Guest Post - Annmarie Kelly, author of Victorious Woman! Shaping Life's Challenges into Personal Victories

Publisher: Optimal Living Press

Publish Date: September 2004

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Victorious Buy Link

Synopsis: Real Women – Real Stories – Real Challenges – Real Victories

What’s a woman to do? If she makes a bad choice or gets thrown one of life's curveballs, is she forever doomed?

Author Annmarie Kelly says "NO!" and proves it with compelling real life stories of women who faced and overcame seemingly overwhelming life challenges. This powerfully moving book overflows with intelligence, understanding, emotion and true grit.

Kelly explains victory as the stretch you make out of your comfort zone and into the greater, fuller expression of who you really are – your authentic self. She demonstrates victory by taking you inside the lives of nine distressed women and showing you how they became victorious. You are likely to recognize something of yourself woven in each of these stories; each one will inspire and encourage you to forge your own victory over whatever is challenging you right now. At the end of each woman’s chapter you’ll find soul-searching questions that you must ask yourself to insure your own victories.

Author Kelly concludes the stories with a "lessons learned" chapter. Gleaning the best from each Victorious Woman, from the many other women she interviewed and from her own intriguing life challenges, Kelly describes the FOUR LIFESTYLES that either support you in victory or sabotage you, and the SIX SKILLS every woman has to learn to be in control of her SELF. She also gives you, her readers, the Victorious Woman Model to help you figure out what you need at different stages of challenges. The result is a book that is part inspiration, part motivation and part skill building. Some have called Victorious Woman "a blueprint for life" and "a practical approach to taking control of your life."

Since its first publication, many women say that they keep Victorious Woman! on their book shelf for reference or on their nightstand for comfort at the end of a long day. This "celebration of life" is an encouraging and enlightening read for women who want to create their own personal and professional victories.

Guest Post "How to bring positive influences to young women in a negative/judgmental society?": That’s a really good question and the answer is really complex. But much of it, in my opinion, boils down to two things: choice and decision. What focuses the choices and decisions are values and what supports those choices and decisions are the positive influences in our life, like positive role models. We give so much power to influences that honor mediocrity and celebrity – people, like the Kardashians, who are famous for nothing good. It’s important to help young women surround themselves with positive influences by pointing them out and making them important. It can be as simple as discussing values in movies, books, the recent Olympics, and even finding them through research and following those influences on social media. And, yes, they are there!

When I was growing up, I have plenty of challenges and negative influence – and society wasn’t the biggest of them. I grew up in an Italian-Catholic family and gender discrimination was the norm. My parents were good people caught in a cultural rut. And, because I wasn’t as fast-thinking or fast-speaking as my siblings, I was considered the “weak” one – which left me open to a lot of crappy stuff. Also, my much-older oldest brother was abusive. Then, when I was a teenager, my father became an alcoholic and my mother enabled the dysfunction.

I could have turned out very differently. I didn’t. Why?

Even though my parents had their problems, they instilled in me a set a values and the expectation that I must do my best (or better than my best) when it came to getting good grades and doing chores around the house. They expected me to “do the right thing” and stand on my own two feet, encouraging me to fix my own problems rather than coming to them first and getting them fixed. And we were a church-going family, so I knew religion was important, both for the peace of God’s love…and the judgment. All of those things developed into a set of values-driven guidelines for me – even though it wasn’t until I was a young adult that I really knew the importance of all the things my parents taught me. As a child, and through my wild years, those things – values, doing the right thing, God – guided my choices and decisions. And when I didn’t do things quite right and got off-track, they helped me get back.

Then, when I was twenty-two, I met a man I was crazy about and to whom I became engaged. One night something happened and, instead of pushing it aside and going forward with the wedding, I ended the relationship. When I told my father, he was angry. That’s when I realized that, though my father loved me, he couldn’t get past his old-school Italian pre-program about marriage and children. I realized that if my father, who I know loved me a lot, couldn’t do that in favor of supporting what was best for me, there would never be another living person who could do it either. That’s what I made the decision to become the leader of my own life (part of standing on my own two feet). From that time forward, never again was anyone going to tell me what was good for me, or how I should act or what I should become. Life leader wasn’t an easy thing to do, and still isn’t, but it was the very best life decision I made.

As I got older, outside role models influenced me. There were the heroines of books, like Jo in Little Women and Heidi. I watched a lot of old movies when I was a kid, so women like Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis left an impression on my mind. As I got into the workplace, there was the woman who took me under her wing when I was a newbie teacher and helped me understand life and the nun who helped me be a better teacher. And in my extended family, I watched as the “rich” relative who, after a family tragedy, became a seeker of the spiritual truth; she blossomed into the beauty that only internal happiness can give.

One of the reasons that I embraced the writing process for Victorious Woman was because I believed – and, of course, still believe – that no woman has to live a less-than lifestyle. She doesn’t have to be at the mercy of people who treat her badly. She doesn’t need the government or a man to take care of her because is fully capable of making her own way, leading her own life, and filling her own cup. Her significant other becomes a partner, not a pay check. It doesn’t matter where she came from or how old she is, she can make other choices. I did. So did the nine women who are featured in nine of the Victorious Woman chapters, as well as the many other women I interviewed who stories I include in snippets in the first and last chapters. They are different ages and came from varying social and socio-economic backgrounds. But they each had someone who inspired them to get up and out of their difficulties and, once motivated, each one made the decision to change her life. 

Author Bio: Author 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 and powerless to deal with family problems including alcoholism, sibling abuse and mental illness.

In her early twenties, a broken engagement and her father’s reaction to it, 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. She also let go of people and environments that became obstacles to her efforts.

While leaving the comfort of the familiar for something better was what she wanted, it wasn’t easy. But in time the effort paid off. The decisions Annmarie made then have enabled her 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 that kind of empowerment and 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 the “feminine victory” within. Whatever she does, whether she’s speaking, teaching, writing, blogging or 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 development 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)

Annmarie Kelly is available for interviews in the Greater Philadelphia area, New York, Maryland, Delaware and Washington DC, and by phone anywhere.


  1. Star and Annmarie - thanks for combining a terrific topic with a fantastic post. Love it!

    1. Thanks to Annmarie for giving us some great information!


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