As a business professional, I belong to several women’s networking groups. Through these, I’ve met some wonderful friends and developed some nice business relationships. From these connections, I have also learned of some worthy charities to devote time and resources to.

Linda Stone introduced me to the Women’s Resource Center of Wayne, PA. WRC’s mission is to help women who are in transition, who need guidance to better their lives, and to train to enter the workforce. One of their biggest fundraiser’s of the year is their annual luncheon. This WRC event brings out some of Philadelphia’s most influential women for support. Besides a great meal and many generous gift baskets that are raffled off, there is always a headline speaker.

Authors Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love and Liz Barker of Changed by Chance...Champion by Choice

Elizabeth Gilbert and Liz Barker at the WRC Luncheon

Last year it was bestselling author and Inquirer columnist, Lisa Scottoline. This year, it was Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the blockbuster book “Eat, Pray, Love” which became an equally successful movie starring Julie Roberts.

I love that movie, perfect chic flick! What made the book/movie so successful, I think, is that is it a true tale about Liz and her life. She shares with us the most intimate details of her existence – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We love her story because we can relate to it. It’s believable and realistic, unlike so many of the so called reality shows today. Liz had the courage to put into writing the personal things that we all experience in relationships, but are perhaps too timid to talk about.

It dawned on me that this is exactly what I am doing in writing my nonfiction book – to share my experiences with others to offer inspiration and hope. To let people know, as Liz did, that obstacles and adversity can be overcome and won over if you fight for your life.

As Liz spoke, I saw again why she is so popular. Her “speech” was easy but eloquent. She addressed the audience as if she was talking to us as a close friend, sharing some personal vignettes of her past. A memorable snippet that she shared reminded me of something that is present in my book – the sudden appearance and unexpected help from a stranger that was literally a life saver to Liz.

As she signed my copy, I asked Liz if she thought that the stranger was an angel. I told her about my book and how I experienced several “angel moments” at critical times too. She smiled and said that it was very possible, that her experience was an important lesson that she carries with her today. It’s a constant reminder to pay it forward in life.

I left the luncheon with a renewed hope that my forthcoming book, Changed by Chance…Champion by Choice, will be as inspiring and endearing as Liz’s book. If nothing else, it will certainly be as candid.

If you are interested in learning more about Elizabeth and may not be able to attend an event where she is speaking, I found a great video below where she spoke at a TED event.