One Page Bio | Video Bio

Who is Terie?

Terie Dreussi-Smith, M.A.Ed. has been an author/consultant with aha! Process since 1997 and is experienced in bringing diverse audiences to new understandings and paradigms with practical knowledge, humor, and sincerity. She presents an average of 70 days per year. Terie has years of both direct and midlevel management experience working with youth and adults in poverty. Her areas of expertise are health and wellness initiatives, K–12 education, higher education, alcohol and other drug prevention, community youth development, and community wellness. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

Terie presents

  • Bridges Out of Poverty
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty
  • Bridges Into Health
  • Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students
  • Hidden Rules of Class at Work
  • Getting Ahead Facilitation

Terie’s credentials


  • Master of Arts in Education, College of Mt. St. Joseph
  • Bachelor of Music, Kent State University

Work history

  • Music Educator
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Supervisor of Prevention, Community Youth Development, Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention/Wellness Initiatives
  • Grant Writer/Program Consultant


  • Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities (Co-author)
  • Bridges to Health and Healthcare (Co-author)

Terie’s aha! moment

For me, most memorable insights happened years ago in my community work brought on by our first encounter with Ruby Payne’s work. We looked at the same people, situations, and partnerships with brand new eyes, working together to design some pretty creative multi-systems programming for youth and families. It gave us “blue ocean” thinking—of course, we had no idea what that was at the time! We engaged youth and parents in poverty in new relationships at every level. All of this prepared us for writing Bridges Out of Poverty.

What motivates Terie?

The best part of this work is meeting the participants, engaging the audience, and unfolding the Bridges lens and strategies. What keeps all of us interested is how different individuals, organizations, and communities use the Bridges concepts in great and innovative approaches. It’s inspiring! The goal that motivates me is to work together reducing poverty, building social cohesion between economic classes, and creating a healthy and sustainable community. Who gets to do this as their day job? It is wonderful work!

Terie’s best training

Even though she has been presenting for more than 15 years, Terie looks forward to every event. She originally developed the Bridges Into Health workshop for aha! Process and has led the Health Sector Community of Practice, interacting with health professionals throughout the country who use Bridges in both public health and healthcare settings. Working with the health sector has brought fresh ideas and strategies to the Bridges Out of Poverty Community of Practice.

Terie says, “It is remarkable how fresh and vibrant this work remains. This is partly because of the big thinking of our aha! Process team, but mostly because of the unique insights of every individual and audience I am privileged to meet. My energy for this work increases with every year because of the growth of new ideas and applications. The only time it feels at all like ‘work’ is when I experience a missed flight connection. But the frequent complimentary upgrades to first class seem to make up for it!”

What does Terie do for fun?

Author/Writer, Public Speaker, Bicycle Rider, Hiker, Friend Seeker, Friend Keeper, Kayak Sailor, Devoted Sister and Friend, Aunt Extraordinaire, Ballroom Dancer, Vocalist, Family Archive Detective, Murder Mystery Lover, Honest Work in Progress, Favorite Actor: Robert Downey Jr., First-Generation American, Jazz Lover, Sane and Tolerant Vegetarian, Yankee Attitude with a Touch of Southern Charm.