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Board of Directors

As a member-driven organization, we need you.
Your leadership and voice are important!

Leaders of NWMAF are everyday martial artists and self-defense and healing arts practitioners, just like the majority of the organization’s members. Get to know them, and consider becoming a leader yourself. To apply for any board position, send an email to

  • Board positions run in staggered two-year terms.
  • Meet and collaborate with your peers.
  • Gain organizational skills at the national and even international level.
  • Learn to think and plan nationally and globally.
  • Provide a service not found anywhere else in the world.
  • Descriptions of all positions can be found in the NWMAF Bylaws.

Open positions:


The Chair presides at Board meetings. The Chair promotes the NWMAF, both internally and externally, and manages public relations for the organization. The Chair is the spokesperson for the organization and the primary contact for organization business (sponsorships, partnerships, generational and legacy donations, negotiations for large purchases/procurement, etc.) The Chair oversees the general and financial operations of the NWMAF, creation and publication of the organization’s annual reports, creation and maintenance of organizational policies (including bylaws, code of conduct, program and event policies, administrative policies (e.g.: procurement policies; executive/ staff employment compensation, policies, and manuals; and other policies as required by foundations, grant providers, government agencies, etc.).

Development Coordinator

(DevC): The DevC raises funds for the organization, pursues grants, and guides the organization’s decision-making on scholarship policy and disbursement. The DevC also conducts outreach to promote the growth of the NWMAF. The DevC is also responsible for exploring and organizing fundraising possibilities outside of grants and foundations, including fundraising drives, events, merchandise sales, and partnerships with companies. The DevC is responsible for seeking out and implementing other sources of funding that are aligned with the organization’s goals.

Martial Arts Coordinator

Martial Arts Coordinator (MAC): The MAC represents the interests of NWMAF members who practice martial arts, whether that practice is solely, primarily, or in conjunction with martial arts and/or self-defense. The MAC is also responsible for coordinating and vetting Martial Arts classes for the annual conferences, and other training programs when appropriate, and creating and maintaining all safety policies needed. The MAC will work closely with the EC, HAC, Self-Defense Coordinator, and Youth Coordinator for programming and event planning.

Marketing Coordinator

The Marketing Coordinator (MarC) is responsible for all Social Media, advertising, and PR campaigns, working closely with other Board Members to create campaigns that will help them reach their departmental goals. General responsibilities for campaigns will always focus on increasing membership, fundraising efforts, and annual conference attendance. The MarC will produce and edit membership communications, including bulletins and/or newsletters.

Current Board Members

Thuy Rocco, Vice-Chair

Serving 2022-2023

For general questions about the NWMAF and inquiries about open positions, contact


Thuy Rocco holds a 5th Dan in Taekwondo through World Tae Kwon Do and the Kukkiwon. She and her husband founded Tae Kwon Do Anywhere, a non-profit organization utilizing Tae Kwon Do to promote health, fitness, and life skills to all socio-economic communities. She spent over 20 years teaching and training in many different areas: English as a Second Language, culture and diversity, technology, Taekwondo and Kanban. She currently runs her own technology consulting company.

As a child refugee from Vietnam, she works to empower immigrants and refugees. As an author, she shares her immigrant story to inspire others to be brave enough to share their story, promoting compassion and understanding everywhere. Thuy also loves to mentor, volunteer, travel, cook traditional Vietnamese food, and most of all, spend time with her family.

Miaram Cavnar, Treasurer

Serving 2023-2025

For questions having anything to do with money, email


I am a 5th Dan Taekwondo black belt with more than 22 years of practice and teaching experience. My great joy is teaching children and young people so that they thrive in their strengths as early as possible. Martial Arts is beautifully unifying and a wonderful teaching platform to energize world change.

Corrin Eckert-Chu, Secretary

Corrin Eckert-Chu

Serving 2020-2024

To submit newsletter articles or contributions to the NWMAF archives, please send an email to


  • Primary Practice: Goju Karate
  • Home: Brooklyn, NY
  • Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Corrin began training in Goju Karate at Brooklyn Women’s Martial Arts in 2000. She also holds a 6th-degree lineage in Northern Wu Tai Ji, and 8th in Hubei Xing Yi through her training in tai chi and sword at the Wu Tang Physical Culture Association, having had an interest in other styles sparked by Special Training 2002.

She teaches karate at Brooklyn Goju, the successor school to BWMA, and is currently most interested in continuing with her training in Xing Yi and Wu sword styles. In her professional life, she is a senior Project Manager for a technology company.

Lauren M. Bailey, Membership Coordinator

Lauren Bailey

Serving 2019-2023

For questions about your membership, regional activities, and opportunities to serve on committees, send an email to


  • “Gateway” practice: Combat Hapkido
  • Home: Fort Mitchell, KY
  • Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Lauren Bailey has been an NWMAF member since 2017, attending Super Saturday in 2018 and Special Training in 2019. She is a first-degree black belt in combat hapkido and holds rank in kali and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She trains with Jeff Robison (Club MMA, Cincinnati, Ohio; Rister International Kali and Will-Machado Jiu-Jitsu) and Larry Zickefoose (International Combat Hapkido Federation).

When she’s not on the mats, Lauren is a book editor and a co-founder of Thrive Empowerment Center, which offers Empowerment Self-Defense classes in the metro Cincinnati area. She’s mom to Finn (age 10) and Sloane (age 8)—both martial artists themselves.

Lisa Susko, Events Coordinator

Serving 2023-2024

If you have questions about our conference or other events, contact the events coordinator at


Lisa Susko started her martial arts journey in 1996 and presently holds the rank of 6th Dan in ITF Tae KwonDo. She is the founder and owner of Jindo Martial Arts (DBA Championship Martial Arts 716) since 2009. Prior to opening and in the early years of CMA716, Lisa was the Executive Secretary to the owner and founder of Premier Liquors for 19 years, leaving that position to lead CMA716 full time in 2014. Championship Martial Arts 716 was named “2022 Small Business of the Year” by their local Chamber of Commerce.

Lisa has been a member of the NWMAF since 1999, serving in the past as Secretary, Special Training
Planning Committee for 2008 camp, a member of the SDIC, and received NWMAF Member of the Year.
Besides her love of the martial arts, Lisa also enjoys gardening, traveling with her husband of over 30
years and spoiling her cats.

Clara Porter, Self Defense Coordinator

Clara Porter

Serving 2022-2023

For questions about the self defense program at NWMAF email Clara at:


  • Home Town: Portland, Maine USA
  • Pronouns: She/Her

Clara is the founder of Prevention. Action. Change. a violence prevention, intervention, response, and healing program based in Portland, Maine which works to counter harassment, assault, and abuse through awareness, verbal and physical skills, and the promotion of healing and growth. Clara has been a certified Empowerment Self Defense instructor with NWMAF since 2001 and has advanced training in Trauma First Aide.

Through Prevention. Action. Change., Clara trains and mentors ESD teachers and focuses on bringing ESD, Active Bystander Intervention, De-escalation, Sexual Harassment prevention and response, and Workplace Safety training to the communities most targeted for violence. Her primary focus personally is on ESD as a tool for trauma healing using a unique program called Healing Through Empowerment.

In 2020, Clara resumed her study of GoJu Karate with Brooklyn GoJU, formerly Brooklyn Women’s Martial Arts, after a 20 year hiatus thanks to online classes.

When not teaching, Clara can be found working on community activism or walking in the woods or on the beach with her dog enjoying the incredible landscape of Maine.

Coty DeLacretaz, Healing Arts Coordinator

Serving 2022-2023

For inquiries about healing arts, contact


Coty is the Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense, NFP, which is a feminist dojo in south Austin, TX. She took her first self defense class with Carmel Drewes and kept showing up to her workshops for years. Carmel convinced her to attend NWMAF’s Special Training in 2014 and that was another eye-opening experience for her. After watching her kids train in Seido karate for a decade, she began her own training in 2019. She has earned a brown belt in Seido Karate.

Coty had always wanted to find out what yoga was about since she was a child. Finally, in 1998 she walked into her first class and was hooked. Coty’s personal practice and teaching comes from the lineage of T.K.V. Desikachar. She received certification from the International Association of Yoga Therapists in 2019 and has since worked for a mental health hospital in both inpatient and outpatient programs. Coty is interested in how yoga, martial arts and empowerment self defense can work together to heal trauma.

Jes McAlear, Youth Coordinator

Serving 2019-2023

Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions regarding improving the NWMAF’s youth program? Would you like to get more involved? Whether you’re a student, parent/guardian, or instructor, the NWMAF would love to hear from you. If you’re under the age of 18 years old, please write an email (with your parent/guardian or instructor) and send it from their email address to


  • Primary Practice: Shotokan Karate-do and Ng Jing Kuen Kung Fu (Kempo)
  • Home: Borden, Ontario, Canada
  • Personal pronouns: she/her/hers or they/theirs

Jessica McAlear started her path in martial arts and self-defense in 1999, attending her first National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) conference in 2012. Jes obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University.

A fourth-degree black belt in both Shotokan Karate-Do and Ng Ying Kuen Kung Fu, Jes has taught youth and adults various martial arts skills for the past 17 years, primarily leading youth programs, most recently at 3 Fires Martial Arts Academy in North Bay, ON. Jes has also taught Empowerment Self-Defence for the past 9 years primarily through the co-founded Personal Defense Program with Francesca Morabito at 3 Fires. With a passion for advocating for and empowering youth, Jes wants to ensure that their voices are heard.

Outside of the Kwoon/Dojo, Jes is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, specifically the Royal Canadian Air Force. As part of her security background, Jes has received use-of-force and de-escalation training for various emergency situations. Her past academic research includes ‘Fear of Crime and Self-Defense’ and ‘The Role of the Physical Environment in Learning Martial Arts,’ and current work is focused on child abuse prevention.

Tasha Church, Inclusion & Equity Coordinator

Tasha Ina Church

Serving 2022-2024

For questions regarding NWMAF’s equity and inclusion work, send an email to


Tasha Ina Church is the founder of ElleLiveAction, an Empowerment Company focused on teaching Empowering strategies to emerging women leaders, so they can be their own hero. She is also a course creator, empowerment self-defense instructor, business owner, empowerment coach, author, & international speaker. Church teaches health, wellness, trauma informed workshops & more. She is the only certified instructor on Maui in Empowerment Self-Defense, a 40+ year evidence-based curriculum designed by women for women, taught in 45 countries globally. Tasha’s curriculum provides individuals with the tools they need to navigate life’s scenarios, teaching when to lean in, when to step back, & that they are worth fighting for.

Church teaches throughout Hawaii and globally! She’s published 4 online courses and was #1 on page #1 of the Udemy course platform out of 3224 self-defense courses. With over 20 years of self-defense experience, studying 7 styles of Japanese Martial Arts, Tai Chi, and zen trainings, along with doing Warrior Spirit with Sylvester Stallone’s Trainer, Jeff Alexander, she is one of a kind. Her Empowerment facilitators were Arlene Limas, the 1st Olympic Gold Medalist in Tae Kwon Do & Lizzette Fitzgerald from ASSERT Defense, the only female instructor to currently teach both the military and the police force in the United States.

Tasha is also the co-founder of Ladies First,  building her own curriculum for middle school and high school girls focused on self-esteem, body image, and self-defense training. Working with women and girls of all ages, & demographics, she found that she loved working with those who are passionate about life, love their work & excel.

Daniella Gleiberman, Digital Coordinator

Serving 2023-2025

For questions about this website, contact


Daniella is a dedicated martial artist and fitness enthusiast. With seven years of training in the Israeli combat system of Krav Maga, Daniella has earned a blue belt and continues to hone their skills in this discipline. She runs classes for teens, empowering them to be able to defend themselves. Daniella also works as a boxing therapy instructor, in order to help others to improve their physical and mental well-being through the sweet science of boxing. When not training or teaching, Daniella can be found hitting the pavement for a run, pushing herself further to be the best version of herself that she can be.