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“A thousand-mile journey begins with the first step”

by: Sheila Mulli, IREX Community Solutions Fellow

Sheila Mulli joined EWI as a full-time fellow through our partnership with the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) this past fall. She recently returned to her home in Nairobi, Kenya and shared the following reflection upon her departure.


I’m not a risky person. The fact that I left my home, traveled across the world, and lived in a new and unknown culture still seems surreal. But it turned out to be worth taking that risk.

When IREX contacted me to tell me that they might have a potential host organization for a four month, in-country fellowship opportunity, I was anxious and hesitant. Sometimes, these things don’t always turn out as we hope due to different objectives.

I researched Empowered Women International right away, and immediately knew, deep in my heart, that this was where I wanted to spend my four months in the U.S. Luckily, we both felt the same way.

As an entrepreneur myself, I knew that I wanted to be involved with EWI’s Entrepreneurship Training for Success program. This class offers women entrepreneurs a solid foundation for starting, and maintaining, a business. I knew I could definitely learn – and even “re-learn” – what it takes to be a businesswomen in our world.

I am confident to say that I, together with the women in the class, learned what it truly means to be an entrepreneur – the insurmountable dedication and effort it takes to get your business moving forward. I learned that success is defined by our efforts and although we might fall along the way, we need to have the courage to get up, brush off the dust, and continue.

The emotional investment of all the lovely ladies at EWI is inspiring and motivating. I only hope that everyone involved realizes how lucky they are to have such support and belief in their businesses.

I leave EWI this December, I take away so many great connections, high spirits, good friends and memories. Although I wish I could stay longer, I am eager to begin my journey in my community in Kenya. As I leave, I am more confident in who I am as a person, as a leader, and most of all, as a women entrepreneur ready to leave my mark on the world. The four months have taught me that a thousand-mile journey begins with the first step and can only be taken one step at a time.

This was exactly the right first step on my way to success. Turns out, this is one risk I would happily take again.




What I Learned at My EWI Internship: Sheila Mulli
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