In memory of Jane Juergens

We cherish each woman in our Women on Fire community so much so that the loss of even one of us affects us all.

Last night one of our beloved members Jane Juergens of Columbus, Ohio was killed tragically. She was in a park — most likely out for a run — and she was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old assailant.

Those of us who knew her well are devastated. She has been a loving, caring, uplifting presence at our retreats and teas, on our members’ Live Chats, and in Jan Allen’s Women on Fire coaching group Life, Ignited.

Photo by Heather Stone

Bright and shining Jane at a Women on Fire event pictured here with Jen Madson

And ignite her life, she did. Jane served as inspiration to us for her bold and courageous move in the past year to leave a solid, steady job to follow her dream and open her own human resources firm.

Photo by Heather Stone

With Jane at last year’s Women on Fire Retreat in Chicago

I had just been with Jane in Columbus on September 26 at a Women on Fire tea at the Cambridge House and several of you were there as well. That night, she was joyful and happy and so proud of the changes that she’d made and the success she was enjoying. She lit up the entire room that night!

Photo by Heather Stone

Having fun in Chicago in 2012, Jane is second from the left.

While Jane was friends with so many, I want to especially send love and wrap my arms around the Women on Fire in her coaching group led by Jan — Laura Tiberi, Mary Jo Hudson, Keena Smith and Nicole Lovett. These women lovingly nurtured and cheered each other on and I can’t imagine how hard it is to lose a member of your precious group.

Photo by Heather Stone

Jane with some her Women on Fire sisters is at the top of the picture

Personally, Jane was a radiant spirit in my life. Always coming from her heart. Living her best intentions. She recently went out of her way to re-connect me to Pam Smith Lucas, the daughter of my father’s best friend, whom I hadn’t seen since I was a child.

That’s just how she was. There to help. There to encourage. There to make life better for everyone.

Photo by Heather Stone

Jane getting a Women on Fire book signed for one of her friends

Ironically, last night, as Jane was no doubt fighting for her life, I received a note from a dear friend comforting me on the recent death of my brother. In part, she wrote:

It’s hard to comprehend when life takes unforeseen turns. Life always hangs on this very fragile string, which can just snap at any moment. It’s precious, so very precious and I am so sorry about your loss.

Those are now my words to you, as I light a candle in honor of our darling Jane.

On behalf of our entire community, we send our love and prayers to Jane’s immediate family, which includes her mother and two sons.

Please know in the coming weeks and months we will find ways to celebrate and honor Jane and to keep her beautiful spirit alive — and you all will be a part of that.

You are invited to share anything you’d like to say about Jane here.

Photo by Heather Stone

With love to you, dear Jane, forever and always.

May you rest in peace ~


Anyone you’d love to surprise?

I’m posting this from Columbus, Ohio where I spent 24 years of my life and career before I moved to the East Coast in 1996.

I return to Columbus at least twice a year because I love Columbus and my many amazing friends and extended family there (including my beloved dentists Drs. Tom and Cheryl Hoffman, who I refused to give it up just because I moved hundreds of miles away šŸ˜‰

Hugging my best friend and Woman on Fire Jan Allen (Photo by Nancy Lambert)

On this trip, however, I couldn’t tell anyone I was coming to Columbus.Ā  For months.Ā  I had to keep a secret!

You see my best friend and Women on Fire leader Jan Allen turns 60 on November 21. And, her husband went to great lengths to plan a BIG SURPRISE party for her early enough that she might not suspect it.Ā  And, he pulled it off!!

We had a ball last Saturday night and she was truly surprised!

So much so that when she walked into the room and more than 100 of us shouted HAPPY BIRTHDAY, she backed out the door because she thought she’d walked in and spoiled someone else’s surprise party!!Ā  That is so sweetly Jan.

All the months of secret planning opened my eyes to the joy, excitement and giddiness that comes from creating a surprise for someone else.

Jan’s husband Curt planned every detail to what he knew Jan would absolutely love.Ā  The people who were in the room. The food. The music. All for her. A big part of the fun was watching his excitement in the planning!

I found the energy of all the excitement was so uplifting.Ā  And, it reminded me of the joy we get from creating a perfect surprise for someone.

While you don’t have to spend months like Curt did in planning an elaborate surprise, what would it do for you in your life to create a surprise for someone you love?

*Ā  A phone call to someone who’d appreciate hearing your voice instead of an email?

* An offer to take kids on a play date with you!

* A invitation to treat someone to lunch at their favorite place — for no special reason?

Jan’s surprise party inspired me to create some more surprises for others in my life. So stay tuned.Ā  You never know if you might be the “surprisee!”

It. Was. Magnificent!

The long-awaited Women on Fire Day in Columbus, Ohio is over.

And the joy from the love, inspiration, new and rekindled friendships, wisdom and great energy from the day still lingers.Ā  Proving once again that “isolation is the dream-killer” and we can do so much more in the company of each other than alone!

Nearly 150 women from 17 states ranging in age from teens to 80s came to Ohio for the day filled with inspiration, strategies and support.

Here are a few highlights from the day’s photos in this video by Jamie Eslinger.

Do you see yourself or recognize other Women on Fire in the video?Ā  No matter, I hope you will be uplifted to see so many women “on fire” in one room cheering on each other’s success!

Huge thanks to ALL of these Women on Fire for making the day so special:

* Jan Allen for organizing and hosting this amazing day at the gorgeous Franklin Park Conservatory.

* Keynote speaker — the one and only, five-time Emmy Award-winning producer, writer and star of her own show on SiriusXM — Janette Barber

* Panelists who spoke from their hearts about their lives: Liz Lessner, Debi Lilly, Mary Ellen Jones

* Women on Fire book co-authors who shared their stories from the book and gave an update on where they are today: Allison Barry, Lori Gagnon, Holly Getty, Mary Ellen Jones, Shannon McCaffery, Ginny Barney and Patti Wynn Brown.

* Our super-human and inexhaustible volunteers: Tandi Musuraca, Tricia Simpson, Angela Ittu, Kim Dettmer and Sandra Gurvis.

*Ā  During Women on Fire Day, Andrea Dowding was honored for coaching so many women to success. The day was dedicated to her for her unflinching determination to help women and girls share their gifts, strengths and talents with the world.Ā 

Since 2008, Andrea has led Women on Fire coaching groups and teas, along with Jerry Browning.

* Women on Fire and Sophfronia Scott presented the first annual Theo Scott Scholarship to inspiring, young entrepreneur Nicole Lovett.Ā  The award was in honor of Sophfronia’s sister Theo who died this past summer and had planned to attend Women on Fire Day.

* Thank you to photographer Nancy Lambert who deftly assembled 150 women to take that final amazing photo in the video!

Thank you so much for being a part of our powerful and ever-expanding circle of love, inspiration and caring.

Women On FireĀ® names National Program Chair

Each day, I receive emails about the tremendous difference Women on Fire support has made in your lives.

In the past week alone, I heard from one of our members that she finished her novel and another informed me her lifestyle show has been “green-lit” by Oprah’s new network OWN.Ā  Both women attributed her success to the inspiration, strategies and support from her Women on Fire sisters.

I want you to know we are building even more systems of support for you.

Today, I am announcing the appointment of Jan Allen as Women on Fireā€™s National Chair of the Each One Reach One Program. The program will launch nationally with an intense focus on Ohio as a model state that embraces and supports women to live the lives they dream of.

Jan Allen

Jan, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, is a talented business strategist, change agent and organizational expert — and she’s been my best friend for 25 years.

We have supported each other through every twist and turn of our careers and life — and we will continue to share our combined knowledge, success strategies (and our mistakes, too!) — with you and all Women on Fire.

In her new position, Jan will help to lead some very exciting plans and programs that we have in the works. There are more than 2,000 women nationwideĀ  involved already in our organization.Ā  Our first goal is to reach and connect 5,000 women in Ohio to each other so they have the inspiration, strategies and support to make their dreams realities.Ā  After that, our plan is to connect at least 1,000 women or more in every state and country.

Here’s a little more about Jan and why I feel Women On Fire is so fortunate to have her talent and support:

She was one of the first women to hold a top position in state government, as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste. She has also led executive teams, most recently in Ohio Governor Ted Stricklandā€™s Administration and prior to that as a business owner and principal of three successful entrepreneurial enterprises. In addition to her vast experience, she is trained as a lawyer, executive coach and therapist.

Shortly after I became a coach in 1995, virtually an unheard-of profession back then, Jan and I together launched a very successful women’s group in Columbus. Some of you were even in that group!Ā  That year-long experience of women supporting women through inspiration and strategies served as a forerunner for what is today Women on Fire.

Welcome, Jan!

Now, here’s where you come in:

Imagine the world if each one of us would reach out to just one other woman to give her the support she needs to succeed?

As part of the Each One Reach One program, if you know of one other fabulous woman who may be struggling and could benefit from Women on Fire inspiration, please encourage her to subscribe today to our free, weekly newsletter The Spark!

No matter where you live, if you are or know of a woman in Ohio who can reach many women, please email Jan at

Additionally, I am pleased to announce Andrea Dowding, who has led Ohio coaching groups and tea parties since 2008, will be Women on Fireā€™s Ohio Training Leader to build a cadre of talented coaches and facilitators who can lead and connect women in powerful, in-person settings.Ā  Please let me know if you want to shine as a leader of women in your community and would be interested in learning more.

Finally, before I sign off, please mark your calendar. I am thrilled to announce Women on Fire Day will be held in Columbus, Ohio on September 23, 2011. It will be the first stop on our new and exciting Women On Fire National Tour. Stay tuned, more dates and cities will be announced soon!

My dream is for you to have your dream.