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Despite recent reports highlighting the increasing discrimination against women in Egypt, the Women’s Initiative Fellows are courageously facing these challenges. Building upon the leadership training and skills they received during the U.S. portion of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship, the Fellows are actively working to improve their communities and country. We believe these women will continue to play a powerful role in effecting change in their communities and are proud of their accomplishments. Individually, these women are strong; as a class, they form a resilient circle with a powerful vision for the future of their beloved country. Meet Sandy and Dina:
Sandy Halim, Founder and Owner, Life Creations
“I believe in the power of beauty”
Sandy Halim strongly believes in the power of beauty and the future of Egypt, two passions she combines through her handicraft business, Life Creations. Upon returning to Egypt from the U.S. portion of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship in April, Sandy’s business saw an increase in sales allowing her to hire more craftsmen, including two women on a part-time basis.
Sandy is continually working to increase the exposure of her products both in Egypt and abroad. Sandy recently sold her exclusive products at a conference in Egypt with more than 10,000 attendees, providing her with increased exposure to customers and vendors.
During her trip to the United States, Sandy’s mentor, Adair Margo, introduced her to potential vendors who are interested in selling her products in their stores. Through her interaction with these business owners, Sandy “came to learn the power of having a story for any business” and she began composing the history of Life Creations, allowing buyers to better connect with her products and vision. Sandy is excited about sharing her inspiring story by attaching it to all her products. We are thrilled to share Sandy’s story with you.
To view her products and her story, please visit https://www.facebook.com/lifecreations.cairo
Dina El-Ghawy, Founder and CTO of ITMAX Intelligent Solutions & Networks
Dina is an Egyptian entrepreneur with a passion for internet startups, new technologies, digital businesses, and an advocate for women entrepreneurship in Middle East.
She is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of ITMAX Intelligent Solutions & Networks, the only company in Egypt specializing in Radio Frequency Identification and augmented reality e-commerce web applications.
Recently Dina's e-commerce startup idea 'Global Citizen' has made it through to the penultimate round of the Million Pound Startup, an international startup competition.
Outside of work Dina tends to participate in a number of activities to inspire more women to stand out in the technology industry, providing them with tools and quality education, and helping them to become financially independent.
Dina launched a computer literacy initiative to promote the role technology can play in empowering Egyptian women. Through this initiative, Dina aspires to provide Egyptian women with access to e-education, e-health, and e-commerce. Dina believes the technology industry is a valuable field for women as it gives them the opportunity to generate income and become financially independent, while working from home and tending to their families.
Dina established T3REEB Initiative, a partnership between community organizations and international technology companies that aims to utilize a new generation of highly skilled IT experts in the Middle East.
Dina is currently working on launching IBTIKAR Entrepreneurship Centers. IBTIKAR inspires young Arab entrepreneurs to develop competitive skills and confidence. Their success bolsters the local workforce and contributes to economic growth. Arab world Startup communities will be connected to the world's largest entrepreneurial community. A global network enables shared experiences, findings, and resources for a more united entrepreneurial world.
Betsy Martin, Regional Development Director, joined the George W. Bush Presidential Center in 2013. A member of the development team, she is responsible for building relationships with corporations, foundations, and other non-profit organizations. She works closely with Bush Institute program directors to obtain support for projects in education reform, economic growth, human freedom, global health, women's empowerment, and aid to U.S. military veterans.
Most recently, Martin served as Deputy Director of the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, she was responsible for setting and implementing the vision of the Women's Initiative which seeks to empower women worldwide to lead in their communities and countries. During her tenure, Martin directed a year-long leadership program for rising women leaders in the Middle East and North Africa and highlighted stories of hope in Afghanistan through the publishing and promotion of We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, Martin served as a Senior Event Coordinator for the Washington Speakers Bureau where she managed speaking engagements and advance for Mrs. Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Bush, and Governor Jeb Bush. Martin served in the Bush Administration as Scheduler and Trip Coordinator to Mrs. Laura Bush.
A native of Mississippi, Martin graduated from Samford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Akola Project.
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Dreamer to Achiever
In Egypt, it was not common for women to run or play sports in public. 2013 WE Lead Scholar Mariz Doss worked to change that perception.