It’s hot over here at Women On Fire

Chances are you may be roasting in this heat wave! If you’re melting, as we are here on Martha’s Vineyard, I hope you have a tall, cool drink in your hand.

I just stuck glasses of lemonade in the freezer for an hour or so to make them all frosty and slushy. Have you ever tried that?  It’s refreshing relief on days like this!

We had a busy weekend here on our little island, and I was so thrilled to see a number of you at our Friday Night on the Deck party, co-hosted by Woman on Fire Ellen Wingard.

The evening featured our friend, the dynamic, inspiring author Andrew Carroll and his new book Here is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History. Read a fascinating interview with him in today’s New York Times.

One of Women on Fire’s most important aspirations as a community is to cheer on each other when we hit a milestone, move closer to a dream, or reach a goal.

*This Week’s Pinspiration*

Pin to pass the love

[pinit]There are Two Ways of Spreading Light- Women On FIre

Today’s SPARK! is dedicated to celebrating your recent news, achievements, joys and successes in following your dreams. Let the cheering begin!


At Calvin Klein, Holly Getty is moving on up! (Photo by Rob Berkley)

Women on Fire Book co-author and fashion industry executive Holly Getty of New York City has been promoted at Calvin Klein to Vice President of Fabric.

Holly has worked in the industry for 19 years, nine at Calvin Klein.  In her role, she frequently travels to Europe and Asia to select fine fabrics for the fashion-forward Calvin Klein platinum line.

Many of you have worked privately with Holly, Women on Fire’s resident personal style consultant. She works magic in helping you to organize your closet, find your perfect style, and so much more.

Congratulations on your much-deserved news, Holly! You can send your best wishes to her at holly@hollygetty.com


Jaclyn Reilly performing at the Waltz Astoria in Queens, New York

Musician and singer-songwriter Jackie Reilly is appearing before audiences at venues near her home in Queens. She recently regaled us with her extraordinary talent at a Women on Fire tea in New York City.  Check out her youtube channel.  Or connect with her on her Facebook fan page.

Jan Allen of Columbus, Ohio will be speaking at The Transition Network’s “Celebration of Age — Wine and Chocolate” event in Gahanna from 6-8PM Wednesday, July 17. Her talk will be  “Claiming the Peaks: Embracing the Extraordinary After 50.”

She’ll be sharing inspiration on how to live the 3rd/3rd of your life. Register for your ticket here.


Jan Johnsen with one of her pool and landscape designs

Jan Johnsen of Hudson, New York, who owns Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, has signed a book contract with St. Lynn’s Press to write a garden book about design secrets to create serene outdoor spaces.

The book also will feature Jan’s original photography. I invite you to check out her latest feature in the Westchester Journal News.  Way to go, Jan!


Terri Cole’s beautiful meditation CD

Terri Cole of New York City, founder of Live Fearless and Free, and a licensed psychotherapist and transformational coach is hosting a webinar Monday, July 8 at 9PM Eastern/6PM Pacific.

The webinar topic is “How To Get It All Done (Without Undoing Myself in the Process).” Sounds fantastic, right!? I’m signed up and looking forward to soaking up the wisdom of this brilliant Woman on Fire member. It’s free!  Register here to attend.

 


Laurie Forster is at Caroline’s, one of New York City’s most popular comedy clubs

She started out at a software saleswoman and then became the celebrated wine educator known as The Wine Coach.  Today Laurie Forster of Easton, Maryland has parlayed her career into comedy!

The StandUp Sommelier will be performing Something to Wine About, her one-woman comedy show and wine tasting at 7PM July 24 at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York City.

Laurie is giving Women on Fire a special access code: SIPPING

You will receive a free copy of her book The Sipping Point when you purchase a ticket to her show. What a fun night to share with many other amazing Women on Fire who are attending! Purchase tickets here.

Kelley Black of New York City is graciously offering to give any Woman on Fire free entry to one of her Naam yoga women’s classes as a first-time guest. These special classes are held every Wednesday from 6:30-7:45 at 141 W. 72nd Street, 2nd floor.

Naam is a practice that combines mediaton and yoga and Kelley is a very skilled and experienced teacher. If you live in NYC or will be traveling there, please email Kelley for more information and to claim a spot in her class. kelley@balancingexec.com

Kacy Cook of Columbus, Women on Fire’s book editor (including the newest Women on Fire book coming in late summer!) is an author in her own right.  Her delightful, award-winning, young adult novel NUTS (amazon link) is featured on Amazon’s summer reading contest.  NUTS is a story about a young girl who rescues an abandoned baby squirrel. Congratulations, Kacy!

Julie Quackenbush of Dublin, Ohio graduated from the Hudson Institute of Coaching on June 5. She completed an 8-month program and is now a certified transition coach with Next Chapter Transition Coaching. We are excited for you, Julie!

Beth Bryce of Saginaw, Michigan, and a co-author in the upcoming Women On Fire Book co-author, was recently featured in Forbes.com on the power of breaking through career inertia. We recently told you about Beth’s new job  with Northwood University. The article follows her path to leave her successful, 20-year career in financial management to pursue more fulfilling work. It’s an inspiring journey and I hope you’ll read all about it here!

Congratulations all!

I know you are working on your dreams, too, and I hope you have enjoyed hearing what your Women on Fire sisters are doing with theirs and sharing with the world!

Each month when I hear these stories, I feel motivated to stay on track with my own goals and dreams.  So thank you, everyone.

I’ll see you back here next week with healthy recipes from our recent Women on Fire cleanse with holistic health coach Amy Marzluff.  I think you’re gonna like!

I’m so happy you’re here and hope you stay cool this week.

Cheering you on with lots of love

[plinker]

Just a quickie! ;-)

Hope you won’t mind me popping in quickly to just say hi.

I’m in New York City with Rob celebrating my birthday and am squeezing out every single second in this fabulous city!

We’ve gone to the theater twice (saw performances of “Motown” and “Book of Mormon”; loved them both and recommend to you); had lunch at my new favorite restaurant Marea (author Toni Morrison sat by us!)

And we’ve walked, walked, walked including past my favorite Big Booty Bakery! Every time I see this sign I crack up, and Rob just happened to be there with his camera – ahem.

Women on Fire personal style consultant Holly Getty is headed over to pick me up in a few minutes — to go buy new bras from her special source. After our Women on Fire “Get Your Summer On” cleanse success, I lost 8 pounds and am now in need of new ones. (Sorry about the TMI!)

(More soon on how our fabulous group of Women on Fire, led by holistic health coach Amy Marzluff,did after our 21-day cleanse.  We can’t wait to share with you some of our favorite yummy, luscious, healthy recipes!)

Before I go, thank you to all the wonderful women who attended last Friday’s Women on Fire tea in New York City.

The tea kicked off my birthday weekend. And, just when I think a tea party can’t get any more inspiring, it does.  We had soooo much fun!  (We celebrated Kelley Black’s birthday, too! And, talented singer-songwriter Jaclyn Reilly gave us a little concert:-))


Women on Fire tea participants: Front row: Mary Ann Reilly, Jaclyn Reilly, Susan Perry, Teresa Goetz; back row: Meredith Schoenberger, Debbie Palocin, Darlene Wade, Holly Getty, Jan Nolte, me!, Lexi Baltazar, Kelley Black, Michelle Tenzyk and Shannon McCaffery. Missing from photo: Jenifer Madson and Pier Boutin. (Rob Berkley photo)

Happy official summer to each of you! Thank you for reading The Spark! and being a part of this amazing community and for sharing Women on Fire with the fabulous women you love.

See YOU soon at a Women on Fire event!  I’ll be back next week … a year older and maybe even a week wiser:-)

Shine your lights, Women on Fire!

I firmly believe when you see another woman on her path, you can be inspired to know what is possible for you.

And for our Women on Fire members highlighted today, I hope you will feel us cheering you on for your work and dedication to follow your dreams!

First up, we shine the light on a collection of women. They are the 21 co-authors of Vol. 2 of our book Women on Fire: 21 More Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!) 


Women on Fire Book co-authors gathering in New York City — Front row: Mary Kay Purdy, Susan Kruger, Marilyn Brown, me!, Tricia Simpson, Leah Hamilton, Marge Snyder. Back row: Heike Vogel, Maria Verroye, Sophfronia Scott, Lisa Arundale, Linda Neff, Kacy Cook, Kim Davis, Beth Bryce, Laurel Hodory, Jenifer Madson, Kay Raypholtz, Carrie Saba, Sarah Elizabeth Greer, Michelle Whittaker and Meredith Schoenberger. Co-authors missing from the photo were Jan Allen, Nicole Friedler Brisson and Mary Carran Webster. (Photo by Rob Berkley)

Together with publisher Sophfronia Scott, editor Kacy Cook, communications and marketing manager Meredith Schoenberger, we all met recently in New York City to share a day of inspiration, connection and personal stories.

 

Our co-authors have all written their transformative chapters of struggle and triumph — and they all did it by our deadline.  (What an accomplishment:-) The book will be published this summer and I promise you are going to be inspired!


Dyana on her Sunday shift at the 9/11 memorial

For Dyana Robenalt of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, life has now come full circle.

After witnessing the collapse of the World Trade Center towers from the rooftop of her Manhattan office building,  she abandoned her executive sales position with UPS.  And she went to work to rebuild her spirit.

She moved to the Poconos and developed her gardening skills and expertise. She now manages the gardens of large estates through the Estate and Enhancement Division at Statile & Todd in Far Hills, New Jersey.

And to prove how healing it is to give back, today Dyana volunteers at the new 9/11 memorial.

If you visit the memorial, she’s happy to help you or provide information and you can reach her dyanarobenalt@gmail.com.

Personal style consultant Holly Getty of New York City, was featured on New York’s WPIX-TV morning show for her styling expertise. She led a segment on denim that WOWed the producers and audience!

How fabulous is this illustration above of Holly? Another example of an amazing Women on Fire collaboration as it was a gift to Holly from Lara Licharowicz of New York City created by the talented Rosemary Fanti of Chicago.


Siiri Morley (in the green top and necklace) during her recent visit to Haiti

Siiri Morley of Boston was recently in Haiti launching a new pilot program for the company she founded to provide jobs for refugee women and that Women on Fire champions — Prosperity Candle.

Many of you met Siiri at our retreat in Chicago last fall, and she has tirelessly worked to promote Properity Candle, which was recently featured on NBC’s Today Show!

Congratulations, too, to Woman on Fire Dana Frost of Chicago for becoming a powerful supporter of Prosperity Candle with her own unique brand of candle scent.  “Share the light, Change a Life” is Properity Candle’s motto and Siiri and Dana are doing just that!


Phoebe Lapine dazzling television hosts with her healthy, easy cooking style

Private chef and cookbook author Phoebe Lapine of New York City is receiving a ton of buzz — and deservedly so! — for her celebrated food blog Feed Me Phoebe.

Even if you don’t like to cook, the pictures alone make it an enticing read!

Phoebe marked the first anniversary of her blog with a segment on New York City’s CBS affiliate’s “Cooking on The Couch.” Check out the clip and recipe for Phoebe’s yummy Fusilli with Asparagus-Radish Leaf Pesto here!


Christina Haag with the adorable Danny Pino in Law & Order: SVU

Christina Haag of New York City appeared on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU when she starred in “Girl Dishonored” on April 24. She portrayed the Dean of Students in this riveting episode, so set your DVRs because it’s sure to replay soon!

Nicole Lovett of Columbus, Ohio has signed on to help coach the parents in the popular show Six Little McGhee’s on Oprah’s OWN Network.

Not only is Nicole making her national television debut, but she’s doing it while she’s 7 1/2 months pregnant!  She is expecting a little girl soon.

Nicole was a member last year of Jan Allen’s Women on Fire coaching group. In 2012, Nicole also was Women on Fire’s  Theo Scott Scholar in honor of the late sister of Sophfronia Scott.

Congratulations to another Women on Fire member in Jan Allen’s group — Jane Juergens of Columbus.

Jane recently married her extensive experience in human resources with the need for companies to implement and optimize cloud-based HR systems — and launched her own  company — PeopleGen.

Jane has a passion for helping others tap into their true potential and we are thrilled to see PeopleGen take life and we look forward to watching it grow!

Wendy Taucher of New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, has debuted her latest opera “Impresario Now! 90% Theater, 90% Musicale, Very Mozart Most of the Time.”

Talented Wendy co-wrote, directed and choreographed the entire show!  Her company — Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater — will be presenting the show from May 3-18, 2013 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on 407 W. 42nd St.  You can buy tickets here!

Congratulations to each of you for moving your dreams forward. You are an inspiration!  Sharing your gifts with the world full-out as you are doing WILL change the world.

We love hearing what you’re up to so please tell us so we can shine the light on YOU in an upcoming SPARK!

Believing in you and all that you bring to the world ~

Lean in…With Support!

The cat just looked at me as though I’m from Mars.

Wilber eats dinner every single day at 5PM. On the dot. When I served him his evening meal on this first day of daylight savings time, he was utterly confused.

To him, it was still 4PM. He walked away without even a lick of his Fancy Feast!

How’re you adjusting to the time change? Hope you’re easing into it better than Wilber ;-)

I just returned from New York City where I met with a number of Women on Fire, which is always so uplifting. I love hearing about your hopes and dreams, challenges and struggles, and sharing what is easier to do together than alone.


Lucky me in the middle of this Women on Fire sandwich with style consultant Holly Getty and finanical expert Manisha Thakor, who was featured in last month’s Women on Fire membership CD package. (Photo by Meredith Schoenberger)

While in New York, I also attended a conversation with Gloria Steinem and women who created Makers, the inspired stories of women trailblazers.

(I invite you to check it outWarning: once you go down the slippery slope of watching and reading about these fascinating women, you can’t stop! My favorite so far is Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon. You can’t believe what happened.)

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Gloria Steinem, who is 78,  in the center of conversation about the 50-year history of the Women’s Movement with producers and subjects in the “Makers” series.

Nearly everywhere I went last week, including in the conversation with Gloria, people were talking about two women in the national news: Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg.

Marissa Mayer, the chief executive officer at Yahoo, made headlines when she  announced her company would end the worker-friendly practice of telecommuting.

Her reasoning is that it is bad for a collaborative company to have so many employees losing out on interacting and participating in experiences “that are only possible in our offices.”

I see her point. Still, if a male CEO (other than Microsoft’s Bill Gates or Apple’s Tim Cook) banned telecommuting, I doubt it would have been news.

Then there is Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook. She has a big week ahead: she is on 60 Minutes, on the cover of Time Magazine (with the sexist perpetuating headline ‘Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Successful’) and on Tuesday her new book is released.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead explores what is keeping women from rising to the highest echelons of power.

“We hold ourselves back, in ways big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” she proclaims.

This 43-year-old working mother of two small children believes that women underestimate their abilities and “lean back and sit on the sidelines.” She herself admits to times of fear and holding back, and urges women to “lean in.”

Critics accuse her of making women feel as though failing to get ahead and achieve at the same rate as men is their fault. Others attack her because she is a billionnaire and don’t believe her advice resonates with the average woman.

I am eagerly awaiting my copy of the book.  But after reading pre-publication excerpts and interviews, I whole-heartedly support her.

“The time is long overdue to encourage more women to dream the possible dream and encourage more men to support women in the workforce and in the home,” she says.

Well, that is for sure.

Check out this brief video of what she hopes the book will inspire and tell me what you think? You also might watch her famous 2010 TEDx talk  about why women are not making it to the top anywhere in the world.

In her ideal scenario, “I believe this world would be a better place if half of our companies and half our countries are run by women and half our homes are run by men.”

When I think of leaning in, I also think how easy it is to tip over.

So, I also applaud Sheryl Sandberg for creating a foundation for Lean In Circles to support “a program for professional women that encourages them to review social-science research, share stories, receive instruction on career development, and “lean in” to (as opposed to opt out of) their careers.”

I can certainly buy that, too.

At Women on Fire, we’ve been doing just that for 10 years.  We’ve leaned in, listened, supported, shared information, resources and opportunities, and cheered each other on. We know how it works for you to have your dreams. Now it’s time to spread it to the world!


For a decade Women on Fire have shared and cheered each other on in circles of support. Pictured at a New York City gathering last Friday: Janina Sebesky, Holly Getty, Elle Celeste, me! Miriam Posner, Shannon McCaffery and Meredith Schoenberger.

Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg are blazing trails by igniting conversations that need to take place about women in the workplace.

Billionnaire or no, it takes a lot of guts to stand up and be criticized for leaning in to speak their truth.

Maybe one of them might even become powerful enough to ban Daylight Savings Time. ;-)

 

The secrets to making it happen!

Thank you for your notes and comments after I wrote last week about the importance of writing a goodbye letter when you leave a job.

Some of you asked whether the same process can be applied to a relationship break-up, or to walk away from toxic people, or for other transitions such as graduating from college or finding yourself in an empty nest.

Yes, yes and yes!

Just tailor the prompt questions to the situation you choose to release.  And, congratulations to all of you who wrote your goodbye letters. (And to the many who sent me yours, I loved reading them!!)

You should find it easier now to move on — and toward new dreams or goals you really want.


With Carmencita Whonder at the launch in New York City of her exquisite, fashion-forward, plus-size clothing line Of Whonder.

Speaking of moving toward what you really want, I want to introduce you to a Woman on Fire member who launched her inspired dream of what she really wanted last week — after only 14 months from vision to reality.  And, all while she was working a full-time job as a lobbyist!

I could not be prouder for Carmencita Whonder of Washington, DC who really rocked it in New York City last Wednesday when she unveiled at a preview party her plus-size line of luxury ready-to-wear clothing.

In honor of her family’s name and Jamaican heritage, she named her company Of Whonder.   She grew up in “a culture that truly celebrates women’s bodies, shapely bodies, the most feminine silhouettes.”

Carmencita noticed a need, an underserved market for the majority of women in this country:  62% of women wear size 14 or larger.


With Carmencita on stage in the background, note her stylish designs for sizes 12-24.

Purchasing top-of-the-line jewelry, handbags and shoes is no problem for plus-size women, yet it is nearly impossible to buy exquisitely designed, luxurious, contemporary clothing that fits well in larger sizes.

Carmencita is out to change all that!  And how did she make it happen?

Here are her secrets that you can use to launch your dream, too.

1)  Vision.  She experienced a need. She took seriously what she noticed was lacking in her own life, and she talked with lots of other women who saw the need, too.

In Carmencita’s own words, here is how she developed Of Whonder from dream to reality:

I was very clear about my vision and got clearer and clearer about it  the more I worked on it.  It was a process and the more I learned, the more I honed my vision. 

2) Goals and next steps.

I created a plan and a goal and set out to achieve it.   It was no easy task, but I just took one day at a time and got my family and friends on board to help (including Woman on Fire style consultant and fabric expert Holly Getty) and hired freelance consultants from the fashion industry to help me get closer and closer to my goal.

3) Persistent action.

I persistently took action every day.  One thing that I learned in this process and a quality I have really come to respect about myself is my ability to stay positive and nimble.  Things were always changing and many challenges arose.  Knowing that I can’t always control what others do, I focused on how to respond positively to roadblocks, setbacks, and I prayed daily.

This is just the beginning for Carmencita and her dream to serve and inspire the lives of so many women.

Her clothes will be available next month through her website.

And, you will be able to tell Oprah that you heard about this amazing Woman on Fire here first!  (How perfect that Of Whonder and Ms. Winfrey share the same initials! :-)

What about your own dreams?  What is missing in your life?  How might you transform that into your own dream? Know that you can always share your hopes and plans and receive support in the comment section below.

 

What our women are “on fire” about!

Ahhhh…

Everyone is gone and I’m sitting in the quiet for a few minutes …and letting the fun of the weekend settle over me.


After Thanksgiving,  conversation continued with our family of close friends enjoying breakfast and each other’s company on Martha’s Vineyard. Clockwise from top: Ellen Wingard, Patricia Seeman, Lisa Arundale, Shannon McCaffery, Holly Getty, Robert Joerger, Rob Berkley and me! (Photo by Edward Beck)

I hope your holiday weekend was filled with love and connection. Mine sure was and I am deeply grateful for the “family” I am surrounded by even though none were my biological relatives.

I hope you, too, have in your life a circle of loved ones you can really count on and feel supported and uplifted by.

This week’s SPARK! is our monthly review of what our fabulous Women on Fire are up to. This is the place to share how you’re doing with your dreams; what is new in your life; or just an update for how things are going.

Congratulations to each one of you! It is thrilling to hear your news and to know how diligently you worked to get where you are:


Sarah Elizabeth with her mothers Connie Greer and Sue Dohner after their debut in BIO-HAZARD: A Relative Comedy in New York City.  (Photo by Holly Getty)

Sarah Elizabeth Greer of New York City launched her long-awaited, much anticipated play on Theater Row in New York City with a single performance and within days won the BEST COMEDY Award at the United Solo Festival!

Sarah writes:
“My goal was to write and perform a comedy about the hazard of being found by my biological mother, and call it BIO-HAZARD: A Relative Comedy — and then invite both of my mothers to join me onstage to help me perform it.

“So, I created a Kickstarter Campaign and with the generous help of our one and only dear Debbie and other incredible Women on Fire like the brilliant and hilarious Kacy Cook, who just happens to be one of the funniest women on the planet (and who also took a stab at editing one of the early incarnations of the play) — as well as the generosity of the extraordinarily talented Janina Sebesky and Regina Weichert, I raised $18,000 and entered my script into the International United Solo Festival, which is the largest solo festival in the world.

“There were several Women on Fire in the audience, all of whom I share such a deep connection.  My dear friend Linda Yellin (whose incredible sense of funny inspires me weekly) with her husband Randy Arthur, beautiful Holly Getty, Janina and Regina were all there to cheer us on!

“Five days later, I was informed that my play had won BEST COMEDY of the festival!”

Actress and best-selling author Christina Haag of New York City is starring in the film Half Brother, which begins shooting in December.

She is the author the beautifully written, New York Times’ best-selling book, Come To The Edge, a deeply touching memoir of her romantic relationship with the late John F. Kennedy, Jr.

You may have met Christina at a Women on Fire tea in New York. Or you may  recognize her from some of her guest starring roles on shows such as ER, Law and Order, Boston Public, Heroes, Providence, among others, and starring roles on the stage and in independent features.


Jordan Edelheit jumping for joy at her success of her TWO big dreams!

Jordan Edelheit of Columbus, Ohio attended the Women on Fire Day in Columbus last year along with 25 other Ohio State University students and a tea last Spring led by Jan Allen and was inspired to launch two dreams!

Jordan writes:
“There were two parts to my Women on Fire dream. One was my desire to work within the prison system and to help share the often untold stories of the incarcerated.

“The second was a road trip that I was planning on embarking on over the summer. The two following videos represent summaries of these very different dreams coming true!

“Here is the 90-second promo video of the TEDxMarionCorrectional event, an amazing compilation of footage from a single day’s event at the prison that was more powerful than almost anything else that I have attended.

“I was recently given the opportunity to talk about my project that I created this summer at TEDxYouth@Columbus. It turned out to be an experience that took place in seven weeks and in 8344 miles to seek out over 140 change-makers. Here is the link to my TEDx talk and my dreams coming true.”

Laurie Forster of Easton, Maryland will bring her comedy act to The City Winery in New York City on January 9, 2013.

And, you are invited!  Seats are limited and advance purchase is suggested. You also can view her videos here.

An original Woman on Fire and co-author of the Women on Fire book, Laurie is best known as The Wine Coach®. She said in a recent Women on Fire members’  interview that wine may be the vehicle but helping people to have fun in life is her real mission!

 

Beth Kloesener of Saginaw, Michigan will partner with Northwood University to provide career services for their adult degree and MBA students at campuses based in Michigan, Texas and Florida.

Laura Tiberi of Delaware, Ohio listened to her intuition about coming to the Women on Fire Retreat in Chicago and it was a good thing she stayed home!  Her grandson Parker Matthew was born on Oct. 28.

We missed you, Laura, but were glad you didn’t miss Parker’s birth! Congratulations to you and your family.

Dr. Robyn Silverman of Mount Freedom, New Jersey has been invited by Parenting Magazine to be a member of their 2013 “Dream Team” Expert Editorial Advisory Board.

An author, speaker, coach and educator, Dr. Robyn will be called upon by the magazine to share her expertise about parenting, child development, body image and character education.

She frequently discusses these issues as a guest expert on NBC’s Today Show.

  

Just in time for holiday gift-giving to the little ones in your family, Rosi Amador of Cambridge, Massachusetts and her family have narrated and composed music for two new bilingual children’s audiobooks.

Congratulations, everyone.  It is inspiring to see the dreams of women in our community coming true!

Wishing you a great week ahead and I hope you make progress on something important to you in your life this week.

I’m about to dive into a 21-day cleanse to end the year in even better shape than I began it.  I start it tomorrow with the talented, holistic health coach Amy Marzluff.

Wish me luck and feel free to comment on the Women on Fire success stories above or your own experience with a cleanse by commenting here!

Nothing happens unless first a dream

I just arrived home from New York City where I celebrated with a number of you at a Women on Fire Tea and appeared on Janette Barber’s radio show on Sirius XM.

The trip was filled with many delicious surprises.
Women on Fire Tea in New York City on Friday — Front row: Lara Licharowicz, Jolie Solomon, Renee Schmidt; second row: Darlene Wade, Ann Graham, Janette Barber, Mary Ann Donatelli-Reilly, Holly Getty, Ellen Wingard, Debbie Phillips, Jenifer Madson, Kim Anderson, Sandra Carlson, Heike Vogel, Janina Sebesky and Muffy Vrana (Photos by Rob Berkley)

My birthday is June 25 so my husband came along to New York and treated me to an early birthday dinner with friends and a spa afternoon with Woman on Fire Holly Getty!

And, Woman on Fire Sarah Elizabeth Greer hosted an extraordinary brunch complete with a handsome bassist playing some of my favorite tunes.

So sliding into my actual birthday (a day I share with Woman on Fire Sandra Carlson!) I already feel very loved and blessed!


I love having the same birthday as Sandra Carlson of Washington, DC. Happy birthday to us on June 25! Do you share a birthday with anyone you know?

During my many discussions in New York, we talked a lot about going for our dreams.  And, one of you asked me: how do I even figure out my dreams?

Great question!

So before we talk about that today …

I want to welcome many of you who are here for the very first time.

Quite a few of you found us when you heard Janette Barber interviewing me on her radio show about the power of Women on Fire — women supporting and cheering each other to go for our dreams.


On the air with the fabulous Janette Barber, talking about the inspiration, strategies and support that make Women on Fire such an uplifting community!

As the American writer, editor and poet Carl Sandburg said: “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”

Fascinating to consider, isn’t it?

Here are some of the questions I’ve personally used and asked of many coaching clients over the years to help them figure out dreams worth pursuing.

Answer with as much candor as you can and this is also a good exercise to journal:

1) Who do you enjoy helping and what problems can you solve for them?

2) What wrong in the world do you want to make right?

3) When you were a child or teen-ager, what did you dream of doing?

4) What do people come to you for?

5) If money or making a living were not a consideration, what would you do with your precious life?

Your answers to one or more of these questions will give you clues to dreams you may want to follow. Your answers also can unearth long-held dreams that you’ve forgotten.

In my own life, my answer to Question #1 led me to my dream that eventually became Women on Fire!

The people I wanted to help were my women coaching clients.  Successful in many ways, they were often isolated and feeling alone in their struggles.

My dream was to connect them in a fun and inspiring way so they could have the experience of being surrounded and empowered by other women cheering on their successes.

It was started out with a handful of women at a tea party — and voila nearly a decade later we are more than 3,000 women strong!


Cheering each other on — here I am at last week’s tea party in New York City with Janina Sebesky, Mary Ann Donatelli-Reilly and Janette Barber — amazing, supportive Women on Fire.

Indeed, nothing happens unless first a dream!

May your life be filled with inspiring dreams and the inspiration, strategies and support to pursue them.

7 Ways My Eyes Were Opened

I am stuffed – and writing to you from New York City after finishing the yummiest brunch at Nice Matin, one of my favorite restaurants.

Edward Beck Debbie Phillips Holly Getty and Ellen Wingard
My uplifting and treasured friends Ellen Wingard, Edward Beck and Holly Getty. (Thank you, random person on street who took this wonderful photo!)

When I am surrounded with supportive friends who make me feel loved and cherished like Edward, Ellen and Holly, I believe I can go out into the world and do anything.

Who in your life makes you feel this way?  Whoever cheers you on and helps you move forward, I hope you have a date on your calendar to spend time with them!

I am in New York City because I was invited to attend the 3rd Annual Women in the World Summit, hosted by Newsweek/Daily Beast  Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown.

The summit was a convergence of 2,600 women from around the world and a showcase for some of the world’s most dazzling women change-agents – Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton, Leymah Gbowee, Gloria Steinem, Angelina Jolie, Sheryl Sandberg, Christiane Amanpour, Sheryl WuDunn and many, many more.

After three days of immersion into the hopes, dreams, conditions and status of women and girls worldwide, I so wish I could give each woman who presented her due.

Instead, I will share the 7 Things That Opened My Eyes.  These were awarenesses that inspire me to want to be part of the solution for a better world.  In some instances, I’m not sure exactly how to help so I will take our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to action as a roadmap.

“What does it mean to be a woman in the world?” she asked. “It means never giving up. It means getting up, working hard, and putting a country or a community on your back.”

There are many terrible things going on in the world that affect women.  The conference was not about politics, not about women vs. men, not about casting blame.  But rather how can we all join forces — no matter age, religion, political party, nationality — and find solutions.

This was, however, a call to action for women to use our gifts and talents, many unique to our gender, and help to solve our world’s problems.

Here are some topics that opened my eyes:

1) Child marriage is a horrific, pervasive problem in this world – and even in our own country.  25,000 girls under the age of 18 get married globally each and every day, some of them as young as 8 and 9.

In the United States, it is legal (with parental or court permission) to get married at age 12 in West Virginia and age 14 in New Hampshire.   Girls who marry at these tender ages face cascades of lifetime issues from lack of education and health to abuse and poverty.  Laws, customs and family traditions must be changed.

2) Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at age 74, is an outspoken and powerful advocate for women.  Addressing the Summit, she made no bones about her opinions:  To people who say, “there are not enough qualified women (for elected office and top-level positions), that’s one of the biggest bullshit things I’ve ever heard!”

And, she will always hold a special place in my heart for her most famous quote: “I think there should be a special place in Hell for women who don’t support other women.”   You go, Madam Secretary!

3) Women are exquisitely and uniquely qualified to lead the world’s police and security forces. They bring different and needed gifts to this profession, which is increasingly more and more complex locally, nationally and globally.

Women are “lionesses” when it comes to protecting their families and communities,  innate skills and instincts for creating secure environments, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano pointed out.

Case in point: Washington DC’s Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, a single mother who entered law enforcement to make a better life for her son, is now celebrated for significantly reducing violent crimes in that city.  It has occurred because of her commitment to communication and outreach into the community.

4) “Women are too politely angry,” warned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee, in discussing the power of women in conflict zones to replicate her success in toppling a corrupt government and violence in Liberia.  Pray The Devil Back To Hell is a stunning documentary (and one of my all-time top movies) detailing how women joined forces and conquered the violence in their country.

5) Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, two 20-something entrepreneurs shared their invention “SOccket Rockets.”  The device brings electricity to impoverished communities around the world and works when kids kick a soccer ball! One out of 5 people in the world don’t have power.  30 minutes of play gives 3 hours of power!

6) Former presidential daughters Chelsea Clinton and Barbara Bush, in separate forums, championed new generations of change-agents.

Barbara highlighted astounding success of her Global Health Corps.  What Teach America has done for education, Global Health Corps is doing to solve health issues and enlisting an entire generation of young people in making it happen.

Chelsea celebrated The Digital Lives of Girls and highlighted innovative young women who are harnessing technology to prevent bullying, to develop self-esteem and supportive communities for leveraging issues that are important to them.  Inspiring to see how Barbara and Chelsea contribute to the world.

7)  Women can change the world. Not that I did not know this going into the Summit.  Walking out, I know it for sure and am ready to take more of the need “on my back,” as Hillary would ask.

And, as she put it so beautifully, ““Women with help from their friends can make a difference.” She urged us to be  “fearless, committed and audacious.”  And, then she sent all 2,600 of us out into the world to make that difference:

“So let’s go for it, and make it happen!”

As we move forward into the next months, I will be asking your opinion for ways that Women on Fire join forces with other women in the world to bring about change, healing and peace to all.

Until then, is there a situation that you want to correct in your life, in your community, in this country or in the world?

You are only one step away from making a difference.

Have an absolutely wonderful week and keep me posted on how you want to make a difference in any aspect of your — and our world.

 

What gifts are waiting for you?

One of the many reasons I get so excited about you attending a Women on Fire event is because I know you will walk away feeling “on fire” about your life.

And, how do I know this???

Women tell me all the time that they stay “on fire” for days, weeks, months afterward. And, then they tell me all the wonderful things that were “sparked” in their lives because they felt inspired and supported!

The joy and energy of fabulous women connecting with each other and sharing their hearts and their dreams and what they need to move forward (yes, it is OK to ask for help!) creates a magical experience.

After all these years, and countless Women on Fire gatherings, even I learn something new and walk away inspired after every single event.

Come with me inside the tea we held in New York City last week.


Women on Fire Tea in New York City — Janina Serden Sebesky, Holly Getty, Sophfronia Scott, Jen Madson, Maureen Wheeler, Lauren Possee, Terri Cole, Dawn Halkuff, Lara Licharowicz, Jodi Graber, Debbie Phillips, Wendy Lagstein, Ines Altemose, Ellen Wingard and Colleen Pero.

I want to give you a little flavor of the wisdom, the learning, the inspiration and the caring that takes place at a Women on Fire event.

Sophfronia Scott, founder of Done For You Writing, shared the lessons from a book I’d never heard of called The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success.

The premise of this spiritual parable is that there are so many good things waiting to be delivered to us, but do we cut them off before they have a chance to arrive?

We all took a big, deep breath … and listened deeply as Sophfronia shared her plans to claim all that is waiting for her.  She inspired us to remember we all have gifts within reach …just waiting for us, too!

Leadership consultant Ellen Wingard told us of her recent travels to South Africa and an inspiring quote by Wendell Berry to describe where we sometimes find ourselves in life: “to be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.”  We all laughed knowingly.

Wendy Lagstein, the Smile Director of a dental firm, had us in tears with what she was “on fire” about.

She told us of the Woman on Fire in her life — her daughter Farra who recently joined Wendy to run a 5K race.  Enchanted that Wendy is a Woman on Fire, Farra claimed she is, too, and shared with Wendy a very long list of what she’s on fire about in her 7-year-old life!


Wendy Lagstein with our youngest Woman on Fire, 7-year-old Farra!

And, these snippets are but a fraction of the gifts offered, passions shared, friends made, plans propelled forward at a Women on Fire event.

Have you thought about the gifts waiting for you? They are your dreams and desires that may seem out of reach.  What if they are only a hand away?

You are so welcome to share your thoughts about them on the Debbie Phillips blog.

In the meantime, I hope if you live anywhere close to upcoming Women on Fire teas in Cheboygan, Michigan; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Columbus, Ohio; or New York City, you’ll check out the calendar section below and register to attend.

You deserve the boost of moving closer to the life you dream of!

Or, as Woman on Fire Janina Serden Sebesky reminds us:“To keep a lamp burning, we have to put oil in it.” ~ Mother Teresa

What do you love, love, love?

Before I take one more breath, you know what I love, love, love?

YOU!

I love you for coming here week after week, sharing your heart, your struggles, your experience, your talent, your dreams.

Women on Fire is a community filled with such warmth, connection and caring that if we were to have our own official holiday it would be Valentine’s Day!


Celebrating love with cupcakes sent from newlyweds Maritza Parra and Jeff Herring!

I love when you tell me about living your heart’s highest calling; working toward and achieving your dreams; or being lifted up by one another.

Here’s a peek inside my world of Women on Fire this past week. I want to share with you some of the love:

Maritza Parra and Jeff Herring got married.  (And sent cupcakes to celebrate!)

* Mary Ellen Jones is joyfully and successfully engaged in orchestrating a  transformative Women’s Event (and a Women on Fire Tea!) in Alpena, Michigan. (I’ll be the keynote speaker at the main event and I cannot wait to meet all of you who are attending.)

* Andrea Dowding and Jerry Browning, along with Jan Allen, connected another group of fabulous, inspiring women to each other at a Women on Fire Tea in Columbus, Ohio.

* Janette Barber is being talked about on Facebook and Sirius/XM to host her own radio show when her boss Rosie O’Donnell leaves in June for Oprah’s network OWN. Please click on the Facebook link to lend support!

* Janina Serden Sebesky’s beloved musical CHICK SOUP has nearly sold out a 1,000-plus-seat venue in North Port, Florida.

* Sitting in a Parisian restaurant, Holly Getty wrote of the deep gratification she feels when she helps Women on Fire to create their authentic style.

* Women on Fire Book Co-Author Laurie Forster’s first shipment of wine from her exclusive Wine Coach Club arrived on our doorstep!  A dream-come-true for our former software sales executive who followed her passion and has become sought-after speaker and celebrated wine educator.

*  Author and coach Margie Warrell, of McLean, Virginia, completed a treatment of her proposed, inspiring television show about freeing people from their deepest fears.

* Dawn Greenfield, owner of YogaBorn in Manchester, Connecticut, is achieving her dream to reach families of Traumatic Brain Injury to share the profound benefits that yoga can have on TBI survivors.

Anne Thurston of Boyne City, Michigan published E-males, a book about her “lively search for love,” and she’s looking for someone to help her with distribution. She also reports she’s having fun writing a newspaper column.  And, she concluded her email to me with this:

“I succeeded in finding a second love. A wonderful man who like me cannot believe what has happened to our lives. We feel 16.”

He is 85.  She’s about to turn 88.

See what I mean about how I love, love, love Women on Fire?

And, finally…

Before you go, I know there are so many more of you “on fire” and in love with aspects of your life, too.  Please pop down to the comments section and let us know what it is you love, love, love!


Women on Fire Marketing Director Jamie Eslinger and I reminding you of the power of love and connection we share as you reach for your dreams and support each other’s!

Happy Valentine’s Day with lots of love ~

Debbie