Shine your lights, Women on Fire!

I firmly believe when you see another woman on her path, you can be inspired to know what is possible for you.

And for our Women on Fire members highlighted today, I hope you will feel us cheering you on for your work and dedication to follow your dreams!

First up, we shine the light on a collection of women. They are the 21 co-authors of Vol. 2 of our book Women on Fire: 21 More Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!) 

Women on Fire Book co-authors gathering in New York City — Front row: Mary Kay Purdy, Susan Kruger, Marilyn Brown, me!, Tricia Simpson, Leah Hamilton, Marge Snyder. Back row: Heike Vogel, Maria Verroye, Sophfronia Scott, Lisa Arundale, Linda Neff, Kacy Cook, Kim Davis, Beth Bryce, Laurel Hodory, Jenifer Madson, Kay Raypholtz, Carrie Saba, Sarah Elizabeth Greer, Michelle Whittaker and Meredith Schoenberger. Co-authors missing from the photo were Jan Allen, Nicole Friedler Brisson and Mary Carran Webster. (Photo by Rob Berkley)

Together with publisher Sophfronia Scott, editor Kacy Cook, communications and marketing manager Meredith Schoenberger, we all met recently in New York City to share a day of inspiration, connection and personal stories.


Our co-authors have all written their transformative chapters of struggle and triumph — and they all did it by our deadline.  (What an accomplishment:-) The book will be published this summer and I promise you are going to be inspired!

Dyana on her Sunday shift at the 9/11 memorial

For Dyana Robenalt of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, life has now come full circle.

After witnessing the collapse of the World Trade Center towers from the rooftop of her Manhattan office building,  she abandoned her executive sales position with UPS.  And she went to work to rebuild her spirit.

She moved to the Poconos and developed her gardening skills and expertise. She now manages the gardens of large estates through the Estate and Enhancement Division at Statile & Todd in Far Hills, New Jersey.

And to prove how healing it is to give back, today Dyana volunteers at the new 9/11 memorial.

If you visit the memorial, she’s happy to help you or provide information and you can reach her

Personal style consultant Holly Getty of New York City, was featured on New York’s WPIX-TV morning show for her styling expertise. She led a segment on denim that WOWed the producers and audience!

How fabulous is this illustration above of Holly? Another example of an amazing Women on Fire collaboration as it was a gift to Holly from Lara Licharowicz of New York City created by the talented Rosemary Fanti of Chicago.

Siiri Morley (in the green top and necklace) during her recent visit to Haiti

Siiri Morley of Boston was recently in Haiti launching a new pilot program for the company she founded to provide jobs for refugee women and that Women on Fire champions — Prosperity Candle.

Many of you met Siiri at our retreat in Chicago last fall, and she has tirelessly worked to promote Properity Candle, which was recently featured on NBC’s Today Show!

Congratulations, too, to Woman on Fire Dana Frost of Chicago for becoming a powerful supporter of Prosperity Candle with her own unique brand of candle scent.  “Share the light, Change a Life” is Properity Candle’s motto and Siiri and Dana are doing just that!

Phoebe Lapine dazzling television hosts with her healthy, easy cooking style

Private chef and cookbook author Phoebe Lapine of New York City is receiving a ton of buzz — and deservedly so! — for her celebrated food blog Feed Me Phoebe.

Even if you don’t like to cook, the pictures alone make it an enticing read!

Phoebe marked the first anniversary of her blog with a segment on New York City’s CBS affiliate’s “Cooking on The Couch.” Check out the clip and recipe for Phoebe’s yummy Fusilli with Asparagus-Radish Leaf Pesto here!

Christina Haag with the adorable Danny Pino in Law & Order: SVU

Christina Haag of New York City appeared on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU when she starred in “Girl Dishonored” on April 24. She portrayed the Dean of Students in this riveting episode, so set your DVRs because it’s sure to replay soon!

Nicole Lovett of Columbus, Ohio has signed on to help coach the parents in the popular show Six Little McGhee’s on Oprah’s OWN Network.

Not only is Nicole making her national television debut, but she’s doing it while she’s 7 1/2 months pregnant!  She is expecting a little girl soon.

Nicole was a member last year of Jan Allen’s Women on Fire coaching group. In 2012, Nicole also was Women on Fire’s  Theo Scott Scholar in honor of the late sister of Sophfronia Scott.

Congratulations to another Women on Fire member in Jan Allen’s group — Jane Juergens of Columbus.

Jane recently married her extensive experience in human resources with the need for companies to implement and optimize cloud-based HR systems — and launched her own  company — PeopleGen.

Jane has a passion for helping others tap into their true potential and we are thrilled to see PeopleGen take life and we look forward to watching it grow!

Wendy Taucher of New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, has debuted her latest opera “Impresario Now! 90% Theater, 90% Musicale, Very Mozart Most of the Time.”

Talented Wendy co-wrote, directed and choreographed the entire show!  Her company — Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater — will be presenting the show from May 3-18, 2013 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on 407 W. 42nd St.  You can buy tickets here!

Congratulations to each of you for moving your dreams forward. You are an inspiration!  Sharing your gifts with the world full-out as you are doing WILL change the world.

We love hearing what you’re up to so please tell us so we can shine the light on YOU in an upcoming SPARK!

Believing in you and all that you bring to the world ~

How strong are your friendship circles?

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Friendship has been our theme this month.

How are you doing when it comes to building a small inner circle of close friends and a larger extended set of friends?  The two are essential to the foundation of your support system.

I just returned from a week in New York City and Columbus, Ohio.  In both cities, I met with many Women on Fire friends at teas and get-togethers and celebrated the 20th wedding anniversary of my best friend Jan Allen and her husband Curt Steiner.

Women on Fire Tea at Lady Mendl’s in New York City — Front row: Sophfronia Scott, Michelle Mahana, Wendy DeSimone, Wendy Lagstein, Jill Dulitsky. Back row: Janette Barber, Shannon McCaffery, Lara Licharowicz, Holly Getty, Joan Wallace, Debbie Phillips, Lisa Clair, Janina Sebesky, Amy Newmark, Colleen Pero, Sarah Birdsong and Trudy Dujardin.

If you have attended a Women on Fire Tea, you know how powerful these small groups can be and how it feels to be heard and understood without judgment or advice.  You are uplifted!

Having a small, close circle of friends you trust who understand what you are going through — happy or sad — is key to your emotional stability and good health.  And, building a larger group of friends for connections and enjoyment further strengthens your support system.

My long-time mentor and therapist Dr. Norman Shub of Columbus calls friendship “the secret life sustainer.”

He spoke at Jan and Curt’s anniversary gathering of nearly 200 friends last weekend.

Jan, Curt and I at their gathering last weekend. They honored their 20th wedding anniversary by celebrating their large circle of friends! (Photo by Renata Ramsini)

“Friendship is not a trade; it’s a gift,” Norman said. “Friendship requires investment so each person feels cared about.”

Acknowledging that many people don’t feel they have time to invest in others to build an emotional connection, Norman said, “Sometimes you have to put your friends first. Loving them has to be the most important thing. When they need you, you have to be there. Love grows by making another person important.”

He said that 40% of people now celebrate holidays with friends rather than family.  So nurturing your friendships and learning the skills to be a good friend become all the more important.

I have always admired that from the very beginning of their relationship and marriage Jan and Curt valued their individual “best friendships” as well as developed a huge, extended group of friends.

It was inspiring that while we all didn’t know each other at the anniversary party, we all knew Jan and Curt! And, from them, many of us became friends, too, expanding each of our friendship circles.

Women on Fire Tea in Columbus at The Cambridge House. Front row: Julia McLemore, Debbie Phillips, Emily Christian, Brigid McClain, Jan Allen, Carolyn Hut, Tricia Simpson. Back row: Laurel Hodory, Caileigh Hughes, Laura Tiberi, Michelle Galligan, Michelle Vander Stouw, Kitty Munger, Eve Esch, Mary Kay Purdy, Kacy Cook, Sophfronia Scott, Cathryn Loucas.

What is the status of your friendships? How vibrant is your inner circle? Who will you choose to make important in your life now?

Please join Jan and me on the Women on Fire members’ LIVE CHAT this Tuesday.  We’ll be talking about building your friendship circles and many other aspects of friendship.

And, a big welcome to all you who have joined The Spark! this week. We love that you are here!

Wishing you inspired and loving friendship circles ~

Introducing  *This week’s Spark PINspiration*  

                   Pin to Pass on the Love!












Best-ever Women on Fire Retreat!!

My heart is full.

What an amazing, inspiring weekend with women from 22 states and Canada at our annual Women on Fire Retreat held this year in Chicago!

The fabulous women who attended the Retreat! (Photos by Heather Stone)

Next week I’ll say more about what it was like to be in the energy of all these dynamic, creative, supportive women who are making a difference in the world.

But right now, those of us on the East Coast are preparing for the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and I am sending love and hope for everyone’s safety.

Meanwhile, please join us in a few Women on Fire moments from the weekend! More pictures next week.

Chicago host and Woman on Fire Debi Lilly cheering!

The wise and talented Sophfronia Scott, publisher of the next Women on Fire book, shared our plans for inviting co-authors to participate. Very exciting!

Kim Davis, Dana Frost, Nancy Neal and Cindy Clendenin listen intently to Margo Frazier sharing what she is “on fire” about in her life!

Blue Women Group? Not exactly! Dreaming Big was this year’s Retreat theme.  Everyone received a blue-gel mask to promote relaxation, better sleep, good dreams!

My sweet mother Mary Lue Phillips attended her first-ever Women on Fire Retreat. Here she is, happy in the moment with Laura Benton, Meredith Schoenberger and Arlene Alexander.

Enjoying the Retreat with my best friend Jan Allen, a coach and life strategist, who moderated a panel on Career Leaps and Changes and also discussed on her experience giving a TEDx talk. (Photo by Jamie Eslinger)

Yoga teacher and trainer Laurel Hodory led us to discover techniques for becoming centered and grounded.

To everyone who participated in this powerful, engaging, life-changing Retreat, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Safe travels home.  And stay tuned for next year’s Retreat date and city!

If you haven’t attended a Women on Fire event, I hope you will soon. No better way to fill your cup:-)

Success secrets from a “shark”

Would you like to learn some success secrets today from a woman who borrowed $1,000 to start a company and later sold it for $66 million?  I thought you might!

Last week I spent a day in New York and a private lunch with the dynamic business whiz Barbara Corcoran, star of ABC-TV’s hit reality show Shark Tank, and I’m eager to pass along her wit and wisdom to you.

Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, what she has to say about life and work will inspire you!

But first …

Happy birthday today to at least two amazing Women on Fire: Dr. Elvira Lang of Boston and MJ Bindu Delekta of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts!

And, here on Martha’s Vineyard, we’re awash in autumn colors and you may be, too.  I asked my talented husband Rob Berkley to share a scene for you and here is his offering!

Welcome also to new Spark! readers, including therapist Tricia Bennett, who with Heidi Bertram, started the company Be More You to help women find their life partners and for married women to be re-inspired in their relationships.

With Tricia Bennett, creator of Happily Ever After Is Real seminars and teleclasses to help women find the love of their life. (Photo by Rob Berkley)

You’ll be hearing more from Tricia and Heidi in the future. Those of you who are tired of being single and want to be married and in a committed relationship can check out their upcoming seminar October 20-21 in Boston.

OK, so now to the delightful, irrepressible “shark” Barbara Corcoran, author and real estate mogul, and her secrets for being successful!

Obstacles You Must Overcome For Success:

1) Falling prey to the word “no.” You must learn the power of getting past “no.”

2) Forgetting what business you are in. Pick a lane and stay focused in it. Don’t jump all over the place with lots of confusing offers and abilities.

3) Failing to finish what you set out to do.

What Works For Success:

1) Clarity and simplicity when you speak.  “Fancy talk doesn’t work,” says Barbara.

2) The best business ideas come from experience.  Your product has to make a difference. (Example: the flight attendant who invented a device attached to luggage that will carry a child, eliminating the need to travel with a stroller.)

3) Fire people who are habitual complainers. They poison the environment. “Complainers in your business are the equivalent of a thief in your business, stealing your emotional and financial resources,” says Barbara.

4) Become great at failing.  People remember your successes. So quickly move on from your failures and get to your next success. You almost always can make lemonade out of your failures. The trick is to very quickly pick yourself up after a stumble.

5) Two kinds of people in business — expanders and containers. Make sure there is a balance of both in your work and life.

6) Have fun. Fun is good for business. If you are having fun, you are likely succeeding!

And, finally, these words are not from Barbara but the inspiration is:

7) Go for what you want!

And, no better example than Barbara, 63 (who is a mother of an 18-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter).  Her real estate business was evaluated at the time for only half of the $66 million she received.  But her favorite, lucky number was “66” so she went for it — and got it!

Women on Fire was created to support you in whatever you are dreaming of having and doing in your life. I hope one or more of Barbara’s success tips speaks to you and helps you take your dreams a step further.

Let me know!

Have fun this week and I’m counting the days until I see you at the Women on Fire Retreat in Chicago Oct. 26-27 🙂

Celebrating Your Dreams

Hello from New York City!

I’m here celebrating another fabulous Women on Fire tea.  Participants came from as far away as Colorado, Connecticut and New Jersey to meet each other and share their joys, dreams, struggles and triumphs.

Women On Fire Tea NYC September 14, 2012
Women on Fire tea at Lady Mendl’s in New York City! Front row: Melissa Lerner, Michelle Whittaker, Lisa Parker, Lisa Clair, Trudy DuJardin. Back row: Shannon McCaffery, Holly Getty, Christine Medvedev, Wendy DeSimone, me!, Kelly Hurley, Linda Yellin, Dawn Halkuff, Sophfronia Scott, RoseMarie Terenzio and Terri Cole. (Photo by Rob Berkley)

If you’ve not yet been to a Women on Fire tea, please don’t think you have to “have it all together” or even be “on fire” to attend.

In fact, coming to a tea is often just the “spark” you need to regain your spirit and feel supported while you meet other women, all in various stages of life and love and work.

At the teas, there is magic in other women’s stories and a collective wisdom in sharing resources and supporting each other no matter what you are going through.

When I started Women on Fire in 2003 I had an inkling the “rising tide” of women coming together, inspiring and supporting each other would “lift all boats.”

I just had no idea of how powerful it would be to help us move toward our dreams and our best selves.

And, that brings me to my favorite moment of the month — celebrating in today’s SPARK! the recent dreams, goals, successes and accomplishments of women in our community.

These are the women you meet when you attend a Women on Fire event — whether at a tea, in a coaching group, on the monthly Live Chat for members or at our annual retreat.

Please keep us posted on your latest news.  And, congratulations to these Women on Fire for your exciting steps toward your deepest desires!

Jan Allen speaking at the 2011 Women on Fire Retreat (Photo by Nancy Lambert)

Jan Allen of Columbus, Ohio will be featured at TEDx Columbus 2012 on October 5 sharing her signature talk — Retiring Retirement: A Personal Upgrade to the Bonus Decades.

Among many talents, Jan is an expert in helping others navigate through life’s many transitions. As she approached her 60th birthday and realized she had lived longer than she has time left, she plunged into despair.

And, then she set out to identify a new life stage that takes advantage of the depth and breadth of life’s experiences and transforms the “retirement” years into anything but!  Her TEDx talk also will be available on video.

Jan is a member of Women on Fire’s leadership team and leads the Women on Fire coaching group in Columbus. You can find out more about her here.

Nellie Partow of New York City is gaining recognition for her exquisite fashion line and was recently featured in the New York Times Magazine and named by Harper’s Bazaar as the new name in minimalism.  Check out her website.

Saks Fifth Avenue will soon showcase her designs in exclusive trunk shows nationwide.  Go to Nellie’s Facebook page and “like” it and you will to be kept up-to-date on the cities and dates where Nellie will appear.

(I’m wearing one of Nellie’s fabulous dresses in the tea party photo above!)

Pat Snyder of Columbus, has received her Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from University of Pennsylvania.  A lawyer, Pat was in the first women’s coaching group Jan Allen and I led in 1996 called Live The Life You Want.

Now an author and coach herself, Pat is using her talent and expertise to help other lawyers launch their dreams.  Her business is called I Can Fly, LLC and her site is

Kim Dettmer of Berea, Ohio was very busy over the summer. She finished a rough draft to write and illustrate her children’s book called Moments to Savor. A mom of two, she also has accepted a new role as the Executive Director of a local non-profit.

Donna Kim Brand of West Palm Beach, Florida has completed her book The Force of Creative Collaboration. Check out her website at

Margo Frazier of Spring, Texas, is moving on up. She was promoted to Supervisor of Operations at Sheldon Independent school district in Houston.


Congratulations to our resident book coach! Here I am with Sophfronia at last week’s New York tea.

Sophfronia Scott of Sandy Hook, Connecticut will be featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul Inspiration for Writers published in May 2013. She recently spent time with Amy Newmark, owner and publisher of the Chicken Soup empire.  The founder of Done For You Writing, Sophfronia has been a writer in the Chicken Soup series in the past.

Wendy Taucher of New York City and Martha’s Vineyard is the founder of Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater. Among her projects, she is currently  co-producing the All For One festival at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City.  The next performance is at 2PM Saturday, September 22.  Check out for details.

A must-see for a Woman on Fire!

Roxanne Dupler Crocco of Columbus, Ohio realized her dream to sing before an audience when she performed at the Park Street Tavern’s Jazz Jam. Congratulations and what a way to rock it, Roxanne!

Keep your dreams going, everyone.  And, please keep us posted on what you are up to!

7 ways Women on Fire can help you

Happy continuing summer!

I’ve sprinkled in a few summer flowers for you from Martha’s Vineyard that my amazing photographer husband Rob Berkley took last week. Hope you like!

It’s your obligation to do what you love because that’s what you are gifted at. Nature doesn’t fool around. When she designs you to do something, she makes you love it. And, to achieve our dreams, we need each other. ~ Barbara Sher

I recently interviewed Barbara Sher, the charming, effervescent coach and best-selling author who wrote personal development classics you may have read such as Wishcraft and It’s Only Too Late If I Don’t Start Now.

At 76, she is a hoot, filled with fun, passion and plain-spoken wisdom!

In a wide-ranging discussion from her home in Toulouse, France, we talked about living your dreams – everything from how to find your passion to what you need in order to achieve the success you want.

And, most important of all – how important we are to each other to make our dreams come true. Here is Barbara’s recipe for reaching our dreams:

You know the secret to success – plain and simple – is a bunch of people who want to see you make it. That’s the secret.

So, how do we find those people who want to help us make it?

First of all, by becoming a supporter of others’ dreams that you are inspired by. Women on Fire are legendary for supporting each other’s dreams and successes!

Sometimes finding those interested in our dreams is a lot like dating when you’re  in search of your dream-come-true relationship.  When you find it, you know it!  It feels easy and right (at least in the beginning;-)

And, like dating, if you are chasing down people and expecting them to like you,  your product, service or idea, it probably feels hard and difficult.  Critical, unresponsive or disinterested people are “just not that into you” and are not the people who want to see you make it!

So, what works?

If you consistently hone and share your passion, you will attract and grow your “bunch of people,” as Barbara would say, and they will help lift you up and expand your dreams.

I started Women on Fire in 2003 as a warm, inviting community for women to express their passions, interests and dreams – and to increase your chances of receiving support and finding “your people.”  It began with a handful of men and women at a single event and today we are more than 3,000!

One of the greatest joys of my life is each and every day, multiple times a day, I see the exchange of support of women in this community. You are awesome!

For those of you who are new – and there are hundreds of you – here are ways to join in and be connected with Women on Fire as a way to find your “bunch of people who want to see you make it!”

Many of the details are listed each week in the Calendar section:

  1. Women on Fire teas — even if you don’t live in a city offering one, consider treating yourself to one in a city you’d like to visit; it’s a great way to meet women, celebrate what you are “on fire” about or receive support and receive support for your dreams or if you are in a transition.
  2. Retreats — each year there is an annual gathering of Women on Fire from across the country. Many valuable friendships are made and reestablished at the retreats and this year’s will be Oct. 26-27 in Chicago.
  3. The Spark! — in your hands right now; weekly, free inspiration, strategies and support. Hope you will pass along to any fabulous woman in your life who could use a boost, a hug and to know she’s not alone.
  4. Books To Live By — each month I share a book and author whose work will help to propel your life forward; if you are receiving The Spark! you will be receiving Books To Live By at the beginning of each month.
  5. Coaching groups — At Women on Fire, we have two coaching groups available. One is virtual. You Can Do Anything is a year-long group led by Women on Fire marketing and communications director Jamie Eslinger.  The other is an in-person group in Columbus, Ohio. Life, Ignited is led by Women on Fire’s National Chair Jan Allen. Please be in touch with either or if you are interested in these groups when there are openings.
  6. Facebook group — there is a private group with daily discussions, requests, news that you are invited to participate in. Simply make the request and you will be granted entry!
  7. Membership — for $1 a day you are welcome to join our monthly membership program and receive special CD interviews (with inspiring notable women such as Barbara Sher, Barbara Corcoran, Vanessa Williams, Tory Johnson.) A monthly coaching Video Live Chat with me and much, much more! All of the details are here.
  8. And, a very big welcome this week to our newest monthly members: Mary Blohm, Sugar Grove, IL; Darlene Wade of Brooklyn, NY; Susan Burhans, Old Saybrook, CT; Diane Denard-Leiter, Doylestown, PA; Kelly Hurley, Thornton, CO; and Sheryl Childs, Mackinaw City, MI.

So these are a few of the ways to begin to build support for your dreams and goals — and to share in the inspiring dreams of other women.


All quiet here. NOT!

There is so much to tell you!

So, today’s SPARK! is a potpourri of happenings to catch you up on our thriving and growing community – so you can make plans to be as involved as you wish.

In addition, I’ll share some exciting news, too.

(You’re going to find out the Woman on Fire who WON the stylish KiraGrace yoga jacket for participating in our recent survey!)

First …

Happy Mother’s Day to you!  And, if you don’t have children of your own, I bet that you are supporting and nurturing many others. So this day is for you, too.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own inspiring mother — Mary Lue Phillips, who is Women on Fire member #00001! With her grandson and our nephew Tyler, 11.

Thank you to everyone for your interest in our recent trip to Paris.  It was incredible!

The 10 Women on Fire who joined me in France – Angela Ittu, Becky Adams, Doni Belau, Jamie Eslinger, Jill Dulitsky, Kim Davis, Lisa Umberger Arundale, Michelle Whittaker, Susan Kruger Woodcock and Tandi Musuraca — are still bubbling with enthusiasm after our inspiring adventure and transformative experience.

I feel so uplifted from shaking up my day-to-day activities by doing something so out of the rut.  My challenge is to keep the new energy, ideas and super positive feelings going!

And, so far, so good.

Because immediately after Paris, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio where I attended our coaching group called Life, Ignited led by the amazing Jan Allen.  I got to meet with the fabulous participants of this life-changing group.

Life has certainly ignited for these Women on Fire in their monthly coaching group in Columbus, Ohio! From left: Nicole Lovett, Mary Jo Hudson, Jan Allen, Keena Smith, Jane Juergens and Laura Tiberi.

Then, on to two teas in Columbus at our new tea party location The Cambridge Tea House.

This Women on Fire Tea in Columbus featured several Ohio State University students, staff and faculty and it was such a joy to hear their dreams and stories.

The following day, another tea hosted by Jan Allen and Tricia Simpson, seated on the far right end of front row, was held in Columbus. We celebrated Tricia’s birthday!

After each tea party she attends in New York City, Woman on Fire Janette Barber frequently announces: “the tea party always works.”

What Janette means by that is that women leave a Women on Fire event feeling inspired, supported, heard, understood and connected.

In this day and age you hear so much discussion about the importance of communication.  Well, I believe you can communicate and still not feel connected.

Think about many of your interactions with others.  Do you feel valued?  Heard? Cared about? Cheered on? Accepted for who you are?

When the answer to those questions above is a resounding YES, you most likely are feeling emotionally connected.

From what women always tell me, the emotional support that occurs between and among women in our community – whether on a trip to Paris or at a coaching group or a tea or retreat – is what makes the difference to feel truly connected and empowered to go for your dreams.

I am so proud for all of you for the way you treat each other with love and respect and caring and compassion.  Being emotionally connected helps enormously to live the life you dream of.

So, before I leave Columbus, I want to tell you about another exciting happening there this fall.

Woman on Fire and Ohio State University student life assistant vice president Tracy Stuck and her team of phenomenal young women – Ashley Sinram, Jodi Poth,  Yvonne Delaney, Amy Laine, Shannon Melampy – will host a Women on Fire Day on Friday, September 21.  OSU’s vice president for student life Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston is also instrumental in creating this amazing event!

So, if you are an Ohio State graduate or affiliated with OSU in any way, you can be invited to this inspiring day that will pair 50 experienced women with 50 college students eager to learn from you and share their lives, hopes and dreams.

Also, mark your calendar now to attend our annual Women on Fire Retreat! This year it will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 26-27, 2012 in Chicago.  Look for details in a future SPARK!

And, finally …

You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?  I am so excited to tell you the Woman on Fire whose name was drawn out of our famous straw basket to win the KiraGrace yoga jacket!

Here we go …

Congratulations … Julie Quackenbush of Dublin, Ohio!  Julie, you will be receiving your new jacket soon, courtesy of Woman on Fire yoga clothing designer Kira Karmazin.  I wear the same jacket and I can tell you it is the best!

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and we will share results from it soon.

Be sure to check out Kira’s wonderful website and her inspiring Grace Yoga project to provide financial sponsorship to teachers and yoga studios for providing yoga and mindfulness training to children.

And, last but not least …

Thank you for all of your positive feedback on my recent interview with ABC-TV reality show Shark Tank star and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran.

If you aren’t yet a member and receiving these monthly inspirational interviews with fascinating women, I hope you will give yourself the support to be a part of this monthly program.

My dream is that you have your dream.  And, my wish is that on your path you find emotionally satisfying friendships to pave the way!

For love of a great haircut

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. ~ St. Augustine


Yesterday I returned from Paris where 11 Women on Fire experienced the trip of a lifetime together.

We laughed and cried.  Listened and empathized.  Honored and celebrated.

We experienced days with four desserts! And, evenings with fine French food and wine.

Every woman on the trip carried a full plate prior to coming on the trip.  So, for each of us, Paris was a chance to stop, to breathe and re-calibrate our lives, and then to return home inspired and re-invigorated.

Years ago, a very talented colleague of mine, the writer Sue Ann Jones, referred to fashion or life make-overs as “The Before. The After. And, After The After.”

And, so it occurs to me that there are at least three powerful stages we go through in moving toward our dreams and deepest desires.

First, there is the excitement, the notion, the possibility of a goal or dream that inspires you to something better or greater for your life.

Take the paris trip, for example.  Several women on the adventure wanted to have a fun experience with other women; others wanted to take a break from overwork and overwhelm; still others wanted to “re-do” Paris after an unpleasant past experience.

Each one listened to the inkling or desire to follow her heart.  (Is there something in your life right now tickling your imagination?)

Next, there is taking action to make it happen.  You may launch a business, go on a vacation, move to another city.

With the Paris women, they signed up for the trip and started to plan.

And, finally, there is the reflection after the experience.  In this stage, you receive the wisdom, feel the glow, and apply the experience to a new and improved life.

For the women who went on the trip, I watched us each transform in a magical way, and I saw the three stages at work in us all.

Going to Paris was a lifetime dream of mine, and the trip proved to hold dreams within dreams.

One of them was my own “Before. After. And After The After.”

For a while now, I have been wishing for a new look.   Something different, but I had no clue what exactly.  It was just an inkling.

And, in Paris, with the help of renowned magazine cover hair and make-up stylist Rita Dell’Orco, my wish came true!


The Before

Rita Dell’Orco working her magic

The After

And, finally, After The After – living with the new

Wherever you are with your dream – maybe life has gotten in the way; maybe you need support and nourishment; maybe you need confidence – you can be assured  the stirrings inside you are waiting for expression.

And, perhaps something as simple as a new haircut you love, will get things moving in the right direction for you!

Keep us all posted on your dreams and goals in the comments section below.

The secret ingredient

I am on my way to California to attend a women’s conference that I will tell you all about next week.

Before I go, I want to show you a picture that delights me — of radiant smiles after a Women on Fire tea party.  Thank you, Renata Ramsini, for capturing the women at last week’s tea in Columbus led by Jan Allen. Today, I’ll tell you the secret ingredient that makes these gatherings so very wonderful and powerful.

Women on Fire Tea last week in Columbus — Front row: Erin Brewer, Kris Myers, Jan Allen, Mary Kay Purdy, Nanci Larsen, Phoebe Lapine. Second row: Jane Juergens, Lisa Everson, Sara Diehl, Laura Benton, Julie Quackenbush, Jessika Ferm, Mary Duafala, Pam Allen, Roxanne Crocco, Michele Hoyle, Julia McLemore.

Women tell me all the time they are surprised by what happens at a tea and how connected they often feel.

Maybe they’ve said something out loud they’ve never voiced before.  Or, maybe they sat next to someone they’d never met, but shared so much in common that they were sure I sat them next to each other on purpose!

What I know for sure is when women get the chance to connect in a safe and inspiring environment, magic happens.

How often does that happen in your life?  How often do you connect with people who make you feel good to be alive?

When we can vulnerably and authentically share what is on our minds and in our hearts, we feel connected. And, when we feel connected, we feel worthy of our dreams.

Radio talk show host Janette Barber, who has attended at least a million Women on Fire teas in New York City, frequently says, “the tea party always works.”

What she means is that no matter the city and no matter the women who attend, being able to be ourselves, to share what is authentic and vulnerable, and to feel connected “always works!”

Research shows that when we experience feelings of connection and belonging, it gives purpose and meaning to our lives.  So, that’s why I think there are big smiles and much happiness after a Women on Fire gathering!

Some of you may know the work of researcher and story-teller Brene Brown.  (She is both brilliant and adorable, I might add!)

If not, I hope you will take some time to check out her inspiring talk at TEDx.

She and her research suggest that “to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee … to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror … to feel this vulnerable means I am alive.

“When we work from this place, we stop screaming and start listening and we are kinder and gentler to the people around us and we are kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

This is why I love our teas and every single occasion where Women on Fire connect and we so often share what is vulnerable.

Dr. Brown inspires us further that “vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, of love, of belonging, of creativity, of faith and so it becomes very problematic when, as a culture, we lose our capacity to be vulnerable.”

Even though it may feel scary to tell another person our heart’s deepest longings, our fears, our insecurities, doing so is the very thing that will connect us and allow others to support us.

It is why I always encourage you to reach out and gather support before you embark on your journey.

And, vulnerability is the secret ingredient of why you feel so very good inside when you have shared your heart safely with someone who receives you.

Talk to you next week from sunny San Diego!

Have a wonderful week and let me know how you’re doing ~

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 😉

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.  For months.  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.  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!!  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.  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.  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?

*  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.  You never know if you might be the “surprisee!”