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MEET our gritty TEAM

Brenna Oakey, Research Assistant

In 2020, Brenna graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Adams State University where she played soccer, presided over the Adams State chapter of Psi Chi (international honor society in psychology), and conducted grit research. Brenna now works as an assistant coach for the Adams State Women’s soccer team while she works with Rena and Phil on 365 GRIT. She brings knowledge, experience, and innovation to the research and develop of grit curriculum. She plans on attending graduate school in the near future to continue her studies in psychology

Rena Kirkland, PhD., Director of Research and Development

Rena Kirkland, PhD, is Co-Founder of 365 GRIT. Rena is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Adams State University where she teaches classes in lifespan development, statistics, research methods, and cognitive psychology. She completed a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology and a doctoral minor in Applied Statistics and Research Methods at the University of Northern Colorado. Rena’s current research endeavors are centered around grit and deliberate practice. Presently, she is examining how grit is related to identity development, parenting styles, and well-being, and how engaging in a grit process impacts social achievement. She is also teaching college students deliberate practice and examining how it impacts their achievement and retention rates.

Prior to her academic career, Rena was Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a continuing education instructor for the American Council on Exercise and International Sports Science Association. With a background in both exercise and psychological science, she has taught athletes, students and professionals how thought patterns profoundly impact all aspects of the human experience. Rena is passionate about helping individuals maximize their well-being through the 365 G.R.I.T. Process.

Phil Kassel, MACC, CPLC, President

Phil Kassel is Co-Founder of 365 G.R.I.T. He has extensive experience as an Executive / Senior level leader. He received his bachelor’s degree in Human Service and Recreational Management from Missouri Valley College and later earned his Master of Arts degree in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Phil’s focus of study was largely on shaping of human thought development over time immemorial. As a professional certified Life Coach, and serving on multiple boards, Phil has become proficient in key skills that effectively collaborate, illicit and strengthen the motivation and commitment growth in both individuals and teams.

Over the past 18 years, Phil has followed a path that aimed at developing vital leadership skills/growth, continuous improvement, business acumen, employee relations, strategic planning, coaching, and volunteer services leading diverse teams across multi-faceted organizations. Phil has a track record of helping to bring clarity, purpose, alignment, and vitality to individuals, teams and organizations within the spheres of for-profit, non-profit, and personal growth. This experience, coupled with his sports background, has allowed him to see clear common denominators, such as the people within an organization or team and non-negotiable principles, which are critical success factors in each of these spheres. Phil’s learning journey thru failure and success has continued to fuel his passion and resolve and has helped shape the 365 G.R.I.T. Process.

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