We Teach Military Service Members and their Families
How to be the 1st Line of Defense in Resiliency & Readiness.
About Our Team
Sabrina Barella, is our Military Liaison and Chief Operations Officer. She is the direct contact with all coordinating Units to plan all aspects including but not limited to date, location, number of participants, discussing any special needs, focuses or areas of challenge that they would like an additional addressing of, and any other arrangements and coordination needed to ensure their people are there on time and for the full course time period. Handling of communicating cost and billing with coordinating unit. Communication with Workshop Manager and Leader for pre-workshop prep and communicating of any special needs or requests from coordinating unit.
Sabrina was a USMC wife in her early 20’s and found this body of work after a hard transition which led to divorce. She sought out this information in order to find out how to ‘do partnership’ right . This information made such an amazing impact she knew she needed to to bring it back to her Military family to spare others the pain and frustration. She is an Entrepreneur, Life Coach and Mentor based in San Diego, CA.
David Giuntoli is our CEO and handles the majority of the administrative, legal contracts, etc. He also will play a role in assisting at many of the workshops. David is an engineer, entrepreneur, outdoorsman and teacher. For the past 4 year he has been sharing this partnership training throughout California. He is a Certified Community Educator by the PAX Corporation to teach courses to prevent or convert adversarial relationships into co-creative partnerships. He lives in Carlsbad, California.
Vicki Harrison is our Assistant Workshop manager who assists the workshop manager on all logistical support. She also works in Finance and Accounting. Vicki found this body of work after a devastating break-up to transform her relationships with men, and wow has she! She lives in San Diego and enjoys horseback riding, roller blading and just about any outdoor activity
Our Head Workshop Leaders
Calvin Edwards is a U.S. Army Veteran and also served in the Texas Army National Guard for 10 years, both as a Combat Medic. After his Army career Calvin graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Operations.
Calvin came to understand that the relationships we have with our business partners and co-workers are key to success, “but the most important relationships are the ones with ourselves and significant others”.
In 2012, Calvin found our body of work and rediscovering the Hero Within himself. Over the next three years he was certified in nine topics that help men and women “co-create” fulfilling partnerships. As a Veteran, Calvin is honored to share his knowledge with our modern-day military families and Service Men and Women through leading Challenges for Modern Man: Getting to the Hero Within.
Calvin enjoys his study of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali martial arts, watching football, and golf. Calvin lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Hilary who is also an avid student of this work.
Pete Farmer, M.D., worked with SEAL teams in Vietnam, has served as a volunteer policeman, and has practiced emergency medicine for over 30 years. Playing hard in life has been his style, whether in Jungle Escape and Survival Training, climbing Mt. Rainer in a blizzard or running the last mile of a triathlon. Working with people who know the difference between “serious” and “significant” make it possible to have fun doing intense work with a markedly greater result.
Pete has certifications as Professional Certified Coach, Emotional Competency Inventory, Professional Behavior Analyst, Professional Values Analyst and Diplomat American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Pete has been involved in professional development for over 30 years. He leads Challenges for Modern Man: Getting to the Hero Within. He lives in Tennessee where he greatly enjoys time with his grandchildren.
Adrienne Dworak has been living, learning, teaching and growing the PAX principles since 2009. She has led the Cracking the Man Code and Cracking the Female Code workshops in 18+ cities around the country. She has been training new leaders and coaches for 3+ years. As a teacher and coach, she loves helping women and men understand each other, supporting effective communication skills, and showing them how to have great partnerships so they both get more of what they need and what makes them happy. She brings passion, understanding, and high-energy to leading the workshops and supporting the ongoing growth and participation of graduates.
Before this transformative work Adrienne was an accomplished business consultant with her own programming business, assisting Fortune 500 companies. She has a computer science and business degree from the University of Texas. Her sister, a Major in the USMC, has been greatly touched by this body of work too which has given Adrienne first-hand knowledge of Military life. Adrienne lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband Joe.
Sabrina's Note on the Importance of This Work
Too many Service Members go to work or leave for deployment with ‘unfinished’ business looming over their minds about home due to things not communicated and resentments that build over time when true communication and partnership are absent. This can lead to a scattered or off-centered focus on the mission at hand or to one not being fully present for their comrades.
I’ve seen so many Service Members leave for Deployments over the last 10-15 years with resentments & things left unsettled with their families. The results cause frustration and tension for them while far away from home as well as for their spouses who are holding down the home front. This lack of communication causes rifts in the bond of a couple and can lead to Service Members feeling helpless and unable to fully focus while deployed after they receive a ‘Dear John’ letter stating their wife has found a ‘replacement’ to get her needs met. They will ‘swallow it’ and continue with their duty but the personal impact is devastating! I’ve also seen many wives on the other side who felt so disconnected from their husbands that they are much more susceptible to seek the attention, affection and comfort they desire from another man. The devastating effect this cycle can directly affect the mission at hand.
We want your Service Members and their Military Spouses to know how & when to communicate with each other in order to get the best results, while also getting both of their needs met! We can teach them skills and tools to communicate with each other what they need in order to feel connected, respected and appreciated.
I’ll never forget the SSgt who commented to his MFLC after his wife attended one of our introductory classes that ‘I don’t know what you taught her in that class but i want to thank you! Our marriage has done a 180, the arguments in our home are down to 40% of what they used to be and we actually have peace in our home again!’
I have dear friend, a USMC veteran, who called me not long ago to tell me good bye as he was going to kill himself when we got off the phone. As we spoke for 2.5 hours about life, his USMC career, war, being injured in combat and the lack of support he felt from his ex-wives every time he deployed, it hit me why this work we are doing is so critical for all in our Military family. The break down at home was a bigger source of his grieve than much of his combat memories. Not that those don’t affect him greatly, but the fact that he didn’t have someone in his life at those times who actually listened to him and acknowledged and respected him as he went out and fought for our country compounded the memories and traumas of his deployments greatly. He’s told me on several occasions that he’s never felt listened to as he does when we talk, a key skill we teach women in how to listen to the men in their life. He is getting help now and is alive and well.
We strive to help create harmonious homes and support structures for our Service members. To strengthen and empower them and their spouses both as individuals and as family units. The purpose of this work is to create partnerships which can foster both personal and professional environments which are more productive, happier and more fulfilling for all involved. And all this in an environment that is safe for all to express themselves, heal from harm given and received, and grow into the person they are meant to be. To empower and strengthen our Service members and their spouses as individuals and as family units.
How UMW Began
Understand Men & Women is Passionate about altering our society’s culture by transforming the way Women and Men relate to themselves and others. We are dedicated to sharing this very practical information to all in our Military Communities and to all future generations that Serve our Country.
Our Workshops are designed to be quickly absorbed and easy to apply for transformation with immediate impact as the priority.
We are mission-driven and in the business of educating Men and Women about:
– How our opposing biological instincts cause conflict in our modern lives
– The predicament of gender and how our biological hormones affect our brains and behaviors
– The interaction of masculinity and femininity
– And how to set up your life for maximum fulfillment in all areas
We create peace between the sexes by providing unique and useful information and a transformation in how we see ourselves and each other.
Participants leave with new perspectives and interpersonal tools they can use immediately. They will heal from wounds that limit their personal growth, development and relationships. Our workshops provide extraordinary information with which people can profoundly affect their relationships in all circumstances at work, home or anywhere else. WE GUARANTEE IT!!!
We Teach and Empower Military Spouses to be as the Spartans, maintaining Courage and Strength both internally and in holding down the Home front so that their Warriors can be 110% focused on their Mission at hand and on their Comrades. We will provide our Warriors a chance to get to the heart of who they really are so as to develop, encourage and cause a realization of who they can truly be for each other and others when they fully claim, define or craft their own internal hero.
David & Sabrina (UMW) have been teaching shorter Community classes on Camp Pendleton for several years with great results and feedback from every class. (see testimonials) We’ve also worked with MAG 39 this year through the Behavioral Health Prevention Specialist with great feedback from the last class. Many of the Coordinators and Command/Staff have given praise for what our classes have done for their Marines and families.
The more we do, the more we have been asked to do.
Sabrina has been volunteering with WWB-W and other Non-profits aboard Camp Pendleton since 2010 in other areas of work such as the Marine Corp Trials and other events. Since introducing the classes with UMW several years back, she often gets asked by both Marines and their spouses when they see each other ‘when are you doing another class’??
Relationship Workshops for Men & Women
What You Will Learn
Start Here Today
Courses for Men
Challenges for Modern Man: Getting to the Hero Within will get to the heart of who your service members and military spouses really are as men. Men are naturally heroes for others but they must be a Hero for themselves first, in order to make a maximize impact. This course will give a man a chance to fully understand what drives him toward or away from his goals and his best self. This course will leave our Service Members and male partners empowered as men in both their triumphs and their most vulnerable moments.
Cracking the Female Code: Discovering the Mysteries behind Female Instincts and How We Can Work with Them for Happiness and Harmony (Co-ed course) This workshop is for anyone who wants to understand why women think, act, speak and listen as they do. We look at how women were ‘put together’ as women and the reasons behind many things that floor both ourselves and the men in our lives. We also address how the changes in culture over the last several decades have literally changed or re-mapped women’s brains causing a dynamic between men and women that is foreign to previous generations. It is important for both men and women to take this course (we highly encourage spouses to take together!) in order to come to a new appreciation of themselves or the women in their lives, at home and at work!
Courses for Women
In Cracking the Man Code:Transform Your Relationships with Men to Get What You Both Really Want, our USMC spouses and female Service Members will learn how we as women bring out the worst in men. We cover topics such as, but not limited to: how we alienate men and drive them away, how to get men to reveal themselves, how to speak to be heard and how to get men to act, ALL without nagging or manipulation. Also learning how to… Get what you most need and desire from men, appreciate men and yourself more, really understand men as they’re designed and knowing how to communicate with them, as well as, falling in love with and appreciating men rather than being annoyed, afraid or intimidated by them.
Setting up Your Life for Maximum Fulfillment: Why Putting on Your Own Oxygen Mask First in Life is Critical: this clarifying and defining workshop shows women how to bring out the best in themselves. This includes distinguishing true needs and how to communicate them to those most important to her and to get their help in meeting them, how defining her highest values can add a whole new level to her life and relationships and how to set up her life in way for her to have more time for the truly important things like bonding with her spouse, children and friends while still getting everything else done! We look at the truly feminine qualities which bring out the best in and inspire men to generously provide for us. This and so much more!
Setting up Your Life for Maximum Fulfillment: Transform How You Experience Love, Romance and Partnership: Discover the source of our struggles to have satisfying, committed partnerships. We dispel the marriage fantasies; get to the bottom of the conflicts and disappointments, and gain understanding and tools that women can use immediately. This can be a game changer regardless of a woman’s current relationship status! they will understand the huge differences in how men experience commitment, marriage and the progression of relationships. How to sort what they really need to be happy from the false expectations hyped by magazines, movies and, even, our mothers. How to select more intelligently and efficiently, maximizing our time and energy for those who are looking for a relationship. And for women trying to fix a troubled or broken relationship… How to come to terms with what successfully living together requires and leave with the skills and tools you need to create a new home atmosphere. Find out how predictable conflicts become problems if ignored, but when addressed could actually create a structure for love, romance, and fulfillment. Learn how to negotiate deals that make life easier, more fulfilling and fun – and make them stick.
Setting up Your Life for Maximum Fulfillment: Crack the Code on Male Sexuality while Honoring Your Own Needs, Values and Standards: This workshop will explain how every aspect of being male is expressed in sex, as well as how to reconcile male sexuality with your own needs, standards and values as a woman. You will be surprised at the depth of understanding and appreciation men have for sex and their partners. What sex means to men physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Also… learn how to safely set boundaries so as to safely express yourself in any situation. What leads to infidelity so you can prevent it and heal from it and the real meaning of pornography to men.
Co-ed Cracking the Female Code Our one Co-ed course is Cracking the Female Code: Discovering the Mysteries behind Female Instincts and How We Can Work with Them for Happiness and Harmony. This workshop is for anyone who wants to understand why women think, act, speak, listen as they do. We look at how women were ‘put together’ as women and the reasons behind many things that floor both ourselves and the men in our lives. We also address how the changes in culture over the last several decades have literally changed or re-mapped women’s brains causing a dynamic between men and women that is foreign to previous generations. It is important for both men and women to take this (we highly encourage spouses to take together!) course in order to come to a new appreciation of themselves or the women in their lives, at home and at work!
A Letter of Recommendation from Maria Howard
I saw firsthand how PAX changed people’s lives and improved their relationships. It even helped in their interpersonal communication on the job. I have recommended this program to countless people. And I have loaned their books and CDs to individuals in order to help them make better relationship choices. In fact, I had my son listen to the CD “In Sync with the Opposite Sex” because he was in a stressful relationship. After listening to this series he saw where his communication was causing her confusion, which resulted in a lot of arguments.
With the significant number of domestic violence cases and high divorce rates, the public cannot afford to go without PAX. The material is based on sound scientific facts, not theories. People are changed by this information. In fact, there is nothing in the MFLC presentation library that even comes close to this information. I believe in it so much that I am going to go through training so that I can teach seminars.
Maria Howard, M.S., M.A., LCPC, MAC, ICAADC
Hebron Behavioral Health
Las Vegas, NV
(Former Military & Family Life Counselor-MFLC)
Read More Testimonials
Every woman should be trained in these concepts! I cannot express strongly enough how shifted I am from learning this material. I’m a better mother, partner, daughter, and friend as a result and I feel more confident and solid as a human being. – L. M.
The process and structure was amazingly practical. What I have been searching for by getting a Master’s Degree in Communication and through 12 years of therapy was taught in 2 days! Bravo! – L. A.
This has been a life changer! I am more at ease and confident that I can communicate with my husband. I am excited to put the tools I have learned into action and get what I need. – H. H.
For the first time in 16 years of being married to my husband, I asked for what I needed and he actually delivered it to me. I have hope for a previously wilting relationship now, and for my marriage and my family to be together. – B. R.
This will help to improve my relationship with my husband, son, and men in general on how I communicate my needs to them. I’m so thankful for the tools you’ve given me to communicate better. I’ve never felt I was a great communicator and now I know that will change. – B. D.
This course is essential to create a world of partnership with men, once we understand ourselves better and know what is required to be our best selves for this partnership. The very practical approach can be put to use and applied immediately and reap immediate benefits. Thank you! – C. M.
The Heroes Challenge workshop helped me connect the dots regarding several perplexing situations which come up from time to time in my marriage, with my wife. Thanks for enabling my understanding. – C. R.
This workshop was amazing. It will help me tremendously as I raise my two boys. I am divorced, but I see so much now my part in the breakdown of my marriage. I will use the information in future relationships. – S. P.
Thank you so much for this Heroes Challenge workshop and for the tools and information you so generously shared. It was moving, challenging, scary, and heartfelt. I feel more empowered than I have in a long time. I have hope for permanently healing the wounds I’ve carried my whole life. I now know I have the ability to be the man I’ve always wanted to be. Thank you!!! – P. B.
I experienced a paradigm shift which had me see what I could do to produce the results I want. I was previously clueless to how I emasculated men! I am thankful to have learned what the course taught. I previously knew something was missing that I needed to know, but I didn’t know what it was. It was also great to learn about how powerful my smile is! – L. M.
I feel a sense of joy and hope. These 2 days have been enlightening and profound. I received so much relevant information that it is impossible not to stand in awe in front of the possibilities it opens not only for me, but for the women around me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! – M. G.
This is a course to change all of my relationships both with men and women. Tools to use as I leave the building that are practical and applicable, professionally and personally. This is an opportunity to change my future and past relationships. I look forward to new relationships as I am a different person as a result of this course. – R. S.
This course gave me a much better understanding of the way men think, listen, feel, react, love, play, appreciate, desire, respect, need, expect, and comprehend. I wish I had taken this course before getting divorced, but I am glad I attended even now. It was really priceless. – P. B.
Upon arriving, I was hesitant, reluctant, wondering if this was worth my time, energy and funds, as my marriage is at its breaking point, headed for divorce. After the first day, I had hope, by the end of the weekend; I knew it was worth it! I now know much more about myself, and more about men- with thanks! – C. H.
I entered hurt, frustrated, and hopeless about my current interactions with men and opportunities for having meaningful relationships in my future. I left empowered, excited, and lit up about who men are for me and about finding love in a lasting relationship. Thank you PAX. – M. N.
I am so grateful for the kind and authentic research that Alison endeavored to unearth, and the ability to share what she has learned in an effective and compassionate way to transform men and women’s understanding of one another. After several years of struggling in my marriage, and consequently in my life, I have from this workshop completely shifted my sense of how I relate to my husband and my life. Thank you! – K. M.
This course should be a prerequisite for anyone even thinking about finding a partner. There is so much great content, tools, and ideas for improving communication in any relationship. – K. C.
As a PAX graduate, my world has become more joyous and my interactions with all persons more enriching. Prior to dance-team rehearsal one of my teammates – I’ll call him Mr. Green Eyes – sat next to me & sighed “I don’t feel it with this team. I might transfer.” he said with a sigh of sadness. “I know what you mean. Tell me more” I said, then shut my mouth to listen. He expressed his expectations for the team experience and about how it was similar to his Army battalion and that I was the only one with which he felt camaraderie. I cried tears of bittersweet happiness on my drive home. In my pre-PAX days, I would have interrupted him, given advice or even perceived him as a “traitor” to the dance cause. I surprised myself in that I had naturally integrated and used PAX tools for the situation. I found myself learning more intimate details of his life than I would have ever learned dancing cheek-to-cheek with him on the dance floor. I was honored that he found me to be a safe person in which to confide his concerns. I was also crying because in that moment with this man, I felt like I was talking to my Father, a now deceased, Retired Navy man with whom I had shared a dance at my high-school Father-Daughter weekend. M.O., Navy Daughter
Approaching my favorite weekend spot, I saw a man by the door who was obviously military. He was smiling at all us pretty ladies entering. I then noticed he was not sitting but rather standing on his stumps as he was a double-leg amputee. “Will you spin me later?” I said smiling broadly to him. His eyes lit up and in his Southern drawl replied, “It would be an honor, Ma’am.” Sadly, I didn’t encounter him during the evening. The bouncer told me on the way out that he left the restaurant with a big grin just after I greeted him and then said “You made him feel like a man!”. Thank you PAX for changing my entire point of view on how amazing men are! M.O., Navy Daughter.
Free Resources for Military FamiliesCheck out these articles, audio’s & video’s to start your journey & answer some of your most pressing questions & frustrations around the opposite sex…
Connect with Us Today to Discuss Your Units Needs.
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