The Girlfriend Gala

10th Anniversary Cake
Girlfriend Gala 10th Anniversary Cake
The 2016 Girlfriend Gala was yesterday. It was our tenth Victorious Celebration. If you were there, THANK YOU for coming. You are part of the reason it was MAGICAL. If you missed it, mark your calendar now for May 24, 2017. We sold out this year, so you don’t want to miss it again!
Among the highlights were the special presentations by two fabulous women. My special guest speaker was Pat Ciarrocchi, a beloved anchor with the local CBS affiliate who is now writing her next chapter. Pat talked to The Girlfriends about her girlfriends and described how each one impacted her life in a different way. It was so perfect because we all resonated with what she said. We all know how much impact and influence our girlfriends have on our lives. Think about it…think about the feelings you share with them…and it’s different at every age. Remember what you talked about with your grade school friends? It was other things with your high school and college friends. As life changed so did your conversation with old and new girlfriends…at your first real job…the ones who were in your wedding, then the ones you met through your kids…and on and on.
I remember being in 7th and 8th grade and walking to school with my friend, Karol. We talked about the boys we liked, getting our periods for the first time, stuff our parents made us do. You know, young teenage stuff. OK, the talking about boys stuff – I’ve done that at every age…except now they’re men.
Anyway, Karol moved away in high school, but we still talk about once a year and you know how it is with girlfriends, when we talk, and once we catch up on the details of our lives, we talk like we saw each other last week.
My high school alums were at the gala. That was really wonderful because we weren’t friends in high school but we were together during those awkward teenage years. Over class reunion committee meetings, we’ve developed an interesting relationship over the years. How many of your current friends know you as the person you were then AND as the woman you are today? It’s a very special relationship. And I’m so appreciative that they support me and the gala each year.
So that’s what Pat Ciarrocchi helped each of us to remember. And she had The Girlfriends laughing and crying…and it was really just what we all wanted.
That’s not what comedian Theresa Hummel Krallinger did. She just made us laugh…and she was pee in your pants funny. It was Theresa’s third time performing at Girlfriend Gala. I can’t repeat most of her jokes; they weren’t dirty, just a little blue. Like, when she talked about her spouse giving her a cubic zirconia…a fake diamond…so, to thank him, she gave him fake sex. Theresa also talked about growing up going to Catholic school…and how the big sin was chewing gum. If you were a parochial school girl (and so many of The Girlfriends are), you remember.
Our beneficiary this year was Home of the Sparrow. Matrie Johnson is its Program Director and she talked to The Girlfriends about the Shared Housing and Pre-Senior Bridge Program for women over 50. That’s where this year’s gala proceeds are going.
We had wonderful sponsors and donors. The Girlfriends get excited because we have such great silent auction and raffle items and they know they get a good deal. And our SWAG bags this year…they were worth over $50!
However, what makes The Girlfriend Gala so special is all The Girlfriend energy. It feels electric!
I think part of it is because we have history together. Some of it is personal because we’re there with our actual girlfriends. But, also, women make connections at Girlfriend Gala so they have either new girlfriends or new business colleagues from previous galas.
Another part of it is that we have history that is gender-based. That is, we’ve shared a piece of history together, feminist history. It’s different than what women in other times of history shared…and that’s a bond we all have…even if we don’t know each other personally.
I also think it helps that Penn Oaks Golf Club does a wonderful job for us – from the setup to the good food (and the food got great compliments!). Desserts came from the wonderful The Prosperity Sisters, owners of Full-Spirited Flavours, and they brought us their incredibly good liquor cakes for our desserts. Also, this year, The Masters Baker made us the most beautiful and delicious almond-flavored cake (pictured in this blog post).
Thank you for coming!! Hope to see you again at the 2017 gala…and it would be great to connect with you in between at my private group, the Victory Chicks Community!

Feminine Power: Tip 7

Download.12.08 083Have Your Own Money

No matter how you look at it, money is power. No matter who you are and what you do, if you have some money put aside for yourself you boost your feminine power. If you live alone, you need to have money for a rainy day, retirement, emergencies. If you live with someone, you need to have your own account. You can call it mad money, running money, crazy money. Whatever you call it, it’s money that you save for when you really need it. You know it’s yours to use to honor, love and protect your SELF.
Here are some common questions women usually ask about this power tip:

  • How much should it be? It depends. It should be enough for what you really want. That might mean anything from a safe place to stay to money to further your education to a special vacation.
  • How do you get it? Decide on an amount you can put away from each paycheck. It could be a percentage, like 5% of your take-home pay. Or, if it’s family money, it could be whatever money you saved by using coupons. The amount isn’t as important as that you do and that you know it’s there for you.
  • Where do you put it? In a savings account or interest-bearing money-market that’s just for you. You should be able to get to it fast (not in a CD or some other kind of investment).
  • What do you use it for? I used mine to pay my tuition when I decided to go back to school. I also used it for a down-payment when I bought a new car.
  • Why is it good to have? Because you always know that you aren’t totally dependent on the family finances, beholding to someone who lent you money or stuck. I always say that, if I want to get away, I can be in another state or country in 24 hours. I’ve never wanted to do that, but knowing that I can always feels like I have a safety valve, ready when I need it.

Once you start building that fund, you’ll be surprised at how much having that money will fuel your feminine power.

Last Chance to see Kelly speak at Great Dames on April 22

Annmarie Kelly Speaks At Great Dames Event“Savvy Sizzle: Designing the Life of Your Dreams”

Is your life SAVVY or sappy?
Does your life SIZZLE with Satisfaction or feel like it’s wilting away, day by day?
Author and Victory Coach Annmarie Kelly will show you:

  • The four MUST-KNOW lifestyles that either support or sabotage your success.
  • Six MUST-HAVE victory skills
  • The power your values have to make your life either savvy or sappy
  • How to take your first POWER STEPS toward your next victory

at “The Great Dames Delaware Series” on April 22, 2013.
Event Flier | Event Registration
$35 or $60 for the pair of remaining events
5:30 to 7:00pm
Pizza By Elizabeths
Location: 3801 Kennett, Pike, Greenville
Register Today!

Annmarie speaks to Wilmington Women in Business on March 21

Flipping the Switch: From Pressure to Power
Change and stress are inevitable any time and anywhere. But in today’s economy, you have to do business with less and still juggle your personal responsibilities. The combination seems like a never-ending challenge that can wreak havoc on your health, work & relationships. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Once you understand where your control lies in any situation, you can put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life. You won’t eliminate stress but you can reduce it significantly, no matter what is happening around you.
Hear Annmarie at this great venue and be inspired to reach your next VICTORY!
Date: March 21st, 2013
Location: University & Whist Club, Wilmington, DE
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Cost: Member Rate: $35.00, Guest Rate: $45.00
Register now!

Creating Influence: Strengthen Your Leadership Skills

Why do women embrace the “diva” label but shy away from leadership? Personally, I don’t get it.
In The Urban Dictionary (, there are many definitions for the word “diva” and most of them echo this definition:  “a bitchy woman that must have her way exactly, or no way at all. often rude and belittles people, believes that everyone is beneath her and thinks that she is so much more loved than what she really is. selfish, spoiled, and overly dramatic.”
But there is a nicer definition:
“ describe a person who exudes great style and personality with confidence and expresses their own style and not letting others influence who they are or want to be. 2. A person whose character makes them stands out from the rest. 3. Noun; a person’s title in a group of friends or in society that is popular or famous and who many people try to copy. 4. A person who tries to achieve what they want and who do not let people get in their way, and doing so with style and class.
If someone was talking about you, and calling you a diva, which definition would you want them to be using? More importantly, which definition do you want defining you?
My guess is that you’d choose one of all of the meanings in the second definition. Am I right?
If I am, then you are aspiring to leadership. You can massage the words to make them sound better, but it’s about leadership – life leadership. Here’s ways to define good leader:
Is authentic: you’re real, honest and confident. All too often a woman – especially when she’s young – is acting like someone she wants to be or thinks she should be. When you aren’t your real self, you cheat yourself out of a degree of self-confidence and poise that a phony can never enjoy. “…not letting others influence who they are or want to be.”
Has a vision of her life: You don’t follow the pack or let someone else talk you into following their vision (unless the visions intersect). If you don’t have your own vision – your plan, your agenda, your dreams and goals, you’ll end up doing something that is opposed to your own good – a job you hate, a marriage that makes you feel used and unappreciated, a relationship that’s all give on your end and all take on the other end.
Takes action: You don’t talk about what you’re going to do someday without taking some action (e.g. taking a course, volunteering to get experience). It may take a long time to achieve your vision, but if you don’t take action, nothing will happen…and then you’ll die.,
Has good character: You know what you stand for – honesty, integrity, dependability, etc. And you act accordingly. There is an old adage that says that character is what you do when no one is looking. “A person whose character makes them stands out from the rest.”
Has good boundaries: You can’t be the leader of your life when you let people walk all over you, or yell at you or take advantage. As a good leader, you
Can be depended on for her professionalism and follow through.

Woman's History Month

I was talking to a group of women recently who weren’t too excited about Woman’s History Month. Maybe you feel (as they did) that women haven’t made much progress. Their issue was that women still make less than men for doing the same job and there are way fewer women CEOs in major corporations and on corporate boards. Or maybe you feel, as I sometimes do when I tune into some show like The Bachelorette or one of the “Housewives of…” shows (for research only!), that some younger women are embracing some sort of “enlightened feminism” that tells them to behave in way that would tickle the likes of Larry Flynt.
So, yes, sometimes progress is hard to recognize.
But for sure women are progressing. And it’s ever-so-noticeable in the way women are fighting for their rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and other middle eastern countries.
And consider this:
In the 1950s, actress Jayne Mansfield did everything possible to call attention to her sexy self, including a series of wardrobe malfunctions. Fifty years later, daughter Mariska Hargitay has gained fame as the smart and tough-as-nails cop on the long-running Law and Order SVU
In 1957, Your Power as a Woman by Alma Archer was a how-to book that advised women that charm, beauty and their ability to dress in enticing negligees was their powerbase. In contrast, just since 2005, books like my own Victorious Woman! and Barbara Wilder’s Embracing Your Power Woman have been encouraging women to find their own personal power and take their places as leaders.
Before the 1960’s, fewer than 20% of women earned a college degree – and many of the women who did go to college were from wealthy families; young women were often sent to school to get their “mrs” degree. During those days, finishing and charm schools were far more common because they were designed to teach women how to behave in marriage – and, after all, marriage and children was considered a woman’s highest calling in life.
In the 1960s, more women started getting college degrees but were far outnumbered by male students. Many parents didn’t want to pay for college because they felt there was no reason a woman needed a college degree to change diapers.
But, if a young woman wanted to be a nurse or a teacher, then post-high school education might have been acceptable. Yet I remember when I interviewed Kathy for Victorious Woman. She said her goal after high school was to be an engineer – but everyone from her guidance counselor to co-workers told her women engineers would never be accepted and she’d never work in the field.
By the 1980’s the tide was starting to turn. More and more women were earning both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.
In 2011, the college dynamics have changed. Women are getting married later and continuing their education into post-graduate work at a higher rate than men. For an interesting discussion on this topic, see the March 4, 2011 edition of To The Contrary, a PBS show for women. You can watch or podcast at
This month I’ll be writing about the progress women have made and celebrating Woman’s History Month! I’ll look forward to sharing the celebration with you!