Tag Archives: marga Fripp

Marga’s First Day in Papua New Guinea

5 Nov

 “It’s a privilege to be here in the making of this historic event and work with these women to fully empower them to pursue their highest vision, aspirations and ideals,” says Marga Fripp on her first day in Papua New Guinea after meeting with the most vibrant and determined women of PNG.

Marga will have the opportunity to witness the launching of the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNGWCCI) on Wednesday, Nov 6th.  The First Lady of PNG, a businesswoman herself, and the most influential change maker women of the country will attend the event, and Marga will be the keynote speaker. It’s an exciting time to be there for Marga as the event symbolizes the fruition of a women-led social movement after year’s worth of struggle to achieve empowerment, political representation, financial and economic independence and much more. The organization will create an opportunity for women to voice their concerns, to engage policy makers in addressing the most volatile social and economic issues that are preventing women from achieving success and empowerment.

All women in the middle are the founders of Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Left to right Natalia (US Embassy), Theresa, Linda, Avia, Amanda, Janet, Susan (US Embassy).

Marga’s role in PNG, besides coaching and mentoring entrepreneurial skills, is to inspire and encourage women to speak up about their concerns, obstacles, drawbacks and doubts that are hindering them from achieving their goals in life. It’s conventional wisdom that change can only come when we identify our stumbling blocks and when we make the effort to address it to whoever is willing to listen, and with 20 plus years of experience under her belt Marga knows that the most important step in achieving change is to listen first. These are extraordinary women with extraordinary stories to tell and they represent not just women in PNG but women globally.

This is how Marga felt on her first few day in PNG.

“I met some of the strongest and most determined global women. I had dinner last night with the founders of the first women’s chamber of commerce in PNG. Much like at EWI we shared our stories, and how we have been helping immigrant, refugee and low-income women become self-determined and empowered entrepreneurs through our rigorous 3-month ETS programs.

The women I met are determined to change the status quo, they are women of change, they know where they came from, they sacrificed a lot to become who they are and they are now paving the way for other women and generations to come.

It’s a privilege to be here in the making of this historic event and work with these women to fully empower them to pursue their highest vision, aspirations and ideals. I am confident that their vision, courage and determination will transform both the policy agenda for women’s economic empowerment and the role and condition of women in PNG and globally.”

Written by Hanna Yamir, Program Associate


Maggio + Kattar Founder’s Day Benefit a Success!

15 Apr

A huge thank you to Alix Mattingly, James Alexander and John Nahajzer of Maggio + Kattar for hosting a benefit to celebrate Empowered Women International and showcase our women micro-entrepreneurs.

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James Alexander & John Nahajzer

The event marks a milestone in our pursuit of building a community of givers and our mission to turn immigrant, refugee and low-income women into self-sustaining and thriving entrepreneurs.

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Marga & Steve Pattison of Maggio + Kattar

As firm believers in EWI’s mission and women’s potential to be the next business leaders, Maggio + Kattar , a prominent immigration law firm in Washington, DC, stood by our side promoting our work and supporting our women as they shared their  success stories.

Our entrepreneur graduates Velma, Aida, Mariam, Paulette, Nadia and Tacha were there to showcase their art and businesses, while Tacha and her band performed for all in the audience.

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Tacha, Mariam, Velama and Marga

The whole event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our donors, board members and volunteers. We are here because of your relentless support and contribution. We received many positive comments and also heard that many of you had ideas of communities, foundations and businesses we can partner with, and we welcome your referrals and introductions.

Last but not least a huge shout out to Pepco Edison Gallery for offering the beautiful gallery space and for tirelessly supporting us to host one of our many events.

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ETS graduates, volunteers and staff

We thank everyone who made it possible!

Marga Fripp takes EWI to the Woman’s National Democratic Club

15 Apr

Want know more about EWI and the extraordinary league of women changing the world? Come join Marga Fripp at the Woman’s National Democratic Club on May 9, 2013 as she introduces EWI to a growing and vibrant audience.


The WNDC is located in The Whittemore House in the greater Washington, DC area and engages men & women in public policy paving the way for future democratic leaders. The club hosts outstanding speakers who have dedicated their lives for public service from first ladies, to ambassadors, to renowned authors.

EWI is honored to be included in the up and coming speaking engagements featuring journalists, authors and among them our own, Marga Fripp.

She will be presenting about Empowering Women and Creating Social Change Through Entrepreneurship from 12pm to 2pm with brief recess for Q & A. There will be open bar and lunch and participation prices vary from $20 for members, to $30 for non-members (includes lunch), to $10 for lecture only. Learn more and buy tickets here.

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

Three Reasons to Mentor a Woman

12 Jul

Why mentor a woman? Well, there are many reasons, but I want to share 3 compelling aspects that move most of our mentors.

Passion is infectious.

I often hear our mentors and even donors finding EWI’s passion for social change real and infectious. It’s true that once you meet our women entrepreneurs and experience the passion behind their work, you too will catch the bug and be transformed. We’re in the business of changing lives, but doing this without passion we wouldn’t be the same organization.

Once empowered, women give back.

It’s truly remarkable to see our immigrant or low-income women students struggling to recover from difficult life circumstances, yet working on business models that aim at social change. Income or profit is important for women, but what is most important is the change these women want to see in their communities. And their business enables them to do just that.

Mentoring is inspiring and rewarding.

We all want to feel good about being of help to someone in need. We love to support and invest in people who passionately believe in what they do. We love champions, and being part of their journeys is as rewarding as seeing them reaching the final destination.

Got time to change a life? We have an opportunity for you. Email Marga at margacfripp@gmail.com.

I promise you too will be inspired and rewarded!

Onward and Upward!

Marga Fripp
Founder and President
Empowered Women International

Passion is the Source of Energy. It is when you do everything with passion that you live fully

2 Jul

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the first edition of what will be an ongoing series of posts on our beloved Marga Fripp, the Founder and President of Empowered Women International.  While some of you may have read her bio and seen her speak at events, there is more to the dynamic Fripp than the incredible work she does for women entrepreneurs.

Ask any of EWI’s current interns – this is one empowered woman with great advice and some wonderful quirks.

Or better yet, ask Marga!  That’s what the EWI interns did this month, and we were impressed and surprised by the answers!

Q) How do you keep yourself constantly energetic and empowered?

A) I often tell people that my mantra is that “I love what I do and I do what I love.” It is when you do everything with passion, when you believe in what you do that you live fully. Passion is the source of energy for me. I never, or perhaps rarely do things just to have them done. I do it fully, or I don’t.

My personal philosophy is rooted in Taoism, and it emphasizes living in harmony with Tao. Tao is the “way”, “path” or “principle”.  I draw inspiration and energy from the little things in life; the things that are often forgotten or taken for granted. Picking up a beautiful leaf from the ground after a stormy weather, stopping to smell the flowers and watching the bees work hard for their honey, planting new seeds in the spring, reading poetry, or making art out of scrap paper – all fill me with a renewed sense of purpose and oneness.

Aside of the meditative part of me, I gain energy by dancing, jumping rope, hiking, cooking, and gardening.

Q) What’s your favorite kind of weather?

A) Gosh! I grew up in Romania where the summers are oven-hot and the winters are freezing-cold. Because of this (and many other dramatic changes in my life) I became very adaptive to any environment or climate changes.

However, I love cooler weather and breezy days. These are times when I am in my garden, digging in the soil to seed new plants, harvesting fresh lavender or basil, or picking fresh vegetables for a homemade salad.

Q) If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name be?

A) Oh, this is a fun one. For years I believed I was Zorro!

It all started with a birthday wish when I was 10 years old. I was tired of seeing my younger brother ordered around by older kids. We grew up without a father, and I often felt the responsibility of protecting my family. After I watched Zorro, one of my favorite movies, I wished to become like Zorro.

The wish turned real in my 10 year old mind. When I saw not only my little brother getting in trouble with older boys, but many other kids, I realized it was time to bring out Zorro.  So, I made myself a mask, a cape and a sword – and I started to solve neighborhood problems 🙂

I have been very fortunate not to forget my childhood wish and throughout my life to find ways to make my voice count, and give voice to those seeking justice.

Q) What do you wish you knew more about?

A) So many things… I wish I knew more about my family roots. My great-grandmother who I was very closed to had a fascinating, yet very difficult life.

Her first husband, my great-grandfather, who I have never met, worked for the Royal Family of Romania before WWII. I remember some of the stories she had told me as a child, and many are war stories filled with life lessons, losses and wisdom grown from tough experiences. Later, she married the great-grandfather who I loved as a child. He built brick homes for wealthy people, but eventually lost his vision in an accident and not being able to earn, he became a beggar. He spend the money he begged to buy milk and bread every day for my younger brother and I, and he often gave me a quarter to save for a winter coat…

Because of all this that I know, and everything else I don’t know about my great-grandparents and my past, and I would to spend some time unearthing history and making new memories about these incredible people that are my family.

*The “Monday with Marga” series will be published on the first Monday of every month and will feature questions submitted by YOU!  If you have a question you’d like to ask, simply email it to info@ewint.org by the 20th of the previous month (ex. send in a question for August 6th on July 19th).  EWI would like to encourage readers to focus on topics relevant to our mission (such as empowerment, business development and leadership) as well as personal (and appropriate) questions.

Marga Fripp Reflecting on Entrepreneur Graduates Class 2012

12 Jun

… At the heart of every desire is the desire to feel good. And so, the standard of success in life is not the things or the money, but the amount of joy you feel. – Esther and Jerry Hicks

The amount of joy I feel as our 20 micro-entrepreneur women completed their business incubator program and are ready to launch their businesses is immeasurable.

The process was complex and many students had to face their fears right in the eyes. Besides battling medical challenges, financial and emotional crisis, doubt was probably one of the most challenging of the fears.

Would they actually be able to turn something that for the most part of their life was “a hobby with passion” into a business? Would their dreams finally come true despite all realities of not having a steady income, or in some cases a place of their own? Would they have permission to continue to pursue their aspirations after the program?

Four months is not a long time, yet it is enough for women to learn, grow and blossom; forge new friendships, rebuild confidence and develop a renewed sense of possibility.

But then, will they find the right niche, the marketing pitch, and the clients who would love buying their products again and again?

Every step of the way, our trainers, mentors and staff – ensured our women kept on moving on, pursuing their dreams with no compromises. The ultimate goal of this program, beyond the business side – is the journey of self-discovery, learning, and embracing others.

All women graduates are changemakers – women who not only are in business to support themselves and their families, but to give meaning to other people’s lives.

“EWI has led me on a journey of self-discovery, through education, mentoring and empowerment. The program allowed me to gain a clear vision and realization of what I want to change in my own life, as well as what I can do to change the world we live in. One person can make a difference in a community, but a community as a whole can make a significant impact across the world.”  Valerie Fair, Graduate 2012, Owner of Fair Consultants

I take joy in seeing these women reaching new heights, and I can’t wait for all of you to meet them on June 23 at the graduation reception.

You too will be proud, empowered and inspired! Thank you for all your support.

Onward and upward!

Marga Fripp
Founder and President
Empowered Women International

Between Women: Gates of Ballston Community Center Event

24 May

Hellina, Alexandra, Velma, Marga, and Perri

On Saturday, May 12, 2012, Marga Fripp was the featured guest speaker at the event ‘Between Women’ organized by the Arlington, Virginia Community Outreach Program. The event was held at the Gates of Ballston Community Center. The main themes of the program dwelled on self-defense class, arts and crafts project, healthy relationships, and how to take care of you. The program was attended by more than 50 participants. The majority of the participants were from the Hispanic community.

In her speech, Marga shared her inspiring life experiences beginning with her journey to the US and the challenges she faced in the processes of integration into the US community as well as the coping mechanisms she used to become successful at the level she is today. From the lessons that she learned from her own experiences, she stressed on the importance of language and education as a vehicle of integration. And therefore she urged everyone to begin learning the English language as a first step to enhance their communication skills and eliminate the stumbling block to integration.

Marga speaking at the Gates of Ballston Community CenterMarga further talked about the works and programs of Empowered Women International. She explained to the participants that the program is there to empower immigrant, refugee and low-income artist women through entrepreneurship training, mentoring, coaching and micro-enterprise services to make them self-reliant and self-sufficient. She also stressed that to be enrolled in the program a woman should have creativity and talent in art (paining, jewelry making, dancing…) must be passionate about it, and motivated to transform dreams into reality and to change the talent/passion into business. Following a detailed presentation of the program, Marga invited one of EWI’s graduate, Velma Crawford, to make a brief presentation in sharing her own experiences.

Velma spoke about how she first came in contact with EWI with her own passion and hobby of making her grandmother’s aprons. She further shared her life changing experience by mentioning how the entrepreneur training and personalized mentoring with EWI has helped her transform her passion into business. She is now a successful business woman selling her aprons and is now giving back to the community by donating money out of the proceeds of her sales to support other causes.


Marga Fripp Speaking at Between Women!

5 Apr

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with OikoCredit USA and Empowered Women International

12 Aug

Women in Chajul, Guatemala who benefit from OikoCredit

Investing in the Future of Women: How two local organizations use microfinance and entrepreneurship to promote justice, create jobs and opportunity for women

On Saturday, August 27th, 4:30 to 7pm, Oikocredit USA and Empowered Women International are teaming up to celebrate Women’s Equality Day (August 26) by presenting their work to empower women and expand their participation in the marketplace and the public sphere through microfinance and entrepreneurship. The event is free of charge, and will take place at Convergence at 1801 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22302.

EWI artist Rabia Pervez selling at an EWI event

For over 36 years, Oikocredit has contributed to the empowerment of 29.3 million people, mostly women, through investing in microfinance and sustainable income-generating prjects for the poorest of the working poor. Empowered Women International (EWI) provides entrepreneurship training, mentoring and income-generating programs for immigrant, refugee and low-income women artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs in the greater Washington DC Metro area to bolster their participation in the marketplace and civil life.

Women in Senegal who benefit from Oiko

The event will feature presentations by Sharlene Brown, National Director of Oikocredit USA and a long-time practitioner in the social empowerment of women through microfinance, and Marga Fripp, EWI Executive Director and Founder, a social entrepreneur and life-long activist for women’s empowerment both here and in her native country of Romania. Brown and Fripp will present information about ways individuals can get involved as investors in women’s empowerment.

The event will also present stories of women who have been empowered through EWI’s work as testaments to the benefits and impact of investing in women’s equality and public inclusion. Refreshments will be served and there will be opportunities to purchase art produced by EWI’s local artists and creative entrepreneurs.

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