Helping Women Succeed in the Workplace

Creating an Opportunity for Other Women to Have a Second Chance

Carolyn Bondy

Empowering Women as Leaders (EWL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting non-traditional aged women in financial need achieve their highest potential through scholarships, mentoring, and networking.

Founded in 2004, EWL provides scholarship assistance to non-traditional college-aged women who often face challenges with obtaining traditional financial support. We call the women we support our “STARs”. Our goal is to ignite each STAR's own light and energy and give them confidence that they can achieve their dreams.

We go the distance with our STARs by providing them with both mentors and networking opportunities during their college years and as they take on leadership roles in their careers. These events help them gain confidence as they move into the workplace.

The Woman Behind EWL

EWL is the vision of Carolyn Bondy, who has an extraordinary passion to leave a legacy for women who are financially unable to complete their college education. She also has a strong desire to demonstrate that one woman with a dream can make a difference.

Carolyn’s motivation comes from her roots in East Texas. Carolyn grew up in Beaumont, Texas, raised by a supportive and loving family. Her parents wanted her to go to college; however, Carolyn got married at 19 years old and by the age of 25, she admitted to her parents that she had made a terrible mistake and was getting a divorce.

At that time, Carolyn’s parents suggested that she move back home to go to college and that they would pay for her education. That was a major turning point in Carolyn’s life.  It took her seven years to complete college, but at age 32 she graduated from Lamar University with a 3.7 GPA and a job offer from Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. With an education and a desire to achieve, Carolyn’s career excelled through the years. She later worked for Sabre Airline Solutions where, within seven short years, she rose to the position of Vice President.

As Carolyn approached 50 years old, she began to reflect on her life and what she could do to leave a legacy and make a difference. She wanted to give other women the second chance her parents gave to her to further her education.

After considerable research, in October 2004 Carolyn founded EWL with nine other women, all from the corporate world and all who shared her desire to help other women achieve. They met with the Dean of Texas Woman’s University and told him of their newly established 501(C)3. He was so impressed that he helped EWL establish our STAR program that continues to this day.

The approach is simple. The organization has partnered with Texas Women’s University who helps provide the pipeline of candidates to be considered for scholarships. Currently, there are EWL Chapters (locations) in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and Houston. The Chapter board is responsible for the fundraising required to support the STARs with their educational needs, as well as the interview process to select the STARs. STARs are brought on board two times annually. Once selected, they are paired with a mentor to assist them throughout their education and into their career journeys.

Celebrating Our Success

Carolyn’s dream was to provide scholarships to 50 women by the time she was 80 years old. Within twelve years that goal was exceeded, and new goals were made to establish EWL Chapters throughout the United States and to grant an additional 250 scholarships.

To date, EWL has sponsored over 138 women in re-inventing their lives through scholarships and mentoring. EWL has awarded $375,000 in scholarships. Our STARs graduate with an average GPA of 3.5 and success rate of 95%. We are successful because of an intense program of support, mentoring, networking, career advice and assistance dedicated to helping our STARs through their journey.

We continue to have a strong relationship with Texas Women’s University. EWL is currently working to establish partnerships with two additional university systems, which will help broaden our reach to support many more deserving women.

We have many inspirational stories of our STARs that can be found here.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Olympia Trust Company, Olympia Financial Group Inc., or any of its affiliates. The author’s views and opinions are based upon information they consider reliable, but neither Olympia Trust Company, Olympia Financial Group Inc. nor any of its affiliates, warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such.

Carolyn Bondy
Chairman & Founder, Empowering Women as Leaders

Carolyn Bondy has over 25 years of experience successfully building and transforming organizations. She was a Fortune 500 executive with Sabre and Hexagon, leading software providers in their industry. Carolyn spent the first 16 years of her career with Sabre, a leading technology provider in the travel space. Carolyn led the Professional Services organization, responsible for software development, quality assurance and account management. She managed an organization that contributed to 4x revenue growth for the business unit. After her tenured career at Sabre, Carolyn served as Vice President of Americas Services for Hexagon and led the effort to transform and restructure the 125 person services organization. Carolyn was responsible for instilling a stronger culture across the organization resulting in reduced employee turnover. Carolyn retired in 2008 to focus on growing Empowering Women as Leaders (EWL), a nonprofit she established in 2004.