When I started my internship as Program Associate with Empowered Women International, I was looking forward to finally doing some work in a field that was connected to my academic endeavors. I accepted the position with the assumption that it would lend a hand in my professional development and hopefully help me to find a path; parting ways at the end of the four months and referring back to my time there for interviews and networking events. I had no idea at the time that these expectations were far below the experience I was to gain.
During my first week with EWI, I attended the Herndon Meet and Greet for the Spring 2015 Entrepreneurial Training for Success class. Not knowing what to expect, the students began filtering in, as nervous as I was, and taking their seats. As I ushered the remaining students into the conference room, I realized that this was going to be something special. I have never been a great public speaker, but I always admired those who were, especially those who were able to do so with tremendous conviction. This high level of public speaking is what defined Empowered Women International for me. The moment the program started, I began to get lost in the power of the words and the passion behind them. I wasn’t the only one. The discourse of the Meet and Greet enabled the students to become comfortable and also vulnerable, freely discussing their business ideas and dreams in a safe and nurturing environment.
The power of language never dissipated during my time with EWI. In fact, the rhetoric only intensified. Weaving through class and event dialogues, I, along with the students, learned more about my abilities and myself in the past 4 months than I have in the past few years. I have met extraordinary people—interns, board members, staff, volunteers and students alike, and I have learned from each and every one of them. My time with Empowered Women International may have come and gone, but the connections and self-actualizations made will last a lifetime.
-Rini Sarmaroy was the Spring 2015 Program Associate Intern at EWI’s Alexandria office .