Staff

Lisa H. Thurau, Esq., Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director
David Walker, Chief Operating Officer/Training Director
Lany Or, Staff Attorney
Colleen Walker, Office Manager/Training Coordinator
Kolbe Phelps, Project Coordinator/Social Media Ambassador


Lisa H. Thurau, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer / Executive Director

In 2004, Lisa initiated a training with 180 officers in the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Transit Police to improve police/youth interactions, to increase officers’ skills in working with youth, and to support officers’ development of innovative approaches to policing large groups of teens in public transit areas. The impacts of her advocacy and training efforts led to an 84% reduction in juvenile arrests by the MBTA Transit Police. She conducted a training with over 100 officers in the Everett Police Department which led to a 50% reduction in juvenile arrests. Her assessment and training of 235 officers in the Cambridge Police Department led to 65% decline in juvenile arrests and a reorganization of the way that Department provides services to youth.

In 2009, Lisa founded Strategies for Youth, Inc., a nonprofit advocacy and training organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions. Working with Dr. Jeff Q. Bostic, Director of School Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Lisa built Strategies for Youth from the ground up without formal institutional or foundation support. Strategies for Youth is now a nationally known organization, working in 38 counties in 18 states. SFY is often consulted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education policing matters, policy development, and recommendations for best practices. Lisa writes and speaks on these topics to a wide array of police, youth-advocates, and legal audiences.

Prior to forming Strategies for Youth, from 1999 to 2008, Lisa served as policy specialist and then as Managing Director of the Juvenile Justice Center of Suffolk Law School. There, Lisa focused on public policy advocacy on behalf of court-involved teens. She monitored juveniles’ civil rights issues regarding police treatment, tracked trends in the Center’s cases, monitored and challenged legislation affecting youth in the juvenile justice system.

Lisa is a graduate of Barnard College and holds a Masters degree in Anthropology from Columbia University. She graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University in 1991. Before becoming an attorney, Lisa worked as a researcher and advocate for reform and improvement of the public education system in New York City. She worked as an Associate in the litigation department of Coudert Brothers, an international law firm on copyright and commercial litigation matters.

Contact Lisa at lht@strategiesforyouth.org


David Walker
Chief Operating Officer / Training Director

David Walker is the Chief Operating Officer & Training Director for Strategies for Youth.  David’s law enforcement career began as a Deputy for the Latah County Sheriff’s Office in Moscow, Idaho, where he was a member of the Latah County Tactical Emergency Response Team. He transferred to the Moscow, Idaho Police Department where he was a Patrol Officer and Investigator reaching the rank of Corporal. David helped to create and was the lead investigator for the Latah County Child Abuse Task Force.

An off-duty shoulder injury led David to make the decision to leave law enforcement in 1992, and he has spent the last 20+ years working for a variety of large, multinational companies in technical marketing and communications. During his career, David has developed and presented technical training and materials to audiences around the world.

David joined the Strategies for Youth team in 2014 as the Training Director, responsible for the development and delivery of SFY’s training programs nationally. In 2017 David accepted the role of Chief Operating Officer, broadening his focus to include business development and day-to-day operations management for the organization. David is an Indiana Law Enforcement Registered Training Provider, and has presented at the IACP National Conference as well as regional & state conferences.

Contact David at dw@strategiesforyouth.org


Lany Or
Staff Attorney

Lany Or is the Staff Attorney for Strategies for Youth. He has a diverse range of experience in the fields of education, criminal law, the foster care system, start-ups, and entrepreneurship. Lany began his career as a corps member in Teach For America and was based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lany taught high school Civics & Economics, Street Law, World History, and was the head coach of the Cross-Country team. Following his time in the classroom, Lany was the Program Manager at the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund (SVCF). While with SVCF, Lany oversaw all education programming for SVCF, which aimed to improve education outcomes for youth in foster care. He spearheaded the creation of new programs, awarded several million dollars in scholarships to former foster youth who were pursuing higher education, engaged in fundraising, outreach, advocacy, and worked extensively with corporate and government partners. Lany is also an experienced trial attorney having served as a deputy public defender with the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender. As a public defender, Lany represented indigent clients in a wide range of cases during all stages of the criminal justice process including jury trial. After his time in the courtroom, Lany transitioned to a start-up where he was the Chief Operating Officer of Parachute Teachers. His duties included overseeing the executive leadership team, developing company strategy, assisting in general counsel duties, and managing day-to-day operations among others.

Lany is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he majored in Political Science and minored in Chinese Studies. He graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law where his emphasis was in International and Comparative Law. He joined Strategies for Youth in 2019.

Contact Lany at lor@strategiesforyouth.org


Colleen Walker
Office Manager / Training Coordinator

Colleen Walker

Colleen Walker is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Idaho with a degree in textiles and design. Colleen’s professional experience includes working in banking as a bookkeeper, being a dispatcher for the Latah County Sheriff’s Office, and serving as a State of Idaho driver’s license examiner. She has taught at the collegiate level, and used her talent for color and design as an interior decorator. While raising two children, Colleen, along with her husband Dave, provided emergency foster care in their home for a number of kids over the years.

At SFY, Colleen is responsible for office operations and serves as the Training Coordinator, including logistical planning and preparation for SFY’s training events.

Contact Colleen at crw@strategiesforyouth.org


Kolbe Phelps
Project Coordinator / Social Media Ambassador

Kolbe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and is a Graduate of Suffolk University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. His professional experience includes working in healthcare as a certified nursing assistant and a social work administrative assistant at Our Lady of Peace Senior Living, as well as a transitional care manager at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Health Home program. Kolbe also has professional experience with law enforcement, working as a City Ranger in Niagara Falls, NY. He has volunteered at numerous agencies in his community since he was 13.

Contact Kolbe at kp@strategiesforyouth.org