In celebration of our 15 years empowering women, we are excited to introduce a collection of success stories from EWI alumnae. EWI board member Howie Feinstein is the contributing writer for this series.
In 1982, when political events in Lebanon reached their boiling point, Suha Jundi emigrated alone from her native Beirut to the United States, well-educated but with an uncertain future.
Suha took a long-term administrative position in Washington with the Embassy of The United Arab Emirates, but she never forgot her passion for the cuisine and hospitality of her native country, handed down by her family since she was a child. After years of cooking, preparing, and serving Lebanese specialty dishes informally, Suha established Beirut Cuisine, featuring authentic, healthful Lebanese foods. Her project was a great success with friends and colleagues, but she lacked the knowledge to turn it into a thriving business.
A colleague at the UAE Embassy and longtime EWI veteran steered Suha to EWI and the Entrepreneurial Training for Success course, where passion led to profit.
“I had an idea, a passion, but no business expertise. The ETS class put me on the right track and opened the window for me. Then I took Grow My Business and got a lot of tax, business, and pricing information. They helped crystallize my ideas and to know exactly what I want.”
Since graduating from the EWI programs, Suha earned a certificate from Northern Virginia Community college’s culinary program. She hosts dinners for the public in her home, and also travels to customers’ residences to organize and prepare dinner parties. She keeps her standards high, consistent with EWI’s emphasis on quality and customer service. “I feature healthy, high-quality cuisine. I import the highest quality food products: olive oil, humous, tabouleh, babaganoush.” She also markets to stores and restaurants, and serves the diplomatic community. As if that were not enough, Suha has also ventured into teaching traditional Japanese flower-arranging!
In addition to business specifics, the EWI experience gave Suha something even more valuable. “I was a bit shy and never felt comfortable talking with people. EWI helped me to free myself of this and be focused—to stand in front of others and to share my ideas.” Now I have self-confidence. I know what I want and what I can do.”