Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other. She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her. Please say hello to…
Women on Fire Member: #00004
Member since November 2011
Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.
My husband, Dave, and I are empty nesters for the first time in our 19 years of marriage and our collective 44 years of raising kids … his, hers and ours! August marked was the first time in 27 years that I didn’t have to fill out the never-ending and dreaded “back to school” forms and fees. We are loving finding our new normal.
I am an executive director of sales field learning and development at Thirty-One Gifts, the 28th largest direct selling company in the world. I work with an amazing CEO, Cindy Monroe, and an amazing staff that celebrates and supports a sales field of over 90,000 women.
What are you “on fire” about?
Taking back my health, one walk-run, one bike ride, and one lap in the pool at a time. I am a four-year survivor of carcinoid cancer, and 2015 is the first year that I have been surgery- and treatment-free. I believe that every woman — no matter her size, shape or circumstance — can begin to reclaim her heath!
I am launching a closed Facebook group called Powerful … Not Perfect to encourage women to journey with me, just as they are, starting right where they are. It is such a relief to show up willing rather than to stay behind waiting.
How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?
Rob Berkley! Rob was my amazing executive coach, and I met Debbie during Vision Days, first in Naples, Florida, and then in Martha’s Vineyard for a group Vision Day. Debbie and I talked one morning over breakfast at the Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard, and she shared her incredible vision for Women on Fire.
I knew instantly that this was the kind of support and community so many women needed and would benefit from. After I received my executive coaching certification, I worked with Debbie and offered Women on Fire teas and the first Women on Fire coaching groups in the Columbus, Ohio, area.
What one thing are you the most proud of?
In August, I rode in Pelotonia — the bike tour that raises funds for cancer research at the Ohio State University — and am happy to say I crushed every goal, riding 50 miles in four hours or less, with only one stop, and raising $4,000.
In April, I didn’t even own a bike in April, and I was scared to put my goal out there publicly. I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to do it. It felt good to start from ground zero with my training and then to meet or beat every goal.
I highly recommend setting a big — maybe even scary — goal. It moves you forward to another place.
What is your big dream?
I think my dream is now unfolding, four years into my journey back from being so sick. My dream manifested into helping women (especially those over age 50) try new adventures, maybe for the first time working to take back their health and possibly their life!
Along the way, there has been lots of fun, lots of encouragement, lots of laughter and much celebration! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful!
As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
A doctor or a writer. That ambition may have merely manifested in a different way than I imagined. I love to see healing occur and hear the stories that come from the journey toward wholeness and full potential.
If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?
Be adventurous and explore with curiosity and confidence, fully embracing and owning your journey along the way. We have a hand-carved mirror in our home that says it this way, “Go out for adventure and come home for love.”
Where do you find inspiration?
In the stories and success of others.
What is your favorite time-management strategy?
I have learned to manage my energy rather than my time, and it has made all the difference.
Name another Woman on Fire who has inspired you and tell why.
Amy Marzluff is someone I greatly admire. She is wonderfully talented at her craft and continually meets women right where they are and lifts them. She has a passion and a drive to help women in their health journey, but does it in such a way that makes them feel safe, educated and empowered with new information and always, always celebrated.
Amy is a lifelong learner, which I admire, and generous in heart and spirit in sharing her expertise and wisdom. I love her dearly.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced? How did you overcome it?
My divorce and the events that led up to it. I wrote about it in the first Women on Fire book. I had so much work to do on myself to recover and heal. I had to silence the negative voices and find my own, which was really tricky with young children and all the stress that came with a corporate job as a single mother.
I really had to learn to do things on my own terms, which wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t always successful at it. The biggest lessons learned were to celebrate my strengths, admit my mistakes, be quick to forgive myself and others, and be open to any repair work that needed to happen along the way.
Who cheers you on?
My husband, my children and my family and a handful of friends. I am very grateful and blessed to have a wonderful community within my close circle of family and friends.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
It is from a speech called “The Man in the Arena” by Teddy Roosevelt, which hung in my father’s office until he died. Now it hangs in mine.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I always have room for…
kids and grandkids!
I’m picky when it comes to…
My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is…
hearing other women’s stories.
My favorite go-to self-care strategy…
silence in nature.
I dream of visiting…
Greece and Italy.
I can’t wait to return to…
Hilton Head and New York.
I’m getting better at…
saying yes to me first.
I still need to work on…
putting big dreams in the forefront.
I would love to have lunch with…
my mom, all of my daughters, and my sisters and their daughters. What fun!! I can hear the laughter now!
I’m always up for…
a bike ride.
I have a soft spot for…
teenagers and young women starting their careers. I think in that order (smile).
I have no sympathy for…
The top three songs on my iPod right now are…
I could spend hours…
I believe in…
I never forget to celebrate…
a goal or dream realized! I love to celebrate that journey!
I don’t leave the house without…
my confidence and compassion.
I never developed a taste for…
I’m always on the lookout for…
a new, wonderful, BIG idea.
My biggest pet peeve is…
the phrases “I am so jealous” and “you are so lucky.”
The best thing I ever did…
was giving birth and being a mother to my incredible children
More about Andrea Dowding …
In addition to her work with Thirty-One Gifts, Andrea is a leader in the innovative field of executive and life coaching. She specializes in coaching and supporting professional women and top leaders in the $34 billion industry of U.S. Direct Sales.
She is an accomplished keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, whose insights and life strategies were highlighted in the chapter she wrote for Women on Fire, Vol. 1.
Andrea formerly served as the vice president of sales and executive director of product innovation for The Longaberger Company as it grew to be a billion-dollar direct-selling business. She developed and oversaw the new product lines and was co-inventor on 27 products that received U.S. patents.
Andrea resides in Dresden, Ohio, with her husband and one of their six daughters.