Our Board of Directors & Advisers

//Our Board of Directors & Advisers
Our Board of Directors & Advisers2019-10-17T10:27:02-08:00

Our voting board and community advisory groups are comprised of a diverse range of professionals with numerous ties to the communities we serve.

Homes First is a certified CHDO organization and is actively seeking Board members who represent the low-income community.  This includes members of Boards from Neighborhood Associations who serve the low-income community or those who are members of the low-income community themselves.

Homes First accepts new board member application each September with the goal of having new members join the board in January each year.  For more information call 360-236-0920 or president@homesfirst.org

President, Amal Joury, Certification Analyst, WA Dept of Women & Minority Enterprises

Amal joined the Board in February 2016. Although her community leadership experience is limited due to her recent arrival in Olympia, she has become involved with several committees for Olympia Master Builders.  Amal is working with the Goldstein law firm to increase their activities and leadership within the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. She has, in her prior East Coast life, been active in organizing opportunities for work colleagues to volunteer their time with Rosie’s Place and Community Servings.  She currently serves on the board of the Capitol Chapter of Washington Women Lawyers.

Amal’s unique skills come from eight years of serving as an attorney for a third party administrator to executive boards in the securities industry. She is comfortable with running meetings, taking minutes and ensuring that all items on an agenda get attention, as well as preparing resolutions and responding to board questions. She has spent the last year as an attorney in private practice in Olympia developing a network of professional connections that she believes will benefit Homes First.

 Vice President, Chris Lester, Business Development Manager, Thurston County Title

Born in Longview, Chris joined Homes First Board in 2017 and in August 2018, stepped up to be the Vice President.  Living in our area for his entire life and raising a family here, he knows that serving his community is a lifelong passion.

You may have seen Chris around in his role at Thurston County Title or as the owner of The Tailgate BBQ.  Chris has also been a Volunteer Firefighter for Black Lake Fire Department. Working for Thurston County Title as their Business Development Manager has led him to many new opportunities to serve. Some include: Homes First, Thurston County Realtors Association, Thurston County Multiple Listing Sales Association, Olympia Master Builders, and Yelm Professional Network.

Chris also volunteers his time wiht Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Homeless Backpacks, Tumwater Rotary, Tumwater Chamber of Commerce, Yelm Chamber of Commerce among other organizations.  He is also Vice President with Lacey Chamber of Commerce. Chris has stayed true to his dedication to community, passion for services for others and looks ahead to new opportunities.

Treasurer, Kai Neizman, VP & Loan Team Leader, Columbia Bank

A recent and welcome addition to our Board of Directors,  Kai exemplify the talented people we have in our community who support the mission of Homes First.  Kai has 12 years of banking experience and has been with Columbia Bank for 2 years.His previous experience was with First American and Bank of America. A graduate of the University of Hawaii with a degree in Business Administration, he will receive and an MBA in Finance from City University this coming June. He lives in Olympia with his wife of six years and their two children.He is also involved with the American Heart Association and Junior Achievement.

Secretary, Mary Roberts, Health Services Consultant, WA State Dept of Health

Mary, also a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, joined the board in February 2018, and brings a wealth of insight to the struggles of living at less than area median income.  Mary has a passion for serving the low income community and helps Homes First remember who we are here to serve.

Board Members

  • Thomasina Coooper,  Executive Assistant to Thurston County Commissioner Tye Menser
  • Leatta Dahlhoff, Toxics Reduction Specialist, WA Dept. of Ecology & City Council Member, City of Tumwater
  • Nate Peters, Annual Giving Manager, Saint Martins University
  • Jeannine Roe, Real Estate Broker, Greene Realty
  • Aaron Rodriguez, Owner, ACR Business Consulting
  • Michael Otter-Johnson, Saint Martin’s University
  • Dannette Molina, Talent Development Specialist, ResCare Youth Career Services
  • Kevin Sparks, Co-Owner, Glasscade Windows & Doors
  • Hallee Starborn,  Staff, Home Depot

Advisory Members

Policy Advisory

  • Rep. Andrew Barkis, State Representative, 2nd District / Owner, Hometown Properties

Project Development

  • Chuck Stewart, Community Lending, Fairway Mortgage
  • Rick Pitts, Olympia Federal Savings
  • Mark Kitabayashi, Windermere Real Estate

Marketing and Messaging Advisory Council

  • Monica Taylor, Olympia Federal Savings
  • Michael Otter-Johnson, Saint Martin’s University
  • Billie Jean Pineda, WSECU / Vanilla Whiskey Taco Design
  • Rebekah Finn, Finn Communications / Washington State Gambling Commission
  • Dan Livingston, Flying Colors Painting
Interested in becoming a board member?
Download our Board Member Application in an MSWord or PDF form.  Please contact our Board President, Russ Carstensen or our Chief Executive, Trudy Soucoup for more information.  info@homesfirst.org

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