About Us

HeadStrong Girls' Boxing is an Austin 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization  working to encourage confidence and foster improved mental, emotional, and physical well-being by providing girls free access to boxing training and mentorship.

Tax ID 86-3684512


Julia Gschwind

Growing up in the early 1970s, I had an abundance of athletic energy and struggled to find an outlet for my undirected passion. My parents didn’t understand my athletic and sometimes anger-driven need to move my body. Their attempts to get me into reading, swimming and typical “girlish” hobbies backfired and just left me feeling different and shameful. 

Almost a decade later, I found boxing - something I had not realized existed as a sport for women. The liberating and empowering feeling I experienced during my first training session was something I had never felt before and changed my life forever. 

Once I transitioned from being a boxer to a coach, my focus turned to doing whatever I could to provide female boxers an experience that had not previously existed. It is now my life’s mission to boldly bring boxing to middle and high school girls, and make accessibility easy for those seeking connection to a group specifically created for girls who like to hit.

Alex Plichta

I'm so fortunate to have had such great experiences growing up playing organized sports. I played softball competitively in my teens, but once I went to college, I struggled to find a similar healthy outlet that engaged both my mind and my body. It wasn't until I found boxing in mid-2018 that that need was fulfilled. 

Through boxing, I've found discipline, focus, and community, and I've challenged myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. One of the most rewarding things about my boxing journey is that I was able to find a confidence in myself that didn’t grow in any of the other sports that I played or activities that I did. 

Part of that confidence came from the quality, compassionate, and constructive coaching I received from coaches Julia Gschwind, Stacy Nakell, Ashley Bazan, and many more in an all-girl environment. Now that I am a coach, it is my goal to provide the same growth opportunities and encouragement I was afforded to middle school and high school girls around the Austin area and bring new meaning to the phrase “hit like a girl.”


Our Instructors all have a minimum of one year of boxing experience, are background checked, have earned USA Boxing Green Level and First Aid Ceritification and are passionate about teaching and empowering girls. 

Nicole Trevino

USA Boxing Coach - Bronze Level

I was inspired to coach and have a heart for youth like my grandfather Joe Vela. I want to empower girls to grow their confidence through boxing and hope to be a positive influence and role model.

Rayna Mazumdar

USA Boxing Coach - Green Level

I am a Texas native who loves to box. I've been boxing for over 2.5 years now and am a member of the AWBC competition team! I'm very excited to coach over at Headstrong and help teach a new generation of boxers how to fight like they mean it. In my spare time, I  enjoy baking, singing, and talking science!" 

Valerie Wells

USA Boxing - Bronze Level

I started boxing in an after school club at age 16 with all boys. I quickly fell in love with the sport and it helped me to develop good habits, consistency, and become more disciplined in all areas of my life. I stopped boxing in high school, but restarted in March of 2021 with an all women's club in Austin. I enjoys sharing and teaching boxing to kids and teenagers.

Stephanie Barraza

USA Boxing - Green Level

I decided to volunteer as a coach at first just to get a visual understanding of the purpose and mission of HeadStrong Girls boxing, but as the weeks went by I realized that I really enjoyed teaching. I love to see how to the girls improve on their skills day to day and how they have build a community and friendship.  Seeing them show up consistently and actually enjoying the class is what motivates me to continue teaching and improving my skills.  

Thank you to Britt Baysinger & Karla Avila for coach photos!


Alex Plichta - President

Lindsay Hutchens 

Stephanie Barraza - Treasurer

Julia Gschwind - Secretary

Karen Cotter - Committee Manager

Link to Board Member Bios HERE