Founder and Executive Director
FRANCINE RUSSELL began her self-defense training with IMPACT Personal Safety in 1989. As a senior instructor with IMPACT, she taught personal safety to women, teens and children for 18 years including advanced courses such as Defense Against An Armed Assailant.
Her expertise in personal safety has won her appearances on numerous national television shows, including “20/20” with Elizabeth Vargas. She has also been interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on CNN and was spotlighted in a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live: “Aunt Chippy and Uncle Frank Take a Self Defense Class.”
In her book, The Safe Zone: A Kid’s Guide to Personal Safety, Francine gives children ages 7-12 the skills and confidence to safely handle threatening situations even if no adult guardian is present. The Safe Zone was named “Pick of the Lists” by American Bookseller and was recommended by the School Library Journal.
During her years with IMPACT, Francine trained in defense against multiple assailants and worked with the non-profit organization “Project: Blind Ambition” teaching self-defense to the disabled.
For 14 years, she taught the IMPACT course at Marlborough School, a private school for girls in Los Angeles and the first in the nation to offer a self-defense course for credit.
In 2008, she worked with educators in the Los Angeles Unified School District to help them develop personal safety training for their students.
Drawn to the physical beauty of Wyoming, Francine relocated in 2009 and founded Empower Wyoming in July of 2010.