She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Deirdre (Dee) Martin

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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Deirdre (Dee) Martin

Plainfield, New Jersey

WOF member: #00158

Member since: January 7, 2013

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

My family and I love to LAUGH! We have a weekly family prayer call when we all dial in to a conference line from all over the country. I am laughing as I type this because we do everything but pray on that call! We are a close-knit family, and that weekly call just helps us all to stay in touch with one another. Straight COMEDY for one full hour!

Currently, I am the executive assistant to the director of public affairs and safety in Plainfield, New Jersey. I also am the founder and CEO of Assisting Virtually, LLC. In both positions, I provide administrative support for those called to serve others. My paternal grandparents were small-business entrepreneurs and I always knew I would be too. I am ON FIRE about having a growing business while working full time.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Woman on Fire member Gail Forest introduced me to Women on Fire. She received an email about a Women on Fire Tea in New York City and encouraged me to join. I enjoyed the Facebook page for about a year and then became a member.

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

I love the connection that Debbie Phillips has with each member. I never expected her to have the incredible interaction that she has with us! I love it!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I am a morning girl! I love getting up before the world wakes up and making it HAPPEN before 6 a.m.!

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

It’s actually a Woman on Fire Book Club book that I continuously read: Fairy Tale Interrupted: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss by RoseMarie Terenzio. This book reminds me DAILY how important the job of an executive assistant/virtual assistant really is!

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

I’ve known my calling as an executive assistant/virtual assistant since I was 14 years old. I am proud that I have taken this gift of administration and turned it into a growing business while working a full-time job.

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

More than likely, I would spend it hanging out with friends and family or catching up on much needed rest at home. My place is my true sanctuary, and I love spending time at home.

What is your favorite city in the world?

Plainfield, New Jersey. I work here. I live here. I shop here. I love it here!

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

I attended my first Women on Fire event in June 2014 in New York City. The game changed for me that day because of the enthusiasm in the room. My Facebook post the next day was “Watch out, World! Yesterday changed the game… Now I REALLY feel like I can do anything!”

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

Meredith Schoenberger! Her energy is amazing! She’s the SPARK that all Women on Fire need. I feel her energy in every single piece of correspondence that she sends to us.

What’s your big dream?

I would love be the executive assistant to someone “famous.” My other big dream is to expand Assisting Virtually by owning a virtual office space/business center. My virtual office space would offer virtual assistant services, have a prestigious address and offer all the necessary amenities for a professional meeting atmosphere.

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

It would be to follow her passion. Don’t follow money. If you live out your passion, the money will come. I am a living witness to that.

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

I really don’t like taking pictures! LOL!

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

My paternal grandmother, Lottie Barber Geter: She was the first small-business entrepreneur I knew. She taught me the importance of customer service and knowing your client to determine their needs.

My mother, Phyllis Crews Martin: We found out she was terminally ill when I was 10 years old. She was a champion, and from her I learned how to keep going no matter what.

Geri Schwartz, the first person to hire me as an administrative assistant: She gave me a typing test and said, “OK, you did horrible on that test, but I’ve got a good feeling about you.” I told her, “If you hire me, I promise I won’t let you down.” She did. And I didn’t let her down.

Who cheers you on?

My village: April, Gail, Aretha, Cheryl, Jennie, Andrea, Denise, Charlinda, Alicia, Kim, Lisa, Portia, Rob, Misty, Stephanie, Tammy, Leonard, Pop, Melissa, Dave, Gloria, Gwen, Robbie, Darria.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

Lays potato chips and dip.

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

Roar”by Katy Perry, “You and I (Nobody in the World)” by John Legend, and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

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

After years of working in the insurance industry, I began my faith journey when I took a $35,000 pay cut and started working for the church. Six months later, the pastor of the church resigned, and we were without a pastor/administrator for a year. I handled all of the day-to-day activities of the church, including being the director of the day care center in the lower level of the church.

I was instrumental in hiring the new pastor, and within a year, he began notifying various church board members that he intended to fire me. I knew a week prior to being terminated that I would be fired. I was devastated. I had given up my corporate job just to be fired from a CHURCH??!!!

I wanted to quit, but I knew deep down inside that I wasn’t supposed to. I met with my own pastor, and he said, “You aren’t the first to be fired and you won’t be the last. Keep going.” So I did. I went to work every day, quietly preparing the church for my termination. I made sure everything was organized for the next person without saying a word to anyone.

Finally, the day came. I put on a RED DRESS, a spring scarf and matching pumps, and off to work I went. Hey, if I was getting fired, I needed at least to be CUTE! I was called into the pastor’s study and sitting there were a deacon, a trustee and my aunt, who served on the trustee board. The conversation was painful, mostly because it was happening in front of the people I admired the most in my life.

I cleaned off my desk, and in my haste, I accidently took the mail for that day. I beat myself up and became completely embarrassed over what happened. My friend invited me over for lunch, and while I was there, her assistant called and said that she needed time off. My friend hired me as her temporary assistant and I started work on MONDAY.

When I went to pack my bag for work, there was the mail that I had accidentally taken from the church. In it, there was a letter saying that the president of the local seminary was looking for an executive assistant. I got the job and my healing began. My ego was damaged, my heart was broken and I would cry while typing most of his letters.

But every day, the president of the seminary would say to me, “I’m not sure what it took for you to get here, but you’re doing a fantastic job, and I’m happy you are here.” I am grateful that I went to work at such a place of healing. Six months later, a pastor I had previously worked for, faxed over an offer letter to work at his new church that included a $35,000 increase. Just BELIEVE.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

The power of the PURPLE PEN! On my monthly calendar, I write my self-care activities on the calendar in purple ink! If I look at the calendar and there is no purple all week, I know it’s time to stop and do something special for myself. I love spa days with my friends!

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

Real grateful!

More about Deirdre (Dee) Martin…

Deirdre Martin is the CEO of Assisting Virtually, LLC, a company that specializes in executive administrative support for churches, ministries and nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, Dee relocated to New Jersey in 1986 in search of employment and to be near her close-knit family.
You are welcome to say hello to her at dmartin@assistingvirtually.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 Cari Vollmer

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… – See more at: https://www.debbiephillips.com/2014/01/22/shes-a-woman-on-fire-meet-carmencita-whonder/#sthash.d0qbe5aG.dpuf
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… – See more at: https://www.debbiephillips.com/2014/01/22/shes-a-woman-on-fire-meet-carmencita-whonder/#sthash.d0qbe5aG.dpuf
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… – See more at: https://www.debbiephillips.com/2014/01/22/shes-a-woman-on-fire-meet-carmencita-whonder/#sthash.d0qbe5aG.dpuf

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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Cari Vollmer

Minneapolis, Minn.

WOF member: #00110

Member since:  March 11, 2012

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

My husband, Pete, and I are business owners, and we’re passionate about what we do. Right now we’re talking about how to make this chapter of our life our most intentional so far, including implementing a daily practice where we start the day together to set our intentions and keep our vision alive. We both feel the power in finally putting our marriage, our dreams and ourselves first. We’re excited.

We are a blended family, which means I’ve had children in my life from the day we got married almost 25 years ago. This fall will be the first time we’ll have an “empty nest.” Pete and I are looking forward to this new time, while of course still enjoying our girls so much. My stepdaughter Meghann, a veterinarian, is married and has a little boy, Jackson, who calls me either CC or Grandma, both of which I respond to with enthusiasm!

Another big focus right now is holding an intentional and loving space for our other daughter, Kasie, as she graduates from high school and starts her new life as a college student and athlete. I know every mother who has gone through this transition understands what this means — the emotional roller-coaster of joy and fears. all of it. We’re oh so proud of Kasie and her many accomplishments, including earning a full-ride athletic scholarship to a college where she will also get to pursue her passion for wildlife biology.

Last fall I finally accepted the fact that my life — our lives — were changing, and it wasn’t helping to hold it at arm’s length. Interestingly enough, as soon as I affirmed the transition, I started getting a lot of clarity regarding my next steps as a woman and businesswoman. I knew deep down that this is my time to claim my dreams in an even bigger and bolder way.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I originally heard about Women on Fire through my friend Laurie Forster. Laurie and I were in the same mastermind group, and she nudged me to get to know her coach, Debbie Phillips. I started following Debbie and Women on Fire on Facebook, and it wasn’t long before I was a complete FAN! I’m so happy I listened to that nudge Laurie gave me!

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

In this order: (1) Debbie and her intentional and loving leadership, (2) the sisterhood, and (3) retreats, monthly calls and interview CDs.

What is your favorite part of the day?

I have a few different favorite parts to my day.  I love both when I’m the only one home, and I can feel what I need to feel and hear what I need to hear. I love that quiet space. And I love when the rest of my family is home and how crazy it can get with them and our two dogs, a terrier mix named Choxie and a golden retriever named Finnegan, and our cat, Isabelle.

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

A few years ago a client told me about The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard. I bought it immediately and proceeded to highlight many passages. I return to it over and over and over again.

Name one thing you’re proudest of.

I’m proudest of taking the journey to know who I am. I now feel everything stems from that understanding, and I’m so much more comfortable in the world as a result. I also trust my intuition now more than ever. It’s not always easy to do so because there’s so much noise in the world. I suppose that’s why I like my house when it’s quiet. I like to feel what I’m feeling, and if I get too busy I can’t do that.

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

When people first meet me, they are always surprised by how tall I am — 6-foot-3! It might also be surprising to know that I was adopted.

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

That would totally depend on my mood in that moment. I might like to go for a long walk — either by myself or with a friend — buy some flowers for my office and kitchen, meet friends for lunch or dinner, get a massage, and either try a new recipe for dinner or find a new restaurant in the city.

What is your favorite city in the world?

I haven’t visited nearly enough to know for sure, but right now I’d say Minneapolis, Chicago and New York, in no particular order.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

There have been so many! This year at the Women on Fire Retreat in Naples I had a big aha moment when I heard the panel discussing the importance of having sponsors — other people who take an active interest in your success and open doors for you. I’ve had many mentors and some of them have been sponsor-like. But when I heard Tandi Musuraca talking about sponsors, I realized that I could be asking for sponsors to show up in my life. And a few already have! I loved that moment! Thank you again, Tandi!

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

Well, I LOVE my Women on Fire cleanse sisters. (I wonder if they realize that this is what I call them!) Last year I participated in the first Women on Fire 21-day cleanse. I was so nervous! I didn’t know if I could possibly do the full 21 days. But Debbie and Amy Marzluff offered such amazing support and guidance as well as the connection to the other women who participated. I did it and I loved it!

What’s your big dream?

My dreams are to live my happiest and healthiest life, surrounded by people I love and who love me. I want to be true to myself, and to continue making a positive impact in the world. This year, I’ve committed to specializing in one particular aspect of all those that I’ve offered to clients over the years and that is to share my Identify Your Brilliance work with as many souls as possible. I really can’t think of better work than helping others discover who they are.

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

I have to list three, but they’re all connected. 🙂

  • Know who you are.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Value who you are.

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

My mom, Kay, was a businesswoman and ran our family restaurant for 20 years. She was the toughest boss I ever had. She taught me a lot about how to have a great work ethic and take care of customers, and how NOT to put up with bad behavior. She was gracious and had a deep inner strength. When I was looking for my first job after moving to Minneapolis, she gave me the best job-hunting advice I’ve ever heard: Make them feel like they couldn’t possibly live without you. I took her advice and was hired on the spot! I lost her 15 years ago, and I miss her every day. She was great.

My friend Beth is one of the best women I know. She’s taught me a lot about love, trusting my instincts, having good boundaries, and how to handle difficult situations. I’ve always loved the sparkle in her eyes and how easily she laughs.

Debbie Phillips came into my life at a time when I was feeling a bit disenchanted by the coaching and Internet marketing world. Deep down, I could sense a lack of authenticity, even when some of my coaches and teachers were preaching it. Very often, something felt off to me; things weren’t adding up. I’ve always been so grateful to Laurie Forster for introducing me to Debbie because I think she’s such a great model for having a true open-armed, authentic, loving embrace, and she’s taught me over and over again that when you’re aligned with love great things happen. I believe WOF has helped me be much more comfortable with who I am.

Who cheers you on?

I’m blessed to have many people who cheer me on — friends, colleagues, clients, my husband, and my daughters. One time, when I was nervous about speaking to a roomful of people, Kasie sent me a text message that said, “You’ll do great. You’re Cari Vollmer!” I loved that so much and deeply appreciated her cheerleading. I will treasure those words forever!

What is your favorite “pig out” food? 

Oh, my! Lately, it’s been a scoop of Häagen-Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato. Good thing I’m starting that cleanse again soon!

What song is on your iPod right now?

Happy by Pharrell Williams, and then a mish-mash of many of my daughter’s songs. She keeps me current, but please don’t ask me for performer or song names. I’m not good at retaining that info.

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

Without question my mom’s illness and passing was my biggest challenge. I went through that period before I had really dug deep into my own being, so going through that left me feeling very lost and without any sense of direction; however, it was also the beginning of the life I have today. It’s sometimes hard to consider that time as a blessing, but what rose from it certainly has been.

What are your go-to self-care strategies?

Quiet time. Deep breathing. A clean house. Fresh flowers. Clear space. Massages. Heart-to-heart conversations with great friends.

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

Blessed and awake.

More about Cari …

Cari Vollmer, founder of PassionIntoProfit.com, helps businesswomen worldwide create their sweet lives and purpose-filled businesses by helping them awaken, identify and honor their brilliance so they can infuse their lives and businesses with the best of who they really are. She fiercely supports women in trusting their gut instincts, while helping them create purposeful and strategic plans for business growth and living well.

You are welcome to say hello to her at Cari@passionintoprofit.com.

 

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

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She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Sherrerd Hartness

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… 

Sherrerd Hartness is a Woman on Fire- www.womenonfire.com

Sherrerd Hartness

Greenville, S.C.

WOF member: #00257

Member since:  December 20, 2013

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

I am the mother of two fantastic sons who are now grown up and out on their own. Since 1988, I have worked for myself in interior design. Juggling children and trying to work whenever I could took a lot of time and energy. Now I am ready to grow my business, invest in myself and conquer my fears.

I am on fire about expanding my business. In addition to that, I have a coffee table book I want to create. Part of the proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity, so stay tuned!

Also, my friend and Woman on Fire Nancy Neal’s husband, Tom, has asked me to raise $300,000 for a documentary he is co-producing on James Jamerson, the legendary bass player who was on more recordings than the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys combined. I bet all of you can hum the bass line to “My Girl” right now! I have never done anything like this before, but the more I learn, the more fired up I am. Bring it on!

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Last summer, I had the most fantastic intern, Emily Neal, who is the daughter of Nancy Neal, and granddaughter of Marge Snyder, a co-author in Women on Fire, Volume 2. Emily had interned during the summer of 2012 for Women on Fire, and she kept talking about Debbie Phillips and Meredith Schoenberger when she was working for me.

I went on Amazon and bought Women on Fire, Volume 1, and then signed up for the newsletter. A few months later, I became a member. When I read about the retreat, I thought, “I may not know anyone, but I’m going to attend. I’m sure I will find some people I like.” And, boy did I! Now I would use the words like and love!

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

What do I like best about Women on Fire? My answer is EVERYTHING! The support is pretty mind-blowing!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I love to start my day early, at 6:00 to 6:30 a.m., with a cup of coffee and quiet time in my reading room. My black-and-white kitty, Mowgli, usually spends this time with me, which I think is super sweet.

I light a candle and often put on headphones and listen to a guided imagery or a meditation. Sometimes, I use a Hemi-Sync CD. The Uplift Meditation by John Selby is also a favorite of mine. I have been saying the beautiful prayer that Kristine Carlson shared during her interview with Debbie Phillips: “Divine love, play me as an instrument in your finely tuned orchestra of life.”

I also love late afternoon and dusk when the world is slowing down again.

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

Incognito by Andrea Raynor and First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung (I am about halfway through). I am also wild about all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books.

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

I am most proud of my two wonderful, kind and fun sons. I am also proud of myself.

It has taken me more than 50 years to realize and own that most people who have experienced what I have in my life — the murder of my sister; the loss of my older brother to AIDS; the dysfunctional, cruel and neglectful home life I grew up in; and an abusive marriage — would end up bitter and angry. I still believe in my fellow human beings, and even though there have been decades filled with dark days, I remain optimistic most of the time.

The counselor who encouraged me to stand up for myself during my divorce told me that I am a Miracle. A psychologist who helped me deal with the heartbreaking events in my family told me the same thing. And the staff psychiatrist at the hospital where I took my mother before she died told me, “It is amazing you are the person you are.” My friends have been telling me this for a long time. And finally, I am starting to realize the truth in these words.

Share a special Women-on-Fire moment or experience.

The retreat in Naples, Fla., as well as phone conversations with my new friends were special. I’m excited that Woman on Fire Andrea Raynor spoke at my 113-year-old book club. I’m sure this list will grow and grow!

Name another Women on Fire who has inspired you and tell why?

That’s easy—EVERYBODY! When I think about Debbie’s dream to form Women on Fire, and that it has become a reality, it really knocks my socks off!

What’s your big dream?

My big dream has two parts: On the business side, I want to expand and do more vacation homes and sell my upcoming coffee table book. Personally, I want to meet a wonderful, genuine, kind, brilliant and fun man who will see me for who I am and not be afraid of the hard things that have happened in my life.

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

Most of my life has been extreme with challenges, and it has been very fear-based. The biggest challenges have been the murder of my little sister, the death of my brother, a household where we were scared to do anything wrong when we were growing up, and an abusive and destructive marriage.

How did I overcome all this? Believe me, there have been plenty of times when I wanted to just give up —to go to sleep and not wake up. My journey has been lots of little steps forward and sometimes many steps backward, and then finally getting stronger and learning, little by little, to stand up for myself.

Since the Women on Fire retreat, I am telling my story, a little at a time. I believe and know that things are now changing in me and for me.

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

I am going to quote Woman on Fire Terri Cole here because her answer resonated so much with me: “Be mindful that, most of the time, fear is just a feeling. Use fear to inform your decisions rather than to dominate them.” I sure wish I had learned this in grammar school.

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

I would go on a long trail ride on a really nice horse. I grew up riding and still love it! Sitting outside and reading would be pretty sweet too!

What is your favorite city in the world?

New York!

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

I took off my junior year of college and traveled as a cast member in the Up With People show. My cast traveled more than 90,000 miles that year and toured the western United States and Florida, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Mexico.

I lived with more than 80 host families and stayed in houses ranging from a shack with a dirt floor in Panama City to the home of the CEO of a large international company. I stayed in an orphanage on an Indian Reservation in British Columbia and a house on the plains of Wyoming where the wind whipped through the cracks in the exterior boards.

My cast mates were from many U.S. states and about 16 foreign countries. What an education and what an organization!

I love to throw a football, and I have a pretty good spiral! Usually, you can find a football in the trunk of my car in case one of my friends’ sons will throw with me. Once I got a porter from a hotel in Charleston to throw with me out in the street. It was a blast!

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

My godmother, Rick Ravenel, in Charleston, S.C., and Susan Boyd, my second mother, in Columbia, S.C., have shown me unconditional love and support. They are AWESOME. I wish you all could know them.

Who cheers you on?

My Women on Fire sisters cheer me on, as well as the women I mentioned above. My wonderful counselor, Marla Libby, has been invaluable, for sure! I call counseling “Life 101,” and I think everyone should be required to take it!

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

It is a composite of various things: long walks, swimming laps, eating lots of fresh veggies and fruits, quiet time to go within, and sleep. Being with friends for something fun is important to me too, and I am working on incorporating more fun into my life.

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

Fear be gone! My time is NOW!

More about Sherrerd Hartness…

Sherrerd, who has a B.A. in studio art from Converse College, established Sherrerd Hartness Interiors in Greenville, S.C., in 1988. She creates beautiful and livable spaces using inspiration from nature, and strives in every design to protect the world by focusing on both home and environment.

Sherrerd has begun to share the story of her sister’s murder in 1977, including the additional trauma of the high-profile execution of the murderers. She believes that there is more to a person’s life than the way they died and seeks to celebrate her sister’s life. She also hopes that, by sharing her experiences, she can support and encourage others who might feel lost and overcome by their circumstances.

She has spent much the last few years caring for the needs of her elderly parents. She volunteers with the Junior League of Greenville, S.C..

You are welcome to say hello to her at sherhartness@gmail.com. Visit her website, www.sherrerdhartnessinteriors.com, which was designed by Woman on Fire Emily Neal.

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

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She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Mary Canty Merrill

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to one another.  She’s a Woman on Fire member and we want you to know her! Please say hello to…

Woman on Fire- Mary Canty Merrill

Dr. Mary Canty Merrill

Denver, Colorado

Women on Fire member: #00251

Member since:  December 2013

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

As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I specialize in the study of human attitudes and behavior in organizations, which involves investigating work-related issues and implementing strategies to increase organizational capacity, productivity and effectiveness.

I’m married to retired military officer and clinical psychologist Dr. Herbert Merrill II. On June 12, we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We have a grown son, daughter-in-law, and a 13-month-old grandson who live in Cleveland, Ohio.

I’m on fire about inspiring others to rise up, overcome fear, unleash their potential, and show the world that they have more power than they are now using.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I was invited by sister member Sandra Vaughn, and I officially joined Women on Fire about 30 minutes before our January 2014 live online chat. Imagine that!

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

I love connecting with like-minded women who encourage and support one another personally and professionally. Powerful!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I’m nocturnal and so my favorite part of the day is between 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., when I’m most productive and creativity reigns.

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

Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman (amazon link), a Smith College graduate who chronicles her year in federal prison after a reckless decision she made 10 years earlier. She writes about the unlikely relational bonds she developed with fellow inmates.

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

I was the first in my immediate family to attend college and earned a doctoral degree after 23 years of formal education.

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

Take a nature walk or mountain hike to shake off daily cares and reconnect with myself through meditation and quiet reflection.

What is your favorite city in the world?

Bruges, Belgium.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

My first attendance at this year’s Women on Fire Retreat proved to be a divine appointment, because I reconnected with sister member Nancy Neal, who had literally saved my life. It was the first time I’d seen or spoken with her since that dreadful night 25 years ago. The retreat was a surreal experience that confirmed to me that God really does answer my prayers—with clarity. It’s an experience that will remain etched in my memory forever.

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

Nancy Slonim Aronie, who was the woman I was matched up at this year’s retreat. She is not only witty, but she’s also authentic in every way imaginable, and I deeply admire and appreciate that quality.

What’s your big dream?

To find that place of infinite possibility within myself and live only from that place.

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

I’d tell her how to think critically, which is a lost art. Today, people tend to accept their own and others’ beliefs and perspectives without challenging their validity in order to draw their own sound conclusions.

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

I’ve flown a single-engine plane.

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

  • My grandmother taught me that self-respect trumps all.
  • My mother taught me that making mistakes is not the tragedy; failing to learn from them is.
  • Ann Wheelock taught me the art of thinking BIG!

Who cheers you on?

My husband and family are my biggest cheerleaders.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

Crispy garlic parmesan wings and cheddar cheese fries.

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

I’ve struggled with clinical depression since adolescence, and it’s not something that I can overcome. I have, however, successfully managed its affects through a combination of proactive strategies, such as psychotherapy, medication, prayer and meditation, supportive relationships, self-nurturing activities, nutrition and exercise.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

Given the nature of my profession, people generally don’t contact me unless they are dealing with debilitating stress, trauma or crisis, so I’m constantly interacting with negative energy. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, I find small ways to regain control of my thoughts, attitudes and emotions. That might be something as simple as going to bed early to get more rest or reading an inspirational piece to regain perspective, or something as intricate as carving out time for a full-blown spa day.

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

Resilience.

More about Mary Canty Merrill…

Dr. Mary Canty Merrill has spent more than 25 years motivating and inspiring audiences across the country to step out of their comfort zone and into their personal power.  She began her career in corporate America and today, is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Merrill Consulting Associates, LLC, an organizational consulting firm based in Denver.

In addition to entrepreneur, Mary is blessed to serve humanity in a variety of roles.  As a psychologist, educator, facilitator, speaker, author, life strategist and provocateur, Mary is known for her thought-provoking messages, high-energy delivery, and dynamic work in unleashing human potential.

Mary is a regularly featured guest on radio talk shows, is the co-author of two inspirational books: The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet, and Miracles, Momentum and Manifestation, which will launch this spring and summer, respectively, and also authors a professional blog, The Inside Out with Dr. Mary Canty Merrill.

When not engaging with clients, Mary enjoys adventure and world travel with her husband and business partner, Dr. Herbert Merrill II.

You are welcome to say hello to her at mcanty@merrillca.com.

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

She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing Terri Cole

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to one another. She’s a Woman on Fire member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

This month's Woman on Fire- Meet Terri Cole over at www.womenonfire.com

Terri Cole
New York, NY

  • Member number: 00182
  • Member since June 2013

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

I am a psychotherapist and transformation expert. Seventeen years ago, I happily married my amazing husband, Victor Juhasz, and helped raise three sons, who were teenagers at the time.

I am on fire about teaching women how to “Kick the Crap” out of their fear mind (or Mafia Mind, as I like to call it) so they can create a life and career that thrills them. I am also on fire about being a grandma. I am so grateful for the hidden benefits of a blended family—“Look Ma, no stretch marks!” 🙂

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I met Debbie Phillips in a restaurant in New York City and at first resisted talking to her because I had seen 18 therapy clients that day. But as you know, she is irresistible! We started talking and have never stopped.

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

I love connecting with other Women on Fire members and supporting their plans for positive world domination.

What’s your favorite part of the day?

Morning meditation with my husband, Vic.

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

Desire Map, by my pal Danielle Laporte.

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

Raising amazing sons, who make me proud on a daily basis. They are all so decent, talented and kind. There’s nothing better.

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

Wake up, meditate, do energy work, work out, get a massage, eat a great meal or two, and maybe binge watch my current throw-back guilty pleasure, Alias with Jennifer Garner on Netflix.

What is your favorite city in the world?

New York City.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

I loved introducing one of my closest friends, Lara Licharowicz, to Women on Fire, and watching her transform her life through the connections she made with this amazing group (both business and personal).

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

Lara Licharowicz, because she is successful, smart, incredibly talented and so generous. I feel blessed to know her and share her with Women on Fire.

What’s your big dream?

To use my platform to transform as many lives as possible in my time on planet Earth.

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

To be mindful that, most of the time, fear is just a feeling. Use fear to inform your decisions rather than to dominate them.

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

I used to run a talent agency before I became a psychotherapist/coach.

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

Kris Carr (crazysexylife.com):  Kris taught me the importance of eating clean and green juicing to maintain my health.

Danielle Laporte:  Danielle taught me to be true to myself. Years ago, she said to me, “Terri, you need to write about what you know. Speak your truth and it will resonate.”

Debbie Phillips:  Debbie taught me to believe in myself and to charge what I am worth! (Thanks, Deb! <3)

Who cheers you on?

My mom, Jan and my husband, Vic.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

Nicoletta’s gluten-free pizza, extra crispy.

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

Love Will Come to You by Indigo Girls

Piano by Ariana Grande

Where I Stood by Missy Higgins 

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

Alcohol addiction. Cancer. Raising three angry teenagers. Being held up at gunpoint. It is hard to choose which was the biggest challenge, but I overcame all of them the same way: by never giving up; seeking help; having faith; leaning on friends, family, and my husband; and searching for higher learning.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

Meditation.

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

Gratitude and joy.

More about Terri Cole, fabulous Woman on Fire…

Terri is a licensed therapist, strategist, adviser and mentor to well-known personalities from the fields of wellness, empowerment and entertainment. She hosts her own show on Hay House Radio every Monday at 12 noon Eastern.

She is honored to help clients remain present and grounded, despite life’s complexities, and acts as a catalyst for clarity of purpose, confident decision-making, and balanced success by providing sustainable, action-oriented solutions.

You can find more about Terri and her company Live Fearless and Free by visiting her website at TerriCole.com and can connect with her on Facebook here!

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

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?

Paris.

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.

She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Carmencita Whonder

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…

Carmencita Whonder

Washington, D.C.

Member: #00090

Member since: February 21, 2012

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

I am a first child, big sister to a sister and twin brothers who are 12 years and 17 years my junior, respectively. I am the granddaughter to the best 92-year-old lady on the planet, and she has deemed me the MIT (matriarch in training). I am spiritual, loyal, giving, and a friend to and of many. I am a proud graduate of Howard University. I love foreign affairs and am an avid international traveler.

I am a risk-loving entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO at OF WHONDER (www.ofwhonder.com). I am super on fire about empowering women who wear sizes 12-24 to feel beautiful and confident when they walk out into the world everyday—where many people say we don’t have the right.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I came to Women on Fire directly through Debbie Phillips. Several years back, Debbie and I met at a women’s retreat called “Getting to Next.” Our group wasn’t very big—20 women together for two days in a beautiful New York City apartment discussing our “Next.”

I noticed Debbie pretty quickly because she had a huge smile that seemed a bit unreal—seriously. I remember thinking to myself with a little annoyance, “What’s wrong with her, and why is she so darned happy?” It just didn’t seem real to me at all, and I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. I guess I wasn’t used to seeing people grinning literally from ear to ear—at least not in Washington, D.C., or New York City. I hadn’t spoken with Debbie yet, and so I knew nothing about her; this was just an observation from across the room.

During the retreat, we were assigned secret mentors to watch us and slip us notes to praise and encourage us during the weekend. Halfway into the retreat, we had a group dinner, and somehow Debbie and I got left behind and ended up walking over to the restaurant together. (Looking back now, I think she probably planned it.)  It was a perfect opportunity to take a lovely walk on a gorgeous evening and get to know each other.

Debbie was “whonderful,” and we became fast friends. You might have guessed already that Debbie was, in fact, my secret mentor, and I couldn’t have been happier about that. We developed an instant spiritual connection that has lasted for almost 10 years. Debbie understands that life isn’t just about her, which, in my opinion, is one of the best character traits a human being could possess.

At the end of the retreat, I told her what I was thinking of her earlier, and she gave me the best explanation of why she was so happy—definitely one of the best explanations of gratefulness that I have ever heard. I haven’t questioned anyone’s smile or glow of happiness since!

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

I appreciate the way Women on Fire celebrates its members for their big and small accomplishments. The organization is truly about uplifting others, which seems rare in this age of hyper-self-promotion and individualism.

What is your favorite part of the day?

Anytime other than morning. I’m a night owl.

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

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh.

What is the one thing you are most proud of?

My faith. It is also the greatest gift my grandmother has given to me.

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

I would probably spend too much time thinking about what to do, and then the day would be over. I’ve got to work on this in 2014!

What is your favorite city in the world?  

I love so many cities, but New York City is my greatest love. I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut, just 45 minutes outside of New York. Like every Jamaican, I have always had tons of family in all of the boroughs, so I spent lots of time there as a young person. Back then, I loved hanging out with family and seeing shows, but I never wanted to live there. I loved my idyllic New England life.

Today, it’s the total opposite! All I do is dream of living in the city that never sleeps, the fashion capital of the world, home to the N.Y. Giants and Knicks, and where you’ll find the best restaurants, theaters, and museums the world has to offer. The cherry on top is that New York is also home to many of my favorite people in the world.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

A couple of years ago, Debbie hosted a tea party in Washington, D.C. I invited a few of my really good friends and was surprised to learn about some of their deepest dreams and goals for the first time. The setting allowed them to speak life into what they were most on fire about, and it helped me to become a more supportive friend, pushing them to realize those dreams and goals. That’s what is so beautiful about this community of women.

What’s your big dream?

To be truly happy!

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

Recognize and embrace your gifts early so you can spend as much time as possible using them to fulfill your purpose on this earth.

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

This super girly girl used to be a huge tomboy. As a kid, I loved snakes, my BMX bike, playing sports and the color blue. I hated pink! Today I have lots of pink in my house—but blue too.

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

My grandmother, Ethel Chambers: Faith will always sustain me and having a great work ethic will get me the rest of the way.

My mentor, Cynthia Bunton: Laughing with friends (instead of crying) over great champagne is sometimes the best cure for a broken heart.

My group of best friends (too many to list each name): Friends are the family members you are blessed enough to be able to choose.

Who cheers you on?

Definitely my mother! From the time I was quite young, she came up with the crazy idea that I could do and be anything. She was convincing, and I believed her.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

Definitely French fries and ice cream.

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

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack is my top 1, 2, 3, and more right now. I listen to this great song more than 10 times a day because it makes me incredibly happy no matter what my mood is at the time. The video is pretty great too!

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

Forgiving myself for not being perfect. Age and wisdom have helped me to realize that no one is perfect and my imperfections may actually be part of my charm.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

Massages are one of God’s greatest creations for the working woman. I can’t live without them. I just tried a Thai Yoga massage that is part massage, yoga/stretching and acupuncture. I highly recommend it!

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

Blessed and Whonderful!

More about Carmencita Whonder…

Educated at Howard University and Johns Hopkins, Carmencita has experience in such diverse areas as financial services, philanthropy and the U.S. Senate. Above all, she is a strategist, and she’s particularly skilled in developing plans for under served markets.

She is the CEO and founder of the contemporary, luxury, ready-to-wear clothing brand OF WHONDER, which embraces the physiques of the majority of women—those wearing sizes 12-24. OF WHONDER is more than just a fashion line; it represents a lifestyle that promotes positive self-image, balanced choices, and daring confidence each and every day.

You can connect with Carmencita and “like” OF WHONDER’s Facebook page here.

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

Top 10 Women Who Set 2013 On Fire

With so much in the news about what a tough year 2013 was for women and their rights, it got us thinking. What if, instead of focusing on the all the negatives around us, we repositioned ourselves to look only for the good?

What reverberations could that have? Could it be that we are unable to move forward into a new era of feminism because we let “setbacks” delay us from arriving at our desired destination?

That’s not to say that we forget our past, but rather we challenge ourselves to shift focus. To help us do that, we compiled a list of 10 women who totally rocked 2013. Let their stories of courage, vulnerability and fearlessness fuel your own story of hope and promise for 2014.

Top 10 Women Who Set 2013 On Fire from Women on Fire - womenonfire.com

10) Marianne Williamson, the spiritual teacher, best-selling author and political activist, has recently placed her name in the running for the California District 33 congressional election in November 2014. Marianne is working to bring spiritual and political ideals into alignment with one another. On top of that, she’s just published a new book, A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections, to ring in the new year. #yougogirl

Marianne Williamson #10 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire

9) Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour became the first female co-anchor pairing last August. Although this isn’t the first time we’ve seen women take the lead on-air, this is the first time a network broadcast has had two female anchors. Television is the most powerful medium, and this duo of respected journalists provides the very best role modeling.

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff #9 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire PBS

8) In September, Diana Nyad, an author, journalist, motivational speaker and world-record-holding long-distance swimmer, completed the more than 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage. This was her fifth attempt, and it took her almost 53 hours to achieve her 35-year-old dream. “Find a way” is the motto she lived by, and find a way she did.

 Diana Nyad #8 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire

7) Thanks to her role on Orange Is The New Black, Laverne Cox has made television history as one of the most celebrated transgender individuals. She was also named by OUT Magazine as one of the 100 most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people of 2013. It’s monumental to watch her opening the door for a more inclusive definition of what it means to be feminine.

Laverne Cox  #7 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire photo by Dan Hallman  Dan Hallman

6) Gloria Steinem has long been recognized as a leader of and spokeswoman for the Women’s Liberation Movement, and that recognition finally transcended through to the highest civilian honor when she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with Oprah Winfrey and Sally Ride, last November, with the acknowledgment, “This was a medal for the entire women’s movement.” Bravo, Gloria!

Gloria Steinem  #6 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire Getty Images Mandel Ngan Getty Images- Mandel Ngan

5) Angelina Jolie publicly announced that she was undergoing a double mastectomy in early 2013. Nothing says bravery like broadcasting such an extremely personal decision about a medical procedure with the hope of inspiring other women and starting a conversation on preventative medicine for breast cancer.

Angelina Jolie  #5 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire AP Joel RyanAP/Joel Ryan

4) Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan’s first female Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, announced her bid for the country’s presidency. She is a force within the Middle East for women’s rights and is hoping to run despite the dangers of challenging a government under the oppressive influence of the Taliban. She is looking to propel her country “out of the days of darkness, and bring about change.”

Fawzia Koofi #4 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire NBC News Rasheed Turkmen NBC News/Rasheed Turkmen

3) Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth representing District 10 in the Texas Senate, staged an 11-hour filibuster of a measure to limit abortion in Texas. She is now running for governor of Texas and is an inspiration in advocating for the protection of the rights women in America have worked hard to acquire.

 Bob Daemmrich/Corbis

2) Eva (6) and Jasmine (8) were recently adopted by a foster family after releasing a prayer balloon with their desire to be adopted attached. This is the story of two extraordinary little girls who were brave enough to ask the universe for exactly what they wanted and, in return, were rewarded with the greatest gift—love.

Eva and Jasmine #2 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire Photo by Inside Edition Inside Edition

1) Malala Yousafzai was an absolute beam of light in the world in 2013.  This Pakistani schoolgirl was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban for taking a stand on the importance of education. Months later, after her miraculous recovery, she graced us all with a powerful speech at the United Nations — on her 16th birthday.

Her book I am Malala, shot straight to the top of the lists of best-sellers. She continues to demonstrate unrelenting hope, unwavering courage and a fierce intellect that can come only from facing danger head-on. She’s absolutely a young Woman on Fire and an unstoppable force for the next generation of feminism.

Malala Yousafzai

with love,

The Women on Fire Team

She’s a Woman On Fire! Meet Kim Davis

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…
Kim_Davis_headshot

Kimberly Davis

Fort Washington, Maryland

Member: #00168

Member since:  2012

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

I’ve been married 14 years to my husband Greg, and we have two beautiful children, ages 9 and 5.  After working with my husband part-time on our internet marketing business for many years, I recently left Corporate America to join him full-time.

Our company creates and places ads on the internet for small to medium-sized businesses.  We also operate a coaching and consulting business where we teach marketing, as well as host live events where we bring together some of the top leaders in the industry to network and share their knowledge.

Right now, I am on fire about how our company is growing.  Creating and growing a business is not an easy task and has taken many years of hard work.  I’m excited to see how it’s expanding and I’m enjoying the process of creating a strong business within our industry.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I was originally introduced to Women on Fire by one of the authors of the original Women on Fire book, Vicki Irvin.  She invited me to attend a tea with her in Washington, DC and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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

I love the monthly membership interviews.  I find them not only inspiring, but educational as well.  I am always blown away each month by the amazing things that these women featured are doing.

 I also like the fact that no matter how successful these women are in their business, the interview and transcript gives you insight into who they are as people—their joys, their fears, their aspirations—it’s just like chatting with an old girlfriend that you haven’t seen in a while.

Your favorite part of the day?  

I like it dark and early, so between 5:30 and 7:00 a.m. is my favorite part of the day.  The world is so peaceful just before dawn, and I use that time to pray and receive energy from the universe to start my day, as well as make plans and dream about my future.   For me it’s really about using that time to feel inspired.

The last book you read that you would recommend to other WOF?

I love to read so I’d like to recommend two; My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less than Perfect Life, by Olympic Volleyball Gold Medalist, Gabrielle Reece.  It’s a funny and honest look at married life that any married or soon to be married woman will enjoy.

I’d also like to recommend any of The Five Love Languages books by Gary D. Chapman.  If you want to understand how the people around you best receive love, this is the book for you.  It has helped me tremendously in better communicating my love to my mother, husband, children, and brother.  These books are for anybody and everybody.

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

I’m such a “doer” that I would probably spend the first hour or two of the day worried about the fact that I had nothing to do—but ultimately my dream day would be to spend a little time alone curled up with a good book, watch a little TV, and then meet my husband for a fabulous lunch at a sidewalk café in late spring, drink wine and just talk.

Your favorite city in the world?

That’s a tough one.  I enjoy traveling and I’ve been to a lot places that I love for different reasons, but if I have to choose, I’d say there are two.  I love Cape Town, South Africa for its natural beauty, and for a little urban excitement, I’d have to say Paris and San Francisco.  Oops that’s three.  This was a tough question.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

By far it would have to be the Women on Fire trip to Paris in 2012.  Words cannot describe how special of a time it was for me.  I was so blessed to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with such a phenomenal group of loving, caring women.  We supported each other in our pain, but we also shared our joy—and there was so much laughter.  I literally laughed until my sides ached at least twice a day.  These women are now all special to me and are never far from my thoughts.

Name another WOF who has inspired you, and why?

I would have to say Debbie Phillips.  I just think she is so kind and gentle.  It is rare these days to find someone who is willing to listen without judgment and allow you to feel safe when sharing whatever is on your mind.  I love that about her.  I also love that she is not afraid or ashamed to open herself up as well.  I think she is an awesome example of someone who is living their best life.

What’s your big dream?  

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out.  I have so many dreams and they often change depending on the day of the week.  I used to feel badly about the fact that I didn’t have the perfect plan mapped out for myself, but now I realize that it’s ok and that I am free to be open to whatever God has in store for me.

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

To maintain a feeling of gratitude.  No matter where we go in life, and no matter the accomplishments, it is important to be thankful and appreciative of all who have helped and supported us, and the opportunities that have come our way.  I think it keeps us grounded, and reminds us not to take anything for granted.

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

I love baseball.  I remember going to the ball park with my Dad when I was a little girl.  It was one of my happiest childhood memories.  I have passed that love on to my kids, and my husband and I have made going to the ballpark during the summer months a family tradition.

Who cheers you on?  

Without a doubt, my husband.  He has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, and encouraged me during times when I had no clue where I was headed.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

I’d have to say fried chicken—and not the fast food kind.  It has to be homemade.

What are the top 3 songs on your iPod right now?

“Happy” by Pharell Williams, anything by Rihanna, and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.

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

I wrote about this in my chapter in the new, soon-to-be-released Women on Fire book, so I don’t want to give it away just yet. 🙂

Your go-to self-care strategy?  

Honestly, the best thing I do for myself when I’m stressed out is to get some rest.  Nothing beats a good night’s sleep or even an afternoon nap if you can do it.  As women we are always on the go, and we are very quick to sacrifice sleep to get things done.  When I find myself feeling burned out, it’s usually because I haven’t allowed myself to get enough sleep.

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

Amazing!

More about Kim Davis…

In addition to being a partner in her husband’s highly successful affiliate marketing business, Kim is also a real estate investor and an active member in her church and her community.

She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Finance from Howard University, and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. In addition to her many interests, Kim enjoys reading, traveling, and entertaining.

Kim has released a book titled “The Woman’s Guide to Creating Balance: 21 Secrets that will Restore, Re-Energize, and Renew Your Life” providing women with the many strategies that she has employed over the years to achieve her goals and bring joy and balance to her life.

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

She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Kim Dettmer

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…

Kim Dettmer - headshot

Kim Dettmer

Berea, Ohio

Member: #00005

Member since: October 13, 2011

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

My husband, Jeff, and I have two boys, Alex, 8, and Owen, 7. We live in a small college town that is a suburb of Cleveland. I had a 12-year career as a higher education administrator at several universities including, Loyola University Chicago, University of Wisconsin–Stout, and Baldwin-Wallace College, but gave that up to be home with my boys.

Last year, after seven years as a stay-at-home mom, I began a part-time job as the executive director of the Education Foundation for our local school district. Jeff runs the family-owned printing company that his father started more than 40 years ago.

Right now I am on fire about my book, Moments Meant to Savor, which I wrote and illustrated. It is a picture book for children ages 5 to 105 and will be published in November. I am so excited to share its timeless message of remembering to savor life’s magical moments.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

In April 2010, I was helping my husband with his booth at a marketing conference when I met Nile Nickel. We chatted, and he suggested that I connect with his wife, Rosemary. On her Facebook page, I saw a post about Debbie Phillips and a Women on Fire Retreat that Rosemary had just attended. I was incredibly eager to learn more.

The next day, at that same conference, I attended a session led by an enthusiastic man named Rob Berkley, who was talking about Vision Day. Again, I was interested and wanted to learn more. It wasn’t until I got home and started to learn more about Women on Fire and Vision Day that I realized Debbie and Rob are married!

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

I love the Livestream chats that Debbie hosts each month. During that hour, not only do I get great life lessons and strategies, but I also connect with inspiring women who are amazingly supportive. It’s great to be a part of a community where women build each other up, instead of competing against and tearing each other down.

What is your favorite city in the world?

Chicago is my all-time favorite city! I lived there when I was 23 to 25 years old. One of my biggest accomplishments was when I felt like I had “conquered” the city because I was able to get myself around without getting lost—at least not too much. Whenever I visit, I am able to relive some of my favorite memories.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

My favorite WOF moment was while I was attending a tea in New York City with a very good friend, Kate Perlman, whom I met in 1994 while in graduate school. Kate and I hadn’t seen each other for a few years, so it was awesome to get together for the weekend and attend the tea.

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

Other than Debbie, who is so incredibly inspiring, there are two other Women on Fire who have greatly impacted my life.

The first is Melissa McClain. I signed up for her “Do the Doodle 30-Day Challenge,” thinking that it would be fun and a great break from my day. It was all that and more! I found my artistic voice, which I never knew I had. Melissa and the other doodlers were so insightful and encouraging. Without Melissa’s challenge, I would never have considered doing the illustrations for my book, and I may never have even found the artist that was buried deep inside of me! Thank you, Melissa!

The second is Andrea Dowding. I met Andrea at my first WOF tea in Columbus in 2010. When I arrived, somewhat nervous about the event, I was immediately calmed by her warm, welcoming energy, which filled the room. More recently, Andrea has coached me on the business/marketing aspects of my book. Not only has she expertly guided me on putting together a business plan and a schedule of marketing events, but she has also shined a light on my strengths, talents, and gifts, which allowed me to share them more authentically. Andrea is truly a godsend for me.

What’s your big dream?

I am not sure that I have one BIG dream. Instead, I have a series of dreams, some of which have been achieved, and some that have yet to be discovered. About four years ago, while I was a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers, caught up in the chaos of the early stages of motherhood, I dreamed of rediscovering myself and having some “thing” that was solely mine.

I began a blog, In Search of Me in Mommy, and through that I began to find my voice and realize that, to be fully me, I needed a daily creative outlet. As a result, that became and continues to be a priority in my life. I next was led to the dream of writing a children’s book.

For more than two years, I have worked to turn that into a reality. I am thrilled that I will soon publish Moments Meant to Savor. I am not sure what my next dream will be or where it will take me, but I am excited to see what unfolds.

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

I would teach her how to know her own truth. I would encourage her to listen to her intuition and go with her gut, even if that is scary at times.

Who cheers you on?

My husband Jeff is my biggest supporter. I always know that he has my back and will be there for me, encouraging me onward, even when he may not understand what I am trying to achieve or accomplish. He loves and trusts me, perhaps even more than I do myself. I am so thankful for him!

I am also blessed to have many friends who cheer me on daily. One of my very good friends, Leslie, has been in my life since the birth of my first child. She has unconditionally cheered me on through every one of my new endeavors. It is amazing to be surrounded by such wonderful energy!

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

Oh, I love a good burger and yummy sweet potato fries!

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

I am a bath-aholic! Soaking in a tub of hot water is where I read the best books. It is where I have my best ideas, and it is where I am able to easily solve the world’s problems…or at least my own.

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

The first words that come to my mind are “Alex” and “Owen.” Being a mom is the most important role in my life, and it was what I always wanted to be. But motherhood is not exactly as I expected it to be. I knew that I would love my children, but I didn’t know how much I could love them.

I knew that motherhood would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard. And I knew that I would be teaching them how to grow and become their best selves, but I didn’t know that they would teach me how to become my best self.

Being the mother of Alex and Owen is the greatest gift.

More about Kim Dettmer…

Kim is inspired by her two boys, good conversations, color, others who dare to dream big, crafting words, laughter, tears, authenticity, mistakes and failures, stories, and love. She is a lifelong learner who thrives on utilizing her gift of creativity.

Say hello to her at Kim@MomentsMeantToSavor.com, and access her website at www.MomentsMeantToSavor.com.

You are invited to Kim’s exclusive Virtual Book Party on October 14, 2013 at 8pm EST. Attend here! (First 50 to purchase a book will received a signed copy!)

Moments Meant To Savor by Kim Dettmer