News and Updates

Amber Rasberry in Community Service Spotlight

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As most of you know, we have some of the most incredible volunteers in Los Angeles! Amber Rasberry is one of those volunteers who is featured in the Community Service Spotlight by one of her professional organizations, Colour Entertainment Group. Lionsgate executive Amber Rasberry is a Co-Facilitator for the EmpowHer Leaders Academy, the Saturday program that supports 20-25 high schoolers from the 9th to 12th grades.  Please take a minute to read Amber’s interview that highlights the work we do at EmpowHer: Colour Entertainment Newsletter. The post is also on our Facebook page.

We are very proud of Amber and appreciate all that she does to develop the girls in the EmpowHer Leaders Academy. This is a program for high school girls that takes place every third Saturday of the month providing career and college readiness, mentors and leadership skills.

Colour Entertainment Group is a non profit organization dedicated to maximizing the potential of executives of color who work in the entertainment industry. Through networking events, educational seminars, speaker series and mentoring, we  engage, connect and support diverse executives who will continue to be successful in the ever changing media world. It is our goal to develop the best television, film, digital executives and assistants in the business.

Interview with EmpowHer Institute Teacher Shari Washington

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Empowher Institute: What prompted you to become an EmpowHer facilitator?

Shari Washington: Since the age of 17, I have been encouraging, motivating and empowering youth to be their best.  I believe that all youth have the potential to succeed, with the proper support and guidance. When I was job hunting I looked for organizations that embodied this and came upon EmpowHer.  I was in awe and excited about joining such an amazing team.


Empowher Institute: Who would you say has been an influential mentor to you and why?

Shari Washington: I began my work with youth in Boston, MA with an organization called ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development). My mentor, Mr. Henry Smith, was the director of this program. He constantly encouraged me, reminded me of my worth, gifts and potential. He believed in me so much that he promoted me to a position that someone 25 years of age or older typically held. At 17-years old, I was the youngest person ever to hold this counseling position.


Empowher Institute: What has made you most proud in your life and why?

Shari Washington: What has made me most proud is being a mom of two amazing young men. Along with the normal challenges of raising children, I find solace and joy in the “special and irreplaceable” moments. Whether it’s a conversation about life on the way to school, or celebrating a win after their games (basketball/football), I feel honored to be their Mom.  I’m proud of their academic, athletic and personal accomplishments. I’m proud of their humble spirits and giving hearts. I’m proud of their determination to do better and be better. I’m confident that they we will be successful and make a positive difference in our society.


Empowher Institute: What inspires you?

Shari Washington:  A bright smile when I tell a student they are amazing, a raised head when I remind them that there isn’t anything they can’t do with determination and effort, a changed attitude and approach to academics, teachers, family and friends inspires me. The young ladies who don’t realize or haven’t yet tapped into their greatness inspire me, because I know what they don’t know, that potential, gifts, success and greatness are deep within them. I’m inspired to assist them in tapping into all of this and shining their greatness!


Empowher Institute: What’s an unexpected life lesson you’ve learned?

Shari Washington: I just celebrated 1 year of survival from Breast Cancer. This was by far unexpected and life changing to say the least. Being faced with death automatically heightened my appreciation of life and all that it has to offer.  I embrace the big things and the little things in life. I no longer sweat the small stuff.  My lenses have been eternally altered to embrace what and who is good in my life versus bad. I’m thankful for another chance and want to pay it forward by continuing to make a positive difference in the lives of our young ladies.


Empowher Institute:  What are two pieces of advice you’d like to share with young girls?

Shari Washington: First, you can’t control situations or how people act, be it good or bad; but you can control how you respond. And second, strive to respond in a positive and productive way. Move towards an outcome that puts you in a good place mentally, physically, and spiritually.


Empowher Institute:  When do you feel empowered?

Shari Washington:  I feel most empowered when I am edifying, encouraging and guiding our girls towards success. Personal, academic, athletic, the sky is the limit! I want each and every young lady I come in contact with to realize the beauty they possess within. It might not happen right away, but I will plant that seed and constantly water it! This empowers me!


Empowher Institute:  What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Shari Washington:  The three words that best describe me are: Passionate, Committed, Driven.


Empowher Institute: What do you see as a goal in the foreseeable future?

Shari Washington: My goal is to be a part of EmpowHer for a very long time. I feel like I’m home, in that I’ve found an organization where I can do my life’s work. I want to help this organization continue to grow, prosper and positively change the lives of countless young women. I know I can continue to inspire and proactively lead young women being on the EmpowHer Team.  I want to be that positive difference, I want to be that constant reminder of what they are capable of achieving. I hope my work, my efforts, and my life speak for themselves.

In Memoriam of Lorraine L. Loder (1953-2013)

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In Memoriam of Lorraine L. Loder (1953-2013)–Lorraine L. Loder, Founding Board Member and Treasurer for almost a decade with EmpowHer made her final transition in the early morning hours on Monday, July 8, 2013.  She will be remembered for her quick and biting wit, her thoughtful and intelligent approach to analyzing issues, and her understated but unmistakable generosity of spirit.  Lorraine was deeply concerned about those who were marginalized in our community and shared her passion in the work of keeping at-risk teen girls in school. Her leadership pushed the organization to achieve the success of its first major fundraiser, “Girls to Greatness” on April 25, 2013.

Lorraine was a woman who exemplified the values and mission of EmpowHer Institute.  She learned early in life that one must develop herself to be self-reliant, courageous, and caring in order to realize the true meaning of the word “success”.  Her self-reliance shined through during her early years as a lawyer who eventually built a practice,  the Law Office of Lorraine L. Loder, that spanned the range of serving both corporate and individual clients in state, federal, and bankruptcy courts.  Lorraine graduated from USC, J.D., A.B. (cum laude).

Her courage in fighting the five-plus year battle with cancer was displayed every day of her life, after receiving the diagnosis and yet engaging each day with optimal diligence and hope.  And her caring for others, including her kitties, Baby Girl and Pretty Girl, her monthly lunch bunch, her colleagues at the One Bunker Hill partnership, her gal pals at Women Lawyers of L.A., her compadres at Human Rights Watch, her singing angels at the Athenian Choir of the LA Athletic Club, and the many individuals whose lives she touched just by being herself – was seemingly without limits.

EmpowHer remembers Boardmember Lorraine L. Loder with deep appreciation and love.  We will always keep her in our memory as a sister and friend.  A public memorial for Lorraine is being planned to take place within the month.   Please watch this site for details.

End of School Celebration with LA Sparks WNBA Game

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Celebrate/ Help Fundraise with EmpowHer Institute and the LA Sparks

EmpowHer Institute & LA Sparks are inviting you to the End of School Celebration with the EmpowHer Girls from Thurgood Marshall, ICEF Inglewood Middle Academy and Environmental Charter Middle School.

EmpowHer Girls celebrate at L.A. Sparks Game on June 8th! Purchase your ticket here and join in the fun.

Click here to begin purchasing your tickets online

  • One ticket to the Sparks game, June 8th   vs. Tulsa
  • First 10 to purchase tickets will get one (1) post game autograph pass.

To receive the EmpowHer Promotion:

  • Click here to begin purchasing your tickets online
  • Select game date
  • Enter promo code: greatness
  • Then enter your Ticketmaster user name and password (if you already have an account have an account established). If not, create an account easily where indicated on the far right asking for your account information
  • Now you’re ready to check out
  • Print your tickets from home with no Ticketmaster fees

Girls to Greatness Gala was AWESOME!

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Girls to Greatness Gala was AWESOME! Our inaugural fundraiser, Girls to Greatness Gala Reception and Awards far exceeded our expectations. Our guests were warmly greeted by our student ambassadors and our mentors as teams. It was a beautiful evening with “Girl Power” everywhere. There was the Valet of the Dolls when you came in to park your car, there was music by the Keschia Potter Quartet that had people glued to their seats and during the evening our Emcees, Dawnn Lewis and Phil LaMarr kept the program entertaining and informative. When everyone left for the evening, they had a little something sweet with fried donuts from Fry Girl. Here are some pictures from the evening.

EmpowHer Institute Founder Receives Ruby Award

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Our Founder, Betty LaMarr, has been selected by the Manhattan Beach Soroptimist Club as this year’s Ruby Award winner. She will be celebrated and awarded the honor on March 10th at the LunaFest Film Festival hosted at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

Manhattan Beach Soroptimist Ruby Award Winner

The Soroptimist Ruby Award honors women who, through their professional or personal efforts, are making extraordinary differences in the lives of women or girls. Honorees are women who have worked to improve the lives of other women or girls. Their work has had a significant impact, and also inspires and encourages other women.

LunaFest is a showing of short films for and about women. You can get Tickets



For more information, visit us at

 LUNAFEST Films 2013