September’s Inner Circle Sneak Peek with Beth Nielsen Chapman

We have another sneak peek of what’s coming in your Women on Fire members’ care package for September.

Have you ever listened to a song that was so powerful you felt like the lyrics were written just for you?

We often turn to music in times of great joy, sorrow and uncertainty.

That’s because music has the power to heal, far beyond words.

There is no one who better understands the healing magic of music more than our featured guest.

A singer-songwriter.

A cancer survivor.

A Grammy-nominated artist.

A teacher.

A mother who was widowed at a young age.

A woman who has built a wildly successful career by channeling the healing power of creativity.

And today, Beth Nielsen Chapman is here to help you discover how creativity can give purpose to your pain and transform your setbacks into strengths.

I’m telling you, she’s beyond brilliant! 🙂

If you’re not yet part of our membership inner circle, please be our guest and listen in today for free to a clip of Debbie’s interview with Beth.

Press PLAY for a quick (2:30) audio clip of this deeply inspiring interview.

In the full recording you’ll discover:

  • The many ways creativity can help you heal
  • How to tap into a collective wisdom
  • Techniques to find inspiration when your creative well has run dry
  • What the “divining rod of inspiration” is and how you can find yours

All that, PLUS a little birdie told me that Beth might have recorded a very special serenade…

But who knows? You’ll have to listen to find out! 🙂

If you are already a member of our Women on Fire inner circle, enjoy this preview of what’s already coming to you early in September!

If you aren’t yet a member and want to receive this Women on Fire exclusive, make sure to join us today.

You have until Sunday, August 30. Less than 48 hours left!

Don’t miss out on one of the most authentic and uplifting interviews we have recorded ALL year!


The Women on Fire team

P.S. Have your goals slowly slipped away over the summer? Want to get back on track this fall?

TUNE IN to Debbie’s live monthly Members’ Master Class and Chat on September 15 at 8:00 p.m. EST. She’ll be sharing her favorite tips and tools for ending your year strong!

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Michelle Tenzyk

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

She's a Woman on Fire! Michelle Tenzyk

Michelle Tenzyk

Peekskill, New York

Member: #00183

Member since: June 25, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite part of the day?

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

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

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

What is one thing you’re most proud of? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite city in the world?

It is a tossup between New York City and Paris.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.  

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

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

What’s your big dream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who cheers you on?

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

What is your favorite “pig out” food?

French fries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

A day at the spa!

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


More about Michelle Tenzyk…

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


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

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Our special guest interview for June is…

Each month, our founder Debbie Phillips interviews an inspiring expert for monthly members.  If you’re not yet a member, please be our guest and listen in today for free to a clip of Debbie’s upcoming interview with best-selling author, journalist and transgender activist Janet Mock.

Sound Cloud Monthly Sneak Peek June 2014 without play button

Janet is responsible for providing an inspirational voice for women across the country who are struggling with self-acceptance and authenticity. She’s best known for her recently published memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, which has just topped the New York Times best-seller list, and rightfully so.

Below is a sneak peek of this unbelievably powerful and uplifting interview about resilience and the incredible journey to reveal one’s true self.

Simply press play on the image below to listen to a short clip (2:47)

In the full interview, you’ll discover:

  • Where to find the confidence to be yourself.
  • How you can eliminate toxic people to build a rock-solid support system.
  • The most powerful tool for connecting to your inner voice.
  • How to approach sensitive topics with empathy.
  • What you can do to foster positive gender acceptance when raising children.
  • The best way to discuss trans issues with respect and dignity.

And because this interview was overflowing with insight, I wanted to give you one last glimpse…

“We are all learning and growing. To be scared of something that’s kind of a foreign subject or that may not be completely in line with your experience is completely natural.

I think the No. 1 thing is to come from a space where you’re talking with another human being. You’re talking to someone with her own struggles and triumphs and with her own issues and traumas. We want to come from a place of empathy.” —Janet Mock

So if you are already a monthly member, I hope you enjoy the preview of what’s to arrive in your mailbox in early June! And, I encourage you to share this clip with another woman in your life who you know might enjoy our membership program.:)

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full June membership package, along with:

  • Personalized coaching materials
  • Access to our monthly live video coaching call/chat with Debbie Phillips
  • An invitation to join the supportive private members-only Facebook forum
  • Plus many more benefits

We invite you to join us TODAY!

Click here to register to receive June’s monthly membership package. You only have 3 days left to register to receive the full interview from the clip you just heard. Registration ends on May 25, 2014.

Don’t miss out on this dynamic interview, with tips and inspiration that will stay with you long after you’ve finished listening.


The Women on Fire team

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.