She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Mary Brown

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…

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Mary Burnett Brown

Woodland Park, Colorado

Women on Fire Member #00103

Member since: Feb. 29, 2012

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

I am an old soul with childlike wonder. I have been an international flight attendant for more than 32 years. I call it the “magic carpet ride.” I recently started working one of the longest flights flown on the 777-300, from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to Hong Kong.

Tom, my husband of more than 21 years, is also a flight attendant. We sometimes fly together and have exciting and adventurous layovers.

I am on fire about learning to live from deep in my heart.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I was listening to Janette Barber’s radio show when she interviewed Debbie Phillips about the organization.

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

I feel that Women on Fire is a safe place where women can have their voice!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I love getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee with my husband.

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

I have read so many wonderful books. One that I recommend is Unbinding the Heart by Agapi Stassinopoulos. It helped me open my heart to love.

What is one thing you’re proudest of?

I have learned to listen to my intuition and live by the truth that comes from the heart.

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

I love listening to music that soothes my soul and reading spiritual books that help awaken my truth. I love walking down our dirt road and enjoying the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

What is your favorite city in the world?

London, England. I love the Victorian Era.

Name another Woman on Fire who has inspired you, and tell why.

Carrie Saba has inspired me to live from deep in my heart. I took Carrie’s online course, “Unlocked.” The course helped me to unlock a door around my heart, so I can see how beautiful I am inside. She also encouraged me to say affirmations to myself. My favorite one is “My life is full of magic, miracles and love.” Since taking her course, my life is full of all three of these things.

What’s your big dream?

I am living my dream everyday, which is happiness. I find that living from my heart is what brings me happiness. I also have learned to listen to my intuition and to see the hundreds of synchronicities that occur in my life.

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

Don’t rely on other people or material possessions to make you happy. Find happiness every day in yourself. Learn what really makes you happy.

What is something we might be surprised to know about you?

I was once Brutus the Buckeye, the mascot for The Ohio State University. I was also an actor and model and starred in several television commercials and national print ads. I attended both Ohio State and high school in northwestern Ohio with Debbie Phillips.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, Tom, who is my soul partner on this journey. We cheer each other on.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

It is Popcorn Indiana’s movie-theater popcorn and their Chipins sea-salt-flavored popcorn chips.

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

A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, and the Cat Stevens’ songs “The Wind” and “On the Road to Find Out.”

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

I fear making mistakes, so I avoid doing things that I am uncomfortable with. Every day I work on facing my fears and learning new things. I recently had my first opportunity to work the first-class galley position on the flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Frankfurt, Germany. My position as a galley flight attendant is to set up the food and beverage carts, cook the meals, and plate the meals in a timely manner. I was so nervous, but I told myself, “I can do this.” The service went well and the crew said I did a great job. I faced my fear and I felt awesome!

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

I make no plans for the day, and I just go with the flow.

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

Wow and Magical.

More about Mary Brown…

As a free spirit, explorer and lover of spiritual conversations, Mary Brown’s long career as an international flight attendant and resident in the Rocky Mountains allows her the best of all worlds. Mary was born in Detroit, moved to northwest Ohio as a teenager, and later graduated from The Ohio State University. She currently lives at 9,200 feet above sea level, just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Tom, and cat, Lakey. She enjoys taking photos and connecting her spirit to nature. You are welcome to say hello to her at healthymountain777(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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

She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Christiana Simpson

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…

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Christiana Simpson

Los Angeles, California

Member #00169

Member since:  March 19, 2013

Please tell us about YOU, your family, your work, what you are “on fire” about, etc. 

I’m a Midwest girl at heart living in Los Angeles. So that means I love watching Ohio State football on a Saturday morning and then spending the rest of the day outside in the sunshine. I recently joined Women on Fire and can’t wait for my first tea here in L.A.

I’m on fire about my new project. Alongside my sister and mom, I’m in the development phase of a unique product for mothers of young children.  I recently became a mom through the gift of open adoption so it was important to me that the product be relevant for ALL kinds of moms no matter how they started their family. I’m having so much fun working with my mom and sister to turn our idea into reality while increasing awareness of open adoption. Stay tuned for our product launch in early 2014!.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

My family has been connected to Debbie Phillips for nearly 30 years since she was Press Secretary to the former Governor of Ohio who also happens to be my uncle. Recently, my mom Bobbie Celeste attended a Women on Fire tea in Columbus and came back completely energized. I knew I had to be involved.

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

I look forward to the live chats every month. Debbie is a firecracker and just exudes positivity. Plus even though it’s virtual, I can feel all the WOF’s feelings, inspiration and support coming right out of the computer into my living room.

Your favorite part of the day?

Around 7pm every night, my hubby, baby, doggy and I go for a walk. It’s a chance to catch up on our day and since we live in Los Angeles, the sky is always blue! I don’t think it’s possible to be in a bad mood when you are on a walk.

The last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?  

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. I saw her speak and was so inspired by her direct, humorous approach. I finished it in two days, and I just started reading it again!

One thing you’re proudest of?

I’m a risk taker. I moved to L.A. over 15 years ago without a job or a place to live. I landed on my feet and was very happy. Flash forward 10 years to the recession. When most people were clinging to their jobs for dear life, I quit mine. I’ve been a successful consultant since then. Now I’m diving headfirst into a world I know nothing about – the apparel industry. I always liked that quote, “Leap and the net will appear.”

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

I’d hop on my bike and ride to the beach where my son and I would play in the ocean. Then I’d meet lots of friends for an impromptu kickball game and finish the afternoon with a gin and tonic on a rooftop somewhere watching the sunset with my husband.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

I was looking to get connected with someone at a specific ad agency in L.A. When I checked on LinkedIn, I saw that WOF Meredith Schoenberger had a connection there. When I asked her for an introduction, she didn’t wait a day or a week to get back to me. She immediately sent an email on my behalf to the woman at the agency. I was so appreciative that she made my request a priority. I feel so supported by the WOF members!

What’s your big dream?

I’m leading a team of creative, like-minded people who find our collaborative work fulfilling. The product that we develop becomes a big hit with moms around the world.  My family has the financial freedom to travel whenever we want so my son can experience a global perspective on the world. We donate a portion of our wealth to organizations that are important to us. I’m frequently interviewed by TV, radio and online outlets about both the success of our woman-owned company and as a spokesperson for open adoption.

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

When I was younger, I wanted to be in the circus. I even looked into attending Circus University in Florida. Some version of flying through the air has come true for me. I’ve taken trapeze lessons, been trampolining, hang gliding, parasailing, zip lining, rappelling, rope climbing and will always take a turn in a bounce house. When I worked at Resource in Columbus, Ohio Fridays meant “trampoline lunch” in my front yard!

What are the top 3 songs on your iPod right now? 

“Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding – Just love the upbeat rhythm and refrain of the chorus.

“I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons – I listened to this one a lot during our adoption process. “I will wait, I will wait for you.” I still get teary-eyed every time I hear it.

“Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 & Soweto Gospel Choir – You must download this song right away. It’s the most breathtaking version of this song I’ve ever heard.

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

As long as I can remember, my dream was to have children. My husband and I tried for years to have a baby. After countless pokes, prods, injections, rejections, tears and fears, we decided to forgo any further medical treatment and pursue our family through open adoption. For us, open adoption was the right fit because we liked the idea that a birth mom would choose us to raise her child and we’d continue to have ongoing contact over the years.

But for another two years, we experienced the heart wrenching ups and downs of endless paperwork, nervous phone calls, and even birth mothers who changed their mind a few weeks before the baby was born. The whole experience was the most challenging emotional experience I’d ever faced. It was very, very difficult to realize I didn’t have control of anything and I felt so isolated when everyone around me was having babies so easily.

I overcame it by going to an adoption support group once a month and eventually totally giving up control to the universe. Of course as soon as I surrendered control, we were contacted by Brandy who was six months pregnant and grew up in Ohio. It was an instant connection and we all got along like we’d known each other for years.

Now we have a sweet, happy baby named Callan and a bonus extended family.  It’s one big love fest!

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

Sunny! I’m an optimist who always believes that things will work out. My mom inspired me with her positive attitude, “Don’t worry until it’s time to worry.” So that’s how I’ve embraced life.

More about Christiana Simpson…

Christiana has over 15 years experience working with some of the biggest brand names including Sony, TV Guide, Dick Clark Productions, The Ritz-Carlton, E! Entertainment and the YMCA. In 2011 she started her own marketing and communications company,, to guide individuals, non-profits and small businesses to speak clearly about their purpose.  She’s a member of Step Up Women’s Network, SMARTY for entrepreneurial women and a pro bono Consultant for Taproot Foundation.

With her sister and mom, she recently started Tolutina, a company whose name is loosely translated as “Three Mothers” in Fijian. Christiana looks forward to launching their first product and sharing her experience about open adoption.

You are welcome to say hello to her at

~ Compiled by Women on Fire Senior Writer Becky Adams 

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!