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?


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

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