Our Support Staff

Our Support Staff

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.

Michelle Lasko

Client Relationship Manager, Olympia Office

Michelle is from Lynnwood, Washington, and now lives in Lacey. 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 manager. She’s very familiar with the tax terms and documents that Zale’s clients navigate through each year. She knows how to use all Commonwealth's services very efficiently, and provides Zale with all types of adminstrative support.

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. They have two children, Morgan and Thad. Morgan is a senior in high school, and is a member of the school soccer, gymnastics and track teams. She will be busy with college applicaitons soon. Thad is working full time delivering packages on Joint Base Lewis McChord. The whole family went on their first cruise in August. All four of the Caribbean ports they visited were damanged by hurricanes later in the year. Michelle loved this trip, and will definitely go on more cruises in the future. She also loves the 2016 Mazda Miata that James gave her for her birthday this year....She has only let him drive it a few times!

Gerrilynn Lindley

Office Manager, Olympia Office

Since Todd moved his business to Pillar Financial Group in late 2016, Gerrilynn has continued in her role as his operations manager. She 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. When they first started, she and Todd were the only two people in the office, but over the years, they 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.  

While they lived in Montesano, Gerrilynn served the community in many roles, primarily with the Montesano Youth Soccer Club and the Montesano Presbyterian Church. 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 and Todd purchased a home in Olympia in 2017 on the 17th hole of the Indian Summer Golf Course. They love this location because Todd gets to golf to his heart's content, and because it's just one mile from the office. They are in the process of updating and remodeling the home. The most significant project they took on was jackhammering and removing all the tile floors...a project they did themselves with the help of friends! Gerrilynn and Todd's daughter, Marisa, and their son, Jayce, also live in Olympia. Having them both nearby makes both Gerrilynn and Todd very happy. Marisa works with them at Pillar Financial Group, and Jayce is finishing up a program in mechatronics, recently completing an internship at Boeing.

In her spare time, Gerrilynn is a member of a Bible study group, and she 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. This year her favorite players are Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin.  She and Todd make it a priority to watch their games even when they are off for a quick getaway to their Scottsdale condo.

Katherine Butcher

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.

Marisa Lindley

Client Service Associate, Olympia Office

Marisa joined Lindley Financial in early 2016, just as her parents were planning 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.  Since joining the firm, Marisa has been getting to know her dad's clients, and learning to navigate all the paperwork that financial planning requires.  Her attention to detail really helps to assure that all client needs are met quickly and accurately.                                                  

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. The focus of her sociology studies was race and ethnicity, background that is very relevant in today's world. She loved the down-to-earth, friendly atmosphere on the WWU campus.  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.

Marisa shares her Olympia apartement with her brother, Jayce. They enjoy each other's company, and together recently adopted two kittens, Zena and Rufio. These two are very active and curious, providing entertainment whenever they are awake!



Semra Thompson

Client Relationship Manager, Vancouver Office

Semra joined Kathleen in the Vancouver office in May, 2018.  She and her family are relatively new to the Pacific Northwest, having moved to Vancouver 4 years ago from sunny Florida.  She grew up in New Hampshire, a part of the country almost as far away as Florida, in a small town that that had just one blinking yellow light during the years she lived there.  She was anxious to see other parts of the country when she graduated from high school, so she started by moving to Ogden, Utah, going there to take business courses at Weber State University.  Wanderlust took her to on Florida, where she met her husband, Andy, and began a family.  A job opportunity for Andy brought them to Vancouver, where he is now the northwest regional sales manager for Doorking, a company that supplies all things door and gate related.

While in Florida Semra worked in the call center for Nextel, in a job where she learned customer service skills very well.  This has provided great background for her work as client relationship manager for Kathleen.  She also worked as the office manager for a small company that installed gates.  Here she was responsible for almost all aspects of running the office, a job which honed her organizational skills.  As Kathleen’s Client Relationship Manager, Semra coordinates work flow in the office, handles follow up after client meetings, and provides ongoing support and service for Kathleen and her clients.

Semra and Andy have three children, Elijah, Lily and Violet.  Elijah is a freshman in high school and is part of the STEM program there.  He’s been playing soccer since he was just 5 years old and hopes that the work load in high school will allow him to continue this. Lily is in the 5th grade and participates in any and all sports activities that are offered at her school.  She also plays the guitar and is part of the worship team at her church.   Violet, a first grader, loves everything about gymnastics and is an avid reader, having learned to read very early….at age 2, to be exact.  

Semra is active in women’s programs at her church and enjoys playing all types of games with her family…board games, computer games, and console games.  They are all looking forward to their upcoming three-week vacation back home to New Hampshire.  She and Andy are searching for a home to buy in Vancouver, a process that is exciting and frustrating at the same time. 

Semra is a Turkish name, and one of its meanings is “exhuberance”.  Kathleen thinks this definition fits Semra perfectly!

Allison Bafus

Client Relationship Manager, Spokane office

Allison has been working part time alongside her husband, Chris, and Keith Radmaker in the Spokane office since February 2017. Since she has listened to Chris and Keith talk about their work for the past 17 years she was quite familiar with what the job requirements would be, and has been delighted to get to know their clients. As their Client Relationship Manager, Allison coordinates work flow in the office, handles follow up after client meetings, and provides ongoing support and service for Chris and Keith and their clients.

After getting her degree in marketing at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Allison worked for Zak Designs, a children's dinnerware company located in Airway Heights, a Spokane suburb. When her daughter, Chloe, was born in 2004 she left the company to stay home with her. Twins Gwen and Cole joined Chloe in 2006, and Allison's life has been filled with her children's activities ever since.

Besides volunteering in the children's classrooms, Allison is very involved with their sports teams. All three of them participate in premier soccer clubs (the hightest level of club soccer competition). Chloe also participates in volleyball and basketball, the twins are also in cross country. All of that equates to a lot of practices and games! When soccer tournaments are in different parts of the state, Allison and Chris make it a point to plan something extra, like going to a Seattle Sounders game, to make the trip special.

In fact, Allison and Chris make every effort to create family memories. Every summer they camp or rent a vacation house with a group of friends, some of whom they ave known since childhood, all with children of their own. They snow ski every weekend they can in the winter (which is every weekend they don't have a soccer tournament to go to), and they go to Allison's family's cabin at Lake Cocolalla in North Idaho as much as possible in the summer for boating, water skiing, tubing and fishing. Allison's extended family all live in the Spokane area, and so does Chris's, and they are thankful for the support and comradery this provides.

Ashley Powell

Administrative Assistant, Anchorage/Republic Office

Ashley joined Avi and Neal in 2016 after graduating 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 came to know 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, she also played in the pit for several musicals on her modern violin. She has taken on a major new musical challenge recently, teaching nine children age 6 through 9, to play the violin. They thrive on competition, she says, and they are all making slow but steady progress.

She likes her position as an administrative assistant because it gives her the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with clients. She handles all the paperwork and follow up needs for Avia nd Neal very proactively, and makes sure that the office is functioning efficiently.

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. In their spare time, 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. They are looking forward to taking a European cruise in 2018 with Ashley's grandparents, visiting eight different countries. Ashley also enjoys taking Jazzercise classes, especially since her mother is the teacher!

Maki Tanihara-Lyness

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. She got to stay with them for six months in 2017 while Shane was deployed to Iraq, but she's back in Texas now. She and Shane are hoping he will be assigned to a California base before long.

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. She's learning to love things about Texas, too, starting with Texas food, especially barbeque. She and Shane live fairly close to Austin and enjoy the culture and restaurants in that well-known city. Another thing she loves about her part of Texas is the lack of serious traffic. Each time she visits her family in San Francisco she finds that the bay area traffic has become even worse, though that seems impossible. One thing she has had to get used to in Texas are the insects and spiders. The wolf spiders there are particularly intimidating!

Maki has a two year old son,  Oliver, who takes most of her time these days. He is a very busy little boy, and she is looking forward to the "terrible twos" hopefully transitioning to the "trusting threes". 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.