She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Beth Bryce

Name: Beth Bryce

City: Saginaw, Michigan

Women on Fire Member No.: 00079

Member since: Dec. 19, 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

I’m a motivational career coach, writer and founder of Girls2Women Coaching, a coaching firm specializing in career transitions. I have coached hundreds of women on boldly pursuing their life’s work.

I’m passionate about helping women define a fulfilling career path for their authentic self to obtain personal growth, whole-hearted success and financial independence. I’m having an absolute blast coaching women one-on-one, and facilitating career master classes, mastermind groups and retreats. It took me a while, but I finally figured out my calling in life. Now I help others do the same.

I’m blessed to have a home next door to my best friend, my mother, Colleen, in the same neighborhood where I grew up in Michigan. She is a wonderful grandma to my five-year old Jack Russell terrier, Willy. We are tired of the brutal Michigan winters, though, and Willy is too. We have many friends and family out west waiting for us with open arms. Oh, the places we may go!

What are you “on fire” about?

I just completed a six-month retreat facilitator program with the Sedona Women’s Institute and will be working collaboratively with the founder, Karen Ely, to deliver retreats to women all around the world. In addition, I’m launching my own inaugural women’s retreat, Daring Circle Ranch, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 19.

Women on Fire member Susan Perry will also be facilitating a yoga session for us, in addition to equestrian and life coach Lynn Clifford. Women are coming from Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Florida.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Member Sue Adams invited me to a 2011 Women on Fire Tea in Alpena, Michigan, hosted by Mary Ellen Jones and founder Debbie Phillips. I met so many inspiring women that I would have never otherwise crossed paths with.

An editor and publisher I met at the tea motivated me to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since the tea, I’ve written inspirational articles for Women 2 Women Michigan magazine, co-authored a chapter in Women on Fire, Vol. 2, and recently landed my own column, “Career Moxie,” in Great Lakes Business. It was well worth the four-hour drive during a blizzard to attend the tea!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

Co-founding a Girls on the Run program in my county. GOTR is a national afterschool program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident, using a fun curriculum that creatively integrates running. We started with six girls in one elementary school; today we are in 25 schools serving well over 400 at-risk girls.

What is your big dream?

To create and deliver women’s adventure retreats in destination spots and online mastermind groups that support and guide women searching for a life and career of deeper meaning.

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

What other people say and think about you is none of your business. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams rather than what others think you should or should not do.

Where do you find inspiration?

It is deeply inspiring to me to bear witness to my client’s dreams of a better tomorrow for themselves, their families and communities. I then get to share their success stories with others.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I am the queen of Post-It Self-Stick Wall Pads. My office walls are lined with monthly, quarterly and annual plans for my health, business, finances, relationships and trips. I am serious about the direction I’m headed in, and having maps to get there and stay on track is a must.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

After a really dark day, I pull out note cards and write to people I adore, letting them know why I’m grateful for them. Just knowing they will get a loving surprise in their mailbox melts my sadness.

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

Mary Oliver’s poetry has been a powerful force in my life. In particular, her poem “The Journey” has helped me through many difficult decisions. Upon resigning from past positions, I have read this poem aloud at my farewell lunches. Co-workers either tear up or need an explanation. It says, above all else, face your fears and be true to you.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

There was a moment at the 2015 Women on Fire Retreat when we were sharing our big dream and Debbie Phillips asked, “What is one small step you can take toward your dream?” My women’s retreat had been on my vision board since 2012!

In that moment, I thought to just give it a name, and Daring Circle Ranch immediately came to my mind. Giving my dream a name gave it life. From that one small step, I started building momentum, and now it’s all coming true this May.

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

Walking away from a lucrative 20-year career in accounting to pursue my dream of career coaching was my biggest challenge.

My chapter, “I’m Marrying Me,” in Women on Fire, Vol. 2, recounts my yearlong journey in which I created my own Eat, Pray, Love adventure to face my fears and become unstuck. Two years later, I created a mastermind group based on my 12-step process to help others on their own transformative journeys.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda


My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is… It is life changing to connect with phenomenal women at live events.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… Disappearing into the woods to bike 40 miles. Afterward, all is right in my world.

I dream of visiting… Italy for an entire month, enjoying fabulous food and wine with my mother and our new, sexy Italian friends.

I would love to have lunch with… Diane Keaton! I can imagine arriving flamboyantly dressed to gush about our devilish escapades. Count me in, sister!

I’m always up for… Collaborating with women to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

I have a soft spot for… People who are underestimated, either by themselves or others. Countless times I’ve witnessed that, through motivational coaching, when their confidence grows, opportunities flow.

My biggest guilty pleasure is… Unplugging from technology for the weekend and also twice a year for an entire week. If you listen closely, you can actually hear your soul whisper.

My favorite pig-out food… We celebrate every major accomplishment and special event at my favorite pizzeria in Flint, Michigan. That’s a lot of pizza, and yet, it will never be enough.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are… “Fallinlove2nite” by Prince, “Soar” by Christina Aguilera and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem (Detroit, baby!).

I’m still afraid of… running out of time. I still have much to do helping others realize their life’s work.

I believe in… people’s capacity to achieve anything they can possibly imagine.

I wish I had… found the courage to leave my 20-year accounting career earlier because I was reborn the day I connected my purpose and passion to career coaching.

I’m counting down the days until… May 19th for my inaugural women’s retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The best thing I ever did was… when I packed my bags at 21 years old and left my small town in Michigan to start a new life in South Florida on my own.

To learn more about Beth, visit or You also can follow her on Twitter at @bethbryce and Facebook at /bethkbryce.


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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Kathi Wright

Katherine (Kathi) Wright

Port Charlotte, Florida

Women on Fire Member: #00386

Member since: 2014

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

From the time I was born, my life has been about change. My father was in the U.S. Air Force, so we moved frequently. It was a terrific way to grow up because we lived among and experienced many different cultures.

I am currently in marketing and communications for a very large company. My husband, Pete, and I live on the southwest coast of Florida with two nutty dogs. Pete is a writer and my best friend. We have a peaceful life that includes a nightly dog walk peppered with very diverse conversations ranging from astronomy to climate change to personality analysis.

What are you “on fire” about?

I am on fire about contributing what I know and what I do to a company that has core values that are complementary to my own. I have learned that my viewpoint is typically different from that of my corporate America colleagues, and that has been a struggle for me until recently.

The guidance I have gathered through Women on Fire has re-sparked my optimism that there is a place for me and what I can offer. I am being patient and present, building upon my skills and self-care so that when the Universe says, “Here it is,” I will recognize it and be ready mentally and physically to go for it with all of the gusto of a child.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I was introduced through Sophfronia Scott. I saw all that she posted about Women on Fire and became intrigued. I hold her in such high regard that I knew it must be an amazing organization if she was a part of it. I was right.

What one thing are you the most proud of?

I am proud of my open mind. It allows me to truly listen to others so I can better see the world through their eyes. It makes me dream so big that when people say I’m not being realistic, I can realize that their visions of reality do not have to be the same as mine. And it drives me to be infinitely curious, asking questions and looking deeper into things beyond the apparent.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?  

An actress and an astronaut. I knew I could be both.

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

Think deeply about what you want, ask a bunch of questions of a lot of different people so you understand what the risk is, and then go for it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Nature. When I do my dog walks and go on runs, I can be frozen in place by a cardinal or the way the sun’s rays cut through at sunrise.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I keep two to-do lists, one for work and one for me, with the three most important things I need to do each day. It helps keep me from being distracted.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

I take a walk around my garden. It’s amazing how soothing a conversation with a rosebush or a tomato plant can be!

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

Linda Neff inspires me. There is something about her energy that is both gentle and powerful. She may be the most courageous woman I have ever been around. She is fearless and generous and has helped me find that gutsy woman inside of myself.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

At the Chicago Women on Fire Retreat, there was one moment that I realized how very, very important it was that I be 100 percent present and truly listening to the women around me and the retreat speakers. Fortunately, that moment came during the VIP party on the first day. The retreat had, and continues to have, an impact on my life.

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

I suffered four miscarriages and a divorce within a four-year period. I ran and ran and ran. The physical exhaustion forced me to let out the pain and emotions so I could grieve and heal. I remember times when I would crumple into sobs on the running path. When I was done with that mini-breakdown, I would get up and start running again. I completed four marathons, which helped soothe the hits on my self-esteem.

When you reflect on your life so far, what comes to your mind?

For a lot of my life, I was busy trying to get somewhere else, but recently I realized that I am exactly where I should be.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, Pete.

How do you cheer on others?

I encourage them to be authentic. I let them know that it’s OK to feel down during the lulls, but to celebrate during the peaks. Through both, the people who truly love them will be there.


I’m picky when it comes to… who I spend my time with.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is… how Debbie leads and provides a safe give-and-take environment.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… I exercise almost every day and really enjoy that day of rest.

I dream of visiting… the Mount Everest base camp.

I can’t wait to return to… Paris.

I’m getting better at… realizing my self-worth.

I still need to work on… realizing my self-worth.

I have a soft spot for… my dogs.

I could spend hours… hiking or walking in nature — beach, mountain trail, anywhere outside.

I believe in… the power of good people.

I never forget to celebrate… the sunset.

My biggest pet peeve is… when people litter.

The best thing I ever did was… to forgive myself for not being able to have a child.

Kathi Wright is looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Women on Fire Retreat in Nashville, April 7–9. You can reach her to say hello at

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Rosi Amador

Rosi Amador

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Women on Fire Member: #00209

Member since: September 2013

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

I’m originally from Puerto Rico. My parents were New Yorican (that’s a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent) and Argentine performers who instilled in me their love of music and the spoken word. They raised me bilingually and biculturally.

My nuclear family consists of my husband Brian Amador and 19-year old twin daughters, Alisa and Sonia. Brian is a composer and Spanish guitarist, as well as a bilingual voice actor.

Alisa is now a sophomore at Bates College, where she is majoring in gender studies and minoring in dance. She also tours as singer-songwriter. Sonia is a creative artist with a passion for textiles, fashion, miniature sculpture and collage. Her specialty is creating unique, amazing crocheted wearables.

For 31 years, my husband and I have recorded albums and toured nationally and internationally with the Latin band we co-founded, Sol y Canto (;, a socially conscious Latin roots music ensemble that joyfully performs for adult, children and family audiences.

In 2010, I launched Amador Bilingual Voiceovers (, and I’m now a successful full-time English/Spanish voice actor. I spend most of my days recording commercials, documentaries, children’s audio books and educational narrations from my private studio in Cambridge, Mass., as do Brian and, when they’re available, our daughters.

From my private broadcast-quality home studio and sometimes when I’m on the road, I record in both my native Spanish and English, using my voice to inspire, motivate, educate and inform the exponentially growing global Hispanic market and the general market.

My clients include PBS, Mattress Firm, OXFAM, Disney, L’Oreal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Comcast, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Lonely Planet, Expedia, and the Smithsonian.

What are you “on fire” about?

After many years of trying to make a sustainable living as a creative, I have created a diverse career that allows me to use my natural gifts through both spoken word and song and that affords me the opportunity to travel, rest and play with those I love.

I can honestly say that now, at the age of 56, I am finally approaching the fullness of my power and my fullest potential! This career has also provided me with the opportunity to shape my desired work/life balance and model for my daughters what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur who is in charge of her life.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I met Debbie in the 1990s when Brian and I performed in a small musical venue in Martha’s Vineyard. We were seated at the same table and she had no idea we were about to perform. We became friends instantly and stayed in touch.

She even brought her godchildren to see us perform once in Ohio, and she has always been incredibly supportive and helpful from day one. Brian and I were lucky enough to do a couples’ Vision Day with Debbie and her incredible Rob in 2007, and I discovered my superpowers big time!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

My tenacity in claiming my voice and power as an adult! By choosing love and connection, I overcame childhood traumas, educated myself and went about creating and identifying the circles of support I’ve needed so that I could then also help my family and career to thrive.

I chose to live very differently from how I was raised, which took a great deal of courage and self-belief that I didn’t think possible. I have finally created a sustainable life that revolves around meaningful work that allows me to prioritize my physical and spiritual well-being, including connection, rest and play with those I love.

What is your big dream?

The big dreams that I am passionately achieving: to continue singing for fun and performing my cherished Latin music and to become the premier English/Spanish bilingual voiceover service provider worldwide — a business which, with ease and flow, contributes mightily to my financial, personal, and spiritual abundance; and which, with ease, joy and play, enables me to use my multitude of gifts to amplify my values and improve the human condition worldwide.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?  

A singer.

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

I believe that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes — empathy — allows you to feel compassion and naturally gives way to kindness toward others and even yourself, which is often a lot harder. When we give, we get so much more back. This is something that I know to be true.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am a self-proclaimed inspiration sponge and TED Talk junkie; however, my most powerful inspiration comes mostly from other women. Apart from our own Debbie, whom I consider a cherished life mentor, I have learned so much from Kristine Oller, a superb coach for creatives, and my voiceover colleague, Amy Snively, the founder of a yearly voiceover gathering with a generous mission. In addition, I consider Brené Brown and Oprah to be role models in living an authentic life.

All these women have provided guidance that has been fundamental to the way I live my life and run my businesses.

On a day-to-day basis, I am also deeply grateful for the inspiration and camaraderie provided by my voiceover colleagues all over the country. I created a Mastermind group three years ago with eight outstanding, seasoned voice talents with whom I’m honored to be in a support group.

An incredibly powerful source of reciprocal inspiration comes to me from my “accountabilibuddy” Liz De Nesnera, also a female bilingual voice talent. We meet via FaceTime several times a week to build more accountability into our businesses and to encourage one another to live joyful, sustainable lives.

Finally, my daughters inspire me! They are not yet 20 yet they are so wise, kind and giving. Performing with my daughter Alisa and watching her bloom as a singer-songwriter is one of my greatest joys, and watching Sonia create amazing artistic wearable crafts and come into her own is another.

Name a woman who has influenced your life and tell what you learned from her.

I have not one but two very close beautiful women friends in my life who are in their 80s and are a huge source of support and inspiration. I speak with my beloved Marie Jo Miera and Sondra Sperber regularly by phone, Skype or in person when possible, even though neither of them lives nearby.

They’re both creative, strong, spiritual women who are fully engaged in their personal development, showering love on their families and friends and powerfully using their creativity and love to make the world a better place.

These two women came into my life after I lost my mother, and they model for me how to live a positive life, always learning, appreciating life, looking for joy and inspiration outside as well as within.

No matter what obstacles present themselves, Jo and Sondra always find a way to overcome it with grace and wisdom and luckily for me, they share all this with me on a regular basis. I feel so blessed to have my personal “wisdom council” and to be the object of their profound love.

When you reflect on your life so far, what comes to your mind?

Through my 40s, I struggled with self-image. I worked hard to get off the dieting cycle of my adolescence and college years. As an on-stage performer, I always felt the pressure to look “great,” a.k.a., “thin.”

I was lucky to find a local therapist who specializes in body dysmorphia. With my wonderful husband’s blessing, I worked with her for nearly three years when I could scarcely afford it and was able to find self-compassion and befriend myself once again.

This changed my life and is what I modeled for my daughters. In tandem with this, it took me years to recover from being a workaholic and finally come to see that a more balanced life, where physical and emotional well-being, rest and play are prioritized.

Finally, I am so grateful to have been blessed with an incredible life partner in my husband, Brian, as he’s a wildly supportive business partner and loving husband and father.

Who cheers you on?

My “wisdom council” — Jo and Sondra, mentioned above, and my daughters, Sonia and Alisa. One of my daughters gave me a gratitude journal and recommended that I journal daily, like her! They both help me look and feel great when I dress up by offering their opinions.

And of course, I’m also cheered on by my closest girlfriends, my Women on Fire sisters, and my loving and supportive husband, Brian. People tell me my optimism and positive energy are infectious. That brings me incredible joy! I believe it’s because I surround myself with positive people; therefore, I attract them and boldly reach out any time to create connection.

How do you cheer on others?

I love cheering others on. It’s one of my superpowers! I’m great at helping my friends look at their lives objectively, to figure out what the priorities are and how to shave away at the negative energy and activities that impede any forward motion.

In my studio and office, I continually have interns and assistants and enjoy mentoring them immensely. They always give more than 100 percent during their time with me, and I have remained friends with so many of them because they know I believe in them and their gifts.

The biggest area in which I cheer others on is my voiceover colleague circles. Little did I know when I walked into a voiceover career — one that by its very contemporary definition requires that you spend many solitary hours in front of a microphone in a home studio — what an amazingly supportive community exists among colleagues! By attending a voiceover conference and meeting in person, Brian and I instantly became part of a whole new supportive family.

I consider it my responsibility and honor to pay it forward as often as I can, sharing what others have generously shared with me. For this reason I’ve created several voiceover colleague support groups both in person and online via video conferences.

In addition, I frequently organize and/or host gatherings, particularly of women, and I ask them to talk about what they’re on fire about (sound familiar?). I ask them to share any obstacles and ask for support. I am also part of a Latina women’s group that meets several times a year in the Boston area, and typically host that community gathering once a year.


I couldn’t live without… my sweet husband’s extraordinary gourmet cooking, walks with my doggie, time with my twin daughters and my two peaceful weeks each year on Martha’s Vineyard, which I jealously guard.

I’m picky when it comes to…. how I spend my time and give away my life energy. In my personal and professional lives I look for positive people who value and inspire me.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire monthly membership is… Debbie’s presence and the programs she’s created for us, from the monthly live chat master classes and monthly interviews to the support and love offered by our private Facebook page, where we can safely be vulnerable, sharing our losses and triumphs, receiving and offering genuine support.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… my daily meditation + journaling ritual.

I dream of visiting… New Zealand, Portugal, Brazil, The Canary Islands. I can’t wait to return to France, Spain and hopefully Switzerland next summer, to sing and visit with friends!

I’m getting better at… asking for what I’m worth. After many years, I have learned to actually turn down clients who pay me less than I’m worth.

I still need to work on… time-management strategies that permit me to be more proactive in my business and not feel as tied to my abundant work email.

I’m always up for… an evening of listening to live music I love, from Latin to jazz and world music, or work by an innovative singer-songwriter.

I’m still afraid of… the fact that Brian and I got an extremely late start on saving for retirement. We’ll be working for a long while so we plan to continue focusing on health and wellness so that we can be happy, productive and inspiring into our 80s and 90s!

I could spend hours… watching TED Talks. So inspiring!

I believe in… love, kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy and boundaries to maintain my sanity.

The best thing I ever did was… to seek out a wonderful therapist. She helped me to rebuild and love my life!

More about Rosi Amador…

In 1981, she fulfilled her parents’ dream to do what they could not. She earned a college degree from Bryn Mawr College. You can learn more and be in touch with Rosi at

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

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…


Andrea Dowding

Dresden, Ohio

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…

hanging pictures.

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…

self pity.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are…

I could spend hours…


I believe in…

new beginnings.

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.

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She’s a Woman on Fire! Introducing…

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…


Lara Ann Riggio

New York, New York

Women on Fire Member: #00146

Member since September 2012

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

My hubby, Joe, and I live in New York City by Central Park with our puppy, Chulo. 🙂 We married a year and a half ago, late in life; we were both 40. We found each other at the perfect time. If we had met any sooner, we wouldn’t have made it past a first date.

My Dharma and his Greg wouldn’t have jived any sooner. (He’s a Catholic, Republican banker, and I am a spiritual but not religious, Democrat energy healer.) We each had life experiences a few months prior to meeting that opened us up and allowed our unlikely connection to grow.

It was divine timing. The same weekend I met my hubby, I set out to open my dream studio. I opened The Lara Touch Wellness Center in New York in October 2012. With our classes, videos and private sessions, we have helped tens of thousands of clients receive the healing benefits of energy-based therapies such as acupuncture without needles.

Our clients have overcome emotional stress and anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, pervasive negative beliefs, side effects from medications including chemotherapy, and muscle and joint pain.

What are you on fire about? 

I am on fire about being able to help my mom and my family through my mom’s cancer treatment. My family had read my blog and had heard about how energy work has helped my clients, and they had seen it help me conquer chronic fatigue.

Still, I always felt they were kind of skeptical about it because it’s not yet in the mainstream. But after seeing my mom become remarkably stronger after energy work, my brother and father asked me to show them how to do some exercises with her.

It warms my heart to not only be able to help my mom, but also to have my family really GET why I love what I do and to share in the magic!

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

My good friend Terri Cole met Debbie randomly in a restaurant in New York. Terri invited me to a Women on Fire afternoon tea. I felt wrapped in the magic. I left that evening with new friends and a sense of love and support. I immediately signed up for the next tea. I was hooked!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

I am most proud of how far I have come with my business. As I was preparing for a Group Vision Day with Debbie and Rob this month, I remembered where I was before my last Vision Day with Rob in May 2012. I was in the process of looking for space in New York to open my center, and I was filled with fear about every aspect of opening a brick-and-mortar business in The Big Apple.

The first two years were rough. I was transitioning from the mindset of a sole practitioner to a business owner. The way I think and react in similar situations has changed so much from what it was then.

I often marvel about how things that used to bother me no longer do and how much my capacity has expanded. Having to do more in less time has taught me how to be more efficient. I’ve learned to not “sweat the small stuff” because there just isn’t time. Using my stress relief exercises really helps with this too.

What is your big dream?

My big dream is to expand my work with veterans nationally. Working with veterans with PTSD has been my biggest and most rewarding client challenge to date. My primary focus is helping them to overcome the symptoms of emotional stress.

I have been so inspired by teaching them how to notice their stress triggers and to calm themselves during those moments. Even everyday situations — sitting in a restaurant, walking down a crowded street, hearing a baby cry — can prove harrowing at times. Being stuck in traffic, for example, may be a stress trigger for someone whose jeep was ambushed in Iraq.

Bringing peace to these vets has been so fulfilling. I hope to create a nationally recognized, veteran-run program that supports veterans helping veterans with these methods.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

I wanted to be on the show Fame with Debbie Allen! In some ways, that dream put me on my current career path. Back then, I didn’t know that the work I do now even existed.

When my sciatica — which had ended my dance career — was cured by a muscle therapy, I became a personal trainer and learned that technique. When my chronic fatigue was eliminated by energy medicine, I learned about it.

Being fascinated and inspired by everything that worked, I developed a toolbox that has enabled me to help so many people. I now do work that doesn’t feel like work. What’s that quote by Joseph Campbell? “Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.” It’s true!

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in God, love, nature, bike rides, music and my work.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

Wunderlist!! It’s my favorite new app! It allows me to make and share lists on my phone. I can get my to-do list out of my head and pass tasks on to my assistants, who can keep track of my responsibilities all on one list. It saves me so much brain space!

What is your favorite go-to self-care strategy?

I love the Head Hold, a simple stress-relieving exercise where you place one hand on your forehead and the other on the back of your head. When you have a fight-or-flight response to everyday stress, extra blood rushes to your limbs to power your escape.

Holding these points sends a signal to bring blood back to your brain and reverses the stress response.  Doing this simple pose for three to five minutes after you get in bed calms your reactions to stress so you can have a more peaceful night’s sleep. Here is a video that demonstrates the technique.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

Energy work! 🙂 Here’s a FREE link to my Daily Detox Rituals. I do these super-quick exercises all day long to let go of stress and to stay energized.

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

Most energy workers are against Western medical practices. But I have seen the value of Western medicine first hand. My mom wouldn’t be alive without it. I find that by using the two in combination, one can reap the benefits of many Western medical approaches, while strengthening the body’s ability to handle any side effects.

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

I met Shannon McCaffery at my first tea, and we became good friends while at a Women on Fire Retreat. She is a marketing expert, and she has inspired me to put my business online.

She has made what once seemed impossible and daunting to me (marketing!) feel easy. She helped me get over my fears about sharing the elusive world of energy work online by helping me simply talk about how it benefits my clients.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

I will always fondly remember my first dinner date with Ms. Holly Getty, who I met at my first Women on Fire tea. We planned a night to go out and support each other flirting in New York City.

We had so much fun eating boiled peanuts and lamb burgers at the bar. We attracted the attention of several men, and we haven’t stopped giggling, sharing, loving or supporting each other since!

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

From Rumi: “Open your hands if you want to be held.”

When I visited John of God in Brazil, I had a palpable experience of the love and grace of God. In one moment, I realized that if I could connect to this love and grace regularly, I would always have enough to give. The challenge for me is taking the time and remembering to open my hands, to sit and to receive it.

Quick-Fire questions:

I couldn’t live without…

Energy work.

I always have room for…


I’m picky when it comes to….

Food and my clients’ experiences.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is…

Access to the loving support of the community. 🙂

I dream of visiting…

My husband and my favorite spot — Capri — every year.

I’m getting better at…

Setting boundaries.

I still need to work on…

Setting boundaries! LOL!

I would love to have lunch with…

Oprah Winfrey.

I’m always up for…

A great meal/good food.

I have a serious soft spot for…

My hubby and my puppy.

My biggest guilty pleasure is…

Netflix and my Farm Saga Heroes game.

I’m still afraid of…

Looking stupid.

I could spend hours…

Bike riding.

I believe in…

The healing and motivating power of love.

I’m counting down the days until…

I work only three days a week.

I never forget to celebrate…

Good food and good friends.

I don’t leave the house without…

My iPhone and a credit card.

I never developed a taste for…

Sea urchin. My husband loves it. Yuck!

My biggest pet peeve is…

When people stop after walking up stairs with lots of people behind them.

The best thing I ever did was…

Marry my husband. He is nothing I ever expected and everything I always dreamed. Glad I waited. 🙂


More about Lara Riggio…
Lara Ann Riggio is the founder and owner of The Laura Touch Wellness Center in New York City, where she uses a combination of Eastern and Western healing modalities in classes and private sessions “to free your mind and energize your body.”

Lara graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in psychology from State University of New York, and she holds advanced certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council of Exercise, Muscle Activation Technique (MAT), Eden Energy Medicine, Psych-K, EFT and Essential Oils.

She has been featured in The New York Daily News, Elle and Women’s Day, and has made appearances on FOX News and CW11’s Morning Show. Lara contributed to the exercise section of the book 100 Questions and Answers about Migraines by Katherine A. Henry, M.D., and Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D.


She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Mary Brown

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…

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Mary Burnett Brown

Woodland Park, Colorado

Women on Fire Member #00103

Member since: Feb. 29, 2012

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

I am an old soul with childlike wonder. I have been an international flight attendant for more than 32 years. I call it the “magic carpet ride.” I recently started working one of the longest flights flown on the 777-300, from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to Hong Kong.

Tom, my husband of more than 21 years, is also a flight attendant. We sometimes fly together and have exciting and adventurous layovers.

I am on fire about learning to live from deep in my heart.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I was listening to Janette Barber’s radio show when she interviewed Debbie Phillips about the organization.

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

I feel that Women on Fire is a safe place where women can have their voice!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I love getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee with my husband.

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

I have read so many wonderful books. One that I recommend is Unbinding the Heart by Agapi Stassinopoulos. It helped me open my heart to love.

What is one thing you’re proudest of?

I have learned to listen to my intuition and live by the truth that comes from the heart.

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

I love listening to music that soothes my soul and reading spiritual books that help awaken my truth. I love walking down our dirt road and enjoying the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

What is your favorite city in the world?

London, England. I love the Victorian Era.

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

Carrie Saba has inspired me to live from deep in my heart. I took Carrie’s online course, “Unlocked.” The course helped me to unlock a door around my heart, so I can see how beautiful I am inside. She also encouraged me to say affirmations to myself. My favorite one is “My life is full of magic, miracles and love.” Since taking her course, my life is full of all three of these things.

What’s your big dream?

I am living my dream everyday, which is happiness. I find that living from my heart is what brings me happiness. I also have learned to listen to my intuition and to see the hundreds of synchronicities that occur in my life.

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

Don’t rely on other people or material possessions to make you happy. Find happiness every day in yourself. Learn what really makes you happy.

What is something we might be surprised to know about you?

I was once Brutus the Buckeye, the mascot for The Ohio State University. I was also an actor and model and starred in several television commercials and national print ads. I attended both Ohio State and high school in northwestern Ohio with Debbie Phillips.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, Tom, who is my soul partner on this journey. We cheer each other on.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

It is Popcorn Indiana’s movie-theater popcorn and their Chipins sea-salt-flavored popcorn chips.

What are the top three songs on your iPod or Kindle Fire right now?

A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, and the Cat Stevens’ songs “The Wind” and “On the Road to Find Out.”

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

I fear making mistakes, so I avoid doing things that I am uncomfortable with. Every day I work on facing my fears and learning new things. I recently had my first opportunity to work the first-class galley position on the flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Frankfurt, Germany. My position as a galley flight attendant is to set up the food and beverage carts, cook the meals, and plate the meals in a timely manner. I was so nervous, but I told myself, “I can do this.” The service went well and the crew said I did a great job. I faced my fear and I felt awesome!

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

I make no plans for the day, and I just go with the flow.

When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that come to your mind?

Wow and Magical.

More about Mary Brown…

As a free spirit, explorer and lover of spiritual conversations, Mary Brown’s long career as an international flight attendant and resident in the Rocky Mountains allows her the best of all worlds. Mary was born in Detroit, moved to northwest Ohio as a teenager, and later graduated from The Ohio State University. She currently lives at 9,200 feet above sea level, just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Tom, and cat, Lakey. She enjoys taking photos and connecting her spirit to nature. You are welcome to say hello to her at healthymountain777(at)yahoo(dot)com.

She’s a Woman on Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Kendell DeBoom

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Women on Fire member and we want you to know!  Please say hello to…


Kendell DeBoom

Lake Bluff, Illinois

Women on Fire member: #00188

Member since: July 22, 2013

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

In September, my husband, Alan, and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. I have been a DeBoom longer than I was a Wostoupal! We have three children, Anders, Siv and Willa.

I grew up in Nebraska. My mother was an active stay-at-home mom and my father a veterinarian. My hometown of Wisner, in the northeastern part of the state, is known as the livestock center of the Midwest. I credit my small-town, rural upbringing with helping me to develop a strong work ethic and sense of citizenship.

Activities revolved around school and community. Everyone participated in sports, played in the band, sang in the choir, went to church, and helped out their neighbors. This shaped me and gave me confidence.

I already had an interest in cooking and entertaining when I entered college in 1979, but culinary schools weren’t on my radar and home economics didn’t seem right. So I instead earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which helped me to land my first job, working in Chicago in the advertising industry. Eventually, I did end up going to culinary school — Kendall College, in Chicago — and then worked as a chef, prior to the adoption of my first child. Great experiences, all.

As my children got older, I found myself contemplating a business idea combining several of my work experiences with my talents and interests. The Festive Frog was born! My wonderful friend Jane and I started a rental company that specializes in vintage, upmarket table- and glassware rentals for the entertaining industry.

We named our inventory collections after iconic, historically significant women: We have the “Dorothea” (Lange) collection and the “Eleanor” (Roosevelt) collection of Depression glass, among others. The collections are beautiful, and the ladies we named them after are fascinating.

It’s been a fantastic challenge for Jane and me to get this business up and running. Unlike other rental wares, this is a niche market, so we’ve developed our own protocols for handling and transporting items, determining what people want and are willing to spend, and making decisions about what inventory to buy. And because we are still fairly new, we do almost all of the manual labor ourselves, which means lots of heavy lifting and dish washing!

At this point, our inventory is primarily vintage; however, that is about to change. So stay tuned! We’ve created a website, our second (, and are learning the intricacies of social media marketing — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. If you’re interested, I’d love to have you follow us on our Facebook page here. We’d greatly appreciate the support!

I am proud of all of the work we’ve done to get this business launched. And I love that my husband is supportive and that my children have witnessed what it means to have an idea and see a dream become a reality.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

My aunt, Virginia Barney, is a co-author of Women On Fire, Volume 1. Ginny is a great example of a quality I admire: quiet strength.

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

I am so happy to be part of this magical group of talented women. The camaraderie between so many women of such varied backgrounds and experiences — all supporting, comforting, and celebrating one another without jealousy — is nothing short of amazing. And hearing the advice and the experiences of the others is so humbling.

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

If you haven’t read My Antonia by Willa Cather, pick it up! Cather is known for her depictions of pioneer life, drawing on her childhood in Nebraska. She was also known for being intelligent, outspoken, talented and even mannish in her opinions and dress. I would have loved her! She brought a national consciousness to the beauty and vastness of the plains. My great-grandmother was named Willa and so is my daughter!

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

Linda Neff! This is like answering “The Beatles” when asked to name a famous band or “The Bible” for a well-known book! What I admire about this woman — and many others like her in the Women on Fire community — is her spirit of great generosity, kindness and integrity.

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

I have a couple:

Know where you are in the world, without relying on your (sometimes incorrect) phone! Which way is north? East? Where is the lake? How do you get home? It’s OK, in fact, it’s smart, to look at a map!

I once saw a quote from Steve Jobs that is just so true, and I would pass on the advice to young people today: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people who are really no smarter than you. Embrace your life and world. Change it. Make your mark upon it.

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

Must I stop with three?

What are the biggest challenges you’ve ever faced and how did you overcome them?

One of my earliest challenges was becoming a mother. For almost 10 years, my husband and I tried to conceive, but to no avail. We then made the decision to adopt, but finding an agency and going through all of the necessary protocol was a job in itself.

When we received the good news that our son Anders was born, we were worried because he came six weeks before his due date. Anders faced months of neonatal complications, including respiratory distress and a congenital heart defect. As he grew, we endured new challenges, as diagnoses of sensory integration disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette Syndrome were all made.

The TS was perhaps the scariest time, and I made it my job to learn everything I could about this disorder. As good as our school system was, I still felt like we knew more about what a child with these issues needed than the school did. It was often an agonizing journey of education and discovery, as we constantly searched for the right tools for Anders to be successful.

We fought for accommodations in his individual education program, and ultimately searched for special schools that could really teach an out-of-the-box learner. Our family’s experience with this has helped us all to be more aware of these kinds of problems and more empathetic toward others. Anders is 21 years old now, and doing well, pursuing a criminal justice degree at our local community college.

He still faces many challenges as he finds his way in the world, but his resiliency has served him well.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

  • I have some sort of music playing almost all the time. I love music — all kinds — but especially Americana. If you need suggestions for what to listen to, I would love to talk to you about it!
  • I have a bit of a boot fetish.
  • I drive a scooter, even all through winter!

More about Kendell DeBoom…

Kendell currently resides in Lake Bluff, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She was previously an account supervisor for Bentley, Barnes & Lynn Advertising, followed by attending culinary school, which led to a position as chef at Le Titi De Paris, until three children nominated her for Household CEO.

In addition to running The Festive Frog with her friend Jane, Kendell has a passion for cooking, entertaining and collecting cool vintage stuff. She is also a big music buff, loves to go to concerts and is always looking for up-and-coming artists.

Kendell is looking forward to entertaining everyone and showing off the wonderful city of Chicago during the upcoming Women on Fire Retreat.

She’s a Woman on Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Kristy Nicholas

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…


Kristy Nicholas

Originally from Houston, Texas, and now living in Killarney, Ireland

Member: #00111

Member since: July 16, 2012

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

I am on fire about where I am in my journey. In 2014, I moved to Ireland to be closer to my partner, Noel, and his sons, Sam and Christopher. We are building a family in which love and life are celebrated — along with all major Irish and U.S. holidays!

I changed my employer so I could select my own location and keep doing work that energizes me. All of this stemmed from a Vision Day with Debbie Phillips in July 2013. It was my birthday present to myself. I highly recommend it!

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I connected through a wonderful person, Woman on Fire Melissa McClain. She told me about an amazing woman that I had to meet named Debbie Phillips. She introduced us, and the rest of the story is a rich, delicious history of a life better lived.

What is your favorite part of the day?

I love crawling into bed, as I am a huge fan of sleep. I particularly love the moment I’m comfy in bed after a productive or happy day, when I can name a long list of what I am grateful for in my life before I drift off. I try to end every day with gratitude.

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

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I am a huge fan of hers and of the concept of “being in the arena.” Fellow Woman on Fire Lani McKinnon introduced me to Brené, making her even more special to me.

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

I am proud that in late 2013, during some of my darkest moments — I was exhausted with shingles, lonely and stressed — I listened to my dad, who told me to focus on the positives, and I found the faith to improve my situation. I am also proud that I was smart enough to ask for help.

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

There is an amazing beach, Rossbeigh, not too far from Killarney. I would ask Noel to take me there.

What is your favorite city in the world?

I am a traveler at heart, so I will say it is the city I haven’t visited yet. I always like to see new places!

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

Jan Allen inspires me every time we speak. One of the ways I sought help during late 2013 was by hiring a coach. I chose Jan because she and I share the similar experiences of embarking on a relationship later in life and then building a family with our partner’s children. I thought I was only hiring a coach, but what I got was a coach, a loving mentor and a friend. It is as her stepson Michael told her: she gives “mind power.”

What’s your big dream?

I am living my big dream! I moved to Ireland to be with Noel. I was able to start my own business and keep doing work I love. Plus, I am having so much fun! The side benefit of a nonlocation-dependent job is that I can be where I need to be, when I need to be there, such as at birthday parties and weddings or in hospital rooms.

I have family and friends across the globe who enrich and bless my life. The only thing I could add to this big dream would be to receive a phone call from Oprah Winfrey asking me to work with her! I’ve changed that a bit, as I used to say I wanted to work for her. 🙂

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

I would flip this a bit and teach her parents a strategy. It’s the gift my parents gave me, and the lesson is to teach your child that she is enough just because she exists. As I told Oprah when I interviewed her in February 2002 for O Magazine, I am so grateful to my parents because they loved me just for being Kristy.

I didn’t need to be a great piano player or terrific athlete. I didn’t even need to believe in the same things as them. All they ever asked is for me to be the best Kristy I could be. That was enough. They chose to welcome me into their lives, and they loved me from the moment they knew I existed.

I didn’t have to earn the love. It was freely given. Unconditional love sets children free and allows them to know they can do anything. I know many more incredible experiences and gifts will come my way. What I know for sure—none will top unconditional love.

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

I think what folks find most surprising about me is that I am a classic introvert. I am charismatic and energetic in a crowd only if I’ve had enough time to recharge on my own. I figured this out on a cruise with my girlfriends.

We were having a great time, yet I was feeling totally depleted after the second day. So, I told them I needed to go sit on the beach by myself, and I came back feeling so much better. Most of them are huge extroverts, so it was a revelation that I could reenergize by being by myself!

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

Since I’ve talked a lot about fellow Women on Fire, I’m going to introduce you all to some non-Women on Fire who inspire me:

I will never forget a nine-hour drive I took with my grandmother, Meme. Along the way, we discussed a potential big move for me. She said I should “just do it” and told me about her experience of moving from Arkansas to California with my grandfather, mother and aunt.

She’d never been so far away from her home and family, but she even managed to get herself to the hospital to give birth to my uncle when my grandfather was away at sea. I was so impressed by her gumption. I thought, “I come from that; it’s in me too.”

My mother inspires me in countless ways. She is the rock of our family. I think what I find most amazing about her is the way she loves us fully. There is no halfway holiday or celebration in our house — we go all the way.

Love is in the details for her, and she strives to ensure that every detail is well tended. And, when she’s needed, she shows up. once even driving with me from Seattle to Texas with a dog and a cat. I think the hardest thing for her was “letting” me move to Ireland. Despite tears and some questions, her final words were “Do what makes you happy.”

My nieces Kimber and Bryleigh inspire me to be a good example, to show them what you can do when you believe in and love yourself. I write them a letter every month, and each Christmas, I compile a book with pictures of them that their mother, Sara, sends me (she’s pretty inspiring too).

Who cheers you on?

My life is full of cheerleaders. I am humbled by those people around me who deeply care for and love me. While there are countless folks I could name here, I want to recognize someone I love and admire so greatly: my hero, Lo Lyons.

She’s been fighting cancer for more than five consecutive years, and you hit double digits if you count her first bout. Yet, she’s a woman who always has a smile on her face, a hug to comfort me, and genuine concern for what’s going on with me, no matter what she is dealing with.

When I moved to Ireland, she took a selfie and told me “I’ve got my eye on you.” I look at it and laugh often. She’s amazing. When cancer struck the second time, we started using the phrase LOL—Love on Lo. So, Mrs. Lyons, here’s a huge LOL for all the love you give.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

This one is so easy for this Texas girl — Mexican food and a cold Margarita!

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

For over a year now, my alarm has been Katy Perry’s Roar. The night I moved to Ireland, I listened to Sarah Bareilles’ Brave on repeat as I flew over the Atlantic. Another song I love right now is John Legend’s All of Me.

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

It definitely wa choosing love. I fell in love with a man, Noel, who lived in Ireland. When I began dating him, I knew he had two young sons, so that meant I had to fall in love with all three of them — there was no partial deal.

I also realized that loving him would require me to dramatically change my life and relocate to Ireland. I couldn’t love Noel the way I do if he was willing to leave Sam and Christopher behind in Ireland and start a new life in the United States with just me. So we dated, and dated and dated long distance for for two and a half years long before I told work and family I planned to move last January.

At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to work; I just knew I had to do it. I loved him that much. Having faith that it would all work out well and the courage to make myself completely vulnerable was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And frankly, because I love my independence, some days it’s still hard. That said, the joy that has come thus far is already worth the leap of faith. And I know that we’re just getting started.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

To be literal, I like to “go to” the spa. I’ve never visited a spa I didn’t like! One of my favorite activities is going to a pedicure spa with my friend, Mary, or my mom, sister-in-law, Sara, and my niece, Kimber. I guess now that I have a second niece, Bryleigh, we’ll have to introduce her to Isle Pedispa as well!

When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that comes to your mind?

I love words so I’ll pick two: courageous and happiness.

More about Kristy Nicholas…

Kristy Nicholas founded Clarity Global Communications to help businesses and people tell their stories and so she could move to Ireland with the love of her life, Noel and his two sons. She has a cat, Tuna, and a dog, Tucker. Kristy previously worked in investor relations and communications at Expedia Inc. and ExpressJet Airlines. Kristy is a Texas girl at heart. Her hobbies include reading, traveling and hosting great celebrations. Kristy would love for you to say hello to her at knicholas(at)clarityglobalcomm(dot)com.


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

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Dana Frost

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…

Dana Frost- She's a Woman on Fire

Dana Frost

Wilmette (Chicago), Illinois

Member: #00138

Member since: August 21, 2012

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

I was born, raised and educated in Missouri, and I was the first member of my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. I’m a Midwesterner with a gypsy heart. Although I crave experiencing new countries, cultures and adventures, I appreciate being grounded to a place with people-centered values.

I’ve been married for almost 25 years. We have five children, ages 14, 16, 17, 19 and almost 22. The two youngest children were adopted 11 years ago while we were living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Prior to moving abroad, we lived in Minneapolis, where I was a social worker. There were adoption pioneers in Minnesota championing “open” adoptions and adopting unwanted, mix-raced children within the United States, which was not popular at the time. Social justice, racial equality and concern for children being left behind in the system were the motivating factors. We were inspired to consider adoption — until I got pregnant with baby No. 3, and we shelved our dream.

We moved abroad and witnessed many homeless children and overcrowded orphanages through our work with the American Society of Sao Paulo. Slowly we became inspired to reconsider adoption and took the leap. My husband met our son, Bruno, at the orphanage Lar Girassol and declared him his son. Synchronistically, he became our child, along with his biological sister, Esther.

After the adoptions, I hired a life coach to help me with the overwhelming transition. It was a powerful and empowering process that led me to seek coaching certification for myself. I started my practice in Sao Paulo, and after one year decided to complete master life coach training through my coaching organization, Martha Beck Inc. Like my clients, I was making major life-changing decisions, and I wanted the highest level of training and professional accountability available to me.

I’ve continued with my work as a master life coach, specializing in stress-related coaching, release of trauma and life-transition crossroads. I am also an aromatherapist and have signature essential oil products sold under my brand, Capim Santo Alchemy, and I craft personal blends.

Currently, I’m most on fire about being open to what’s next for me professionally and personally. I spent the last 18 months learning how to rest deeply in my quest to alleviate fatigue. I worked minimally and napped almost every day. Now I’m ready and set to go for what will transpire as I dream, listen and purposefully plan what’s next.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

In 2009, I returned to the United States after living abroad for 10 years. My coaching mentor, Michele Woodward, introduced me to Debbie Phillips just before the 2010 Chicago Women on Fire retreat. Debbie invited me to come as a guest. I was only able to attend one day, but I left with my “love tank” full due to the dynamics of support, encouragement and passion present during the day. The women were open and engaging, and I was hooked.

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

I love the totality of the organization, but if I had to state something specifically it would be the one-to-one connections I’ve made through the teas and retreats. I love maintaining those connections through social media.

What is your favorite part of the day?

Early morning before the rest of the house is awake, you’ll find me outside with coffee and the birds.

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

I’m rereading When Everything Changes, Change Everything by Neale Donald Walsch.

What is one thing you are most proud of?

It is definitely seeing my oldest daughters blossom as they become young adults. One of our parenting goals was to enter a friendship with our children as they enter adulthood. I’m living that right now, and it’s super sweet and rewarding.

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

I would follow my joy, which might be different, depending upon the time of year. Weather permitting, I likely would be outside hiking or on my paddleboard. I would probably find my way to a fun restaurant or coffee shop and enjoy time with friends or a book.

What is your favorite city in the world?

Only one? I like different cities for different reasons, but I’ll talk about Sao Paulo, Brazil, because I have a Brazilian heart, and I lived there for eight years. It’s a complicated cement jungle, but underneath the traffic and pollution you’ll find the most amazing people, culture, music and food. It’s a city that requires the practice of peace in the midst of chaos and crime. It seems counterintuitive in light of the gorgeous cities I’ve visited, but I fell in love.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

At the retreat in Naples, Florida, last year, I was in the small group with Mary Canty Merrill when she made the connection with the woman who saved her life years earlier. It was a powerful moment, laced with love and awe.

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

Linda Neff continually inspires me in her quest to use her voice for others. I love seeing her smiling face each day profiling nonprofit organizations. Everything Linda does exudes love and joy.

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

In 2003, we adopted two children while we were living in Sao Paulo: Bruno, who was five years old, and Esther, who was three. We already had three biological daughters who were 11, 9 and 7 at the time. Although I was a licensed social worker, there’s no knowledge like real-life experience. I had no idea the impact — for better or worse — that bringing home abandoned children would have on our family. I believe adoption is a lifelong journey and that each life and family dynamic is unique. It’s an organic process that does not have cookie-cutter solutions.

In order to overcome the challenge of adoption, the first thing I needed to learn and practice was the keeping and care of me. This has been a long journey and, just when I think I’ve cracked the code, I see deeper levels that need care. I’m still learning and overcoming the challenges that appear regularly.

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

In 2011, I took myself to the emergency room because I cut my finger pitting an avocado. While I was there, I discovered a heart problem that required a pacemaker. My case is an anomaly in the field of electrophysiology.

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

Practice breath awareness and meditation.

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

Mother Teresa was a big influence on me during my early adult years. She said, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person,” and “See, really see, those who are unseen by the powers that be and do little things with great love.” She inspired the values I practice today. I had the opportunity to work with the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta in 1994.

Martha Beck is the founder of the coaching organization where I was trained. She is a Harvard-educated sociologist and best-selling author in the self-help coaching genre. Her coaching was the catalyst that dramatically shifted my life perspective. She introduced me to modern neuroscience research on brain development and function. The foundational coaching tool, The Body Compass, transformed the way I make decisions and experience life.

Byron Katie is another modern-day sage whose work has been imprinted on my life. I use her famous four questions, called “The Work,” on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The Work has provided the framework to loosen myself from painful stories and beliefs that my ego wants to hold onto.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, my daughters and a chorus of virtual friends and colleagues, including the Women on Fire community.

What is your favorite “pig out” food?

Right now, it’s potato chips and dip.

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

Dirt by Florida Georgia Line, Tip It on Back by Dierks Bentley, and American Kids by Kenny Chesney.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

I use a combination of the following on a daily basis: proper hydration, fuel (nutrition), rest, movement, meditation, breathing practices and mental cleanses.

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

Seeker and adventure.

More about Dana Frost…

Dana’s coaching alchemy transforms emotional baggage and trapped thinking into freedom, heals the heart and unveils the possibilities in any situation. She helps clients mine their mind, body, soul, emotion and energy wisdom to lead lives from their core strengths, values and intuition. Dana is an intuitive and spiritually insightful coach who uses Martha Beck coaching strategies and tools, aromatherapy, breath awareness and meditation, Resonance Repatterning®, HeartMath® and spiritual insight. She is a Master Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and the creator of Capim Santo Alchemy signature essential oil aromatherapy. You are welcome to say hello to her at danafrost (at) me (dot)com.

The She’s a Woman on Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Michelle Tenzyk

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…

She's a Woman on Fire! Michelle Tenzyk

Michelle Tenzyk

Peekskill, New York

Member: #00183

Member since: June 25, 2013

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

I am a very proud 51 years old and love sharing my age. I realize that I’m in the best half of my life, with fewer worries about what others think and able to be myself most, if not all, of the time. My husband, Joe, and I just moved from New York City to Peekskill, N.Y., which is in Northern Westchester County, about 50 minutes outside of New York City.

It is somewhat like coming home for us, as we were both raised in Westchester County, Joe in Yonkers and me in Valhalla. We have glorious views of the Hudson River from every floor of our new home, offering true serenity 24/7.

Joe and I were married in April 2012, and he is the love of my life. I waited a very long 15 years to find him after I went through a tough, heartwrenching divorce in 1997. I looked far and wide, long and hard, before. finally, my Joe came along. He was so worth the wait and the effort — and it was effort!

After we were married a year, I had a realization that, although I had been quite content as a single woman, I had been missing that deep connection with a partner of being loved unconditionally. I hadn’t known it was missing because I didn’t have it. But now that I do, I am I so deeply satisfied. Truly.

I run my own boutique consulting firm, East Tenth Group, providing strategic human resources consulting, leadership development and executive coaching services to middle-market businesses across the United States. I absolutely love it, and the business has more than doubled in size this past year.

I’m on fire about the movement I founded: The Truth Behind Our Titles™, which empowers women to share their professional journeys, including the challenges. Our inaugural event will be in New York City on Oct. 1.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I connected to Women on Fire through the amazing Cari Vollmer, whom I knew through Rochelle Togo-Figa and her coaching work. Cari posted something on Facebook about the organization, and I decided to take a “look-see.” I’m rather skeptical about women’s groups, but I bought the first Women on Fire book and read it cover to cover.

I dog-eared a number of the stories, especially Kelley Black’s. I then went to the event in New York that Debbie sponsored and to the June 2013 tea at Lady Mendl’s. I have never looked back! I love it!

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

I love meeting women who are on a similar journey to mine, women who are seeking to better themselves and live a full, joyous life. It makes me not feel so alone, especially when we openly share some of our hardships and struggles on the Facebook page. We can get real and vulnerable without shame. That’s where I am in my life and that is whom I want to surround myself with. And then there is Debbie! Simply put, perfection!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I’m not sure I have one. On weekends, it is late morning when I’m having my first cup of coffee with my husband after I sleep in. My full energy tends to kick in during the mid to late afternoon.

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

I loved Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Her grit, determination and willingness dumbfounded me.

What is one thing you’re most proud of? 

I have a number of things I am proud of. I will start with saying that I was at the bedside of my mother and my father when they died. As difficult as it was, I have a sense of peace that I was able to show up and be there during that sacred, beautiful time in our lives when one of us moved on to the great unknown. Our very own Mary Landberg captures this time beautifully in her book, Enduring Love.

Right now, I am most proud of founding the movement The Truth Behind Our Titles™: Strength, Resilience and Hope for the Professional Journey. I had been thinking about this for almost 10 years, but was too scared or uncertain about how to tell my story. I wanted to do something in the corporate sector that would be useful and helpful, not just tell my story for the sensationalism.

Now I am doing it. The inaugural event is Oct. 1 at the 3 West Club in New York City, and we are garnering such great attention. I believe in this with all my heart. There is so much work to be done in the corporate and professional setting to help us comfortably live more fully integrated lives.

I’m most proud that I’m doing it with another Woman on Fire, Kelley Black — once again showing that this might not be happening without Women on Fire! I am deeply honored and grateful for all of the support I am receiving.

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

Going to the beach, lounging by the pool, lazing around. I am a very lazy person.

What is your favorite city in the world?

It is a tossup between New York City and Paris.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.  

I have two. When I went to the Women on Fire tea in June 2013, I didn’t think that any of the authors of the book would be there. Common sense eludes me at times! So when we went around the table and Kelley Black — whom I was dying to meet — spoke, I almost knocked over other women to get to her. For me, it was divine.

My second special experience was bringing Ginny, my best friend of 48 years, to the Women on Fire Retreat last February in Naples. Priceless!

What’s your big dream?

That our movement, The Truth Behind Our Titles™, helps corporate and professional individuals know their truth. I want the walls of shame and fear about sharing our adversities and challenges in the corporate setting to come down. I want high achieving women and men to feel empowered, through our collective experiences, to find strength and resilience for their professional journeys.

I truly hope and pray this movement becomes a global calling. I am humbled by the response we are receiving already and would be honored to help even one person.

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

Never be afraid to ask for help in everything and anything you need to or want to do. I find that, as we get older, we tend to not want to ask for help. We wear self-sufficiency as a badge of honor, and while it has its advantages, it can hold us back from further learning, growth and development. It’s impossible to know how to do everything and be wise in all things. Asking for help grows us exponentially.

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

I was a pianist from age eight through my late 20s — and quite a good one. I played competitively all through high school, and my undergrad degree is in music. Oh, and I was class clown in grammar school and high school and know how to do some of the best pranks. Yep.

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

My mother, Jeannette Tenzyk, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2006, taught me every possible thing — how to cook, bake, clean, sew, crochet, knit, needlepoint, garden, always say thank you, wear slips, take good care of my skin, and be lovely to strangers and the elderly. Most important, she taught me to be kind and help others as much as possible.

Ginny Escobedo, my best friend since we were three years old, exudes love, loyalty, faith and friendship. She shows me how to never give up, to always have faith, even when it is the darkest of days, and to maintain a long friendship by tending it with love, laughter, honesty and joy.

Sheree Stomberg was my first female boss when I worked at Swiss Bank early in my career. She had just been promoted to the divisional head of the technology group. She set the standard for me of a highly accomplished female leader. She was smart, fearless, fair and incredibly successful. I always remember wanting to be like her as I advanced in my career.

Who cheers you on?

My dad was my biggest cheerleader. Even though he died in September 2011, I still believe he is cheering me on. My husband, Joe, constantly gives me encouragement, as do Ginny, Maria, Elizabeth, Jen Brooks, Julie, Barbara, Kathleen and Giuliana.

What is your favorite “pig out” food?

French fries.

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Ain’t It Fun by Paramore, and “Love Runs Out” by One Republic.

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

In 2009 I broke up with someone who wasn’t one of my better choices as a boyfriend. After the breakup, he chose to harass me to the point of endangering my life, horrifically vandalizing my car and other terrible things. I had him arrested and pursued prosecuting the case for more than 18 months because I knew what was true.

I found out what it was like to be a victim and go through the court system, how it is the victim who is put on trial more than the person who commits the crime. I sought out victim counseling to keep my sanity and saw it through. He finally pled guilty after 18 long months of my fearing for my life.

I had a restraining order for more than three years. I always believe in the truth and will do almost anything to find it or prove it. This was by far one of the most difficult things I have gone through because of the embarrassment and shame I felt for getting myself into the mess in the first place.

But I stuck it out to the end. I realized that so many victims might not have the internal or external resources I had to get through it. I completely understood why so many drop their cases — and, hence, why we see so many women get killed. It really just saddens me.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

A day at the spa!

When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that comes to mind?


More about Michelle Tenzyk…

Michelle Tenzyk serves as the president of East Tenth Group. She has more than 25 years of experience in human resources and maximizing leaders’ capabilities across multiple industries. East Tenth Group is fiercely committed to helping leaders and their businesses thrive in today’s complex environment. They partner with small- to middle-market businesses that need strategic leadership and human capital insights, perspective and experience to grow and sustain their efforts. You can find Michelle’s posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (@michelletenzyk). You are welcome to say hello to her at michelle(at)easttenthgroup(dot)com.


She’s a Woman on Fire! is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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