And the winner of the spa package is…

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Inspiration from Women on Fire

That is my very favorite African proverb.  Mostly because it so beautifully sums up what happens when women join forces with each other.

Last week was filled with all kinds of collaborations here at Women on Fire that resulted in women achieving more together than alone.  Life is just too difficult to singularly take on the world.

So here’s what happened when a few of our members put their geniuses together!

But first …

We have a winner for the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Naples spa package, valued at more than $300, for an attendee to the Women on Fire retreat in Naples, Florida Feb. 28-March 1.

So before I say goodbye to you today, you’ll learn her name.  (And so will she!)

(And, if you’re ready to say goodbye to winter and hello to a weekend of sunshine and inspiration with your Women on Fire sisters, we still have a few more seats remaining! But please register today before our annual event is sold out.)

Now back to our fabulous women who came together last week to make something special happen:


Dana Frost and Linda Neff

Linda Neff of Shoreland, Wisconsin and Dana Frost of Wilmette, Illinois teamed up at a women’s event at Linda’s church, United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay.  Linda was the keynote speaker for the event — Wrapped in Love — and invited Dana to lead a workshop.

The participants couldn’t say enough in their Facebook posts about how energized they felt being supported by these inspiring women!


Janina Serden Sebesky and Jan Nolte

Janina Serden Sebesky, creator with her best friend and co-writer Kitt Moran of the musical Chick Soup, has been holding readings in her living room in New York City to prepare for what we are sure will be performances on Broadway one of these days soon!


Janina with Sarah Elizabeth Greer (Photo by Josephine Donatelli)

These are the Women on Fire who came to help and support Janina in taking next steps toward her dream:

Producer and stand-up comic Janette Barber, Women on Fire book, Vol. 2 co-authors Sarah Elizabeth Greer and Heike Vogel, voice coach Jan Nolte, Jodi Graber, Kate Perlman, Mary Ann Donatelli-Reilly and Jackie Reilly. Even candid photos to document the teamwork were done by a Women on Fire member, photographer Josephine Donatelli.

Of the collaborative experience, talented Janina said:

“It was wonderfully affirming to get such positive feedback about the new direction for Chick Soup, which follows the friendship of two women throughout the decades.

“The readings inspired conversation and debate about what makes a friendship survive.  It was helpful to hear what moved them and also what was confusing or unclear in our script.”

As Janette always says, “Women on Fire is a bonanza. Everything you need to be successful is in this circle!”


Lisa Umberger Arundale and Michelle Whittaker glowing at their book-signing!

Michelle Whittaker of Washington, D.C., a co-author in the latest Women on Fire book with her story “Getting Back To Life,” hosted a book signing in our nation’s Capitol. And she was joined by co-author Lisa Umberger Arundale of Naples, Florida who wrote the chapter “Leaning Into Grief.”

Both women said they found it fun and very helpful to work together to sign books and share in the experience of meeting and greeting audience members.


Tricia Simpson, Women on Fire member LaRaine McCoy and Laurel Hodory

Braving frigid temperatures in Columbus, Ohio, three co-authors — Carrie Saba, Tricia Simpson and Laurel Hodory teamed up at Spagio’s Wine Bar for their first book-signing  — and it was super successful!

“It was so great to collaborate,” Carrie said, “as it helped so much with nerves. We had each other to lean on and we all brought ideas to the table which helped with creativity for how the event would flow … the evening flowed beautifully and we were all busy talking and signing.”

Congratulations to all on joining forces to travel farther together in making your dreams come true!

This week who can you collaborate with to take next steps on your big dream? :-)

And, finally, thank you to everyone who participated in our contest to become a winner of the Waldorf Astoria Spa package! You all did a great job sharing word about the retreat.  Our winner is …

  • Robin Butler Leonard of Clayton, Missouri

Congratulations, Robin! So excited for you to enjoy the spa’s exquisite artisan massage and a bountiful basket of products and treats.

Have a wonderful week and sending you big hugs ~

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.

Not only on Valentine’s Day!

We love you all year long!

I hope you can feel the heart and soul of Women on Fire on Valentine’s Day this week — and every single day of the year.

We bring you inspiration, strategies and support, yet above all, Women on Fire is about love.  Love for our dreams and our passions; love of cheering each other on; and love for making a difference in the world and in our family’s lives.


Women on Fire Tea in Naples, Florida last Friday. Lots of love and energy from us to you! Front row: Marie LaBrosse, Tamara Caggiano, Debbie Phillips, Lisa Umberger Arundale, Donna Kim-Brand. Second row: Janet Glancy, Amy Leigh Mercree, Mary Wiggins, Barb Zion, Jan Allen, Jenifer Madson, Kitt Moran, Jamie Eslinger, Plus Hall and Julie Shepardson. (Rob Berkley Photo)

Still, a girl needs her flowers and chocolate and a kiss so I hope no matter whether you have a honey or not, you will give and receive lotsa lovin’ and have a Happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday!

Right now, I’m watching the Grammy Awards and you will not believe this.

Last night I “discovered” Adele.

Of course, the rest of the universe has been buying her songs and helping her to break music records held by the Beatles for oh, 4o years or so!

Still, until the other night I had no clue of this 23-year-old’s enormous talent and presence (Pathetic, I know…I must get out more!)

A friend suggested that I watch Adele’s recent DVD, so Saturday night I slipped it into my computer and stayed up way past my bedtime in awe of Adele performing at her dream-come-true Royal Albert Hall in London.

Like a two-fisted drinker, I watched her mesmerizing performance on my computer, while on my iPad, I googled information about her life.

What a Woman on Fire.  The daughter of a single, teen-age mother, Adele has an astonishing ability to connect and make us feel through her songs of heartbreak and redemption.

Mostly though, I love the way she totally puts herself out there — every bit of herself in service of her music, her songwriting, her life.

And, when there was criticism about her weight (you’ve got to be kidding me that that kind of thing still goes on?) she let it roll off her back and responded, “I make music for the ears. Not the eyes.”

At the moment, Adele has swept the Grammys. Good for her!

And, good for each one of you who is stepping up and out in the world no matter your background, your circumstances — no matter what.  You won’t be stopped!

I love this picture below from last Friday’s tea because it was the first time I met Woman on Fire Kitt Moran in person.  She and her music partner Janina Sebesky, a long-time Woman on Fire, are collaborating to take their musical play CHICK SOUP to New York City and to the theater district of Broadway.

What strikes me daily about women in our community is that no matter the ups and downs, we stand strong together.  We put it out there.  Janina or Kitt, best friends for more than 40 years, are taking their dream all the way.  Just like Adele.