Women's Empowerment Program

Helping Women Speak up in Relationships and at Work to avoid Bullies, Abusers, and Predators and live Confident, Fearless and Safe.

Helping Women Speak up in Relationships and at Work to avoid Bullies, Abusers, and Predators and live Confident, Fearless and Safe.

I will never forget the first day when we set the piece of paper with women stereotypes on fire...It was pretty inspiring!” Nicki S.

"I always had an interest in motivating women to find their inner strength. As a young child, I remember watching the news and hearing stories about girls that were kidnapped or abused and being quite upset that I couldn’t help more.

My background includes training for over 15 years in martial arts and self-defense. In my late teens, I was promoted to Certified Black-Belt Instructor of Tae Kwon Do and shortly after was selected as the first female Instructor at my dojo to lead youth and adult classes. 

After graduating from the University of Rhode Island (BS degree in Food Science/Nutrition, minor in Women's Studies), I went to work as a scientist for a major corporation. Immediately I noticed that my years of self-defense training left me ill-prepared to handle the "real" world. My female supervisor would emotionally and verbally abuse me in the corporate environment early in my career. I knew there was no back-side kick that could get me out of this situation.

Soon after, I started leading a non-aggressive martial arts program in the Bay area called Albany Karate. I became further frustrated with how self-defense was being taught and knew it was missing an intuitive and real-world aspect. I realized the need for a separate class to help women find their voice in boardrooms and relationships and to set boundaries to prevent bullies and predators.

In 2004 Kurukula
 was born. 

Kurukula quickly gained momentum. In just two years, my program earned leadership awards, won federal and private grants, a partnership with the 
Albany Police, and several after-school programs throughout the Bay Area. The need for this program was beyond anything I could have imagined. 

My intention for Kurukula is to offer an intuitive and inspiring Confidence-Building program that combines assertiveness tools (inner-strength) with practical safety skills (outer-strength). As a trained Self-Defense Instructor, I know that most self-defense programs teach the ‘scare tactic.’ That's a random attacker that jumps out of nowhere to attack you. This never made sense to me.  Not only does this training completely frighten most women, but it leaves them feeling helpless, waiting to be attacked in the world. And it's not accurate.

Intuitively and statistically we know an overwhelming number of bullies, violence, and assault acts (75-90%
*) occur by a boyfriend or person you know who often gives you lots of warning signs. In my case it was a female boss…

Kurukula understands that a confident woman who has gained inner-strength and useful life-skills is less likely to be in a life-threatening or bullied situation in the first place, and if she is, she a Kurukula women will be better equipped to handle it.

Kurukula helps women live Confident, Fearless, and Safe.

I look forward to sharing this dynamic program with you!"


Dara Connolly
Award-Winning Women's Empowerment Speaker known for incorporating humor and fun into her anti-bullying and sexual assault prevention presentations.
Creator Amazon's Top 100 Toys:
Jerky Johnny® SafetyGame
Author Amazon's:
Someone You Know; Expert Secrets to Prevent Bullies, Sexual Assault, & Bad Relationships
*Source: RAINN, Rape abuse, incest National Network; 2018.