I have some very exciting news to share, after literally months of secret talks…Girls Fight Back is now officially represented by CAMPUSPEAK for all our Greek Life programs! Let me give you a little history on why this is such a big deal. (Read more on the CAMPUSPEAK website.)
After the murder of Shannon McNamara in 2001, I started intense self-defense training and got certified to teach it. I didn’t really know what to DO with all this training though, so I started teaching weekly classes at a bar across the street from my house. (Hugs and kisses to Mario at The Bar at 10th and Willow in Hoboken, NJ!) Those classes filled quickly and the buzz about this new and fun approach to women’s self-defense grew. I was a speech communication major in college, so it was a somewhat natural path to take what I’d learned to the stage. When I was a college student, I brought TJ Sullivan and Joel Goldman to Eastern Illinois University – they gave the most incredible presentation called Friendship in the Age of AIDS. After they stopped touring, TJ (along with his business partner, the hilarious David Stollman) launched the first speakers agency dedicated to issues based speakers in the college market – and CAMPUSPEAK was born. I called TJ to see if I could get on the roster. Thinking he was getting rid of me (at least this is how I imagine it), TJ told me to give a presentation, videotape it and mail it to him. I imagine this hefty task deters most speakers, but clearly TJ had no idea the stalker girl he was dealing with. (Now he does, and thankfully he appreciates my persistence.)
Soon after, I was invited back to Eastern Illinois University by the amazing Bob Dudolski (Greek Life Director at EIU at the time) as a speaker to give the first-ever GFB presentation. As I peeked at the packed ballroom from behind the curtain, I quickly did the math and realized over 1,000 people must have been there. That’s when I started to panic, and began questioning my judgment to videotape my very first gig as an audition tape. But once I got on stage, I was having too much fun to be scared, and it was a huge hit. I reviewed the video the following day and wanted to die. Ever see yourself on video? Yeah, me too – and from where I was standing, it wasn’t pretty. But I sent it to TJ the following day and he called upon receiving it. He offered me a contract to join their roster and that was the beginning of Girls Fight Back. I have a list of people that I feel such tremendous gratitude for, and TJ Sullivan is at the top. Who gives a 23 year old this kind of opportunity, when no one else had ever succcessfully spoken about women’s safety on the college circuit before? Well TJ did and I won’t soon forget it. Thank you.
I spent about 5 awesome years (2002-2007) with CAMPUSPEAK and then experienced some growing pains that required having a staff of my own. I departed CAMPUSPEAK in 2007, and after 3 years of crazy growth and change, we’re back. And we’ve multiplied, now that GFB has 4 amazing speakers who have since joined the team. No one does college speakers like CAMPUSPEAK, and that brings us to today.
To be clear, Bass Schuler Entertainment is still representing us in the campus programming (NACA) market. Both CAMPUSPEAK and Bass Schuler (specifically Scott Bass and Chris Schuler) have been true professionals in this entire process. It’s been like really boring missile treaty talks, because no one is getting upset or threatening to bomb each other. The talks were just a formality and a drama-free process of setting professional boundaries. If you’re familiar with the tiny world of higher ed, you know it’s highly unusual for a program to be represented by two different agencies and even more rare for there not to be drama surrounding a dual partnership like this. How refreshing to work with people so dedicated to the end goal of empowering students to become their own best protectors! Thank you all – especially Liz, Felix, Amy and Darci over at CAMPUSPEAK who worked to pull all the materials together for today’s big launch.
Well I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. If you are a student or staff with Fraternity and Sorority Life and would like to add your campus to the 2010 Fall Tour, please contact CAMPUSPEAK at 303.745.5545. Or visit them on the web by clicking here. If you work in Student Life/Campus Programming then give Bass Schuler a call to get this party started. You can reach them at 773.481.2600 or visit them online by clicking here. If all this has left you feeling woefully confused, just call GFB directly at 1-866-432-2423 and we’ll show you the light.