EWI Legacy Stories Project Ep. #8: Meet Sharmila Karamchandani

Sharmila Karamchandani a graphic designer, art educator, and entrepreneur coach. She is an EWI alumna and has been an ETS lead trainer for over a decade. She is the founder and director of Khush Designs and teaches graphic design at local colleges.  

Originally from India, Sharmila Karamchandani immigrated to the US in 1998 to pursue her Master’s in Graphic Design in Savannah. She graduated, got married, and moved to Alexandria, VA. Her first encounter with Empowered Women International was on Craigslist. Sharmila was new to the area and looking for work and saw an ad for an organization that wanted somebody to make handmade cards for them. She reached out and was invited to the office to interview for the job. 

Sharmila first met Marga Fripp at that initial interview. Upon seeing Sharmila’s graphic design portfolio, Marga convinced Sharmila to participate in the Entrepreneur Training for Success program. “I was skeptical at first because there was an entry fee,” she remembers, “But this little voice inside my head said to just try it.” 

EWI was a community with other women artists in similar situations to her own. She explains, “I could come and interact with other women from other parts of the world, and everyone was facing some challenges. And a lot of isolation... being together with other women felt quite empowering.” It was exactly what she needed.  

Sharmila asked to become a program intern after finishing ETS. She wanted to learn more from Marga and trained to be an entrepreneur coach. Now, Sharmila has been a Lead Entrepreneur Training for Success trainer with EWI for over 16 years and has trained dozens of women. Her tenure exceeds anyone else, including Marga!  

Since moving to Virginia, Sharmila’s accomplishments extend beyond her work with EWI. She is a graphic design professor at the Corcoran School of Arts and Design and teaches calligraphy and visual arts classes. She founded her business, Khush Designs, in 2014. She is the graphic designer behind many of EWI’s projects including EWI’s logo and some of EWI’s Holiday Market posters. 

The Empowered Women International Program is close to her heart. At the end of her interview, she shares, “I have a lot of gratitude for EWI. I want to take this opportunity to thank EWI and Marga Fripp and all the other women I have met through this organization. I have a sister tribe that has formed, there are like 6 or 7 of us, and all of them have come to me through EWI. I hope people will hear the weight in my voice when I say thank you.” 

Watch the interview with EWI here: 

You can find Sharmila and Khush Designs at: 

Khush Designs Website: https://www.khushdesigns.com/ 

Instagram: @khushdesigns 

Sharmila’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharmila-karamchandani/