top of page
Holding Hands

Our Mission

Holistic Performance Initiative provides leadership, communication, and other foundational skills training to historically and culturally excluded populations to empower them to reach their economic and social goals.


Board of Directors

D. Melissa Averett, Esq., Chair

Melissa Averett is Founder and Managing Attorney at Averett Family Law in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has been a NC Board Certified Family Law Specialist since 2009. From 2000-2008, she was the Executive Director of Domestic Violence Civil Legal Services, Inc., a 501-c-3 non-profit law firm that she established to serve indigent victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault in civil cases such as protective orders, child custody, and divorce. She has served as an expert witness in domestic violence cases, conducted monthly seminars on NC family law, and served as a guest lecturer at the University School of Law Chapel Hill on Trauma-informed Legal Representation. She is frequently asked to present on a wide variety of family law issues at legal conferences across the United States and abroad.

Lisa Pualine Kale, LMSW, Vice Chair

Pauli Kale is social worker and entrepreneur currently serving as the Regional Care Coordination Supervisor for Alabama Select, who provide the managed care contract for the Integrated Care Network (ICN) with Alabama Medicaid.  She previously served the United States Air Force and Covenant Hospice (Pensacola, FL) providing Elder support and support for families in crisis in the US and Italy.

Ms. Kale holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of West Florida and a Master’s of Social Work from Barry University. She has held various positions such as chairperson, vice chair and secretary in philanthropic organizations before joining HPI.

Deforest Rainey, Secretary-Treasurer

Deforrest Rainey is the second generation owner of Rainey’s Cleaning Service and Lawn Care in Decatur AL.  After completing his bachelor's degree in Finance at Alabama A&M University and earning his master's degree in Business Management from Georgia Tech, Deforrest took over the company which was founded by his father. 


He has been an active volunteer with the Limestone County NAACP, devoting time and attention to various civic needs. He is passionate about the overlapping goals of the NAACP and HPI of promoting social justice and advancing the economic, educational, social, and political status of black people and other minority groups. He also serves on the board of the Fun in the Sun Convention. Deforrest brings prior experience as a fundraiser and event chairperson throughout Alabama and Northwest Florida to his role as treasurer and member of the board of directors of Holistic Performance Initiative.



Dr. Ryan Cate Gibson, Co-Director

 ​is a founding member of Holistic Performance Group. She has spent over 30 years developing and delivering multi-lingual, cross-cultural curricula and e-learning solutions for educational institutions, social service organizations and government ministries in Asia, Europe and the US. Leadership Development has been at the core of her international work, resulting in collaborative programs for underserved women and immigrants in Oman and Italy.  She is also a documentary filmmaker and author, who has lectured at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. She received her PhD in Reading and Literacy from Alabama A & M University. 

ryan pro headshot.jpg
Thea Harvey-Barratt, Co-Director

is a founding member and serves as our instructional designer and training director. Thea has over 25 years’ experience as an executive and entrepreneur across a wide range of operations. As a leader and manager of administration, programs, and community outreach of an international economics nonprofit, she was responsible for supporting and building a strong leadership team for the organization. She has been a managing editor of a peer-reviewed online journal, publisher of a quarterly print newsletter, and served as an outreach and social media strategist for science advocacy. She organizes events, and manages projects, finances, and personnel. Thea mentors other women on a volunteer basis, and serves on her town Ethics Board.​

Thea pro headshot.pdf.jpg
bottom of page