Putting Money Where Her Mouth is, Motivational Speaker Offers Her Seminars to Domestic Violence Victims and Others Without Means to Pay

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Although her seminar business is not yet in the black, Susan Elliott wants to give scholarships to domestic violence victims and others who cannot afford to pay.

When she balances the budget for her seminars, Susan Elliott always leaves room for scholarships. Though her business, Get Past Your Past, or GPYP, is not yet breaking even, she doesn't want to forget those who probably need it the most.

Coming out of a bad marriage 20 years ago, Elliott depended on others to help her in a time when she didn't have any money and 3 small children to raise. Although she is now a full-time corporate lawyer and part-time real estate broker, Elliott founded her business as a way to give back what was given to her 20 years ago. She developed the GPYP program over several years as an academic and therapist. After studying how people change and how change becomes permanent, she developed GPYP from "the best of the best" of what she found. At first it was for her own edification, but soon became a model she used to help others. Today she's happy, healthy, pretty well off and proof that GPYP works. Still, she never forgots where she comes from.

Elliott grew up a foster child and later adopted into an alcoholic home. She gravitated toward very abusive people and dangerous situations and her first marriage was a disaster. One night in 1987 she left the marriage without a job and with 3 little kids. At first she felt helpless and hopeless, but went on to build a nice life that includes a BA from Mount Holyoke College where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, an M.Ed. from Cambridge College, a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, a real estate business and wonderful relationships with her children and her husband of ten years. She says, "You don't build what I've built without the help of people who helped me believe in myself." Never forgetting how it felt to start over with nothing, she founded GPYP in New York City last year teaching seminars at the Learning Annex, teaching and speaking through her own company and writing the accompanying book.

People from all walks of life attend the seminars, including successful business people looking for a shot of motivation and people new to the city looking to connect. Elliott says, "Adult non-credit education is a big thing in New York. Motivational seminars are very well-attended by all kinds of people, usually driven people looking for focus or people starting over, looking for a change in direction." She hopes that within each audience are people who need a better life. "I want to reach people who were once like me, in desperate need to change their lives. A lot of DV relationships are about control, and the abuser keeps tight tabs on the money. The abused partner could never explain spending money on a seminar." She adds that most DV victims are not necessarily going to think that they can find hope in a "motivational" seminar but she says her seminars teach how to set goals and achieve them, "If they come here, they will find a lot of hope as well as practical instruction. If I can do it, anyone can. And I show them how."

Elliott hopes that her seminars will continue to attract enough paying clients that she can give scholarships to every seminar and class. If her seminar on February 10th has enough paid registrations, she already has a waiting list for scholarships. She says, "I hope I can open the door to everyone who wants to come."

To register for the February 10th seminar, go to the GPYP website (http://www.GettingPastYourPast.com) or (http://GettingPastYourPast.wordpress.com).


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