October Book to Live By

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie

The extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For 34 years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and a tidal wave of political change. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great.

August Book to Live By

Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature by Willow Crossley

Willow Crossley combines her passions and shows vou how to use flower-shop purchases, beachcombing bounty, home-grown harvests, and foraged hedgerow finds to decorate your home. Divided into five chapters on Woodland, Flora, Fauna, Edibles, and Beach, here are more than 50 ideas ranging from a wreath made from hydrangeas, or spring narcissi planted in wooden wine boxes, to a tabletop display incorporating gilded apples and pears. Start collecting now to move your outdoors indoors before the weather changes.

 

June Book to Live By

“Matchmaking for Beginners” by Maddie Dawson

A delightful, sweet and smart summer beach read…Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life―a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Then, she meets Blix, her fiancé’s great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes―just as Blix told her it would.

When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s house. She arrives in New York intending to sell the property, but discovers the hard way that love is difficult to recognize, and those who push love away are the ones who need it most.

May Book to Live By

“Women Who Spark After 50” by Aleta Norris

Do you find yourself lamenting your unrealized dreams? Are you experiencing burnout or boredom from a lifelong career?

Bestselling author and coach Aleta Norris knew she needed to reinvent something in her life. So, that’s exactly what she did. In this book, she asks the right questions to get you ready for an amazing second half. Through checklists and exercises, Aleta provides a roadmap to put your dream first after years of taking care of others.

She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Beth Bryce

Name: Beth Bryce

City: Saginaw, Michigan

Women on Fire Member No.: 00079

Member since: Dec. 19, 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

I’m a motivational career coach, writer and founder of Girls2Women Coaching, a coaching firm specializing in career transitions. I have coached hundreds of women on boldly pursuing their life’s work.

I’m passionate about helping women define a fulfilling career path for their authentic self to obtain personal growth, whole-hearted success and financial independence. I’m having an absolute blast coaching women one-on-one, and facilitating career master classes, mastermind groups and retreats. It took me a while, but I finally figured out my calling in life. Now I help others do the same.

I’m blessed to have a home next door to my best friend, my mother, Colleen, in the same neighborhood where I grew up in Michigan. She is a wonderful grandma to my five-year old Jack Russell terrier, Willy. We are tired of the brutal Michigan winters, though, and Willy is too. We have many friends and family out west waiting for us with open arms. Oh, the places we may go!

What are you “on fire” about?

I just completed a six-month retreat facilitator program with the Sedona Women’s Institute and will be working collaboratively with the founder, Karen Ely, to deliver retreats to women all around the world. In addition, I’m launching my own inaugural women’s retreat, Daring Circle Ranch, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 19.

Women on Fire member Susan Perry will also be facilitating a yoga session for us, in addition to equestrian and life coach Lynn Clifford. Women are coming from Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Florida.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Member Sue Adams invited me to a 2011 Women on Fire Tea in Alpena, Michigan, hosted by Mary Ellen Jones and founder Debbie Phillips. I met so many inspiring women that I would have never otherwise crossed paths with.

An editor and publisher I met at the tea motivated me to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since the tea, I’ve written inspirational articles for Women 2 Women Michigan magazine, co-authored a chapter in Women on Fire, Vol. 2, and recently landed my own column, “Career Moxie,” in Great Lakes Business. It was well worth the four-hour drive during a blizzard to attend the tea!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

Co-founding a Girls on the Run program in my county. GOTR is a national afterschool program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident, using a fun curriculum that creatively integrates running. We started with six girls in one elementary school; today we are in 25 schools serving well over 400 at-risk girls.

What is your big dream?

To create and deliver women’s adventure retreats in destination spots and online mastermind groups that support and guide women searching for a life and career of deeper meaning.

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

What other people say and think about you is none of your business. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams rather than what others think you should or should not do.

Where do you find inspiration?

It is deeply inspiring to me to bear witness to my client’s dreams of a better tomorrow for themselves, their families and communities. I then get to share their success stories with others.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I am the queen of Post-It Self-Stick Wall Pads. My office walls are lined with monthly, quarterly and annual plans for my health, business, finances, relationships and trips. I am serious about the direction I’m headed in, and having maps to get there and stay on track is a must.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

After a really dark day, I pull out note cards and write to people I adore, letting them know why I’m grateful for them. Just knowing they will get a loving surprise in their mailbox melts my sadness.

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

Mary Oliver’s poetry has been a powerful force in my life. In particular, her poem “The Journey” has helped me through many difficult decisions. Upon resigning from past positions, I have read this poem aloud at my farewell lunches. Co-workers either tear up or need an explanation. It says, above all else, face your fears and be true to you.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

There was a moment at the 2015 Women on Fire Retreat when we were sharing our big dream and Debbie Phillips asked, “What is one small step you can take toward your dream?” My women’s retreat had been on my vision board since 2012!

In that moment, I thought to just give it a name, and Daring Circle Ranch immediately came to my mind. Giving my dream a name gave it life. From that one small step, I started building momentum, and now it’s all coming true this May.

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

Walking away from a lucrative 20-year career in accounting to pursue my dream of career coaching was my biggest challenge.

My chapter, “I’m Marrying Me,” in Women on Fire, Vol. 2, recounts my yearlong journey in which I created my own Eat, Pray, Love adventure to face my fears and become unstuck. Two years later, I created a mastermind group based on my 12-step process to help others on their own transformative journeys.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

QUICK-RESPONSE ANSWERS:

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is… It is life changing to connect with phenomenal women at live events.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… Disappearing into the woods to bike 40 miles. Afterward, all is right in my world.

I dream of visiting… Italy for an entire month, enjoying fabulous food and wine with my mother and our new, sexy Italian friends.

I would love to have lunch with… Diane Keaton! I can imagine arriving flamboyantly dressed to gush about our devilish escapades. Count me in, sister!

I’m always up for… Collaborating with women to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

I have a soft spot for… People who are underestimated, either by themselves or others. Countless times I’ve witnessed that, through motivational coaching, when their confidence grows, opportunities flow.

My biggest guilty pleasure is… Unplugging from technology for the weekend and also twice a year for an entire week. If you listen closely, you can actually hear your soul whisper.

My favorite pig-out food… We celebrate every major accomplishment and special event at my favorite pizzeria in Flint, Michigan. That’s a lot of pizza, and yet, it will never be enough.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are… “Fallinlove2nite” by Prince, “Soar” by Christina Aguilera and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem (Detroit, baby!).

I’m still afraid of… running out of time. I still have much to do helping others realize their life’s work.

I believe in… people’s capacity to achieve anything they can possibly imagine.

I wish I had… found the courage to leave my 20-year accounting career earlier because I was reborn the day I connected my purpose and passion to career coaching.

I’m counting down the days until… May 19th for my inaugural women’s retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The best thing I ever did was… when I packed my bags at 21 years old and left my small town in Michigan to start a new life in South Florida on my own.

To learn more about Beth, visit www.bethbryce.com or www.daringcircleranch.com. You also can follow her on Twitter at @bethbryce and Facebook at /bethkbryce.

 

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April’s Book To Live By

Have you ever stepped from another’s shadow to stand in your own light? Now that is something to sing about!

In the April membership interview, “20 Feet from Stardom’: From Superstar Backup Singer to Solo Spotlight,” I spoke with songstress Lisa Fischer, who has spent three decades sharing the stage and studio with such superstar acts as the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Sting and Tina Turner.

To celebrate this amazing woman, this month, instead of a book to inform and inspire you, I want to introduce you to music that will touch your heart and make your spirit soar.

I am so proud to announce that our April 2016 Songs To Live By selection is Lisa’s solo album:

So Intense

So Intense by Lisa Fischer

In this incredible album, Lisa unleashes a superb range and thrilling, emotive delivery that will knock your socks off.

You may already know the monster-hit single “How Can I Ease the Pain?” — one of three songs on the album that Lisa co-wrote — which won the 1992 Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The yearning in Lisa’s voice can bring you to tears.

From get-on-your-feet dance beats (“Save Me”) to soulful ballads (her cover of the classic “Wildflower,” produced here by Luther Vandross) to goosebump-inducing vocal acrobatics (“Chain of Broken Hearts”), So Intense is a stunning, soul-soothing, heart-pounding encounter. I cannot recommend it more highly!

And if you get the chance to hear Lisa in person — she is currently on tour — you simply must go! Lisa is a true gem.

 

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Kathi Wright

Katherine (Kathi) Wright

Port Charlotte, Florida

Women on Fire Member: #00386

Member since: 2014

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

From the time I was born, my life has been about change. My father was in the U.S. Air Force, so we moved frequently. It was a terrific way to grow up because we lived among and experienced many different cultures.

I am currently in marketing and communications for a very large company. My husband, Pete, and I live on the southwest coast of Florida with two nutty dogs. Pete is a writer and my best friend. We have a peaceful life that includes a nightly dog walk peppered with very diverse conversations ranging from astronomy to climate change to personality analysis.

What are you “on fire” about?

I am on fire about contributing what I know and what I do to a company that has core values that are complementary to my own. I have learned that my viewpoint is typically different from that of my corporate America colleagues, and that has been a struggle for me until recently.

The guidance I have gathered through Women on Fire has re-sparked my optimism that there is a place for me and what I can offer. I am being patient and present, building upon my skills and self-care so that when the Universe says, “Here it is,” I will recognize it and be ready mentally and physically to go for it with all of the gusto of a child.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I was introduced through Sophfronia Scott. I saw all that she posted about Women on Fire and became intrigued. I hold her in such high regard that I knew it must be an amazing organization if she was a part of it. I was right.

What one thing are you the most proud of?

I am proud of my open mind. It allows me to truly listen to others so I can better see the world through their eyes. It makes me dream so big that when people say I’m not being realistic, I can realize that their visions of reality do not have to be the same as mine. And it drives me to be infinitely curious, asking questions and looking deeper into things beyond the apparent.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?  

An actress and an astronaut. I knew I could be both.

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

Think deeply about what you want, ask a bunch of questions of a lot of different people so you understand what the risk is, and then go for it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Nature. When I do my dog walks and go on runs, I can be frozen in place by a cardinal or the way the sun’s rays cut through at sunrise.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I keep two to-do lists, one for work and one for me, with the three most important things I need to do each day. It helps keep me from being distracted.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

I take a walk around my garden. It’s amazing how soothing a conversation with a rosebush or a tomato plant can be!

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

Linda Neff inspires me. There is something about her energy that is both gentle and powerful. She may be the most courageous woman I have ever been around. She is fearless and generous and has helped me find that gutsy woman inside of myself.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

At the Chicago Women on Fire Retreat, there was one moment that I realized how very, very important it was that I be 100 percent present and truly listening to the women around me and the retreat speakers. Fortunately, that moment came during the VIP party on the first day. The retreat had, and continues to have, an impact on my life.

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

I suffered four miscarriages and a divorce within a four-year period. I ran and ran and ran. The physical exhaustion forced me to let out the pain and emotions so I could grieve and heal. I remember times when I would crumple into sobs on the running path. When I was done with that mini-breakdown, I would get up and start running again. I completed four marathons, which helped soothe the hits on my self-esteem.

When you reflect on your life so far, what comes to your mind?

For a lot of my life, I was busy trying to get somewhere else, but recently I realized that I am exactly where I should be.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, Pete.

How do you cheer on others?

I encourage them to be authentic. I let them know that it’s OK to feel down during the lulls, but to celebrate during the peaks. Through both, the people who truly love them will be there.

QUICK-RESPONSE ANSWERS:

I’m picky when it comes to… who I spend my time with.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is… how Debbie leads and provides a safe give-and-take environment.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… I exercise almost every day and really enjoy that day of rest.

I dream of visiting… the Mount Everest base camp.

I can’t wait to return to… Paris.

I’m getting better at… realizing my self-worth.

I still need to work on… realizing my self-worth.

I have a soft spot for… my dogs.

I could spend hours… hiking or walking in nature — beach, mountain trail, anywhere outside.

I believe in… the power of good people.

I never forget to celebrate… the sunset.

My biggest pet peeve is… when people litter.

The best thing I ever did was… to forgive myself for not being able to have a child.

Kathi Wright is looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Women on Fire Retreat in Nashville, April 7–9. You can reach her to say hello at kathiwright4@gmail.com.

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March’s Book To Live By

How is your health? If you are anything like me, you are a work-in-progress, striving and desiring to feel your very best.

This month’s Books To Live By choice expands and deepens the discussion we began in our March membership interview, “Five Steps to Take Charge of Your Health Now!”

I am proud to announce that our March 2016 selection is:

Mysterious Mind Cover

The Mysterious Mind: How to Use Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science to Heal Your Headaches and Reclaim Your Health by Trupti Gokani, M.D.

In this remarkable book, our own Trupti Gokani, a board-certified neurologist with a medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an expert in the ancient wisdom and traditions of Ayurvedic medicine, leads us through the wondrous mysteries of the mind-body connection so we can claim vital health and well-being.

Beyond her thriving medical practice in Chicago, Dr. Gokani has written and lectured extensively in the areas of neurology and psychiatry, and has generously shared her insights into such widespread modern-day ailments as migraines, insomnia, mood disorders, food allergies, autoimmune diseases, and digestive and hormonal issues.

In The Mysterious Mind, with clarity and compassion, she guides you to such discoveries as your true physical nature (your dosha), which holds the key to your health.

Her simple yet elegant diet and lifestyle choices will lead you through detoxification processes and help you to balance your hormones so you can finally feel your best.

This book has now replaced the more dated health book go-tos on my shelf. It’s a winner!

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Rosi Amador

Rosi Amador

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Women on Fire Member: #00209

Member since: September 2013

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

I’m originally from Puerto Rico. My parents were New Yorican (that’s a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent) and Argentine performers who instilled in me their love of music and the spoken word. They raised me bilingually and biculturally.

My nuclear family consists of my husband Brian Amador and 19-year old twin daughters, Alisa and Sonia. Brian is a composer and Spanish guitarist, as well as a bilingual voice actor.

Alisa is now a sophomore at Bates College, where she is majoring in gender studies and minoring in dance. She also tours as singer-songwriter. Sonia is a creative artist with a passion for textiles, fashion, miniature sculpture and collage. Her specialty is creating unique, amazing crocheted wearables.

For 31 years, my husband and I have recorded albums and toured nationally and internationally with the Latin band we co-founded, Sol y Canto (solycanto.com; facebook.com/solycanto), a socially conscious Latin roots music ensemble that joyfully performs for adult, children and family audiences.

In 2010, I launched Amador Bilingual Voiceovers (www.amadorbilingualvoiceovers.com), and I’m now a successful full-time English/Spanish voice actor. I spend most of my days recording commercials, documentaries, children’s audio books and educational narrations from my private studio in Cambridge, Mass., as do Brian and, when they’re available, our daughters.

From my private broadcast-quality home studio and sometimes when I’m on the road, I record in both my native Spanish and English, using my voice to inspire, motivate, educate and inform the exponentially growing global Hispanic market and the general market.

My clients include PBS, Mattress Firm, OXFAM, Disney, L’Oreal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Comcast, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Lonely Planet, Expedia, and the Smithsonian.

What are you “on fire” about?

After many years of trying to make a sustainable living as a creative, I have created a diverse career that allows me to use my natural gifts through both spoken word and song and that affords me the opportunity to travel, rest and play with those I love.

I can honestly say that now, at the age of 56, I am finally approaching the fullness of my power and my fullest potential! This career has also provided me with the opportunity to shape my desired work/life balance and model for my daughters what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur who is in charge of her life.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I met Debbie in the 1990s when Brian and I performed in a small musical venue in Martha’s Vineyard. We were seated at the same table and she had no idea we were about to perform. We became friends instantly and stayed in touch.

She even brought her godchildren to see us perform once in Ohio, and she has always been incredibly supportive and helpful from day one. Brian and I were lucky enough to do a couples’ Vision Day with Debbie and her incredible Rob in 2007, and I discovered my superpowers big time!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

My tenacity in claiming my voice and power as an adult! By choosing love and connection, I overcame childhood traumas, educated myself and went about creating and identifying the circles of support I’ve needed so that I could then also help my family and career to thrive.

I chose to live very differently from how I was raised, which took a great deal of courage and self-belief that I didn’t think possible. I have finally created a sustainable life that revolves around meaningful work that allows me to prioritize my physical and spiritual well-being, including connection, rest and play with those I love.

What is your big dream?

The big dreams that I am passionately achieving: to continue singing for fun and performing my cherished Latin music and to become the premier English/Spanish bilingual voiceover service provider worldwide — a business which, with ease and flow, contributes mightily to my financial, personal, and spiritual abundance; and which, with ease, joy and play, enables me to use my multitude of gifts to amplify my values and improve the human condition worldwide.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?  

A singer.

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

I believe that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes — empathy — allows you to feel compassion and naturally gives way to kindness toward others and even yourself, which is often a lot harder. When we give, we get so much more back. This is something that I know to be true.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am a self-proclaimed inspiration sponge and TED Talk junkie; however, my most powerful inspiration comes mostly from other women. Apart from our own Debbie, whom I consider a cherished life mentor, I have learned so much from Kristine Oller, a superb coach for creatives, and my voiceover colleague, Amy Snively, the founder of a yearly voiceover gathering with a generous mission. In addition, I consider Brené Brown and Oprah to be role models in living an authentic life.

All these women have provided guidance that has been fundamental to the way I live my life and run my businesses.

On a day-to-day basis, I am also deeply grateful for the inspiration and camaraderie provided by my voiceover colleagues all over the country. I created a Mastermind group three years ago with eight outstanding, seasoned voice talents with whom I’m honored to be in a support group.

An incredibly powerful source of reciprocal inspiration comes to me from my “accountabilibuddy” Liz De Nesnera, also a female bilingual voice talent. We meet via FaceTime several times a week to build more accountability into our businesses and to encourage one another to live joyful, sustainable lives.

Finally, my daughters inspire me! They are not yet 20 yet they are so wise, kind and giving. Performing with my daughter Alisa and watching her bloom as a singer-songwriter is one of my greatest joys, and watching Sonia create amazing artistic wearable crafts and come into her own is another.

Name a woman who has influenced your life and tell what you learned from her.

I have not one but two very close beautiful women friends in my life who are in their 80s and are a huge source of support and inspiration. I speak with my beloved Marie Jo Miera and Sondra Sperber regularly by phone, Skype or in person when possible, even though neither of them lives nearby.

They’re both creative, strong, spiritual women who are fully engaged in their personal development, showering love on their families and friends and powerfully using their creativity and love to make the world a better place.

These two women came into my life after I lost my mother, and they model for me how to live a positive life, always learning, appreciating life, looking for joy and inspiration outside as well as within.

No matter what obstacles present themselves, Jo and Sondra always find a way to overcome it with grace and wisdom and luckily for me, they share all this with me on a regular basis. I feel so blessed to have my personal “wisdom council” and to be the object of their profound love.

When you reflect on your life so far, what comes to your mind?

Through my 40s, I struggled with self-image. I worked hard to get off the dieting cycle of my adolescence and college years. As an on-stage performer, I always felt the pressure to look “great,” a.k.a., “thin.”

I was lucky to find a local therapist who specializes in body dysmorphia. With my wonderful husband’s blessing, I worked with her for nearly three years when I could scarcely afford it and was able to find self-compassion and befriend myself once again.

This changed my life and is what I modeled for my daughters. In tandem with this, it took me years to recover from being a workaholic and finally come to see that a more balanced life, where physical and emotional well-being, rest and play are prioritized.

Finally, I am so grateful to have been blessed with an incredible life partner in my husband, Brian, as he’s a wildly supportive business partner and loving husband and father.

Who cheers you on?

My “wisdom council” — Jo and Sondra, mentioned above, and my daughters, Sonia and Alisa. One of my daughters gave me a gratitude journal and recommended that I journal daily, like her! They both help me look and feel great when I dress up by offering their opinions.

And of course, I’m also cheered on by my closest girlfriends, my Women on Fire sisters, and my loving and supportive husband, Brian. People tell me my optimism and positive energy are infectious. That brings me incredible joy! I believe it’s because I surround myself with positive people; therefore, I attract them and boldly reach out any time to create connection.

How do you cheer on others?

I love cheering others on. It’s one of my superpowers! I’m great at helping my friends look at their lives objectively, to figure out what the priorities are and how to shave away at the negative energy and activities that impede any forward motion.

In my studio and office, I continually have interns and assistants and enjoy mentoring them immensely. They always give more than 100 percent during their time with me, and I have remained friends with so many of them because they know I believe in them and their gifts.

The biggest area in which I cheer others on is my voiceover colleague circles. Little did I know when I walked into a voiceover career — one that by its very contemporary definition requires that you spend many solitary hours in front of a microphone in a home studio — what an amazingly supportive community exists among colleagues! By attending a voiceover conference and meeting in person, Brian and I instantly became part of a whole new supportive family.

I consider it my responsibility and honor to pay it forward as often as I can, sharing what others have generously shared with me. For this reason I’ve created several voiceover colleague support groups both in person and online via video conferences.

In addition, I frequently organize and/or host gatherings, particularly of women, and I ask them to talk about what they’re on fire about (sound familiar?). I ask them to share any obstacles and ask for support. I am also part of a Latina women’s group that meets several times a year in the Boston area, and typically host that community gathering once a year.

FURTHER INSPIRATION FROM ROSI:

I couldn’t live without… my sweet husband’s extraordinary gourmet cooking, walks with my doggie, time with my twin daughters and my two peaceful weeks each year on Martha’s Vineyard, which I jealously guard.

I’m picky when it comes to…. how I spend my time and give away my life energy. In my personal and professional lives I look for positive people who value and inspire me.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire monthly membership is… Debbie’s presence and the programs she’s created for us, from the monthly live chat master classes and monthly interviews to the support and love offered by our private Facebook page, where we can safely be vulnerable, sharing our losses and triumphs, receiving and offering genuine support.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… my daily meditation + journaling ritual.

I dream of visiting… New Zealand, Portugal, Brazil, The Canary Islands. I can’t wait to return to France, Spain and hopefully Switzerland next summer, to sing and visit with friends!

I’m getting better at… asking for what I’m worth. After many years, I have learned to actually turn down clients who pay me less than I’m worth.

I still need to work on… time-management strategies that permit me to be more proactive in my business and not feel as tied to my abundant work email.

I’m always up for… an evening of listening to live music I love, from Latin to jazz and world music, or work by an innovative singer-songwriter.

I’m still afraid of… the fact that Brian and I got an extremely late start on saving for retirement. We’ll be working for a long while so we plan to continue focusing on health and wellness so that we can be happy, productive and inspiring into our 80s and 90s!

I could spend hours… watching TED Talks. So inspiring!

I believe in… love, kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy and boundaries to maintain my sanity.

The best thing I ever did was… to seek out a wonderful therapist. She helped me to rebuild and love my life!

More about Rosi Amador…

In 1981, she fulfilled her parents’ dream to do what they could not. She earned a college degree from Bryn Mawr College. You can learn more and be in touch with Rosi at rosi@amadorbilingualvoiceovers.com

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

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…

IMG_0090

Andrea Dowding

Dresden, Ohio

Women on Fire Member: #00004

Member since November 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

My husband, Dave, and I are empty nesters for the first time in our 19 years of marriage and our collective 44 years of raising kids … his, hers and ours! August marked was the first time in 27 years that I didn’t have to fill out the never-ending and dreaded “back to school” forms and fees. We are loving finding our new normal.

I am an executive director of sales field learning and development at Thirty-One Gifts, the 28th largest direct selling company in the world. I work with an amazing CEO, Cindy Monroe, and an amazing staff that celebrates and supports a sales field of over 90,000 women.

What are you “on fire” about? 

Taking back my health, one walk-run, one bike ride, and one lap in the pool at a time. I am a four-year survivor of carcinoid cancer, and 2015 is the first year that I have been surgery- and treatment-free. I believe that every woman — no matter her size, shape or circumstance — can begin to reclaim her heath!

I am launching a closed Facebook group called Powerful … Not Perfect to encourage women to journey with me, just as they are, starting right where they are. It is such a relief to show up willing rather than to stay behind waiting.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

Rob Berkley! Rob was my amazing executive coach, and I met Debbie during Vision Days, first in Naples, Florida, and then in Martha’s Vineyard for a group Vision Day. Debbie and I talked one morning over breakfast at the Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard, and she shared her incredible vision for Women on Fire.

I knew instantly that this was the kind of support and community so many women needed and would benefit from. After I received my executive coaching certification, I worked with Debbie and offered Women on Fire teas and the first Women on Fire  coaching groups in the Columbus, Ohio, area.

What one thing are you the most proud of?

In August, I rode in Pelotonia — the bike tour that raises funds for cancer research at the Ohio State University — and am happy to say I crushed every goal, riding 50 miles in four hours or less, with only one stop, and raising $4,000.

In April, I didn’t even own a bike in April, and I was scared to put my goal out there publicly. I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to do it. It felt good to start from ground zero with my training and then to meet or beat every goal.

I highly recommend setting a big — maybe even scary — goal. It moves you forward to another place. 

What is your big dream?

I think my dream is now unfolding, four years into my journey back from being so sick. My dream manifested into helping women (especially those over age 50) try new adventures, maybe for the first time working to take back their health and possibly their life!

Along the way, there has been lots of fun, lots of encouragement, lots of laughter and much celebration! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful!

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

A doctor or a writer. That ambition may have merely manifested in a different way than I imagined. I love to see healing occur and hear the stories that come from the journey toward wholeness and full potential.

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

Be adventurous and explore with curiosity and confidence, fully embracing and owning your journey along the way. We have a hand-carved mirror in our home that says it this way, “Go out for adventure and come home for love.”

Where do you find inspiration?

In the stories and success of others.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I have learned to manage my energy rather than my time, and it has made all the difference.

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

Amy Marzluff is someone I greatly admire. She is wonderfully talented at her craft and continually meets women right where they are and lifts them. She has a passion and a drive to help women in their health journey, but does it in such a way that makes them feel safe, educated and empowered with new information and always, always celebrated.

Amy is a lifelong learner, which I admire, and generous in heart and spirit in sharing her expertise and wisdom. I love her dearly.

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

My divorce and the events that led up to it. I wrote about it in the first Women on Fire book. I had so much work to do on myself to recover and heal. I had to silence the negative voices and find my own, which was really tricky with young children and all the stress that came with a corporate job as a single mother.

I really had to learn to do things on my own terms, which wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t always successful at it. The biggest lessons learned were to celebrate my strengths, admit my mistakes, be quick to forgive myself and others, and be open to any repair work that needed to happen along the way.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, my children and my family and a handful of friends. I am very grateful and blessed to have a wonderful community within my close circle of family and friends.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

It is from a speech called “The Man in the Arena” by Teddy Roosevelt, which hung in my father’s office until he died. Now it hangs in mine.

     “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

QUICK-RESPONSE ANSWERS:

I always have room for…

kids and grandkids!

I’m picky when it comes to…

hanging pictures.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is…

hearing other women’s stories.

My favorite go-to self-care strategy…

silence in nature.

I dream of visiting…

Greece and Italy.

I can’t wait to return to…

Hilton Head and New York.

I’m getting better at…

saying yes to me first.

I still need to work on…

putting big dreams in the forefront.

I would love to have lunch with…

my mom, all of my daughters, and my sisters and their daughters. What fun!! I can hear the laughter now!

I’m always up for…

a bike ride.

I have a soft spot for…

teenagers and young women starting their careers. I think in that order (smile).

I have no sympathy for…

self pity.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are…

I could spend hours…

swimming.

I believe in…

new beginnings.

I never forget to celebrate…

a goal or dream realized! I love to celebrate that journey!

I don’t leave the house without…

my confidence and compassion.

I never developed a taste for…

okra.

I’m always on the lookout for…

a new, wonderful, BIG idea.

My biggest pet peeve is…

the phrases “I am so jealous” and “you are so lucky.”

The best thing I ever did…

was giving birth and being a mother to my incredible children

More about Andrea Dowding …

In addition to her work with Thirty-One Gifts, Andrea is a leader in the innovative field of executive and life coaching. She specializes in coaching and supporting professional women and top leaders in the $34 billion industry of U.S. Direct Sales.

She is an accomplished keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, whose insights and life strategies were highlighted in the chapter she wrote for Women on Fire, Vol. 1.

Andrea formerly served as the vice president of sales and executive director of product innovation for The Longaberger Company as it grew to be a billion-dollar direct-selling business. She developed and oversaw the new product lines and was co-inventor on 27 products that received U.S. patents.

Andrea resides in Dresden, Ohio, with her husband and one of their six daughters.

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