She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Allison Barry

Say hello to…

Allison Barry- Woman on Fire

Allison Barry

Boston, Massachusetts

Member number: #00009

Member since: October 13, 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family, your work, and what you are “on fire” about. 

I recently turned 50, and I feel that I’m starting a whole second life. I grew up in Orchard Park, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. I am the oldest of three, and aunt to six nieces and nephews ranging in age from four to 23. They bring so much joy and energy to all of our family gatherings.

My family is about to grow, but more about that in a minute. I have enjoyed a long career in the world of enterprise software, which has provided me with the means to travel and to buy a house on Cape Cod—perfect for those family gatherings.

I am on fire about the adventure that awaits me, as I am now engaged! I have never been married, and I am experiencing the dream of a lifetime with this engagement, the gaining of step-daughters and my moving in with someone.

I had faith that the day would come when I could say, “He was worth the wait!”—and that day is here with Kevin. This brilliant, fun-loving man has brought so much joy and passion to my world. Now I can’t imagine my life without him.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Years ago, a former co-worker and friend, Laurie Forster, introduced me to Holly Getty. (They’re both Women on Fire.) Holly gave me a coaching session with Debbie Phillips as a thank-you, and the rest is history! I was living in New Jersey at the time, so I have been a frequent, enthusiastic participant of the teas in New York City. I’ve attended the annual retreats, including the very first one in Columbus, Ohio, and teas in Boston, too!

What’s your favorite component of the Women on Fire membership?

I love the chats when I can make them and certainly the interviews. But one of my favorites is the weekly Spark! Every Sunday, I look forward to the words of wisdom, updates and thoughts from Debbie.

What is your favorite part of the day?

My favorite part of the day is now the end of the workday, when I transition into fiancée and enjoy a date night or a simple dinner at home.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

I just read the first two books of Ken Follett’s Century trilogy. I love long, involved novels that weave together historical fact with human triumph and tragedy.

What is the one thing you’re most proud of?

The relationships in my life—my friends and family and now a fiancé!

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

I played rugby in college.

If you had an unexpected free day, how would you spend it? 

If alone, I would ease into the day, go for a brisk walk or do some Pilates, followed by lunch at a favorite spot and then some shopping. All that fun would be followed by dinner out with my date. I might throw in a movie, too.

What is your favorite city in the world?


Your favorite “pig-out” food?

Tortilla chips and guacamole.

Name the top three songs on your iPod right now?

For Good” from the soundtrack of Wicked,Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, and “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

There are so many, but one that stands out was my first Women on Fire tea at Lady Mendl’s in New York. I was amazed at the immediate connections I made with these women. It felt like they’d been my friends for years. I had the great fortune of sitting next to the late, lovely and vivacious Jacqueline Pimentel, who left an enduring impression on me.

Name another Woman on Fire who has inspired you and tell why.

Oh, there are so many! My good friend Holly Getty continues to inspire me with her grace, compassion and strength. She cheered me through the ups and downs of dating and so many other things. She is a great listener and friend who lights up every room she enters.

What’s your big dream?

I feel that my big dream is coming true, which is sharing my life with someone I love, who loves me equally in return. I am gaining three daughters, and I look forward to the chaos, adventures and perhaps even grandparenting that will come as a result.

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?

Make time to invest in friends who listen and encourage.

Name three women who have influenced your life, and tell what you’ve learned from each.

My mom showed me how to be socially graceful and compassionate and what a loving, supportive marriage should be.

My friend Julie has been a best friend since the first day of seventh grade. She taught me how to be a good friend and how to face adversity with grace and humor.

My friend and former boss Colleen taught me selling skills and how to be a successful woman in a man’s world.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced? How did you overcome it?

I think one of my biggest challenges was getting out of my own way to find love. When I was in my early 40s, I was stuck. I was going out on dates, but I was not attracting the right men—or any men at all, for that matter. I sought help through coaching and therapy and got myself on a much more positive path. Then, I was finally able to get the relationship I wanted.

What was the biggest surprise you’ve had in your life?

My 50th birthday last September held the biggest surprise of my life. After weeks of helping to care for my aunt who was in and out of the hospital, I was looking forward to being home and having a quiet birthday dinner with Kevin. We had talked about our future a few months before, but a lot had happened in August and September, so our future was not on my mind.

As I left his house in Hartford that Saturday morning to visit my aunt one more time, he confirmed that he could meet me in Boston that night for dinner. I was home in time to shower and get “girly” for my date. He arrived, changed, made us drinks, and said we had time for me to open my birthday gift before our reservation. We sat in the living room where a small gift bag was waiting.

As I opened the perfect little square box, he got down on one knee and proposed! I was shocked and said YES through tears as quickly as I could! I remember thinking, “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and it’s as great as I thought it would be!”

As if that weren’t enough, he whisked me off to my favorite restaurant in Boston, where a group of friends and family were waiting to surprise me for my birthday. Well, I had a bigger surprise for them! It was a perfect night that still makes me smile from ear to ear.

Allison Barry and her fiancé- Woman on Fire

The picture above is of Kevin and me from that night. So much love and joy! I couldn’t smile any bigger!

Who cheers you on?

I am so blessed to have a fiancé and a circle of friends and family that cheer me on. I also have cheerleaders at work who provide moral support and encouraging words when challenges arise.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

A workout and a massage.

When you reflect on your life so far, what are the first words that come to mind?

Fortunate and Fun

More about Allison Barry…

Allison has a long history in the computer software industry, having worked in that field since she graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York. She manages a sales team that does product presentations and demonstrations—her favorite part of the job and what keeps her in the business. Allison wrote a chapter about an important phase of her work life for Women on Fire, Volume 1, titled “Stepping Off of the Corporate Ladder.”

Inspired by a family trip to Europe when she was 14, Allison loves to travel and is usually planning her next trip. She also loves skiing, especially with her fiancé, Kevin. She currently lives in Boston with her kitty, Bonnie, but will soon relocate to Hartford, Connecticut, for love!

She’s A Woman On Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.