Weighing in at a whopping 10.5 lbs, I was destined for big things! I grew up middle class in the Chicago suburbs in a family with 4 kids and more dogs, birds, fish, rats and iguanas than I can count. Friends referred to my house as "Jumanji." I was obsesed with Wonder Woman and constantly wore these underoos, stretching the limits of social appropriateness. But hey, I was into the idea of an invisible jet and lasso of truth! All this super heroine inspiration would later come in handy...
I attended Eastern Illinois University (located inconveniently in the middle of a cornfield). I earned a degree in Speech Communication, with a minor in Public Relations. Finding my voice in Student Government my freshman year, I was elected the youngest Speaker of the Student Senate in history. I managed a $3M student budget and was a hippie tree-hugger and started the first recycling program on campus. Always one to enjoy playing on both sides of the stream, I was also a member of a sorority called Alpha Phi, and was president my senior year. This is where I met my friend Shannon McNamara, and let her borrow my ID to get into bars.
girls fight back 2001-2013
In 2000 I moved to New York City to become a TV producer. I've always loved the intersection of truth and communication so documentaries were my jam. But only one year into my career, I learned Shannon was murdered while fighting off an attacker in her apartment, back in Illinois where we both went to college. Shannon fought back the night she was killed and I was determined to preserve her legacy as the badass she was. I started a social enterprise called Girls Fight Back which taught women's safety and self-defense seminars at schools and colleges across the world. I also wrote a book and a monthly magazine column for CosmoGirl, and later trained 6 GFB speakers to amplify our impact globally.
In 2009 I gave birth to my first kiddo. 3 years later I became a proud mama to his sister. Strangely, ironically and beautifully, she was born on Shannon McNamara's birthday on the summer solstice - the day with the most light. I knew it was time to let go of Girls Fight Back and start something new. Three months after her birth I was coaching speakers for TEDx and they were rocking their talks and going viral. Many of them attributed their success to a strange little process I walked them thru, to remember their purpose and distill it down to simple words. I called it The Dig®.
speaking at tedx
I spent the next several years refining The Dig, and also basically blew up all the inauthentic aspects of my life. After burning out a little, my soul called me to study art in Paris. On the airplane home, an idea worth spreading hit me. I found myself regularly explaining to people the difference between transparency and authenticity. Sometimes they are one-in-the-same, but often times they are not. My idea was accepted by TEDxBoulder and I really, really hoped I didn't screw it up because by this point I had coached hundreds of speakers around the world and that would be super embarrassing. **spoiler alert: it went very well and the talk catapulted my speaking and consulting business to the next level. #phew
In 2022 I started certifying facilitators in my methods, creating courses and officially launched a community - it's exciting to watch everything grow! In addition, we opened a new headquarters in Boulder, CO where I see clients and hold events. My public speaking and private coaching practice continue to thrive, and I'm so grateful to also be working on a book (which will hopefully come out in 2024).