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Board of Directors

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

Apply or nominate someone today!

Nominate or Apply

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.

  • 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:

Vice Chair

Vice-Chair: Shares in Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Development Coordinator duties in their stead, heads the coordination of the Advisory Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee. The Vice-Chair is also responsible for assisting the Chair in creating Board Meeting agendas and is responsible for presiding over the meeting.

Development Coordinator

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.

Digital Coordinator

Digital (DigC): The DigC is in charge of our web presence, including updating and maintaining the organization’s website content and website back-end. The DigC works with other board members to accomplish online organizational business. Experience with WordPress is ideal. Basic HTML and CSS skills are a huge plus.

Current Board Members

Carmel Drewes & Amy Jones, Co-Chairs

Carmel & Amy at the 2022 NWMAF Rise Conference

Serving 2023 – 2024

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



Carmel Drewes (she) and Amy Jones (she & they) met in 2001 when they both trained with Suzanne Pinette at Sun Dragon Martial Arts & Self Defense in Austin, Texas.  They have been training in karate, teaching ESD, and have been active as members of the NWMAF since that time.  Carmel served on the ST Planning Committee in 2002, and Amy was Member of the Year in 2005.  More recently, Amy was co-organizer for PeaceWorks in 2014, and both have served in board positions. Carmel served as NWMAF Membership Director from 2016—2019. Amy served as NWMAF Self Defense Coordinator from 2016—2018 and continued service in the non-board position of Self Defense Instructor Certification Coordinator from 2018—2022. They are both NWMAF Certified Self Defense Instructors. 

Amy is currently a Yondan (4th degree black belt) in Jin Sei Ryu Karate and co-owner & co-head instructor of Culture of Safety Dojo & Wellness Center in Chicago, IL. Carmel is a Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Seido Karate and the owner & lead instructor of Boston Area Seido Karate in Stoughton, MA. They are both licensed social workers. Carmel also works as a trauma therapist and teaches English to adult immigrant learners. Amy also teaches comprehensive sex ed using the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum, and is working on incorporating restorative/transformative justice practices into Culture of Safety.

Tasca Shadix, Secretary

Serving 2023 – 2024

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


  • Home: Austin, TX
  • Personal pronouns: she/her/hers


Tasca Shadix began training at Sun Dragon Martial Arts in Austin, Texas in 1996 and earned her black belt under Sensei Suzanne Pinette. During her years at the school, she attended several NWMAF conferences and taught many self-defense workshops in the Austin area, before moving to Scotland with her family for a decade. As a mother of two daughters and teacher with a passion for helping people find their voices and access their own strength, Tasca is delighted to be back in the ESD world, working towards earning NWMAF certification, and serving as Board Secretary.

Cheryl VanHoosen, Treasurer

Serving 2023-2025

For questions having anything to do with money, email



  • Home: Roanoke, VA
  • Personal pronouns: she/her/hers


Cheryl has been practicing (and practicing and practicing) both hard and soft arts for the past 23 years. She has been attending NWMAF conferences for more than 20 years and always comes away energized. She enjoys the journey of training and who she is on the mat.

While not training, Cheryl enjoys hiking in the Blue Ridge with her hound dog, Coal, and her spouse.

Elicia Ybarra, Membership Coordinator

Serving 2023 – 2025

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



Coming soon!

Lisa Susko, Events Coordinator

Serving 2022 – 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 hold the rank of 6th Dan in ITF Tae Kwon Do. 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

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.

Emily McKee, Martial Arts Coordinator

Serving 2023-2025

For questions related to NWMAF’s martial arts branch, send an email to


  • Home town: Qathet, B.C., Canada
  • Pronouns: she/her


Emily McKee began studying wing chun kung-fu in 2007 while working in Taipei, Taiwan. She trained with her master, Thierry Cuvillier, full time for 11 years until she became a certified instructor in 2018. Since then, she has taught wing chun kung-fu and Empowerment Self-Defence at the Thierry Cuvillier Wing Chun Academy in Taiwan and in Canada, and is currently teaching in Qathet, BC upon moving back to Canada in 2021. Emily became an NWMAF member in 2019 and joined her first annual conference virtually in 2020.


She received her NWMAF ESD certification in 2021 and taught beginners wing chun and mediation classes at the 2021 Rise Conference in Buffalo.
Emily is a longtime vipassana meditator having completed five 10-day courses, and in her spare time she enjoys swimming, hiking, and hitting her wooden dummy.

Clara Porter, Self Defense Coordinator

Photo of Clara Porter, Self-Defense Coordinator.  Clara is holding a blue kicking shield.
photo by Gregory Rec

Serving 2022-2024

For questions about the self defense program at NWMAF


  • 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.

Nicola Smith, Healing Arts Coordinator


Serving 2023 – 2025

For inquiries about healing arts, contact



Bio coming soon!

Tamara Machac, Youth Coordinator

tamara machac

Serving 2023-2025

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



(She/Her) Tamara holds the position of 2nd-degree black belt instructor from Body Mind Studios – a martial arts school that has a multi-style curriculum that includes kong su do (“hard” style), kong fu, bagwa, aikido/hapkido, udo, tai chi, traditional weapons, and Samurai sword. The focus of this school’s unique curriculum is to develop not only physical strength and mind-body connection but also to use training as a means to cultivate empathy and mindfulness in one’s daily life. Tamara has been training for over 20 years and has taught martial arts for over 15 years. She is dedicated to continuing her training and sharing her art with others. Tamara also teaches martial arts and tai chi workshops at the high school where she works as a science teacher.

Vicki Hopkins, Marketing Coordinator

Serving 2023 – 2024

Reach out to with your questions regarding our social media, marketing, advertising, and public relations.



(She/Her) I have participated in Martial Arts on and off since I was a teen and found yoga, after having my first child, as a tool to help with postpartum depression. Once I discovered yoga, I nearly immediately recognized the increase in flexibility which in turn, helped in Martial arts when it came to kicks, strength, endurance, and more. I’ve been a Yoga Instructor since 2021 and have taught both in person and online, with varying abilities and ages. I’m also Certified in Meditation Instruction since 2022 and have been combining the two ever since. The power of mindful breathing is also beneficial in martial arts, in a myriad of ways. Yoga and Meditation in combination can help us to become more powerful, balanced, and centered martial artists.

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.