The Inspiring Story of the Women at Ground Zero Project

To arrange to have Mary or Susan make a presentation for your group, please contact:
Susan Hagen: 707-874-9223 and/or
Mary Carouba: 707-322-7433


Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba deliver a lively and fast-paced retrospective of their experiences in New York City in the weeks following 9/11. The presentation begins with a candid and surprisingly humorous look at Susan and Mary’s inspirational journey, includes vivid and emotional stories of incredible heroism, and concludes with a moving tribute to all of the 9/11 rescue workers and the world community who supported them. 

In response to the media’s portrayal of rescue workers as “firemen, policemen, brothers,” and “our brave guys,” the two native Californians traveled to the heart of the disaster to find and interview the female police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other rescue workers that they believed must have been among those who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The two West Coast writers were committed to ensuring that women rescue workers were included in the national conversation about 9/11, particularly those women who may have given their lives saving others.  Despite having no contacts, press credentials, literary agents or outside sources of funding, they pooled their credit cards and set out to find the women heroes. 

Their leap of faith resulted in the highly acclaimed book, Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion, now in its third printing.  Susan and Mary’s passion and determination also unexpectedly led to a documentary film (currently in development), an all-expense paid trip to California’s wine country for 35 female heroes, and a scholarship fund for young people seeking careers in public safety. 

The story of the Women at Ground Zero Project demonstrates how the seemingly impossible can come true when ordinary people believe in their dreams and act on them without hesitation.  The powerful stories of the women rescue workers of 9/11, coupled with the experiences of two unpublished authors whose passion and determination caught the attention of a major publisher, underscore the message that anything is possible.

The program includes two powerful audio-visual presentations: the first allows audience members to experience the events of 9/11 through the eyes of female rescue workers who share positive insights about life in the wake of this tragic event; the second depicts a surprising and unexpected conclusion to this project that has led to a tremendous sense of healing for all involved.  A book signing follows the presentation.

Susan Hagen is an award-winning nonfiction writer and writing teacher, a former news journalist, and a retired firefighter/EMT. Mary Carouba is a writer, educator, public speaker, and advocate for social justice and positive change. Since the publication of their book, they have appeared on news programs and talk shows throughout the United States and Canada.  Mary and Susan continue to make personal appearances to inspire others to follow their dreams. 

For more information, you can read Audience Comments about Susan and Mary’s presentation, contact one of their References, or download a Presentation Brochure.