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Courtney  Macavinta

Courtney Macavinta

Author & Esteem Coach


Courtney Macavinta is co-founder and president of The Respect Institute. She is an award-winning author, speaker, coach, and web publisher who has reached millions of youth, families, and communities through programs such as the Respect Rally, her blog RespectRx.com, and her best-selling book, RESPECT, which won both IPPY and iParenting Awards. Read More >

Throughout her tumultuous youth in San Jose, California, Macavinta dealt with many of the same issues teens face today, from self-doubt and negative body image to risky choices, bullying, potentially dropping out of high school, and confusion about her multiracial identity—she’s of Mexican, Filipino, Portuguese, French, and Irish descent. Her hard-working family also struggled for respect amid substance abuse, incarceration, violence, poverty, and racism. Like many, she fought to find respect without a compass or clue—then discovered it was within all along. Today that is her message to people everywhere: respect is always within reach because true respect starts on the inside.

Macavinta has been featured on CNN, ABC, Fox, NPR, MSNBC, and in USA Today, CosmoGIRL!, Teen People, Teen Vogue, Mothering, Glamour, The Seattle Times, The San Jose Mercury News, and numerous other media. She has also been featured as a role model in the books The Quarterlifer’s Companion and Cool Women, Hot Jobs. Having been in online media since 1995, Macavinta formerly was editorial director of the groundbreaking and Webby-nominated online and radio network ChickClick. Additionally, her articles have been published by The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Associated Press, The Sacramento Bee, CBS News.com, and others.

She has spoken, trained, or led event programs for thousands of youth, adults, and organizations across the country, coaching them to use The Respect Basics to end cycles of disrespect and to thrive.

Macavinta has partnered with organizations such as Girls Inc., the YMCA, YPO-WPO, Omega Institute Teen Camp, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Girl Scouts of the USA, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, Girls for a Change, Girls Rock! Camp, Junior League, Sidwell Friends Schools, KIPP, and Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. Additionally, she led a special program for teens attending the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and, for her work in domestic violence prevention and youth development, was invited to the White House in 2010. She also did a TEDx Los Gatos Talk in 2011.

Macavinta has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University and is a certified co-active coach (CPCC) through the renowned Coaches Training Institute, as well as a graduate of its Leadership Program. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

RESPECT: Building Self Esteem for Our Children

TEDTalk: The Respect Institute

Speech Topics

Respect Connect

This interactive workshop empowers middle school, high school, and college students to boost self-respect and spread respect for all through the Respect Basics:  Read More >

  • Tell your truth
  • Know you’re valuable 
  • Follow your passions 
  • Trust your gut 
  • Set boundaries – speak up! 
  • Be compassionate – listen 
  • Get help
  • And spread respect. 

Youth and young adults learn through stories, discussion groups (Respect Pods), videos, and interactive exercises how to make self-respecting choices, create healthy relationships, reach their goals, and end cycles of disrespect, such as bullying, cultural discrimination, peer pressure, inequality, and violence. Youth learn to lead social change to spread respect for the entire community.  Read Less ^

Disrespect Dilemmas: How to Deal

Do your so-called friends or others bully you? Do you struggle with saying “no” or standing up for what you believe in? Have you been on the bad end of a rumor? Have you ever been in a major fight with a siblings or your parents? We all go through these dilemmas. So what makes a relationship respectful? In this workshop, middle and high school students learn how to use the Respect Basics to make sure respect is a basic in all your relationships: family, friends, and with boyfriends/girlfriends.

Do What You Want

Not sure what to do after college or with your future? It’s time to listen to your gut and follow your passions. During interactive and group exercises, get clear on what you want and the resources – inside and out – it will take to make your goals a reality. Create an action plan to get what you want – and the self-respect to go with it.

Body Respect Basics

A big part of self-respect is respecting your body too. We bring to light the forces that can often make a girl disconnect and disrespect from her body or hate her body (and the person who lives there). With eye-opening discussion, girls will walk away with the ability to make healthier choices, and more importantly, how to respect themselves. (Also a great mother-daughter topic.)

Girl Drama: Get the (Respect) Rx

It’s time for a respect revolution – no overthrow necessary! We look at the roots of issues like name-calling, rumors, and sexual harassment so that girls know how to deal in the face of disrespect. Girls also get the tools to rise above drama and transform foes into friends – and most importantly, become their own best friends.

Bully-Proofing Basics

From the Web to mobile phones, school hallways, and even at home, learn how to bully-proof from the inside out using The Respect Basics. In the face of bullying – as bystanders, victims, or when they're tempted to bully – teach your kids how to set boundaries, know they're valuable, ask for help, and spread respect as leaders. 

Dealing with Disrespect Dilemmas

Gossip. Bullying. Negative body image. Family and relationship drama. Cliques. Low self-esteem. Unhealthy behaviors. Risky choices. Peer pressure. Explore common dilemmas youth face based on our nationwide surveying and programs and discover how they can build resiliency through The Respect Basics. Also share the disrespect dilemmas that concern you – in your family and among your kids. Get easy-to-use tools that help you work through conflicts with your kids as well as coaching skills to help them make self-respecting choices and be positive leaders.

Staying Connected: Middle School & Beyond

From the onset of adolescence,  in this session, “youth influencers” – from parents to educators and mentors – get tools you can use to keep the connection strong between you and your kids as their independence grows. Learn coaching skills to help you create a mutually respectful relationship with middle schoolers and how to recover when disrespect or disconnection occurs. Also, find out how to continue to use our Respect Basics tools throughout high school and college years, too.

Books & Media