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Girls in Progress



BREE SWARTZ :: senior national speaker

Bree is a graduate of Purdue University, where she studied Mass Communication and Theatre. Her self-defense training includes being a graduate of IMPACT Chicago, a certified FAST Defense instructor, has trained extensively in adrenal stress confrontations and is a graduate of the GFB Speaker Academy. Bree is currently studying acting in New York City when not on the road with GFB.

Morgan-CrouchMORGAN CROUCH :: junior speaker

Morgan Crouch graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned a B.A. in Art History with an emphasis in gender & critical race. Morgan studied improv and comedic writing at The Second City Training Center and iO Chicago. She is a graduate of the GFB Speaker Academy 2013, with training in FAST Defense.

NICOLE SNELL :: booking agent – speaker in training

Nicole graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Speech Communication. While at CSULB she worked with InterACT, a social justice performance troupe developed in response to the high incidence of sexual assault on college campuses. She is now a member of the professional InterACT team providing exclusive sexual assault prevention training for the Department of Defense and colleges nationwide. She has completed local self defense sessions and is working towards her IMPACT certification. Nicole is also an active volunteer for Taking the Reins, a non-profit organization that teaches life skills to underserved middle- and high-school girls primarily through horse care and riding. Nicole works as a freelance Line Producer for TV & Digital projects in her spare time.

GINA KIRKLAND :: president + den mother

Gina Kirkland graduated from Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University with an A.A. and a B.A.. She worked as an educator and an event planner before opening Kirkland Productions, Inc., a college entertainment/speakers agency, in 2000. She currently serves as a Facilitator for the AAG (Associate Advisory Group) for NACA (The National Association for Campus Activities) and has been awarded Agent of the Year in 2014 by NACA South and in the past by both the NACA West and Central regions. In 2007, she opened her second company, KP Comedy, and, in 2013, she channeled her lifelong passion for Women’s Issues into the purchase of her third company, Girls Fight Back, bringing the message of living a fearless life and combating violence against women to millions of young women across the country. She runs the GFB Speaker Academy, is a NOVA certified Victim Advocate, works in partnership with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office of the Department of the Navy (DON SAPRO) on issues of sexual assault prevention and bystander behavior, is a graduate of the Gavin de Becker Advanced Threat Assessment and Management Academy, IMPACT Los Angeles, FAST Defense, and currently sits on the board of IMPACT Personal Safety. She currently resides in Los Angeles.


ERIN WEED :: founder

Erin founded GFB in 2001 at the age of 23 in response to the murder of Shannon, who was her close friend and sorority sister. Erin has won many awards for her work in women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship. She was a columnist for CosmoGirl and is the author of Girls Fight Back! The College Girl’s Guide to Protecting Herself (now available in its 3rd edition). She is the creator of the GFB seminar seen by over a million women, and also the GFB Speaker Academy.


SHANNON MCNAMARA :: inspiration

Shannon was murdered on June 12, 2001 just a few days shy of her 22nd birthday. While the world lost an incredible human being that day, heaven gained one hell of an angel. Shannon’s story has inspired over one million women to become their own best defenders, and to live the badass life each of us were intended. And for that, we are so grateful.

Beth-Townsend-SmithBETH TOWNSEND-SMITH :: sister – friends of GFB

Beth studied Psychology with Certification in Child and Family Studies at Roosevelt University and is also a graduate of The Adler School of Professional Psychology’s Art Therapy program. She has worked with special needs children, at-risk teens, and parent education groups across the Chicago area. When not out promoting GFB, she also teaches art and science. Beth is a Graduate of the GFB Speaker Academy 2013, with training in FAST Defense.

Leah-BonnemaLEAH BONNEMA :: sister – friends of GFB

Leah majored in Cultural Studies at McGill University and wrote her Honor’s Thesis in Film and Women’s Studies. Huffington Post named her one of their Favorite Female Comedians and College Candy listed in her as one of the Top Ten Female Comics. She is regular on VH1’s 100 Greatest Series and has toured for the troops in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Leah is a graduate of the GFB Academy 2013, with training in FAST Defense.