Tag Archives: graduation

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!



Entrepreneur Graduation and Holiday Artisan Marketplace!

4 Dec

Empowered Women International Presents…

Women Entrepreneur Graduation &

Artisans Holiday Marketplace

Sat. Dec 8, 3-6 pm,

Durant Center

1605 Cameron St., Alexandria


Yes, We Did It! — Entrepreneurs Class 2012, Fall Semester

Showcase of Graduate’s Micro-Businesses

Meet our entrepreneur women, learn about their newly launched businesses and discover how these women and businesses change our communities


Graduation Ceremony

Join us to support our courageous women entrepreneurs and be inspired by their stories


Sit-Down buffet of Homeade Culinary Delights by Chef Entrepreneurs


Graduation Keynote Speaker

Julie Kantor, Barrel of Jobs


Julie Kantor was the Executive Director of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Greater Washington DC Region. In this role, she was a recognized leader in the field of entrepreneurship education and grew the organization to serve more than 24,000 local youth.

She is the author of I Said Yes! Real Life Stories of Students, Teachers and Leaders Saying YES! to Youth Entrepreneurship in America’s Schools.

Artisans Holiday Marketplace


Purchase Your Holiday Gifts for Friends & Family from EWI’s Marketplace!

All art and gifts are made EWI alumni and local artists.

Proceeds benefit EWI and our local artists and creative entrepreneurs.

Holiday selection include handmade one-of-a-kind jewelry, scarves,

designer aprons, skin and beauty products, handmade books and notecards,

holiday ornaments and more…

This Program was Made Possible in part with Funding from:
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, The Alexandria Commission for the Arts,
The Mason Hirst Foundation, The Washington Forrest Foundation,
The Giving Circle of Hope Reston, AmeriCorps Vista
The Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation,  Capital One Bank
The James Family Foundation, The Sharing Montgomery Fund

Free of Charge. RSVP Now!

Don’t wait! Reserve your ticket for yourself and a friend.


17 Oct

Come out and make holiday ornaments with the EWI team!  

We will be supplying paper mache ornaments to be decorated and designed.

Ornaments will be sold at our Fall Graduation holiday marketplace on December 8th to benefit EWI.

We are utilizing a MAKE ONE, TAKE ONE policy.  That means, make one ornament, donate it to EWI, and the next ornament you make, you can keep!

WHERE: EWI Office, 320 S. Henry St., Alexandria VA

WHEN: Friday, October 26th from 10 am to 5 pm

If you intend to come, please RSVP with an email to mary@ewint.org

***Ornaments and basic decorations will be supplied, but please bring extra materials/photos to make more specialized and creative ornaments.

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

Meet EWI’s Spring 2012 Entrepreneur Graduates!

23 May
Meet EWI’s Spring 2012 Entrepreneur Graduates!

Addie Gail, US

Business: The Gail Consulting Group, a women owned consulting firm providing tailor-made services for businesses

What Addie says…

“I love EWI not for what it teaches about business and the pursuit thereof, but for how as individuals we are going thru this program with different types of businesses born from different cultures and experiences and we have and are bonding together. Encouraging and supporting each other! love it!”

Aida Mady, Egypt
Business:  Cooking and Beyond, a cookbook of Egyptian recipes and its influences from history, culture, family heritage, religion, social life, and humanity.
What Aida says….
“EWI is a good way to help others and myself in establishing a career. ETS is a perfect way to make us discovering our abilities to go forward with our dream. ETS classes, is a deep learning experience and good exposure to other aspects needed in order to transform a vision to a reality.”

You’re Invited: From Buds to Blossoms

22 May

From Buds to Blossoms


*  Entrepreneurs Graduation Gala  *  Business Showcase  *

Marketplace of Handmade Art and Gifts

 With Special Participation of  

Ten Thousand Villages Alexandria, EWI Partner 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Durant Center

1605 Cameron Street  Alexandria, VA 22314

Complimentary Appetizers & Drinks

 Delicious Homemade Egyptian Dishes by Aida, EWI Entrepreneur Graduate 

 Free Parking

Free of Charge. RSVP Required

Join us to learn how each woman has blossomed into a confident business woman and entrepreneur. Hear their inspiring stories about how they’ve followed their dreams,faced their challenges, and overcame their fears.


3 – 3:45 pm – Showcase of Graduates’ Businesses, Art Exhibition and Marketplace Shopping

3:45 – 5 pm – Graduation Ceremony

5 – 6 pm – Reception and Marketplace Shopping

Check back on the blog tomorrow to meet our graduates!

This program was made possible with funding from:

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia  *  The Alexandria Commission for the Arts

The Mason Hirst Foundation  *  The Washington Forrest Foundation
The Giving Circle of Hope Reston   *  AmeriCorps Vista
The Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation
and many individuals who contributed scholarships in support of our low-income students

Welcome to Sushmita’s Studio!

15 Dec

Some of you may know my story and some of you may not.

Maybe you know how I quit advertising-my life for almost 20 years-to do something different and even more creative, something that connected with my present life as a woman from India living in the US and a mom taking care of her American children.

But was I any good as a writer? And so what if I made storybooks by hand-was I even an artist? It was difficult working alone and I often wondered if I should just give up this thing I loved to do and go find some (gulp!) job.

Everything changed when I met Marga, founder of Empowered Women International,an awesome non-profit based in Alexandria. In our first meeting I learned how she understood women and moms, immigrants and artists, and business! And how nice she was! I knew she was not going to let me crawl back into my dark basement studio and give up.

Today, I invite you to visit me in my new studio! Sunny and full of ideas and projects (lined up for next year or just a whim for now) my studio at Convergence is my space where I create my work, inspired by artists around me. Come visit me on

Dec 17, 3 pm and then walk across the street and meet the new artists EWI has trained this fall at Women with Wings, EWI’s Entrepreneurs Graduation Gala, Business Showcase and Holiday Marketplace of locally-made Art and Gifts.

Talk to the artists and shop their amazing work. Then watch their eyes light up when they realize their work makes a difference and people actually like what they make!!!! It will be so rewarding for the artists and for you, you have to do it to believe it! I know. That’s how it started for me as an EWI graduate four years ago.

-Sushmita Mazumdar

Sushmita Mazumdar is a Greater Washington DC area writer, graphic designer and book artist. She 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. Sush 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. Sushmita is a graduate of EWI’s Training for Success program and lives in Arlington with her son, daughter, and husband.

Save the Date! Fall Entrepreneur Training for Success Graduation, December 17, 2011

15 Nov

As you follow the amazing stories of the talented women currently enrolled in the fall Entrepreneur Training for Success Program, remember to mark your calendar to celebrate their accomplishments at their Graduation on December 17, 2011!

New Video: “Entrepreneur Training for Success”: Reporter Mona Mogahed captures the spirit of Empowered Women International

15 Aug

On July 23rd 2011, the spring Entrepreneur Training for Success (ETS) class graduated surrounded by fellow Empowered Women International (EWI) members, mentors, family supporters, and neighbors, at the Takoma Park Community Center.  Documenting this momentous occasion, and searching for the deeper impact that EWI has on the lives of the women it serves, was Georgetown Graduate student, Mona Mogahed.

During the course of the graduation Mogahed captured key moments and interviewed several of the recent and past graduates, and EWI president and founder, Marga Fripp.  Mogahed’s radio commentary piece is titled “Local Business Training Course Helps Struggling Women Capitalize on their Creative Potential.”

Sharing their journeys the women of Empowered Women International show a glimpse of the community, growth and support system that naturally develops during the three month ETS program.  As graduate Sarah Jawaid commented, the ETS program not only gave her the skills to grow her business, but also the confidence to succeed.

Empowered Women International is proud to present this video production  “Entrepreneur Training for Success” including photos of the spring 2011 ETS program accompanied by Mona Mogahed’s audio commentary.

Entrepreneur Training for Success Radio Documentary from Shannon Lynberg on Vimeo.

 Mona Mogahed

Mona Mogahed is currently studying at Georgetown University to complete her Masters Degree in Journalism.  She received her BA from the University of Wisconsin where she studied Rhetoric, Religious Studies, and Middle East Studies. Following graduation, she spent one year living in Egypt through the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) program, a fellowship for advanced Arabic study based at the American University in Cairo. She is a native of Madison, Wisconsin. Mona’s family has Egyptian roots, which  allowed her to connect deeply with the immigrant and refugee women that EWI serves.

Film Directed by EWI Program Manager Shannon Lynberg

(Save the Date) Women Architects of Change, July 23rd from 4-7pm

6 Jul

Empowered Women International Presents

Women Architects of Change:
Entrepreneurs Graduation Gala, Business Showcase and
Marketplace of locally-made Art, Goods and Services

Sat, July 23, 2011
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Takoma Park Community Center
7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912

Free of Charge. RSVP Required

ETS Class of Spring 2011

Thirteen immigrant, refugee and American-born women from Montgomery County and Washington DC Metro area started EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success program on April 11, 2011 hosted by Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, MD.

This is our first expansion of the Entrepreneur Training for Success in Montgomery County – an award-winning program that creates jobs and businesses, and builds sustainable livelihoods for women and their families.

Entrepreneur Students and Mentors discussing ways to market businesses

The students have just one more class before they complete the training and graduate. The program is 12 weeks long and consists of an intensive 30-hour in class training along with ongoing coaching, mentoring, business networking and support services.

All students in the program are women artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs with talent, passion, vision and entrepreneurial drive to start-up their own businesses and lead change in their communities.

Join us on July 23 to celebrate these women’s accomplishments, learn about how they overcame their fears, hear their inspiring stories and support their dreams and small businesses.

You too will be INSPIRED and EMPOWEREDRSVP now.

Meet our Entrepreneur Women Graduates, Class 2011

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