Friday, September 21, 2012

Interview with AnnMarie Kelly, Author of Victorious Woman!

ANNMARIE KELLY is a professional speaker, workshop leader and victory strategist, who has firsthand knowledge of the transformative power which determination and motivation, the stuff of victory, can have in a person’s life.

Growing up in her Italian-Catholic home, Kelly wasn’t a natural go getter but rather a shy and introverted girl – a “good girl” who felt invisible and insignificant while she dealt with family problems including alcoholism, sibling abuse and mental illness.

In her early twenties, a broken engagement and her father’s reaction to the breakup caused Annmarie to look at her life and where she was going. After a couple “dark” years, she realized she had a purpose but that she was following a path that would only give her more of what she already had: disappointments, regrets and lost opportunities. Annmarie understood that she needed to make a change; she decided to start on a new track.

Through the rest of her twenties and thirties, step-by-step, she changed the way she thought about herself and her future, set major goals, and let go of many of the limitations that were holding her back, from kicking the undesired habits of smoking cigarettes and being a couch potato to getting honest about her own sabotaging behaviors and letting go of the people and environments that became obstacles to her efforts.

While leaving her comfort zone for something better was what she wanted, it wasn’t easy. But in time the effort paid off – and has enabled Annmarie to BE more and Do more than she ever thought she could and HAVE more of the kind of life that, on her old path, would only have been a dream.

Not content to keep success to herself, Annmarie Kelly has made it her life’s mission to help other women find the same confidence, inner power, and most importantly their “feminine victory” within. In her keynotes, workshops, books, and coaching, she shows women just how much power they have over their own lives, encourages them to LIVE VICTORIOUSLY - out loud and in living color – and shows them the skills they need to do it!

Annmarie Kelly owns and manages SkillBuilder Systems, a training and devel-opment firm specializing in management development and communication skills. She is also the founder of The Victorious Woman Project which focuses on the information, resources and skill-building which help women empower themselves so they can live their best life.

Annmarie is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTDPhl), The Press Club PA and the National Association of Female Executives. Her services include:
- Keynotes for Corporate Events and Association Conferences
- Training Workshops (SmartWoman@Work and New Beginnings)
- Retreats
- Seminars, Teleseminars, Webinars
- Individual coaching
- Group coaching (Victory Teams)

She resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with her spouse, Joseph Eagle.

Annmarie Kelly is available for interviews in the Greater Philadelphia area, New York, Maryland, Delaware and Washington DC, and by phone anywhere. She can be reached at 610.738.8225 and

Watch Victorious Woman Trailer:

Where did you grow up?

Havertown, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
When did you begin writing?

I started writing in high school with papers for English classes. In my twenties, most of my writing was in my personal journals. In my thirties I wrote articles for magazines. At first I wrote for esoteric publications and then, after starting my consulting business, I wrote business-related articles for a variety of publications. I was really, really proud of my first check for a freelance article!

Almost fifteen years ago, still missing my undergraduate degree, I made the decision to go back to college. It was a curriculum designed for people like me who were way past “traditional” college age. It began with a required first course for research science.

Each week I turned in the required paper on some topic I researched. While my grades were in the B+/A category, I somehow presumed that I was just keeping up with the rest of the class. After all, we weren’t kids just starting out. But a conversation with the instructor turned things around. She told me that I was one of two students in her class whose writing was head and shoulders above the rest of the class. She also told me that I had a talent and should do something with it.

I graduated, magna cum laude, in 2001. The teacher, Gloria Williams, retired a few years later. We still keep in touch and have a breakfast together from time to time.

What is this book about?

From some of my marketing materials:

During nearly two years of interviews with women, as well as her experiences as a professional speaker, corporate trainer and coach, author Annmarie Kelly found that most women are struggling with common issues. She found that conflicting cultural messages add to sabotaging self-talk and influence a woman’s self-esteem, her desire for personal fulfillment, and her quest to achieve work/family balance.

Victorious Woman! Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal Victories shows readers how nine average women (just like them) overcame daunting challenges including the corporate glass ceiling, cancer, abandonment, starting and growing a business, domestic abuse and more. It tells readers how each one of them can become a Victorious Woman by reflecting on and identifying what is and isn’t working in their life, understanding how different lifestyles either support or sabotage their efforts, learning the six victory skills they can develop to be successful and using the Victorious Woman Model as the framework and the path for putting all the pieces together.

As a result, the reader learns how to gain SELF-control, develop and maintain a sense of personal worth and importance, have compelling goals, take financial security seriously and actively engage in self-development and self-improvement for a victory-rich life. As the reader becomes a priority in her life, and in the lives of others, she is more likely to have a better marriage, be a better parent and serve as a positive role model for other women.

What inspired you to write it?

I got the idea to write Victorious Woman in a dream – one of those moments when you’re between sleep and awake. The first time I did what many of us who get great ideas that way, I immediately found an excuse to ignore the inspiration. The next month the exact same thing happened, and I ignored it again.

The next month I started having a gyn problem and the doctor couldn’t diagnose it. After ruling out different kinds of cancer, I was waiting for a call and wondering if it was ovarian. If it was, I didn’t know what I would do; I didn’t even know if I wanted to be treated or just go peacefully into the next world.

That’s when the Victorious Woman idea popped into my mind again – and it was like the universe smacking me on the head, and gleefully telling me, “We tried to tell you nicely but you ignored us, so we had to give you the ‘two by four between the eyes’ to get your attention. Now will you write Victorious Woman?” The phone call came moments later and it wasn’t cancer.

Interestingly, my gyn problem resolved itself within two weeks; it was the outcome of an embolization which, at that time, was an experimental treatment for fibroids. But I wasn’t going to fool around anymore. I did my first Victorious Woman interview six weeks later.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

I can tell you, from my perspective, that it isn’t just a collection of stories or a typical self-help book. The first chapter tells several stories, snippets really, of several women’s stories, including my own. Each of the nine chapters about specific women ends with a set of “self-help” questions, tips and suggestions for victory-making. The final chapter is what some have called “a blueprint” because it outlines the four lifestyles that either support or sabotage a woman, the six skills every woman must develop and The Victorious Woman Model.

But this question has been nicely answered by others. Here are two comments from reviews:

  • "What makes this book pleasantly dissimilar from pseudo-feminist self-help books is that it dissolves the unnecessary coats of sugar and…shows how women can achieve their goals and bulldoze impenetrable barriers…" - Jessica Bautista, Montgomery News Ticket

  • "At first I thought, ‘Oh, no, not more Ladies Home Journal Fare.’ But this book is not that at all. I found [it] to be personally satisfying. Recommended!" Judges Commentary, Ben Franklin Awards

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

If life throws you a curveball or if you something you choose turns out badly, it doesn’t have to be the end of your world. Decide you will succeed, make another choice, and put your life on a happier and more successful path.

Sent from corporate executive T.H. Krallinger: The stories are a testament to what can be achieved through the power of purpose and optimism….and that last chapter was WONDERFUL!

Where can readers purchase a copy?

It’s available in hard copy and for Kindle at, and also available at Barnes and Noble.

What is up next for you?

Because I present Victorious Woman as a separate workshop and as part of a woman’s leadership course, I followed Victorious Woman with a workbook, Victory by Design. I’m updating that for e-publication.

Once that is finished, I’m working on my next book, The Five Year Marriage. It’s designed to help couples create their marriage in a different format, that is, in five year increments. I thought up this idea in 1988 when my sweetie proposed (yet again!) and I still didn’t think marriage was a good deal for a woman. Also, I just didn’t want to be married until I was dead – which, for some couples, happens long before their physical death.

My sweetie agreed and we were married six weeks later. We’ve been doing our marriage that way ever since – we’re moving into the fourth year of our fifth marriage :-)

Is there anything you would like to add?

First of all, thank you for doing this. I appreciate the work and your methodology!

Here are a few more comments from others – and I have lots more if you want me to send them:

  • This is a wonderful, touching book. I can think of several woman friends to whom I would like to give it (and a couple male friends, too). I has something for everyone and universal appeal. - Judge’s commentary, Writer’s Digest Book Awards
  • Victorious Woman! [has] been helpful to me as I’ve sought to gain insight and understanding in a society where paycheck and fairness often do not meet. Join a victory team.   - Gayle Aldrich, Lutheran Woman Today 
  • This is well put together and the end-of-chapter material is particularly supportive. - Judge’s editorial commentary, Ben Franklin Awards 
  • Recommended Reading!  - Houston Woman Magazine 
  • Coaching style questions help the reader explore her own situation and then take action toward her own victories.  - Divine Magazine for Women 
  • This new book…will give hope to other women who need to know that they can do it…with patience, persistence, prayer and a whole lot of courage.- Azriela Jaffe, Harrisburg Patriot-News
  • IT IS FANTASTIC! I'm finding myself questioning some of my life choices but then that's the whole point, right?  S. Eisele, Human Resources Manager
  • My attention was captured by each woman's experience ...and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. C. Tharp, Business Owner
  • The feelings leapt off the pages as I remembered my own experiences and how I was able to rally and come alive again.  Thank you for the inspiration to all women! J. Bennett, Bookkeeper
  • "I've immensely enjoyed reading Victorious Woman, and I want to thank you again for the gift.  I began to read the book at a time when I needed to receive the confirmation and encouragement that your illustrious characters share through their testimonies." Renee D. Sumby, Association Director

Price: $16.95
Publisher: Optimal Living Press
ISBN: 9780974603704
Pages: 279
Release: September 2004

Amazon Buy Link ($16.95)

Barnes & Noble Buy Link ($16.95) Buy Link ($16.95)

Annmarie Kelly's Web Site:

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Tribute Books said...

Cheryl, thanks for allowing Annmarie to share her source of inspiration with your followers :)

Annmarie Kelly said...

Hi Cheryl!

This was fun!

Thanks for introducing Victorious Woman! and me to your readers!I trust your readers will love Victorious Woman! and let it help them create lives that are even bigger and better expressions of their true selves!!!

Annmarie Kelly