Sterling Women, a monthly networking luncheon featuring the DC area’s most prominent women entrepreneurs and business leaders, marked its 10thanniversary this month.
The organization, which has no dues to attendees, was created and founded in 2008 by Reston Limousine President and CEO Kristina Bouweiri, who still leads each session.
To help celebrate the anniversary, 10 of the original speakers were invited back for the August program to share their experience, wisdom, and successes since first speaking at Sterling Women. One of the most impactful stories was that of Zarif Sahin, who was given away as a 13-year-old child bride in her home country of Turkey. After moving to the U.S. with her husband, she taught herself English from watching episodes of Sesame Street. After leaving her husband, she worked as a child care provider and hairstylist. Today, she is one of the top realtors in Virginia. Her Sterling Women speech led to a TED talk and she is now a global ambassador for women’s rights.
Another inspiring story was that of Amy Dagliano. Although Amy had attended Sterling Women many times, she was particularly moved by a speech by KeyLime founder Jaclyn O’Brien. Like O’Brien, Dagliano also suffered from Lyme disease and the difficulties and roadblocks discussed in O’Brien’s speech resonated with her. After the speech she drove to her boss’s office and resigned to start her own business. Rowan Tree was the first women-focused coworking and cogrowth space in Virginia.
Bouweiri is also passionate about giving back to the community and Sterling Women has hosted numerous fundraising events over the years. Sterling Women raised more than $200,000 for charities in Loudoun County.
“I am moved by the number of women who joined us for our ten-year anniversary. Sterling Women has always been a place that businesswomen can come to be inspired, make connections and make lifelong friends,” Bouweiri stated. “I am so proud of all the amazing things our speakers have accomplished since joining us for the first time.”
U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) and County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) attended the anniversary event to commemorate the anniversary.
Learn more about Sterling Women atsterlingwomen.org/sterling.