We proudly collaborate across varied life experiences, backgrounds,
skill-sets and passions to practice and demonstrate
Variations of Excellence—as a part of the BRAVE way (in our name BRAVE - Building Resilience Awareness & Variations of Excellence).
FOUNDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Theresa Hardy is a credible messenger as an example of how someone can turn tragedies into triumphs. As a Black youth in the Seattle Public School District, she was provided with standardized curriculum and wasn't embraced to believe that she could do more and be more—both in school and beyond school. She suffered as a result—emotionally, mentally, socially, and academically—and perpetuated racial biases including becoming a high school drop-out.
Through hard work and grit, Theresa found and navigated her own path to success, which has included multiple college degrees and a fulfilling career journeying with people who experience similar struggles. Her goal is to help individuals and groups find a path to their own success. Theresa has used the tools and resources offered in BRAVE programs—dedicated to individuals accessing into their greatest potential. Theresa is a visionary and leader in social justice and personal development in schools and the workplace.
Theresa earned her Master of Arts in Information Technology Administrative Management at Central Washington University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science with a minor in Information Technology Administrative Management from the same institution.
For the past seven years, Theresa has developed personal development curriculum, facilitating personal development workshops, and empowering young people to embrace their brilliance. Recently, Theresa founded her own consulting agency—Spark Performance—with offerings both for adults and young people optimizing their career performance.
DIRECTOR, TRAILBLAZERS PROGRAM
Marissa McDowell is a Seattle native, having grown up in the Central District. She is the oldest child born to Lolita and Darnell McDowell. As a bi-racial (Black and Filipino) woman, Marissa found her way to the south to attend Clark Atlanta University, a Historically Black College. Marissa comes to us from an extensive background in education, working with students of all grades from PreK to 12th, specializing in Special Education and Early Intervention. She currently serves as the Director of the BRAVE Trailblazers program. Marissa is dedicated to bringing deeper awareness of Black history, and broadened educational curriculum that reflects the identities of students. Her day-to-day responsibilities include managing operations, cultivating relationships, curriculum development, designing programming for students and families and facilitating programs.
BOARD PROJECT MANAGER
Alicia Cunningham was born and raised in the Skyway / Bryn Mawr area of South Seattle. She attended Renton High School where she was involved in many extracurricular activities including soccer, gymnastics, and fastpitch. She pursued a degree in biology at Washington State University. Upon returning to Seattle, she began working for the University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs—tutoring students in the Early Scholars Outreach Program. For the last 13 years, she has served people of all ages through University of Washington Medicine at Harborview Medical Center. Alicia has invested in her own Renton High School community—coaching the school's gymnastics team for 5 years. She has since transitioned to coach soccer and basketball for her son's teams. She is very involved at her son's Talbot Hill Elementary School, and has a passion for helping kids in her community and advocating for the rights of others. Her son is a participant in BRAVE's Trailblazer program at Talbot Hill as a fourth grader.
Asha Tran teaches Spanish at South Seattle College. She has served as a mentor for the Mellon-funded initiative at the University of Washington entitled 'Reimagining the Humanities Ph.D. and Reaching New Publics. The experience has been profoundly rewarding, inspiring and productive.
Dr. JACQUELINE R. BUCKLEY
Dr. Jacqueline Buckley is a native of the Seattle area, having been born in the city, she was raised in Kent. A graduate of Kent-Meridian High School, with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology from Clark Atlanta University. Dr. Buckley holds a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Degree from New York College of Podiatric Medicine and attended residencies at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY and South Jersey Regional Center in Vineland, NJ.
Dr. Buckley has over 15 years of diverse experience and extensive training in foot and ankle surgery, Podiatric medicine, and wound care. Dr. Buckley has performed research on Cadaveric Achilles Tendon Transplantation, Tendon Repair, and Amnion. As the owner and Chief Medical Officer for Roka Foot and Ankle Centers, she uses her training for the management of fractures, common sports injuries and foot and ankle ailments. Dr. Buckley is on staff at Kindred Hospital and Providence Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Buckley is active in her community and in addition to her medical practice, she lectures on Diabetic foot care and management. She is a founding member and Chairperson of the executive board for a Seattle based track team. Dr. Buckley also served on the sidelines as the team doctor for a local youth football team.
Dr. Buckley also holds a certification in Evidence Based Executive Coaching from Fielding Graduate University where she coaches and consults thought leaders with such as Microsoft executives, Grammy Award nominated recording artists and entrepreneurs.
Kristen Ford is originally from the east coast, having lived in Baltimore and New York before moving to Seattle in 2019. Kristen currently works in Treasury at Amazon. She is an active member of the local finance community, volunteering with local organizations in career mentorship capacities. Before moving to Seattle, Kristen worked in large banks including Morgan Stanley and Barclays and was on the young professionals board for a New York City-based nonprofit promoting children’s literacy.
Kristen holds a bachelor's degree in Finance from Loyola University Maryland, where she was also a member of the cross-country and track teams, and is an avid runner still today.