Katie has been involved in rape and violence prevention since 2002 when she began volunteering at Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault as a crisis counselor. She came to IMPACT in 2007 when she took the Core Program, and soon thereafter she became the volunteer coordinator. Her passion for IMPACT led her to class assist and participate in several advanced classes. In 2010 she became the IMPACT Board Treasurer. She has been teaching workshops since 2013, became an IMPACT instructor in 2016, and an IMPACT: Ability Instructor in 2017.
Katie received her master of business administration from DePaul University and is a certified public account. She currently works as Deputy Executive Director at Glenview Park District.
“Every woman has a right to feel safe within her own body; and I look forward to helping women and girls learn to use their physical and spiritual power to defend themselves successfully.” – Katie
Margaret has been an IMPACT instructor since 1992, teaching all programs, and is also an Instructor Trainer. She holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at One Hope United, a child and family services agency, where she is now Chief Operating Officer. Her social work career has focused on the treatment of emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children and youth. She co-developed the full IMPACT course for teen girls.
“To me IMPACT courses have always been about freedom to live in the world in a more complete and visible way. Providing this experience to women is a revolutionary act – revolution of old restrictive attitudes and beliefs in favor of greater freedom.” – Margaret
Martha has been teaching IMPACT since 1988. She is also an Instructor Trainer, Director Emeritus, and Administrative Team Co-Leader. In 2017, she became an IMPACT:Ability Instructor. She is the IMPACT Chicago representative to the international IMPACT community.
Martha received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Iowa and is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She holds a fifth-degree black belt in Seido karate. She has published several articles on self-defense, including “Empowering Self-Defense," "The Power of NO” and “Kicking Down the Barriers: Self-Defense and Social Change.” Hers and Mike Armato's book Investigating Gender: Developing a Feminist Sociological Imagination also addresses the importance of self-defense training in the chapter "Interpersonal Violence."
"My belief that ordinary women can do extraordinary things is continually affirmed in teaching IMPACT. We create an opportunity for women to recognize the power, fighting spirit, and love of life they already have." – Martha
Rachel began volunteering with IMPACT in 2014 as a class assistant, and became an instructor in 2017. She has been involved in violence prevention, health education, and sexual assault policy reform since 2008. She is also engaged in LGBTQ research and advocacy, and has developed and run inclusion trainings in the Chicagoland area for the past 5 years. Rachel holds a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, has trained in Aikido, and played rugby for several years.
"IMPACT provides a chance to challenge limits imposed on us in our society, and replace them with choices and confidence. I love teaching IMPACT because it's uplifting to work with individuals who seek out that opportunity and embrace that freedom."
Ready to join the team? Here's how to become our newest Suited Instructor!
Retired Lead Instructors
Dianne (Dee) Constanzo (First certified Lead Instructor)
AC is the newest member of the IMPACT Instructor team. He is a certified Rape Prevention and Self Defense Instructor with the American Women’s Self Defense Association, and has worked internationally with Peak Potentials and Success Resources, assisting and leading motivational camps that incorporate martial arts and non-verbal tactics to de-escalate and/or end conflicts without compromising one’s safety or integrity of self (2013-present). He is an Elite-level personal trainer with Chicago Athletic Clubs, a professional actor, and one of the founding members of Not In Our House: Chicago, an organization created to combat sexual harassment and unbecoming conduct within the Chicago theatre community (2015-present).
"In addition to preventing incidents of sexual assault, IMPACT empowers women, allowing them to establish firm boundaries and belief in themselves. Empowered women pave for the way for future empowered women, creating a more female-friendly society, work force, etc." -- AC
Ben got his start in security bouncing for 9 years at bars and clubs in Madison, WI then Chicago. He was a wrestler for 12 years in folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco Roman. He also studied Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts. He started with IMPACT Chicago in 2004. After talking with women in his family, he decided IMPACT was the thing to do. He became an IMPACT:Ability Instructor in 2017. Ben is also a tattoo artist.
"I like IMPACT because we teach women how to defend themselves. What we teach is not frilly – the idea isn't to look good, the idea is for them to walk away safely." – Ben
Nat has been actively practicing self-defense since 1994. He holds a second degree blackbelt in Maikido and taught boxing at DePaul University for four years. He has also studied a number of other martial arts to supplement his core training and to focus on particular skills, including Judo, Capoeira Angola, Escrima, and Jujitsu. He is the Digital Archivist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, has an M.A. in history and a teaching certificate for secondary education both from DePaul University. Nat was drawn to IMPACT because of its focus on practical training that students can learn quickly, scenarios that are based on how attacks actually occur, and its curriculum that emphasizes women's strengths in their hips and legs.
“I am personally inspired by the positive, transformative effect IMPACT classes have on many students' lives.” –Nat
Rob has been an IMPACT instructor since January 1999 and is also an Instructor Trainer. He became an IMPACT:Ability Instructor in 2017. After moving to Chicago in 1995, he became involved in rape-prevention training as well as awareness, outreach, and education, working with Rape Victim Advocates and student groups on college campuses. He really enjoys working with and teaching women's self-defense, particularly in the areas of violence demystification and boundary setting. These two areas are often the more misunderstood and least publicized part of self-defense, as well as being more transferrable to other life situations.
"I want to be part of the process where men and women partner together to prevent both violence against women as well as breaking down the emotional and spiritual barriers society thrusts upon females.” – Rob
Retired Suited Instructors
*Still Active in IMPACT Chicago
Bruce Brio (Board of Directors)*
Joe Connelly (Founder, Chicago Model Mugging)
Mark Nessel (Instructor Trainer)*
Deb is a social worker and Assistant Director of the Response Center a program of Jewish Child and Family Services. She enjoys scuba, martial arts and running crazy relay races with other like-minded people (all hobbies she was able to fully embrace due to her IMPACT experience) She is a Class Assistant and later joined the board and has since been trained as a "What is IMPACT" facilitator as well as a 60 and 90 minute workshop facilitator. Recently Deb has been trained as an IMPACT:Ability instructor and looks forward to adding this important program that teaches empowerment self-defense to individuals with disabilities to IMPACT Chicago's offerings.
"I was so (literally) impacted by my experience of my first IMPACT class in 2011 that I quickly dove in to volunteering as a class assistant and I haven't looked back."
Tara is also our amazing and very busy Registration and Workshop Coordinator. Her workshop leader bio is in the works.