This year Empowered Women International is celebrating our 15 year anniversary and excited to introduce a retrospective collection of success stories from previous EWI alumnae. One of EWI’s board members, Howie Feinstein, is the contributing writer for these series. Join us as we celebrate our 15 year anniversary and continue empowering women. 


Sushmita Mazumdara (left) and Sughra Hussainy (right)  working on their project, “Thou Art: The Beauty of Identity” at Studio Pause. Photo, Susan Sterner

Sushmita Mazumdara — book artist, storyteller, graphic designer, and self professed “creative consultant” — is a proud product of the E.W.I. graduating class of 2008. She initially began writing stories for her son, who grew up in the U.S., about her childhood in India. She went on to create a publishing business for storybooks about the lives of others, featuring stories of identity and heritage from all corners of the Earth. Her first solo exhibit was held at the “Popcorn Gallery” at Glen Echo National Park in Montgomery County, Maryland. She now teaches classes and workshops throughout the Washington area, focused on empowering others to tell their own unique stories.

In the supportive, international setting of EWI, Sushmita realized that the key to unlocking the entrepreneurial and creative spirit is empowerment: the confident belief that “yes, I can do this!” As and ETS student and veteran EWI mentor and teacher,  Sushmita not only exemplifies that empowerment, but has dedicated herself to fostering it in others, no matter their ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic status.

She used her EWI connections to secure a Kiva Zip micro loan enabling her to open Studio Pause, an Arlington, Virginia venue for both the performing and graphic arts. It proved so successful that in 2016, she opened a larger facility which has enabled her to expand the teaching and exhibiting aspects of the studio. Sushmita has established a lasting connection with the Arlington Arts, emphasizing the diverse, multicultural focus she fostered at EWI. She also serves as a docent for the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler Galleries, all the while acting as ambassador and recruiter for EWI.

Sushmita’s current project is another manifestation of her commitment to artistic excellence through diversity and personal empowerment, hallmarks of the EWI experience. She is editor of “Thou Art: The Beauty of Identity,” an international poetry anthology, illustrated by a young Afghan women. Many of the contributors are former EWI students and staff, and the book will be sold and exhibited at a series of upcoming events in the Washington area.  

This will surely not be the last of Sushmita’s success stories. Once the magic of empowerment is unleashed, it knows no limitations. That is what we strive for in all our graduates.  


Click here to read more about Sushmita’s Studio Pause and her upcoming event, “Thou Art: The Beauty of Identity.” 

Cultivating Creativity
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