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, and access her website at

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


Who are you the champion for?

Happy birthday, Gloria Steinem!

Today the leader of the movement for women to develop their fullest human potential turns 78.

With Gloria Steinem in her home in New York City (Photo by Avionne Adams)

In last week’s SPARK! I told you what a privilege it was to spend an evening in Gloria’s home in New York City where she’d invited women leaders to participate in a salon for

As she has since the 1960s, Gloria continues to urge us to connect with each other for support and to make change and go for better lives.

Since that evening at Gloria’s, I’ve thought a lot about what a difference we make when we champion what it is we wish to improve in the world.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

Last week at the Women on Fire tea in New York, I was reminded of the amazing and powerful women in our community who epitomize Margaret Mead’s words.

Here are stories I want to share with you because they illuminate the power of each woman with an idea, an inkling, a possibility to spread enthusiasm and to be its champion to make a difference.

Woman on Fire Pier Boutin, of Housatonic, MA is a mom and an orthopedic surgeon.  In a transition period in her life a couple of years ago, she was on vacation with friends in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco when she discovered a four-year-old boy stumbling about with seriously clubbed feet pointed nearly backwards.

“I couldn’t not do something when I knew how to help him,” she said.  So she arranged for “Little Amed” to come to the United States.  For nearly a year she oversaw the direction of his multiple surgeries and cared for him in her home.

While Pier championed that one little boy, she was also mindful in connecting to his village, helping with health and education issues. (For pictures of Pier and Little Amed, see this past post.)

The friendship and knowledge Pier shared in Morocco has gone beyond just that one little boy, who today can walk, run and play!  The course of his life, in which he was destined to be uneducated, alienated and a beggar, has been righted.

And, until Pier, only a handful of boys attended school in that village. Now, that “Little Amed” is home in Morocco, the local school is filled with boys and girls getting an education.

Pier and her family have been inspired and lifted up beyond their imagination.

Gloria changed the course for millions of women.  Pier’s desire to help one child led to changes in a village and who knows what else!

Both women led movements.

You may not even realize it.  Many of you lead movements, too – whether it is to champion a local school levy as Woman on Fire Kim Dettmer did successfully in her Ohio town recently … or Tracy Stuck guiding college women at a major university to find confidence and direction in their lives … or Andrea Raynor as a Hospice chaplain to lead many through death and dying … or Susan Kruger-Woodcock in leading a movement to help high school students get better grades.

There are so many more of you leading a movement and using your talents and desires to change lives for the good.

The positive energy created by a movement of one person or a group to champion one person, one cause, one group, one program, one belief is what makes a difference in this world.

A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means. ~ Gloria Steinem

Who and what in your world are you the champion of?  Where is it all going?  What do you need in order to take any next steps?  Let us know how we can help you by commenting below.

A defining moment of self-care

My theme for 2012 is daily self-care.

My promise to myself is that each day for 366 days, regardless of what is going on, I will take 30 minutes or more to do something to promote my well-being.

And, even though self-care is a topic I’ve worked on personally and advised hundreds of coaching clients on since 1995, this is the first time self-care has been my annual theme.

And, if these past 21 days are any indication, it’s proving to be a subject with many dimensions and new questions to explore.

Every year for more than 20 years, I have used a theme – a powerful word or sentence — as a guide toward being happier, healthier, more at peace and closer to the success I dream of.

In the past, I’ve had themes such as The Year of Simplicity (that year I sold my house in the suburbs, furnishings and car in Ohio and moved to a 500-square- foot jewel-box of an apartment on the harbor in Boston and walked or took the subway).

I checked every major decision against the question: ‘does this action lead to living with more simplicity?’, and a whole new world opened up for me – including meeting the delicious man I’m married to today!

Having a theme can make it much easier to make daily choices, which then add up over 365 days — 366 in a Leap Year! — to get you to your bigger goals or dreams.

So say your theme is Year of Financial Fitness. It’s pretty much a no-brainer to make a decision when you run through the “financial fitness filter” a $1,500 Marc Jacobs bag on your credit card, if you know you can’t easily pay it off.  Follow your theme, and you will stay on track with your Year of Financial Fitness.

(And, if your theme is Year To Express My Perfect Style, then that Jacobs bag may be just the ticket! )


But this year, 21 days in, I have scribbled every day in my well-worn Woman on Fire journal what I’ve done for self-care,  and a big question is forming for me.

Just what exactly is self-care? I started off the year thinking I knew.

Is it taking a walk (9 times in 21 days)?  Going on vacation (4 days in Key West)? Getting a massage (twice)?  Manicure (once)? Eating totally healthy and gluten-free (3 in 21)? Getting enough rest (I failed to take note)?

The activities above made me feel pretty good and some even terrific in the moment, but none made me feel as wonderful and fulfilled as I wished for so far in my Year of Self-Care.

Even though I know my annual theme sometimes doesn’t give me results until the year is well under way or even finished, I guess I expected instant gratification in feeling bliss from daily self-care.

And, then something happened the other night …

It was about 8PM and I was tired after a very full day and I was home alone.

Rob was in Washington, DC, visiting our ailing, beloved MOTUS, his mother.

Before the clock struck midnight, I knew I had to find 30 minutes of self-care to keep my promise to myself for my Year of Daily Self-Care.

Should I go over to the gym for 30 minutes on the treadmill?  Read?  Watch my Jane Goodall documentary? Take a long bath?  As much as I would enjoy those things I viewed as self-care, nothing appealed to me.


I picked up the phone.

And called my mother.  I am aware how very lucky at age 56 that I am to have my mother.  At 77, she can be so bright and sunny and positive and funny, still running the entrepreneurial business she and my father started nearly 30 years ago.

It is impossible to have a phone call with her without laughing – about something. That’s just how she is.  Big-hearted, great sense of humor, self-deprecating and often hilarious when she doesn’t even know it!  (Can you tell from the picture above…for which she is going to spank me for posting!)

We laughed and chitchatted about all kinds of things, none that I even really remember.  Except I was fully aware how delightful it was to be able to have this easy, casual conversation with the woman I love from the bottom of my heart.

After 30 minutes or so, I got off the phone feeling uplifted, encouraged, grateful and deeply satisfied.  I felt energized, my heart and soul comforted.  Hmmmm, no exercising, eating right, eight hours of sleep, taking my vitamins required.

Just 30 minutes basking in an exchange of love and laughs.

And, that is when the realization hit me over the head: there is no better self-care than love.

What about you?

Have you selected a theme for the year?

Please know that you are invited to take this journey this year with me and with us.

For those of you in our Women on Fire Membership program, How To Use A  Theme — For Your Best Year Ever will be the topic of our next member’s Live Chat on Tuesday night.

A number of Women on Fire, and those in Jamie Eslinger’s You Can Do Anything In A Year coaching group, have embarked upon a year-long journey and exploration around a theme.

A few are keeping daily journals online.

You can follow these Women on Fire members every day as they transform their own lives and inspire ours:

Enjoy your week ahead and keep me posted on how you’re doing!