Virginia Swain and Frances Dean Nolde

Virginia Swain and Frances Dean Nolde present their new books: My Soul's Journey to Redefine Leadership and She Looked to the Sky
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 5:30pm

Join authors Virginia Swain and Nancy Dean Nolde as they talk about their new books!

My Soul's Journey to Redefine Leadership: The story of an ordinary woman with extraordinary experiences, Virginia Swain's soul journey takes her from the devastating loss of her brother to moments of peace, visions of a new future, and after a harrowing day in New York City on September 11, a vivid dream of a phoenix rising rising from a city's ashes, calling her to a new definition of leadership, one of empowerment, reconciliation and peace.





She Looked to the Sky: She dreamed of becoming an opera star. She did perform in a Gershwin musical with Fred Astaire, and she did become the star of a 1930s radio serial. But after Frannie married a wealthy textile manufacturer and became the mother of seven children on his Pennsylvania estate, she looked to the sky.

Frances Dean Wilcox Nolde became a pioneer pilot and a World War II commander of the Reading Courier Station in the Pennsylvania Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). After the war, she was winner of an early transcontinental all-women’s air race, and eventually became a full colonel in the CAP in charge of the women’s program. After moving to Washington, she became responsible for planning how America’s civilian airplanes would defend the country should the Cold War become hot.

A glamorous, ambitious proponent of women aviators, Frannie challenged male dominance at a time when home, career, motherhood, and personal success created both joy and trials in her life and the lives of those she loved. Her public life demonstrated her capabilities while her personal life revealed her flaws. In She Looked to the Sky, her youngest child, Frances Dean Nolde, tells her mother’s story—and her own.


Virginia Swain's
, second memoir of a thirty-year period from 1979-2017 which begins with her brother’s sudden death and ending with reflections on how Bobby’s death taught her to live with a calling to leadership at the United Nations and the USA. A dream of a Phoenix arising out of the ashes of Ground Zero compelled her to restore faith in America and in humanity.

During that period, Virginia was a mediator at Burncoat High School, created Imagine Worcester and the World Television show, participated in Worcester’s Common Pathways Health Disparities Leadership Team, taught at UMass Medical School Complementary Alternative Medicine Curriculum, and created Reconciliation Leadership at the United Nations and since 2016, in America.

Virginia now works in Worcester as a career and life directions coach, holistic counselor and Reconciliation Leadership trainer. She lives with her husband of 30 years, Joseph Baratta, retired History and Political Science Professor at Worcester State University. She loves being with her children Tad and Grace and their children, her grandchildren Alex, Isabelle, Jonathan and Racquelle. Her favorite thing to do is to play with children to keep her young. My Soul’s Journey to Redefine Leadership: A New Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of 9/11 is in print and on Audible. More at and


Frances Dean Nolde never learned to fly, but the influence of her mother finally pushed her to share her memories and stories of her mother’s life, with the hope they will motivate other women to fly, literally and figuratively.

Francie has spent her live as a teacher, proponent of coeducation, businesswoman, licensed marriage and family therapist, bereavement counselor, and end-of-life doula. She earned an MA in English at Middlebury and an MBA at UNH. As she wrote this book, she also chaired her town’s sustainability committee as an activist combating global warming. She continues her studies of Tibetan Buddhist teachings: om mani peme hum: May my body, speech, and mind become a benefit for myself and all living beings.

Francie spends as much time as she can keeping ties with her two daughters, five grandchildren, step children, and step-grandchildren. She lives with her husband and editor of her book, Hugh Fortmiller, in their 1760 home west of Boston.








Event date: 
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 5:30pm
Event address: 
372 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602