbour of Barbour House Publications



Our stellar team, Jeremy Brandt-Vorel, Alexandra Standal, Charlia Acree, and Perri Weldy



The Annual Holiday Marketplace showcased Velma Crawford of Vees Ties That Bind and her beautiful aprons that have a story to tell.


Felt artists, Lisa and Jim Jacenich of Artful Gifts offered a delightful and colorful array of handmade scarves, hats, gloves, and more.


Elsa and Ansen Elvis of Elsen Oils presented their all-natural health and beauty products.


A very special thank you to Julie Kantor, Chief Strategy Office of Barrel of Jobs for being our inspiring keynote speaker!


Enormous appreciation to Magaly-Galdo Hirst of the Mason Hirst Foundation, a committed and passionate EWI supporter!


Join in with us to
make a year-end tax deductible donation
and support our work.


Watch, Vote, and Share to Help an EWI Graduate

Watch, Vote and Share “Rags to Pads”, an important documentary film by Chithra Jeyaram, an EWI graduate and filmmaker who has a real chance of receiving the Audience Award! It is the story of one man who wore a sanitary pad to help his wife and made women hygiene products accessible to women:

Watch her 3-min film. If you like the film VOTE FOR IT. If you really like it, share it among your social media networks!



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

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.

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

EWI attends IMPACT 2012

5 Oct

On October 3rd, four members of the EWI team had the pleasure of attending “IMPACT 2012: Innovation + Philanthropy”, as presented by ACT for Alexandria.

ACT for Alexandria is a private-non-profit that seeks to raise the level and effectiveness of community engagement in the Alexandria area.  Through IMPACT 2012, they were able to set an agenda for “innovations in philanthropy and strategies for building the capacity of non-profit organizations” in the community.  The event included workshops, luncheon, and a keynote address by CityBridge Foundation President Katherine Brittain Bradley.

Two of our attendees shared their wonderful experiences…

Impact 2012 was a wonderful eye-opener into Alexandria’s rich range of non-profits doing extraordinary work people are doing in our community. One of the main things I learned from the breakout session “Building Your Organization’s Cheering Squad” was that every person, from board to staff to volunteers to friends, can and should be ambassadors for the organization. Tapping into why they have chosen to be a part of the organization is a way to harness their capabilities and talents. Liberating from the fears of “fundraising”, people actually start fundraising whether they realize or not! As people joked, maybe we’ll all start hearing the term “Ambassador-ing Campaigns” instead.”

-Mary Louise Marino
EWI Program Manager 

“The ACT Summit was one of my first conferences for work, and I really enjoyed it. After the captivating keynote speaker, Catherine Bradley shared her insight on how to improve the D.C. schooling system, the attendees broke out into smaller sessions. The “Building Your Organization’s Cheering Squad” session introduced certain roadblocks, such as time, competition with other organizations, asking people for money, lack of connections, etc. which were then met with viable solutions that could help combat these struggles. The panel stressed how the prospect of raising funds can be a daunting task for some, but reframing the mission and adjusting it to the individual’s preference can still be just as effective in the long run.”

– Mina Alemzadeh
EWI ETS Intern

Perri, Mary, Alexandra, and Mina at IMPACT 2012.

Special thanks to Katarina Price Photography

The Olympics give way to the “Year of the Woman”

9 Aug

While the Olympics are meant to inspire national pride and friendly competition, the London 2012 Olympics have brought yet another reason to celebrate to the foreground: the phenomenon NBC has deemed the “Year of the Woman.”

The signs are everywhere – there are more women than men in the U.S. delegation, women will be participating in every sport for the first time ever and every single country has sent at least one female athlete.

For the United States, women athletes are getting some serious attention for their Olympic achievements – especially from their younger fans. As Chris Jansing of NBC notes, more and more teenage girls are watching the Olympics, and the festivities have brought on a surge of participation in sports activities among young girls.

As recent news would suggest, this new burst of athleticism inspired by the Olympics can do wonders for our mindsets as well as our health. Not only does the participation of women in sports such as weightlifting and archery help to dissolve the distinction between men’s and women’s activities, but these iron-pumping, javelin-throwing role models have the power to change the perception of what women should aspire to be.

Take Zoe Smith for example! As one of Britain’s best female weightlifters, Smith was subject to a barrage of comments questioning her sexuality and critiquing her for her down-to-earth wardrobe. Zoe responded to these criticisms on her blog, saying “To think people still think like this is laughable. We’re in 2012!” Zoe’s focus on accomplishing her goals, rather than on whether she looks “pretty” while accomplishing her goals, sends the message to her younger fans that women have so much more to strive for than what we see in the media every day.

So what lessons will these inspiring women instill in you? Make sure to catch the last weekend of the Olympics to find out!

Past ETS Graduate, Tacha Coleman Parr, to Perform at 2012 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

6 Dec

Empowered Women International is proud to announce that Entrepreneur Training for Success graduate and jazz singer, Tacha Coleman Parr, will be appearing at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival!

The performance features and honors one of DC’s Jazz treasures, pianist Ron Elliston.  The show will include original compositions by Ron and his late wife, Ronnie Wells-Elliston.

Where: Regency Room/Jazz club of the Hilton, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20582

When: Sunday, February 19th at 7:30 pm

Tickets: $20 Can be purchased online or by calling 301.563.9330

Seating is limited, so get your tickets early!

To learn more about Tacha, visit her website