The Fall 2014 ETS Alexandria Entrepreneur Fellows, with Staff, Judges, Family and Guests!

Three months may not seem like a long time, but for EWI and our students the three-month Entrepreneurship Training for Success program brings ideas to life and can be a catalyst for life changes for women who began their entrepreneurship journey with us. Three months can bring aspirations into action and dreams into fruition.

At the close of the first module of the Entrepreneur Fellowship for Women program on December 15th, 2014 our Alexandria class gave an amazing presentation of their business plan pitches to esteemed judges, EWI staff and guests.

ETS fellow Karlisima Rodas-Israel (right) with judge Nancy Pilchen of TOWF

This event was remarkable,  being able to see how much growth, passion, and inspiration had come from the this community of women from different walks of life, was truly an inspiring testament to the work being done at EWI.

ETS fellows, Michelle Massi and Tiki Spiller

These women worked extremely hard over the past few months, dealing with stress and overcoming challenges to make it to a new level of confidence in themselves, their ideas and the future of their businesses. With open minds and open hearts they allowed for the training and mentorship to resonate and bring them to this point well equipped with the skills and tools for their journey as entrepreneurs.

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ETS Mentors Charlene Gatewood and Kristina Krawchuk with Marga Fripp, EWI President

EWI Mentors Kristina Krawchuk and Charlene Gatewood set the tone for the evening by reflecting on the journey that the students began within ETS. They were extremely proud of how much the women had evolved and pushed forward with passion and purpose. It was very clear that relationships had been built and nurtured within the time spent together. The bond and sisterhood that formed within this Alexandria cohort was so heart warming to witness, as well as a reflection from the students on what they had taken from their experience.

Being in this program has been pushing me to be who I always knew I could be.” – Kierra Hart, ETS Fellow

Judges Evan Davies from AACH, and EWI Board Members Warren Wright and Drew Bewick

The students delivered  3-minute business pitches that were prepared, thoughtful, and creative. They were filled with powerful messages about how they plan on changing their communities in positive ways.  Our judges offered thoughtful and targeted questions that pushed the students to tap into the business language and skills that they learned throughout ETS and give more insight into how they plan on succeeding.

16035668102_3cff3da8bf_zTiki Spiller- Math Blast Tutoring Service

Tiki’s business is a free after school tutoring program that aims to give students grades 3rd-6th the help they need in math. She will take a creative approach to help children grow to love math, with her plans on having a tutor mobile! As a parent and educator, when asked why she is passionate about this she stated “I care” – a powerful and extremely important component when working with youth.


16047777721_0b011a280c_zJodi Tharan – Reach College Counseling

Jodi’s business expands on the concept that “words matter.” Her plan is to meet students where they live, online, in order to help them improved their writing skills and prepare them for college and beyond.

Kierra Hart – God’s Arise16023956036_0a2ed6dfcb_z

From her own experience Kierra recognizes how easy it is to lose hope in our desires for more from life. She plans to provide people young and old with an opportunity for empowerment and confidence to give rise to their dreams.

16047777621_0820d0c006_zMichelle Massi- M3 Designs

Michelle’s business is a branding company offering web and graphic design services to start-ups and small businesses. She plans to dedicate her time, skill and passion to helping entrepreneurs shape the image of their brands.

Nai Davis- Nai’s Ark16047777601_3e7dc2009f_z (1)

Nai plans to open a STE(A)M Preschool which will be devoted to introducing the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math to children at a young age and nurturing them in an environment that is conducive to learning in a fun way.

15427446884_0771743ef2_zKarlisima Rodas-Israel- Karlisima Art Designs

Karlisima fell in love with art at a young age which propelled her to share art with humanity through workshops and classes for children as well as adults. ” I want children to recognize the infinite potential that art can bring.” She plans on also providing art therapy and healing to those who need an outlet to decompress and unleash their creativity in a safe space.

Fouzia Bencheikh- 21st Century Diplomat

16049723395_38dc7aeafe_zFouzia plans to launch an op-ed website for primarily young people to share their voice with the world. 21st Century Diplomat will be a platform for cross-cultural exchange on current events, a place to learn, and express ones views in an open dialogue around the world.

16023955636_5e6acab634_zZezeh Pereira- Zezeh Brazil

Zezeh plans on using the art of Samba dance in collaboration with other creative aspects in order to help women work through different life issues. She will provide workshops that will focus on propelling women forward on their journey and transforming their lives in a holistic way.

Judge Jean Wyman with ETS fellow Nai Davis

After the presentations our students were able to break out into small groups with their business plan judge to get more in depth feedback and time to further explain different aspects of their business.

Being able to witness these women speak with conviction and confidence about their ideas and how their ideas have began to shift and take shape with the help of EWI was exciting. We can’t wait to see just how much these women continue to grow as entrepreneurs.

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ETS Mentor Eileen Kessler with Marga Fripp, EWI President

Marga closed the night with a poem that was fitting for the occasion she recognized these women’s transformation and growth. She implored us all with the words “Don’t give up when you still have something left to give.” That is exactly what the women exemplified as they keep putting their all into the business that they hold so close to their hearts.

EWI would love to extend a heart-felt thank you to our judges, guests, volunteers, mentors and generous sponsors.

A special thank you to our wonderful judges!

Nancy Pilchen, TOWF
Markus Larsson, Life Asset
Jean Wyman, EWI NOVA Advisory Board
Warren Wright, EWI Board
Drew Bewick, EWI Board
Evan Davies, AACH

Want to see more photos? Click here!

Photographer & Videographer: Ernesto Rivera, Austral Lights Photography

Written by: Brianna Pippens, Marketing and Communications Intern

Where Ideas Come Alive in Alexandria!
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