Every year, the Girls Fight Back team of speakers hits the road to tour campuses across the country with Fight Back on Spring Break! Having presented to over one million students since 2001, our speakers provide a perfect mix of fun and safety to help make your Spring Break the best it can be. This program offers proactive safety tips for: party situations, safe sex, binge drinking, predatory drugs, air/car/hotel safety, and ways to avoid crime targeted at tourists. We also demonstrate our favorite self-defense techniques that could be used to escape a violent confrontation. We urge students to have a blast on spring break . . . and to make healthy choices and to think about their boundaries before they hit the road.
TECH & OTHER NEEDS TO SET UP A SHOW
Venue Requirements: Atriums, busy cafeterias, gyms, outdoor stages and other open spaces are not suitable venues for this presentation. Girls Fight Back will be teaching about personal safety & self-defense, which requires a captive audience. A large classroom, ballroom or auditorium is where a presentation of this nature needs to be held.
Sound Requirements: Wireless lavaliere microphone for presenter, handheld mic for volunteer, ability to play music on a CD before the show
Lighting Requirements: Basic Stage Lighting
Other Stage Requirements: LCD Projector connected to the sound system, screen, podium or small table on stage for props, chair on stage, and one male assistant is required for the self-defense demos during our presentations. The assistant must be identified to the presenter at least two weeks prior to the event. The assistant should be a friendly male student or faculty member to be on stage for demonstration purposes. He will not be hit, thrown, or harmed in any way. Demos are in slow motion – no tosses or strikes. A female volunteer is fine if you do not have a male volunteer.
Additional Requirements: Purchaser must provide at least one trained and certified victim advocate (or if advocate is unavailable, a counselor, advisor, or representative from the rape crisis center, counseling center, or women’s center) to be present at presentation and available afterwards as a resource to students and faculty that would like to discuss the program content or their own experiences. Purchaser must also provide a list of all campus and local resources for survivors at least two weeks prior to the event to the GFB speaker to incorporate into the program.
Dressing Room/Green Room Requirements: 1 bottle of water
Meet our Team
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 an actress in NYC when not on the road with GFB.
MORGAN 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 – junior speaker
Nicole received a full scholarship to Cal State Long Beach as a President’s Scholar, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Speech Communication. While at CSULB she volunteered with the Learning Alliance and 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 sexual assault prevention training for the Department of Defense and colleges nationwide. Her self-defense training includes IMPACT LA, the GFB Speaker Academy and local self-defense classes. In addition, she has completed 40 hours of Victim Advocacy Training. Nicole is also an active volunteer for Taking the Reins, a non-profit organization that teaches leadership, responsibility and confidence 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 served as a Facilitator for the AAG (Associate Advisory Group) for NACA (The National Association for Campus Activities) and was 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-SMITH :: sister – friend 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 BONNEMA :: sister – friend 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.