Our client relationship managers are an indispensable part of our team. In each office they handle dozens of client questions on a daily basis, expedite processing of all types of forms, maintain accurate client information, and assist with business management processes. They are committed to providing the very best customer service, communicating with clients clearly and graciously.
Client Relationship Manager, Olympia Office
Michelle is from Lynnwood, Washington, and now lives in Lacey, but after getting her AA degree in accounting from Edmonds Community College she moved frequently with her husband, James, when he was in the Army. They lived in North Carolina, Hawaii, California, Arizona, Virginia, and Germany before settling back in the Northwest in 2005 when James’ last assignment was at Joint Base Lewis McCord. Along the way, Michelle prepared tax returns during tax season and took the occasional unusual position, such as being inventory control manager at a chili pepper processing plant in Arizona.
Michelle started working for Zale in 2008, and her background in accounting has been a big asset in her position as a client relationship specialist. She’s very familiar with the tax terms and documents that Zale’s clients navigate through each year. Her hours can be flexible when necessary, which is a big help to her, considering that her daughter, Morgan, is very committed to gymnastics. Morgan is 16 years old and has been in gymnastics since she was 5. She is particularly skilled on the balance beam and in floor exercise. Michelle has spent countless hours volunteering for Morgan’s team at fund-raising events and in event concession booths. She and James also have a 21-year-old son, Tad, who will soon be starting an EMT training course.
James now works as a military contractor, so he’s usually gone for two months, then home for two months. During the two months he’s home, he and Michelle like to go hiking on the Olympic Peninsula or tandem kayaking in the lakes around Olympia or in Puget Sound. This past summer, they went to Norway to visit Nora, the foreign exchange student they hosted last year. They enjoyed going on multiple beautiful hikes while they were there. Michelle particularly enjoyed hiking the Bessegen trail, which National Geographic has called one of the 20 best hikes in the world. The hike goes along a mountain ridge, with Gjende Lake on one side, which is green, and Bessavatnet Lake on the other side, which is blue. The trail is challenging and a bit frightening; Michelle joked that she was glad to know that all of their life insurance premiums were current!
Office Manager, Olympia Office
Gerrilynn has worked side by side with Todd ever since they started Lindley Financial in Montesano 33 years ago. She is intimately familiar with every aspect of the business, and knows Todd’s clients nearly as well as he does. Over the years, she and Todd added other staff members, and now she is able to focus primarily on operations, making sure the business is running smoothly. Still, their clients are her primary interest, and she shares and understands their life experiences. Gerrilynn’s mother was severely disabled by multiple sclerosis so she knows the meaning of sacrifice and compassion very well.
Gerrilynn grew up in Shelton, and met Todd while they were both attending Western Washington University. They were married before Gerrilynn finished at WWU, so after they moved to Montesano she finished her degree in management and the public interest at The Evergreen State College.
Like her husband, Gerrilynn served the Montesano community in many roles. She held several administrative roles for 16 years with the Montesano Youth Soccer Club, recently finishing a term as treasurer. She was also active in the Montesano Presbyterian Church, serving a term as chairperson of the finance committee. The volunteer position that currently energizes her is serving on the board of directors for the Alumni Association of Western Washington University. As a member of the scholarship committee, she loves helping to choose which students will receive one of the 70+ scholarships awarded each year.
Gerrilynn will miss all the emotional ties she had in Montesano now that the family and business have moved to Olympia to join the Pillar Financial Group. She notes, though, that all the logistics for planning such a move fell into place, and everyone involved was excited for this change. Gerrilynn and Todd’s daughter, Marisa, works with them, so she moved, too, and their son, Jayce, already lives in Olympia, so they will be able to see him more often.
In her spare time, Gerrilynn is an avid reader, enjoying a wide genre of books. She, Todd, and everyone else from the Olympia office of Pillar Financial Group are huge Seattle Seahawks fans. She and Todd make it a priority to find their games even when spending time in their Scottsdale condo for quick getaways!
Client Service Specialist, Olympia Office
Katherine is from Aberdeen, Washington, where she returned to in 2009 after receiving her bachelor's degree in business administration and finishing her collegiate basketball career at Chaminade University of Honolulu, in Hawaii, which included a three-month semi-professional international playing experience throughout the northern half of Italy.
After just a few months of moving back to the area, Katherine started her business career with Todd in a receptionist position that quickly evolved into a specialist role handling all client relationship matters and planner assistant work. In 2010, Katherine became FINRA Series 6 and 63 securities registered. She has grown to be depended on by both clients and Todd as his right-hand help, becoming very familiar with the various documents and paperwork that Todd's clients navigate through each year, as well as streamlining office procedures and workflows for staff and advisors. Katherine has always had an eye for detail and did some short-term study in graphic design. With this additional skill set and keen eye for beautiful printed work, she is the creator behind all of Todd's client event invitations and sponsor ads.
In 2013, Katherine married her husband, Gary, taking on the role of stepmom to four amazing teenagers who have kept her completely busy in her out-of-office hours. In late 2015, Katherine and Gary also opened their home to twin girls, 8 years old at the time, for adoption. At that time, her hours were changed to allow more flexibility in helping her new daughters adjust to life in their family and support their continuing growth as extraordinary little girls (who enjoy the ongoing prank-war with Todd during the occasional office visit). In her spare time, Katherine assists in running books for Gary's independent general contracting business, which he started in mid-2016, freeing up his schedule to mirror Katherine's flexible hours so both could be more available for their family in such a crucial growing time for their kids. In their spare time (which doesn't happen often with six kids), Katherine and Gary enjoy movie and sushi dates, cooking together, and sleeping.
Katherine is excited for the recent merger of Todd and Zale's practices, and is enjoying being a part of the Pillar Financial Group team, bringing her client relationship, paperwork knowledge, and work management experience to all staff and clientele.
Client Service Associate, Olympia Office
Marisa was unexpectedly delighted when her parents asked her to join Lindley Financial in early 2016. They knew they needed extra help as they planned their move from Montesano to Olympia to merge their business with Pillar Financial Group. Marisa hadn’t planned to be part of the family business, but she had come to realize that what she wanted from a career was exactly what financial planning offered: a way to offer help that people need very much, to make a difference in a community, and to form lasting relationships in the process.
Marisa grew up in Montesano, and spent her free time playing soccer and developing her creative skills. She played soccer from the time she was 4 years old, finishing as a varsity player on her high school team. She took art classes regularly and volunteered for every school or community art project that she could. She taught herself HTML by examining code and learned the basics of graphic design and website development, both skills she utilizes regularly as an adult. She likes to paint and loves calligraphy, noting that her office memos are much fancier than they need to be!
After high school, Marisa went to Western Washington University where she graduated with a degree in sociology and a minor in business administration in 2015. She was happy for the new opportunities, and loved the down-to-earth, friendly atmosphere on campus. While there, she met her boyfriend, who is now a law student in Washington, D.C.
After college, Marisa worked for a year in the human resources department for a manufacturing firm in Seattle. The job experience she gained there was valuable, so when her parents asked her to join the family business, she was ready for the responsibility and growth the position would require.
Since joining Lindley Financial, Marisa has been introducing herself to her dad’s clients, and learning to navigate all the paperwork that financial planning requires. Her extra attention to detail helped to make the move to Pillar Financial Group go very smoothly. Over time, she will get her securities licenses and begin financial planning education courses. She is enjoying her new apartment in Olympia, exploring the city, and meeting up with old friends who have also moved there.
Client Relationship Manager, Vancouver Office
Meeting her responsibilities as a client relationship manager comes easily to Jovie, as she has 25 years of experience in the financial industry behind her. She grew up in Los Angeles, and, after high school, she started with the Federal Reserve Bank, working in the Automated Clearing House (ACH) division. Unfortunately, this background with the Fed doesn’t mean she has any inside knowledge about what will happen to interest rates! Coursework at Santa Monica Community College and a certificate in computer operations moved her career along. After a one-year stint in Hawaii, she moved to Oregon where she was self-employed for a few years as a consultant for banks, teaching the details of ACH. She also worked for Ernst and Young in the health care division and has sales experience in the cemetery industry.
After that, she met her husband, Mark, an Englishman, and they lived in Darlington, England, for the first two years of their marriage. While there, she worked for Cummins Engines and spent time drawing close to her extended family. Jovie and Mark returned to the United States in 2009, and Jovie worked as an account manager for a physical therapy software company in Portland, Oregon, before joining Kathleen in 2014.
Mark (Jovie's husband) is a senior financial analyst for a banking software company, and her daughter, Brenna, works at Oregon Health and Science University. Jovie is an animal lover and recently welcomed a new puppy, Ana, into her home. Ana is half Jagdterrier and half Airedale and is pretty well behaved for a puppy. She and Mark also have two beehives and like to garden and bicycle together. She’s expecting her first honey harvest next spring. She likes naturopathic medical solutions.
Administrative Assistant, Anchorage/Republic Office
Ashley joined Avi and Neal recently, after graduating in May 2016 from Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon, with a degree in music performance and an emphasis in American Sign Language. Ashley was born and raised in Anchorage, along with her five siblings. Her mother and Avi have been good friends since meeting in a high school youth symphony, and through that friendship Ashley joined Neal and Avi. She is an accomplished violinist and performed as a member of a Baroque ensemble while in college, playing the Baroque violin and the tenor and bass viola de gamba, in addition to playing in the pit for several musicals on her modern violin. She hopes to find similar roles in Anchorage soon.
Ashley works part time with Avi and Neal, in addition to managing a gift shop in downtown Anchorage. She is excited about her position as an administrative assistant because it gives her the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with clients, a welcome change from the short interactions she has in the retail setting.
Ashley was married in September 2016 in Seward, Alaska, which she describes as one of the most beautiful, peaceful places in the world. Her husband, Nico, is from the South, and now works as a computer technician in Anchorage. He’s a long way from home but is happy being an Alaskan transplant. He and Ashley are avid online gamers, their favorite being “World of Warcraft.” Their black cat, Sinestra, named for a character in “World of Warcraft” and is beloved by both of them.
Administrative Assistant, Anchorage/Republic Office
Maki worked for Avi and Neal for four years in Anchorage and now works remotely from her new home in Killeen, Texas. Her husband, Shane Lyness, works in field artillery for the U.S. Army, so she has already lived in three very different places: North Carolina, Alaska, and Texas. Maki grew up in San Francisco where her parents own a restaurant, Tani’s Kitchen. She helped in the restaurant from a very young age and used the skills she learned there at Starbucks, where she waited tables to work her way through college. Maki’s whole family still lives in the Bay area, and she loves returning to visit them for San Francisco’s vibrant, diverse culture and its excellent food.
Maki is learning to love Texas food now, especially barbeque, and is happy to be back in a part of the country with fresh fruit, which is sometimes hard to come by in Anchorage. She and Shane live fairly close to Austin and enjoy the culture and restaurants in that well-known city. Maki loved her time in Alaska and misses many things: berry picking, snow and sledding in the snow, and dip-net fishing at Kenai beach. There aren’t many bugs in Alaska, except mosquitoes, so she’s having to get used to Texas insects and spiders. The wolf spiders there are particularly intimidating!
Maki has a baby boy, Oliver, who takes most of her time these days. The flexibility provided by working remotely has been perfect for Maki, as she can adjust her hours to Oliver’s needs, and Neal and Avi are very happy to continue to have her helping them.
Liu Hsiu Kuo
Client Relationship Manager, Republic Office
Liu Hsiu hails from the other side of the world, having grown up in Taiwan. Her musical talent was evident from an early age. She learned to play the piano by age four and spent nearly all her evenings throughout her childhood practicing the piano and the harp. She completed her basic college education In Taiwan, emphasizing music, and subsequently moved to Germany to continue her studies. Eventually, she completed a PhD in music at the Cincinnati Music Conservatory and is now an internationally recognized harpist. She has played at multiple important events; the most recent was the inauguration ceremony held at the Taiwanese Consulate in Seattle for the new Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen.
Liu Hsiu can play virtually any instrument, but her favorites are the harp and the piano. In 2008, she started working as a music therapist at Providence Alaska Medical Center. She roamed the hospital, playing her harp for all the patients who wanted to hear her, tailoring what she played to each person’s music preferences. Her music was often transformative, helping the patients to acknowledge the unspoken emotions that are present during illness, injury, or the dying process.
She met Neal Martin in 2009 at music event, where she spontaneously began accompanying him on the piano as he was playing the Native American flute. They were married six months after they met. She works with him now in their home office in Republic, helping him particularly with planning and with relationship building. She hopes to start a music retreat center on the lower floor of their home, where people can come to nurture and explore their own personal connections to music. In preparation for this, she has developed a program she calls “A Music First Aid Kit,” which she has taught several times, most recently at Spokane Community College.
Like her husband Neal, Liu Hsiu has studied at the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy. Viktor Frankl was a German psychiatrist who survived four concentration camps in World War II. After the war he developed logotherapy, a type of therapy that focuses on how people search for meaning in their lives, and wrote his classic textbook, Man’s Search for Meaning.