Our People

AWARE was founded by a woman who had an experience that proved to her she was not physically strong enough to protect herself from someone intent on harming her. As part of the recovery from that experience, she carefully researched self-defense options, to learn what was, and was not, truly effective.

She was joined by a group of volunteers with extensive training and certification in a variety of self-protection options, and considerable teaching experience. These people now include:


X.Y.Z. is woman we won’t name, the AWARE President and also an Instructor.  She is not named here because she has been the target of a stalker in the past, and wishes to maintain her privacy.  She was one of the original Board Members, has had training at Lethal Force Institute and other organizations. She loves shooting shotguns, and coaching beginners.


Barb C. is an AWARE Board Member and Instructor.  She is certified by the Massachusetts State Police to teach AWARE's Basic Pistol class, and has done so for more than 15 years.  She also assists in AWARE's Defensive Handgun class, and coaches individual students.  She has been trained by the NRA, Lethal Force Institute (LFI I, II, and III), and Impact .  She is a member of Harvard Sportsmen's Club and GOAL. She loves spinning yarn, knitting, and teaching beginners.


Denise V. is an AWARE instructor, and one of the first people to participate when the group was founded. She is a certified Massachusetts State Police firearms instructor for AWARE's Basic Pistol course.She has trained in various disciplines including: the use of lethal force,combat handgun, shotgun, knife/counter-knife, handgun retention, disarming, police baton, Persuader and chemical defensive weapons. She loves teaching anyone anything about guns.


Jim R. is an AWARE Instructor. He is certified by the Massachusetts State Police to teach AWARE's Basic Pistol class, and has done so for more than 10 years. He also assists in AWARE's Defensive Handgun class, and coaches individual students. He has been trained by the NRA, SIG SAUER Academy, and the Northeastern Tactical Schools, He has participated in numerous IPSC and IDPA matches, and is a member of the Massachusetts Rifle Association and GOAL. He enjoys giving beginners their first experience with guns.


Robin N. is an AWARE Board Member. After a traumatic experience with a former boyfriend, she came to AWARE for training, and has become an outspoken advocate of concealed carry for women.  She was interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek for the story "Buddhist Packing Bond Pistol Shows American Embrace of Guns," and has also been featured in a documentary film by Cathryne Cuzbeck, "A Girl And A Gun."   Robin is a Tai Chi Master, Meditation Instructor, Women's Self-Defense Instructor, and Energy Healing Practitioner.  She loves Tai Chi and guns.


Roger L. is an AWARE Board Member, Instructor, and Webmaster..  He has trained at Defensive Training International, InSights Training Center, Gunsite, Lethal Force Institute, NRA, and Smith&Wesson Academy, and has completed Basic Training-Reserve/Intermittent Police Officer (M.C.J.T.C./N.E.R.P.I.) for MA.   Roger has participated in National Tactical Invitational, Second Chance Combat Shoot, IPSC and other competitions. He is a contributing editor to Women&Guns magazine, and has also been published in The Police Marksman and Law and Order.  He enjoys working with both beginning and advanced students, excels at diagnosing shooting issues which prevent advancement, enjoys helping folks with their Apple products, and is one of his condominium's trustees.


Karen MacNutt, an AWARE Board Member, is a Massachusetts attorney with more than 30 years in private practice.  She has a strong interest in firearms, and is an active rifle and pistol competitor.  She serves as consulting attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, the NRA, and GOAL, and also writes a legal column for Women&Guns magazine.  She loves horses, and is a retired (Lt. Colonel) member of the National Guard. She has an office in Randolph, MA.


Lisa Steele is an AWARE Board Member and an appellate attorney who practices in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.  She has special interest in, and expertise in, lethal force issues. She has written briefs for lawyers ("Defending the Self-Defense Case") and articles for the public (“Owning and Carrying Non-Firearm Weapons”).  Lisa organized an AWARE class on Courtroom Survival.  She is co-chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Forensic Evidence Committee. The mother of a young girl, she is especially interested in issues regarding firearms and children.  

Lyn Bates is a founding Board Member of AWARE, and an instructor.  She has taken courses at Gunsite, Lethal Force Institute, Smith & Wesson Academy, and schools for unarmed fighting, pepper spray, Persuader, and defensive driving. As a former competitive shooter, she participated in local and national competitions, including matches where street survival skills are measured. She is a contributing editor of Women&Guns magazine, and has published more than 100 articles, primarily on defensive strategies.  She appears in the documentary film "A Girl & A Gun".

Lyn has helped thousands of women learn how to be safer from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault.  She is an expert on stalking and author of the book, Safety for Stalking Victims: How to Save Your Privacy, Your Sanity, and Your Life. She loves working with people who want to know more about protecting themselves with guns, or without.


We have grown from a one-person effort to an organization that has helped thousands of people understand better how to protect themselves and their families.

AWARE is run entirely by volunteers. All of our personnel, which includes board members, instructors, and assistants, serve, unpaid, to help AWARE achieve its goals.