Board Members

Robert J. Martin - Board Chair
Robert Martin is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts in violence prevention and threat assessment. During his 28-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department, he rose through the ranks and directed many of the Department’s most sensitive functions. He served as Commanding Officer of specialized detective divisions, including Commanding Officer of Detective Headquarters Division. Martin served as Commanding Officer of the Emergency Control Center during such challenges as the Rodney King trial and subsequent riots and the 1994 earthquake. He served two years as Commanding Officer of LAPD’s Personnel Division where he managed employment matters for 11,000 LAPD officers including their Employee Assistance programs, background investigations and applicant evaluations. In 1989, he founded the LAPD’s Threat Management Unit, the first of its kind in the nation. He is the senior founding member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

He joined Gavin de Becker & Associates in 1994 where he served twenty years as Vice President and currently holds the position of Senior Advisor.

While with LAPD, Captain Martin pioneered the first police use of MOSAIC, an innovative approach for evaluating threats to public figures. Agencies who have since adopted it include: The U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve Board, the Central Intelligence Agency and the California State Police. He was the lead developer of a similar method co-developed with the United States Marshals Service for evaluating threats to Federal Judges, followed by the development of the MOSAIC Method for Assessing Student Threats (MAST).

After pioneering a new approach to specialized gang-related homicide investigations and leading a team that boasted the City’s highest clearance rate for homicide cases (98%), he received the Meritorious Unit Citation and a special citation from the District Attorney for “Investigative Excellence.” Upon his retirement from LAPD, he received Citations from the President of the United States, the Governor of California, the Los Angeles City Council and the Police Commission. He was the recipient of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Service Excellence Award, Personnel Management Award, Olympic Planning Ribbon, and the Papal Visit Planning Ribbon. In 1987, by a resolution of the City Council, he received a special commendation for his role in the protection of the President of the United States during a major unusual occurrence.

He served as a consultant to the Chicago Behavioral Assistance Team Project Planning Committee as they developed a region-wide response team to deal with mentally ill offenders. He testified before the President’s Commission on Mental Retardation and authored a chapter on the police response to the mentally ill in “The Criminal Justice System and Mental Retardation.” Most recently, he authored a chapter on Stalking in the two-volume work “Trauma Psychology: Issues in Violence, Disaster, Health and Illness.” He has qualified as an expert in Federal Court on issues related to threat assessment.

He is currently the Vice Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for Hope International; the Chairman of the Board of the Operation for Hope Foundation, which raises awareness of issues related to family violence; the Chairman of the Board of IMPACT Personal Safety, and a Board member of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Iniative. He is on the Advisory Board of the Communities Against Violence Network (CAVNET), one of the largest internet-based repositories for research related to the prediction and management of violence; and he is a Senior Advisor for the Violence Prevention Agency.

He was a regular lecturer on Criminal Justice matters at the California State University Long Beach, and currently guest lectures at the University of Southern California on issues related to domestic violence. Martin holds California Peace Officers Standards and Training Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisory, and Management Certificates, and he is a graduate of their Career Ethics/Integrity Facilitators Training Course. He is also a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association.

He has been interviewed on many national news programs in connection with hazards to public figures, stalking, domestic violence and student violence. He has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the Herald Examiner, USA Today, the Hollywood Reporter, New Yorker Magazine, and others. He served on the editorial staff and as assistant to the Executive Director for the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals: Report on Police, and a ghost writer for the Executive Director for their Police Chief Executive Report. He was a chapter author for The Criminal Justice System and Mental Retardation, by Conley, Luckasson, and Bouthilet. In addition he was a contributing author for the California Peace Officers’ Association’s Model Use of Force Policy and Code of Professional Conduct.

Lisa Gaeta - CEO and Founder of IMPACT Personal Safety, Southern California

Lisa Gaeta was raised in Southern California and attended college at California Lutheran University, graduating with a BA in Communications and Political Science, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. After graduating, she took a position at Cal Lutheran teaching Public Speaking and served as Faculty Advisor for the University radio station, KCRL.

Half-way through her master’s program in 1984, Lisa took her first IMPACT class. From her first heel-palm, she knew she was hooked and her career plans changed drastically! She and her partner at the time, Al Potash, started what is now IMPACT Personal Safety, SoCal in 1985. Lisa, along with the various teams she has worked with over the decades, has made considerable changes and developments to the original program. Most notably, changes and additions to the verbal strategies that are taught in most IMPACT programs. She continues to encourage course development and improvement from her staff.

Lisa has been a driving force in keeping IMPACT alive in Southern California and all over the United States. She has trained hundreds of instructors around the world to teach IMPACT and has taught thousands of women, children, and men how to live their lives more safely…and, well, she taught them to kick ass, too!

Lisa currently serves as CEO of IMPACT Personal Safety, SoCal. She also continues to train new instructors and teach classes. During the school year, she teaches daily at various high schools around the Los Angeles area.

Keith Gorham
Keith Gorham earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Binghamton University. Thereafter, he earned a Master of Arts in History from Binghamton University and subsequently earned a Juris Doctor from Stanford University. He began his professional career as an attorney with the Division of Enforcement Litigation of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., before moving to Los Angeles and working with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers in Sherman Oaks.

Mr. Gorham is currently the Senior Vice President of Industrial Relations for NBCUniversal in the Los Angeles area of California. He has been with the company for approximately 32 years. He is responsible for the overall supervision of a large staff of labor relations executives who negotiate collective bargaining agreements with Entertainment Industry Guilds and Unions. He directs his staff in providing labor strategy advice and contract interpretation for entertainment industry business clients. In addition, Mr. Gorham represents his company on the Board of the Entertainment Industry’s Multi-Employer Bargaining Association. He helps set negotiation strategy and labor policy for the member companies. He serves as a management trustee on various Entertainment Industry ERISA Health and Retirement plans for Guild and Union employees, in which capacity he assists in developing health, pension and retirement strategies and planning for the member participants.

Keith has been a member of the Board of Directors for I Have a Dream Foundation for 20 years and is a member of Harpur College Advocacy Council. He is the 2014 Alumni Award recipient from Harpur College of Arts and Sciences — Division of Social Sciences and made the commencement speech for Binghamton University, spring of 2014.

Keith took a Men’s Basics Course and an Intro Workshop in 2013 and soon after joined the IMPACT Personal Safety Board of Directors, where he uses his considerable talents and skills to help set realistic goals and move Impact forward.

Ben Cook
Ben Cook was born and raised in Alaska and attended college in Southern California at the University of Redlands, graduating with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies. After graduation, he became a member of the University of Redlands Senior Residence Life Staff.

In 1997, Ben began training to become an IMPACT Suited Instructor and received certification in 1998.

In 2001, he received his commission with the U.S. Marine Corps. Serving as a Communications Officer, he deployed multiple times to Japan, Thailand, and Iraq. Additionally, he served as both an instructor at a USMC formal school, responsible for curriculum development and instruction and as a combatives instructor, achieving the highest instructor rank possible.

In 2012, he resigned his commission to accept employment with the U.S. Government. Soon after, Ben came back to IMPACT as a Suited Instructor and is now an IMPACT Instructor Trainer and serves on the IMPACT Board of Directors.

Ben and his wife live in the Los Angeles area and have two cats.

Ellen Snortland

Ellen Snortland is lawyer, teacher, media coach, and first time author book coach. She is a regular opinion columnist for the Pasadena Weekly and a Huffington Post blogger. Ellen has been a speaker, journalist, and delegate for major United Nations World Conferences: the Women’s conference in Beijing in 1995 and Conference Against Racism in South Africa in 2001, and the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

Ellen took her first IMPACT class in 1991 and began teaching IMPACT Kids classes in 1993. She became a member of IMPACT Personal Safety’s Board of Directors in 2009.

Snortland is the author of “Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls,” a how-come book about women’s personal safety featured on Dateline NBC.

Her documentary, also called Beauty Bites Beast opens in New York City on November 4, and in Pasadena, CA, on November 11. To view the trailer to Beauty Bites Beast click here:

Ellen is co-author of “The Safety Godmothers,” along with fellow self-defense expert, Lisa Gaeta. Ellen’s recent TEDxPasadena talk explores her mission to empower people through self-defense,

Snortland lives in Altadena, CA, with her husband, Ken Gruberman, and their 3 naughty dogs. To contact and learn more about Ms. Snortland, visit her web site at: or

John Amussen
John Amussen has nearly three decades of experience as a financial executive in Los Angeles.

Born in New York City, John attended high school in Minneapolis and received an A.B. in American Civilization from Brown University. He moved to Los Angeles to attend the Anderson School of Business at UCLA and spent nearly two decades in the film industry, working for Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.

After leaving Fox in 2006, John consulted for a wide variety of clients on financial projects. In 2013, he joined New Visions Foundation and was part of the management team that rebranded New Visions as the Coalition for Engaged Education, focused on educational enrichment programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth, foster youth, and children in the community of Lennox, California.

In 2015, John became the Chief Operating and Financial Officer for Milken Community Schools, the largest Jewish Day School in the United States, where he is responsible for all financial and operational matters.

John was introduced to IMPACT when his wife took the class through the recommendation of a friend. Soon after, he became an IMPACT Suited Instructor and taught classes at Marlborough and Marymount high schools until he retired from the suit in 2014.

John has been on the IMPACT Board since 2010 and was instrumental in the process of IMPACT becoming a non-profit organization.

John and his wife, Drea, have two-year old twins, Christopher and Sara. John is an avid runner.

Rob Latimer
Rob Latimer is an educator and photographer who has taught in Los Angeles area prep schools for over a decade. Born and raised in Michigan, Rob has lived in Los Angeles since 2004 and has been involved with Impact since 2008. He was a suited instructor from 2008-2014 and has served on the board since 2010.

Rob received his bachelor’s degree in history from Wayne State University in Detroit and then completed his first master’s degree at Oxford University in 2004. Moving to California to study at UCLA, he taught for several years at the collegiate level before moving to the independent prep school world. Completing his second master’s degree in 2009, Rob is currently working on his doctoral dissertation and plans to finish in the coming years.

In addition to his work in education, Rob provides performance enhancement consulting and mental skills training as the founder of Arete Performance Consulting. He holds a Masters of Arts in Performance Psychology from National University and works with both individuals and organizations, consulting on anxiety management and performance optimization in high-stress situations. In this role, he has contributed as a subject matter expert to the Human Performance Resource Center, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Prior to his career as a history instructor, Rob worked in manufacturer’s representation for seven years, working with the nation’s then second-largest retail chain.

Rob’s involvement with IMPACT began through his teaching, when some of his high school students invited him to their graduation. Impressed and awed by what he saw, Rob immediately wanted to become involved. He is happy to have brought the program to the students at his current school, in addition to his other work as instructor and on the board.

Nicole Snell Ryan Martin