All posts in September 2010

Students Fight Back at Pennsylvania College of Technology

Penn College of Technology was my second stop on the Fight Back Pennsylvania extravaganza and it was a blast!  Staying true to their name, they had a stellar technological set up with multiple flat screens to blast out our Students Fight Back power point.  I would like to give a big shout out to everyone who worked to bring us to campus, especially Mike Hersh.  Mike was particularly helpful because he let me volunteer him to play the role of our “Scary Bad Guy” and still spoke to me after the seminar was over.  Thanks for being a trooper, Mike!   

Awesome Times at Alvernia.

I kicked of a 4 college Girls Fight Back/Students Fight Back extravaganza yesterday at Alvernia College in Reading, PA and, as the title of the blog implies, it was awesome! The students were great and very engaging.  I would like to send a very special shout out to the field hockey team who came straight from practice to kick some booty at Students Fight Back.  I have to send another special shout out to Robyn for organizing a great event and pointing me toward a great sushi place and the most amazing hot chocolate café ever . . . EVER! 

Thanks for having me Alvernia College!

Thank You.

             Well, hello there everyone! I just wanted to take a quick second to thank all of GFB’s  supporters for what you enable us to do.  Something we hear a lot at GFB is “thank you.”  We hear it after seminars from our awesome clients and great audiences.  We see it when you post it to our facebook page and when you email us.  But the truth of the matter is you deserve the thank you because, without you, our mission would have never come this far. 

                I was thinking about this yesterday on my flight from Portland to Philadelphia.  Some people, when I tell them that for a certain part of the year I live in airports and hotel rooms, they ask me how I do that.  Well, the truth is that it doesn’t really give me any pause and on my flight yesterday I kept thinking how lucky I am.  Sure, I’ll be living in airports and Hampton Inns for a while but I meet the most amazing and inspiring people when I ‘m on the road and I get to talk with them about something so fundamental to all of our lives.  The truth is that, without all of the support you have given us over the years, we wouldn’t have been able to spread our nearly message as far or nearly as fast.  

                Thank you for making what we do possible and keep hoping with us that someday it will be a service that is no longer needed and working with us to make that day happen.

                Strong. Resilient. Spirited. Unified. 

A new website for Girls Fight Back

Today I am very happy to announce the launch of our new Girls Fight Back website! Located at, the site strives to be easy to navigate, easy to learn about personal safety online and easy to bring the GFB program (keynotes or workshops) to your school, college or business.  We hope it simplifies the process of learning to defend yourself without stress or confusion. Since we just launched, we anticipate a few glitches here and there. If you find any errors on the site, let us know via the contact form and I’ll personally send you a free, autographed copy of my book! (Girls Fight Back! The College Girl’s Guide to Protecting Herself.)

Probably my favorite feature on the website is the entire Girls Fight Back presentation is viewable online.  And guess what? It’s FREE. You don’t even have to give us your e-mail address. (Pop some popcorn, then click here to enjoy.) Many of my professional speaker friends think I’m a nut for doing this. After all, the presentation IS our business, so why make it free? Well in addition to it being my business, it’s also my mission. And we get LOTS of e-mail from women living in fear or in crisis with no ability to access to a self-defense class. Sometimes these notes arrive from faraway places like Egypt and Bahrain! While I don’t claim the GFB program is a substitute for taking a live class, I do think it’s a good first step and I’m delighted to make it available to women who so desperately seek it.

I have to thank my friend David Meerman Scott (a rock star author and professional speaker – not to mention an amazing guy and father) who inspired me to make the presentation free and accessible to anyone. He actually blogged about our new website, so click here to read it. Someone once told me, “If you love something, set it free.” Besides all the amazing people in my life, I couldn’t love anything more than Girls Fight Back…so have a nice flight, little birdie! Mama loves you!

You’ll also notice on the home page and the partners page, we announce some exciting sponsors for the GFB Fall Tour – which is now underway. (Heather spoke at University of Memphis last night. Yee haw!) We’d like to give a big thank you to SELF magazine, FORSSE and for backing our tour this season. Also mentioned on the partners page are two awesome speakers bureaus that book all our college programs, Bass Schuler Entertainment and CAMPUSPEAK. We’re really psyched to be working with both of them.

Another big feature on the new website is our two new speakers, who have made Girls Fight Back a GLOBAL movement of peace and girl power. I extend a very warm welcome to Khalida from Pakistan and Trina from India – both of whom I spent this past summer training in public speaking and self-defense. They are incredible warriors in their own battles, with Khalida working to end honor killing across Pakistan and Trina working to end sex trafficking in Mumbai. When I first met them, I was so excited by the idea of GFB going global…I had no idea that training them would also to give me 2 more sisters. (BTW: Trina & Khalida will be using all money earned from programs they give in their countries to create revenue for their non-profits. They keep 100% of what they earn. This is the first major initiative of the Girls Fight Back Foundation – training women from other countries to be speakers on the topic of peace and safety, and how to make money doing it. Then use that income to fund social change.)

If you enjoy the new website, please tell us by visiting our Facebook fan page and leave a comment. Even better, send the link to 3 of your friends. Or blog about it, tweet it or post a link on Facebook. Our mission is to make women’s safety education as widely available as possible, and we thank you in advance for helping us out. We can’t do it alone – making women see that WE can be our own best protectors takes an army of women and men who love women.

Before I scamper off, I’d like to thank the following people for making contributions to this new website: Photographer Sean Savitt, graphic designer Jenn Doe, web designer Peter Lacis, GFB Program Director Cheryl Goff, t-shirt guru Jim Levy, Morgan Jelling at SELF, Liz Meitus at FORSSE, all our past and future clients and my incredible GFB speakers.

People often tell me and my team that Shannon McNamara is very proud up in heaven. In the past, I’ve always said “I hope so.” But now that any woman, anywhere, can learn some basic skills that could save her life – “I know so.”

Cool People Doing Cool Things

Here at Fight Back Productions, we love to hear awesome stories about people doing things to better the world, whether in the field of violence prevention or elsewhere.  This week, I’ve been super excited to hear about some really cool people doing some really cool things.  Check out these links and look for ways that you can help make a difference in your community!

A retired EMT and police officer in south Florida makes self-defense education accessible to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community.  Attacks on minority groups such as the LGBT community are on the rise, so kudos to Mr. Cacioppo for his good work!

Two friends of Girls Fight Back are in the running for Pepsi Refresh Awards.  Basically, Pepsi gives a ton of money out to people doing good things so that they can do more good things.  But to win the money, they have to get votes…lots and lots of votes!

One of these projects belongs to longtime friends Shawn Decker and Gwenn Barringer.  Shawn is HIV+, Gwenn is HIV- and they are married.  They travel the country teaching teenagers and young adults how to stay safe and know their status when it comes to HIV.  If they win, they’ll receive $50,000 to travel the country and do their thing.  Honestly, if anyone hasn’t seen them speak, they are a hoot and a half!  Plus they are just cool people with a lot of great information to share.  So click here and get signed up to vote for them!

Driver’s Ed for Love is a new friend to Girls Fight Back and is all about offering relationship education to young adults.  I had the pleasure of seeing their program at this year’s SEPC and was really excited about the concept of this program.  The idea is that if we educate young people about how to select mates, we will decrease divorce and other heartaches and increase happiness in our love relationships.  They are in the running for $150,000 to get their program off the ground by training program facilitators, conducting research and offering free programming at colleges around the country.  Click here and get signed up to vote of Driver’s Ed for Love.

Now the cool thing about the Pepsi Refresh project is that you can vote twice a day, once online and once via text message, so vote for both of these awesome project everyday during the month of September.

The last cool person doing a cool thing that I want to mention is…well…ME!  Ok, maybe I’m not really that cool (I’m actually kind of a dork), but my daughter and I are doing something that I’m pretty proud of and that you can help us out with.  We are walking in this year’s AIDSWalk DC and trying to raise $1000.  The infection rate in our nation’s capital is 1 in 20!  That’s comparable to some parts of Africa! A thousand dollars is a high goal, but we are getting so close!  We only need $305 to break it and taste some sweet, sweet victory.  You can make a donation of any size here.  Thanks to our amazing GFB family and their generous donation to support us, as well as, our new friends at Driver’s Ed for Love who also made a donation.  I’m so inspired by the friends and family who have stepped forward to help us raise this money.  It is incredible!  So thanks in advance for any monetary love you show.

Know someone doing something cool to make our world a better place?  Let us know here in the comments or on the wall of our Facebook page!  We’d love to give them a shoutout!

We have a stake in one another. What binds us together is greater than what drives us apart. If enough people believe in the truth of that proposition, and act on it, we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done.

–Barack Obama, December 1, 2006 (World AIDS Day)