About Catherine Parrill

Catherine Parrill is a speaker, author, consultant and thought-leader in the field of philanthropic response to poverty, and the founder and CEO of Creative Exchanges Initiative (CEI).


“Creating a more just and equitable world starts with relationships of equality, transparency, and trust. Changing conditions in the world starts with changing ourselves, and how we relate together. Building authentic relationships, where each voice is heard, is foundational to all work CEI undertakes. Only when the relationships are in place, are we ready to collaboratively tackling problems, projects, and programs.”

In addition to serving as CEO of Creative Exchanges Initiative, Cathy speaks at conferences and leads workshops internationally, and consults with consults with nonprofits that that want to move from older models of charitable work in Haiti into locally-led, sustainable development efforts. Her work in Haiti dates back to 1990. Cathy is an innovative educator who has taught all levels, kindergarten through college as well as trained teachers, both in the United States and in Haiti. She is committed to an integrated, ground-up approach to community transformation that re-orders relationships of inequality while creating economic viability and developing the potential of each one involved.

Catherine’s Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Music Education degrees are from Southern Illinois University. Her master’s work in Creative Writing was done at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Converse College. Her doctoral studies in choral conducting were done at the University of Kansas.


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