Our Team


Theresa Barila


Theresa Barila (she/her) is the founder of the Community Resilience Initiative (CRI) based in Walla Walla, WA. CRI’s mission supports three pillars: training, community engagement, and Resilience product development.

Teri earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology (American University) and a Masters of Science in Fisheries Management (University of Maryland) and spent 20 years as a Research Biologist with the Federal Salmon and Steelhead recovery program in the Pacific Northwest. Her experience in that field helped her bridge science and practice when she changed careers and moved into community engagement work 22 years ago.

Recognized internationally for her work with CRI, Teri frequently travels, training communities to develop their own blueprint so that “Resilience Trumps ACEs.” Teri is involved extensively in training, consulting, writing, and researching in trauma, Resilience, and community capacity building. Her work has attracted attention in various venues, in part due to the focus Teri places on grassroots organizational development and the focus on the hope of Resilience.

Teri is mom to two children, a son and daughter, and was pleased to add the title grandmother in 2018. Experiencing a special needs child’s world has significantly shaped Teri’s thinking on systems, education, Resilience, and advocacy for children. Teri enjoys anything to do with the out-of-doors and sunshine and blue sky in her spare time


Rick Griffin

Executive Director

Rick (he/him) is the Executive Director for CRI. Rick holds a Masters degree in Education and uses his education to develop cutting-edge content and to deliver engaging presentations. He speaks to thousands of groups from all over the country and is widely recognized for his work with trauma-informed practices. His experience allows him to consult seamlessly with schools, businesses, and community organizations.

Becky Turner

Director of Community Engagement

Becky Turner (she/her) joined the CRI team as Director of Community Engagement in September 2022. A homegrown Walla Walla Valley resident, Becky has worked as a public school teacher and in the local nonprofit sphere. As the former Executive Director of the STAR Project, she and her team provided reentry services to people after incarceration. Becky is also an active volunteer in the community of Walla Walla, and a member of the local Reach Out coalition to prevent suicide. Eager to put her first-hand knowledge of the community to good use, Becky looks forward to bringing CRI’s trauma-informed and resilience-focused training to all sectors of the Walla Walla Valley. When she’s not working on making connections in the community, Becky enjoys gardening and having weekly Sunday dinners with her extended family, where she is the assigned dessert maker.

Board Members


Kelly Jedd McKenzie

Board President

Kelly (she/her) is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst at the Administration for Children and Families in Washington DC, where she works on research and evaluation related to home visiting, child welfare, and human trafficking. Kelly’s involvement with CRI began in 2010 when she became an intern with CRI as a Whitman College student. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Child Development from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, where she researched the impacts of adversity and trauma on brain development. Kelly was a Fellow with Doris Duke and the Society for Research in Child Development


Sonia Cole

Vice President

Sonia (she/her) supervises public child welfare in Walla Walla & Columbia Counties in WA state. She has worked in public child protection and welfare for over 30 years. Since her introduction to CRI in 2008, Sonia has used the knowledge and insight about trauma and resilience to help shift the local agency practices.

Ursula Volwiler

Secretary / treasurer

Ursula (she/her) joined CRI in 2020 after spending many years as a linguist in the corporate world, and then as an educator both at the elementary school and community college levels, working primarily with immigrant children and their families.  No matter where her career took her, the concept of resilience was always on her mind along with the question: Why do some people survive the most challenging environments, and even thrive, while others do not? She found her answer and a new professional home with CRI.  With her background in language management and education, she greatly enjoys working with her CRI team on developing new courses, adapting previous courses to changing needs, and sharing all of CRI’s work both in the classroom and during public events


Heather Rodriguez


Heather (she/her) currently works as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology at Walla Walla University and has her own part-time, mental health private practice, Restore & Evolve, LLC. She has worked in the mental health field with children and families for the past 20 years, specializing in the area of trauma treatment. She is the co-founder and former Program Coordinator of Children’s Home Society’s Triple Point program in Walla Walla serving youth who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Amy Winkle

New to the Board – biography coming soon!

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Karissa Luckett

New to the Board – biography coming soon!

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