Founder and Ex officio Board President
Theresa Barila (she/her) is the founder and Board President 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.
Director of Training
Rick (he/him) is the Director of Training and Curriculum Development 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.
Operations and Community Impact Coordinator
Director of Community Engagement
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.
Colby (he/him) operates cdk imaging, a commercial photography and video company based in Walla Walla, Washington and a Sherwood Trust Community Leadership Program graduate. He has been helping CRI with marketing, design, and website management for the past 4 years.
Kelly Jedd McKenzie
Senior Social Science Research Analyst
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.