MEET OUR STAFF
Cassandra Lively, Ph.D.
Cassandra Lively, Ph.D. has been on staff at CCR since 2005 in a variety of roles, and now leads the organization’s staff of 12 and dedicated group of more than 180 volunteers in providing the highest quality mediation services and training to the Chicagoland area. During her time at CCR, Cassie has mediated over 350 cases and assisted in the training of more than 250 new mediators. Cassie serves as a Tri-Chair for the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Community Mediation and Restorative Practices Section. She earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago in 2010 with a focus in work, family and gender.
Finance and Operations Director
Whitney Trumble has more than 16 years of experience volunteering, interning and working in the non-profit sector, with a specific focus on international relations, women’s human rights and conflict resolution. After completing her Master’s program from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2009, Whitney returned to her home state of Illinois to work in alternative dispute resolution, first with Resolution Systems Institute and then with CCR. Before assuming her current position, Whitney worked with the Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program as a case manager and then Supervisor of Case Management.
Carolyn D. Agee has been with CCR since 2007. She began her career in administration at Chicago Metropolitan Mutual Assurance Company as a Policy Adjuster and later an Accounting Clerk. She worked in administration at Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the Accounting, Buying, Controller’s, Credit, Quality Control and Pension Departments at Sears Tower and Hoffman Estates, IL. Carolyn worked as Executive Administrative Assistant to the President of United Insurance Company of America, the Vice President of Agency and the Vice President of Human Relations. Prior to coming to CCR, Carolyn worked in the Judges Department at the Chicago Board of Elections
Rae Kyritsi, J.D. is a certified mediator of civil, criminal, elder, and family disputes and a certified trainer. She also works as an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation, as well as coaching students for the Vis Moot International Commercial Arbitration Competition. She has facilitated community forums and has organized non-profits and LLCs through consensus building. Rae earned her J.D. from Loyola (’12) and her B.A. from UW-Madison (’05).
Maia first became interested in alternative dispute resolution while pursuing a degree in Community and Justice Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2014, Maia trained with the New York Peace Institute’s community mediation program and volunteered there. Since 2015, she has worked at the Center for Conflict Resolution as a Programs Manager and support staff for CCR’s training department. Maia manages the follow-up portion of CCR’s Juvenile Victim-Offender and Family Mediation Program and acts as CCR’s community liaison in Chicago’s restorative justice networks.
Bilingual Programs Manager
Gabriel Herrera joined CCR as a Bilingual Programs Manager in 2018 after completing a Master’s in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. While in graduate school, Gabriel worked with Migration and Refugee Services, supporting refugee individuals and families navigate the resettlement process and begin their new lives in the United States. He also served as a research fellow for George Mason’s Center for the Study of Narrative studying the impact of gentrification on community belonging. Previously, Gabriel taught English in Madrid, Spain as a North American Culture and Language Ambassador after earning his B.A. in Nonprofit Public Relations from Boston University.
Israel completed a Master’s in Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University in 2008, where he also gained experience working with the UCLA Ombuds Office and by volunteering as a mediator in the Los Angeles County Circuit Courts. During a stint in small business development here in Chicago, he began volunteering with CCR in 2013 and joined as a full-time member of the Programs Management Team in April of 2014. Along with the rest of the team, he currently supervises our volunteers performing on-site mediations for small claims disputes, eviction cases, and juvenile criminal misdemeanors in the Cook County Circuit Courts as well as managing and mediating our in-office cases. Additionally, Israel oversees the onboarding of new volunteers for CCR, chairing the Selection Committee, managing the matching of mentors and mentees, and guiding new mediators through the training process to certification.
Bilingual Programs Manager
Lea is the Bilingual Programs Manager at CCR. Prior to joining CCR, Leandra worked as a parent liaison for the Illinois Migrant Education Program, providing services and assistance to Latino migrant workers in the Central Illinois area. She was also a medical interpreter at Carle Foundation Hospital, where she acted as a cultural consultant to staff and as an advocate for non-English speaking patients and their families. She received her MA in Latin American Studies from the Complutense University of Madrid (’12) and her B.A. in Political Science from U of I (’10).
Pari Karim manages numerous training programs, including CCR’s 40-Hour Mediation Skills Training. Since 2008, Pari has been a volunteer mediator and trainer at CCR. She received her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2010, earning a certificate in Labor and Employment Law. Additionally, she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. Prior to her current position, Pari served as the Assistant Director of Mediation Services, providing support and supervision to CCR’s vast pool of volunteer mediators. She mediates frequently in all of CCR’s programs and also provides facilitation services. Pari is also Adjunct Faculty at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her interest in ADR comes from a belief that the people experiencing the conflict are those best able to resolve the conflict.
Larissa is the Training Associate at the Center for Conflict Resolution. While attending law school in 2012, Larissa became a CCR certified mediator and has continued mediating cases regarding civil matters, criminal misdemeanors and fee disputes. After receiving her J.D. and L.L.M. in Trial Ad and Alternative Dispute Resolution from The John Marshall Law School, Larissa has been an involved alumnus by teaching at the John Marshall Conflict Resolution Institute (CRI) and coaching ABA mediation and negotiation competition teams. Larissa is a presenter, facilitator and trainer for law firms, corporations, schools and government agencies. A former member of CCR’s Volunteer Council, Larissa now serves on the Board at the Association for Conflict Resolution, Chicago Chapter. Larissa’s interest in ADR comes from an appreciation that there are multiple ways to work through a problem. She particularly enjoys introducing people to mediation and guiding new mediators through the process.