Our Team

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Theresa Barila

Founder, 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.

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Rick Griffin

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.

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Robin Glaeser

Operations and Community Impact Coordinator

Robin (she/her) is the bridge that connects CRI’s Training, Products, and Community Engagement “behind the scenes.” She is a business owner in tourism and spent many years in hospitality and HR managing teams throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. With CRI, her operational skills are matched with her aspiration to inspire healthier communities through resilience.

Board Members

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Colby Kuschatka

Vice President

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.

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Sonia Cole

Secretary

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.
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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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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.

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Nikki Sharp

Nikki (she/her) graduated from Walla Walla University with a master’s degree in Social Work. She has served the Walla Walla Community in the mental health setting for over 15 years and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is passionate about improved integration of services and trauma-informed care across all aspects of health. Nikki is originally from the westside of Washington, but when she moved here 20 years ago she decided to make Walla Walla her home. Nikki enjoys in her spare time pursuing fitness through CrossFit, time with her family and friends, and enjoying activities outdoors.
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Norma Arceo

Norma (she/her) is a co-owner with her sisters and the General Manager of Chiquillas Mexican House in Walla Walla. She is also the Founder and Director of Las Chiquillas Ballet Folklorio. History, family, and tradition are extremely important to her. Check out a video of Las Chiquillas Ballet in action.
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Yolanda Esquivel

Yolanda is the Center Director at Inspire Development Centers