Meet Our Staff & Board

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Our Staff

Impact Bay Area staff are Certified Impact Self-Defense Instructors, who have each completed over 150 training hours in full-force self-defense techniques. Our instructors are versed in physical, verbal and sexual abuse/assault awareness and prevention. We are committed to ending violence by sharing Impact's empowerment and self-defense classes with as many people as possible.

Our full-force courses are team-taught by a "Whistle" Instructor and a "Suited" Instructor. They work together to provide a comprehensive experience for our students.

The Whistle Instructor demonstrates physical and verbal techniques, facilitates group discussions, models how to fight back against a mock assailant, and coaches students during their fights.

The Suited Instructor wears protective gear and plays the role of an assailant, allowing our students to practice techniques from verbal boundary-setting to full-force blows in realistic scenarios.

Click here to LEARN MORE about becoming a Certified Impact Instructor.


Admin Staff

 

 Linda HeadshotLinda Leu, Executive Director

Linda comes to IMPACT with fifteen years of non-profit work in the Bay Area, a Master’s Degree in Public Health, and extensive experience working with policy, advocacy and fundraising. Recently, Linda served as California Policy and Research Director for a national non-profit, which allowed her to develop her management and leadership skills. She also has more than five years of experience working directly helping individuals recover from trauma, teaching trauma-informed mindfulness and yoga to youth and adults in the juvenile justice system and other institutions. At IMPACT, she's excited to be able to combine her love for non-profit leadership, helping people empower themselves, and addressing trauma. 

  

 

 Katie Nulicek, Program DirectorKTheadshot.JPG

Katie is originally from the midwest, but came to California in 2010 to study fine art. In addition to painting, some of her hobbies include camping, cooking, helping out on her friend's strawberry farm, and taking thousands of pictures of her dog Ernie! Since taking Basics she felt very moved by the work of the IMPACT instructors and the bravery of the people in her class. She became an IMPACT assistant and began volunteering at Verity as a crisis line counselor for victims of sexual assault. She continues to feel inspired by everyone she meets at both of these organizations, and is incredibly excited to be a part of the IMPACT team! 

 

 

Whistle Instructors 

 

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Nicole DeVito

A cowgirl, skier, dancer, and lover of coconut frosted cupcakes, Nicole is delighted to be part of the Impact team as a certified whistle instructor.  In her own life, she relishes in the experiences of overcoming obstacles, doing things that she thought were impossible, and gently pushing herself out of her comfort zone. 

Nicole is continuously inspired by the powerful and courageous Impact students who do these very things each and every class. Outside of her work as an Impact instructor, Nicole is a licensed mind-body oriented psychotherapist with a private practice in the East Bay, an avid horseback rider, person to one cool kitty named Snoop Dogg, and a huge fan of having fun.

 

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Rachel Marcuse

Rachel took her first Impact Class in 2013. She was blown away, not just by the practical physical and verbal skills she learned, but by the sense of community and safety the instructors and courageous students provided. Rachel started volunteering immediately and eventually became a certified whistle instructor. Rachel also serves as the staff liaison to our Board of Directors - a role we are so grateful to have her play.

Rachel loves being able to bring her 15+ years of facilitation and group process together with her background in teaching dance and yoga. In her day job, she runs People Operations (HR plus!) for an organization focused on climate change and, in her free time, she enjoys eating weird/tasty food with her husband in San Francisco.

 

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Chloé Moire

Chloé has worked in the field of women's health for over 30 years. She took her first Impact class in 1998 and immediately experienced profound changes in her personal and professional life.

Chloé became an Impact instructor in 2000 and is dedicated to supporting women and girls in experiencing their strength, the power of their voice and their right to say No! 

 

 

 dv_headshot-edit.pngDani Villalobos

Dani is a martial artist who took her first Impact class in 2010. The Women's Basics program impressed her with its use of simple, full-force techniques and real-world scenarios, and she wanted to pass on this trauma-informed programming to others. Dani became a volunteer with the organization right away and later was certified as a Whistle Instructor.
Dani has also served on the Board of Directors for Impact Bay Area, and as Program Director. When she's not on the mat, she enjoys distance running, zombie movies, and pursuing an advanced degree in clinical psychology.

 

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 Jenny Williams

Jenny is a martial artist who took her first Impact class in 2001. She was impressed at the sense of empowerment and the healing that she gained from that class. It offered so much more than any other self-defense class or seminar she had experienced. This class had such a positive influence on how she lived her day to day life that decided to become an assistant.

Jenny became a certified Impact Bay Area instructor in 2008. With every class she teaches, Jenny feels honored to witness the courage and power that each student brings onto the mat.  

 

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Amanda Wagner 

Amanda took her first Impact class in 2011. The experience was so empowering she immediately signed up to become an assistant and is now a certified whistle instructor and also served as Program Director for Impact Bay Area. She has a passion for working with teens and young adults and sees great value in empowering them.

Amanda is grateful to be part of the self-defense and healing work that Impact does and continues to be inspired by the courage and strength that the students bring to every class. 

 

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Heather

Heather took her first Impact class in September of 2008. She had such an empowering and transformative experience that she became an instructor assistant a few months later. She served as the Coordinator of Assistants for three years, helping to ensure that all of our classes had volunteer assistants to support our instructors and our students.

Heather has logged more hours volunteering for Impact than any other individual, and we're deeply grateful. She was certified as an instructor in 2012. 

 


 Suited Instructors

 

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Tim Kinney

Tim has studied a variety of martial arts for over twenty years, earning three black belts and numerous full-contact fighting awards. He has been working with Impact since 2007 and has previously served on Impact's Board of Directors.

Tim became involved with Impact after seeing a friend's public celebration. His passion for teaching is sustained by the courage, commitment, and spirit he sees displayed in Impact classes. He enjoys teaching Impact classes because they are practical and healing, and is sustained by the courage, passion, and commitment that Impact students demonstrate in class.When Tim isn't running around in a big padded suit, he and his wife are walking their three dogs.

 

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Dan Waters

Dan earned a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the California State University at Sacramento in 2006. He has been an engineer for a California utility since 2006. In 2010 he became a licensed Professional Engineer.

He began his training to be a suited IMPACT instructor soon after attending his Aunt's Basics class public celebration/graduation and witnessing the power, courage, transformation and healing of each person in the class. He completed his instructor certification in December 2008. Dan lives in the Monterey Bay area with his partner Naomi, two black cats (Metaphor and Magenta), and a chocolate Lab (Sandy).

 

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Rudy Trejo

Rudy teaches at Impact because he has a 20 year old daughter and nieces of similar ages. He feels women and men of all ages have the right to be safe! He holds a second degree black belt and is certified in Executive Protection through the International training commission.

He is a Tactical Master Instructor in the CDT Non- Deadly Force Training Commission. He currently works in corporate security. Rudy enjoys spending his free time in the great outdoors, if he’s not fishing or gold prospecting you can find him on the firing line at the range.

  

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Robert Oryall

Robert has spent 30 years practicing various forms of martial arts. He taught hundreds of Self Defense courses to law enforcement, military personnel, bodyguards, as well as civilian men, women and children. 

He has instructed martial arts in the Bay Area since 1985, but it wasn’t until he witnessed his first Bay Area Impact class that he said, “this is how self-defense should be taught; scenario based, full impact, and with guidance to students throughout the process in real time.”  He took his first Bay Area Impact class in January 2011 with the intention to become a suited instructor.  

Robert Graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University and majored in Clinical Counseling and Administration of Non-Profits. After spending 20-years working in the Information Technology industry, Robert went to work for an LA based Private Protection firm where he doubles as a Defensive Tactics instructor for body guards. He is married with two children whom he mentors in horseback-riding, martial arts and soccer.   He enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, and golfing.  He is studying Japanese as a hobby and one of his goals this year is to compete in his first Triathlon. 

 

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Mariko Sturgess

Mariko got her start with IMPACT in 2014 when her best friend convinced her to take a women's basics class. Since then, she's been hooked. She was blown away at the courage and strength she found in herself, and that which she saw in her fellow students. She was drawn to the idea of becoming a suited instructor, and wanted to pursue that dream. Mariko believes everybody deserves to feel safe which motivated her to work out and train to be able to become a "suit". Being a woman and openly gay, she brings a unique set of experiences and skills to her work on the mat. 
Mariko is a full-time student at Mills College where she is studying Psychology with the goal of becoming a Psychotherapist. When she isn't on the mat or studying, she enjoys walking her dogs, snowboarding, and playing the guitar and piano. She also enjoys cuddling with her cats and watching tv shows. 

 


Class Assistants

Our volunteer assistants provide core support for our teaching team and model Impact techniques for our students. These wonderful Impact grads volunteer their time to assist our classes because they are committed to sharing the empowerment that they experienced with new students. 

If you are interested in becoming an Impact Instructor Assistant, please click here for more information.


Our Board

The Impact Bay Area Board of Directors is responsible for our fiscal health and programmatic quality. We are always looking for qualified individuals to join Impact Bay Area's Board of Directors. Please visit the Join our Board page and fill out the form. Then email a short statement of interest and/or your resume to vanessa AT impactbayarea DOT org.  

 

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Vanessa Baker, Board Chair

Vanessa is an enthusiastic board member of IMPACT Bay Area. A self-described "nonprofit governance nerd," she holds a Masters of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. She joined the IMPACT board in spring 2015, eager to share her nonprofit management and fundraising expertise with an organization that so closely matched her own interests and values.
Vanessa first experienced the thrill and empowerment of learning self-defense as a 22-year-old, when a roommate suggested that she try Stanford Kenpo Karate. After 2 years as a student and then 6 more years as a student / instructor, she earned her black belt in 2013. She feels grateful for all the joy, camaraderie and self-confidence she gained through her martial arts training and loves paying it forward through her work with IMPACT.
When not volunteering for IMPACT, you can find her raising funds for Outward Bound California, where she has served as Development Director since 2012. You may also find her out hiking or biking, enjoying local theater productions, or cuddling with her two cats at her home in San Francisco.  

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Kathleen Bennett, Fund Development Chair

Kathleen insisted that both of her daughters take IMPACT’s 22-hour Basics course as teens before heading off to college. Their training set Kathleen’s mind at ease for their safety as they have travelled the world and grown into successful adult women with families of their own. After twenty-three years as a donor, Kathleen joined the board of IMPACT Bay Area in 2016 because she’s determined to see IMPACT grow and sustain its good work, which is needed today more than ever.

She brings to the board deep expertise in fundraising and non-profit management. As founder and head of The Girls’ Middle School (GMS), Kathleen raised eight million dollars in seven years starting from scratch with no funders or angel donors. Before founding GMS, Kathleen taught middle school and worked as a technical writer in Silicon Valley. She lives in Portola Valley, CA, with her husband, Tom Malloy, loves hiking and is an avid organic gardener.

  

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Jennifer Crutchfield, At-Large Board Member

Jen was so moved by Impact and the Impact Public Celebration that she joined the Board before ever taking an Impact class. She loved how Impact allowed women to see the power in themselves, as well as the strength and determination that shone in the students' eyes. Jen joined the board in spring of 2015 and cannot wait to help spread this feeling of empowerment to people all over the Bay Area.

Jen graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, earning her B.A. in Psychology. While at LMU, Ms. Crutchfield studied abroad at Oxford University and was President of a Service Organization, the Marians, which is where her interest in women's empowerment began. She also attended the University of Arizona School of Law. While there she volunteered as the Student Coordinator for the Volunteer Lawyers Program, and served on the Student Bar Associate, the Law Women's Association, and the Community Service Board. She obtained her L.LM from the Université Lyon III with an emphasis in Business Law. In her free time, Jen enjoys running, traveling, reading, and eating with friends. 

 

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Emily Donaldson, Board Treasurer

Emily joined the Impact board as Treasurer in November, 2015, motivated by a passion for both community service and women's issues. Emily graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2008 with a BS in Accounting. She also served as the president of the Marians Service Organization during her senior year, an organization whose main focus is service to women and children. After college she took a position as an associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she worked in non-public tax and audit. After three years at PwC Emily joined the not-for-profit field as a senior accountant with Green Dot Public Schools, a CMO based in Los Angeles. She quickly moved up to become the Special Program and Accountability Specialist. In this position she worked exclusively with restricted state, federal and personal grants for the district.

After over three years with Green Dot Public Schools, her husband was transferred to Northern California and they moved in May of 2014. Emily took a temporary position helping to open the East Bay Innovation Charter School in Oakland. Once the school was up and running she accepted a permanent position at Kaiser Permanente as a project manager working with IT Compliance metrics and reporting within the healthcare industry. She and her husband currently live in Pleasant Hill California and had the pleasure of welcoming our first child into the world in February of 2016.

 

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Monica Stone, At-Large Board Member

Monica joined the board in November 2016, motivated by her passion for empowering women and the LGBT population. She wants all people to be able to defend themselves verbally and/or physically. Monica and her two adult daughters have felt empowered by their IMPACT training and want to make the training available to everyone across the Bay Area.

Monica works as a marriage and family therapist with couples and individuals suffering from sexual difficulties as well as depression, PTSD, and anxiety. She mentors younger therapists and is active in her neighborhood organizing for carbon reduction and emergency preparedness. Monica loves bringing together her large extended family with her husband of 35 years as well as hiking, body surfing and reading about the world.

 

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Ruby Reid, Past Board Chair 

Ruby took her first IMPACT class when she was 19 years old. In the decades since then, the skills she learned saved her life several times. After taking the Basics Course, Ruby immediately began volunteering for Impact to give back to this amazing organization that had given her so much. Over the years, Ruby volunteered in many different roles, including assisting classes, video-taping public celebrations, coordinating fundraisers, and stuffing lots of envelopes. She served on Impact Bay Area's Board of Directors beginning in 2009. Ruby was IMPACT Bay Area's tireless advocate and passionate leader as Board Chair beginning in April of 2012 and concluding in May 2016. She concluded her board service in November, 2016 and continues to support IMPACT from afar. 

Ruby is a professional social worker. She is the Member Engagement Manager for Democracy for America, a people-powered grassroots political organization. Ruby lives in Oregon with two furry felines, Roscoe and Dexter, and number of chickens. She enjoys reading, knitting, playing in the great outdoors, and organic vegetable gardening.