Our Team

Attain Housing Board of Directors

Samantha St. John, Board President

CEO, Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce

Samantha St. John serves as the Executive Director for the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, the voice of the business community in the Greater Kirkland and Eastside area. During her seven years with the Chamber, she has helped to position Kirkland as a thriving place to do business. She is an active member of the East King County Chambers of Commerce Coalition, which brings together eleven Eastside Chambers to advocate for legislation and policies at the state level to support economic growth in our region.

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Samantha is a Kirkland native, and lives in the Rose Hill neighborhood with her boyfriend, Greg and their dog, Milo. She loves Kirkland and volunteers as often as possible with organizations helping to improve the livability and quality of life for all residents. In December 2016, she was awarded the Teddy Overleese Community Service Award from the Kirkland Downtown Association in recognition of her contributions to the greater Kirkland community.

Melisa Acton-Buzard

Melissa Acton-Buzard, Board-Vice President

Founder and CEO of Chameleon Technologies

As the Founder and CEO of Chameleon Technologies, Melissa is focused on the growth and strategic vision of the company. Chameleon Technologies was established in 2000 and is known for expertly matching technically skilled professionals to contract, contract-to-hire and permanent positions at various local and national companies.

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Chameleon also specializes in data services by providing project-based solutions around data analytics and business intelligence (BI) to a variety of companies across different industries.

Melissa supports the business community through her volunteering and board commitments.  She serves as a Board member and co-chair for the Consulting and Business Development Center (CBDC) for the University of Washington, Foster School of Business. Melissa also resides on the Board for Attain Housing, which is helping fight homelessness on the Eastside.  In addition to these commitments, Melissa is actively involved with Washington First Robotics, IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution) Worldwide and The University of Washington Women’s Center.  Furthermore, she is committed to supporting the City of Kirkland’s Business Roundtable, Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an active wish granter since 2005.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University.

Melissa currently lives in Kirkland with her husband, Ryan, her daughter, Olivia and their Havanese dog, Maui.

Neil Bretvick, Treasurer

CPA, MS, Shareholder, Hellam Varon

Bretvick is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, living in Kirkland for the past 32 years. Since 1985, he has been part of local CPA firm Hellam Varon, providing assistance with everything from tax planning, formation, mergers, acquisitions, and sales to succession planning and representation of taxpayers before state and federal authorities.

Karen Thiel, Secretary

Real Estate Broker, Windermere Yarrow Bay

A Midwest native, (Chicago and Madison, WI) Karen and her husband Troy moved to Kirkland in 2015. A Telephone Tech Retiree, Karen joined Troy to create the Thiel Team while in Madison. Today, the Thiel Team are Real Estate brokers with the Windermere Yarrow Bay Office.

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As a long time advocate and activist for fair, affordable, and sustainable housing, Karen has a lengthy track record as a leader in these important areas of need. From coordinating sustainable housing community tours to benefit Habitat for Humanity to volunteering at Attain Housing, Karen enjoys having a positive impact in her community.

Greg Martin

Real Estate Developer

Before moving to Seattle from Southern California in early 2017, he was involved with many projects that included senior and affordable housing components. He has always been passionate about providing quality housing options to people all along the economic spectrum, understanding that having a safe and stable home is an integral part of improving everyone’s life.

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Greg earned his BS in Urban Planning & Development from the University of Southern California and returned to USC for an MBA during the Great Recession.

Shortly after moving to Seattle, Greg fell in love with the Eastside, deciding to plant roots in Kirkland. He is enthusiastic about making it an even better place, volunteering time to many local and worthy causes.

Bob Riley

Robert L. Riley

Retired IBM Project Manager

Housing at the Crossroads Board of Directors: Past President, Past Vice President, Expansion/Construction Coordinator; Lifetime Elder, First Presbyterian Church.

Terry Shultze

E. Terry Schulze

Retired Boeing

A Housing at the Crossroads board member from September 1989, Terry joined Attain Housing’s board when HAC merged with Attain Housing. He recently served as board president from 2017 through 2019. Terry’s been an aeronautical/astronautical engineer at The Boeing Company for 40 years. He did his MBA studies at Seattle University in the mid‑1980’s.

Ken Davidson

Shareholder, Davidson & Kilpatric, PLLC

Ken brings a wealth of practical knowledge in real estate development and construction. He has personal experience with multi-family residential, retail, and office construction projects, including the 50,000 square foot Emerald Building, which houses the firm’s offices. He has also been involved in the ownership and management of a community bank, a commercial fishing vessel, a restaurant, and a ski area.

Toby Nixon

Kirkland City Council Member

Toby Nixon is a senior program manager in the Windows group at Microsoft, and chair of the board of directors of Bluetooth Special Interest Group. He’s previously served as State Representative for the 45th district and as a fire commissioner, and on the boards of Youth Eastside Services, Nourishing Networks, and other local non-profits. He’s active in interfaith activities including Kirkland Interfaith Network (KIN) and Fostering Interfaith Relationships on the Eastside (FIRE). An outspoken advocate for ethics and transparency in government, he’s been president of Washington Coalition for Open Government since 2007. He graduated from Leadership Eastside in 2013. He and his wife Irene live in Kingsgate.

David LaMarche

Chief Administrative Officer, Eastside Health Network

David joined Eastside Health Network (EHN) in May 2017. He is an experienced health care professional, with over 23 years of experience in managed care contracting, business development, finance, and clinical operations. He is responsible for leadership aspects of EHN, including strategy, contacting, network development, quality, and oversight of operations. EHN has approximately 1,450 network providers that provide care for 60,000 patients.

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Before EHN, David spend nearly 20 years at Virginia Mason, working in payor contracting and finance and spent seven years as the Director of the Heart Institute. David earned an MBA from Anaheim University’s Akio Morita School of Business and a B.A. in Business Administration from Washington State University. In his free time, David enjoys reading, cycling, and spending time with his five children. He is also on the board of the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce.

Alexis Ruhumuriza

Founder of New Hope Revival and Agape In-Home Care, former Attain Housing client

Alexis Ruhumuriza was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before moving to Rwanda in 1995 with his uncle with six siblings. When Alexis was 17, he became very involved with his church and helping to spread gospel to the orphans of Rwanda. He helped found the Rwanda Faith Academy School, which provides education to 1500 children annually. Alexis studied at the Kigali Institute of Management and earned a degree in financial management in 2012.

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Alexis was also a coordinator for the Arise and Shine Network from 2013 to 2015. Arise and Shine is a network of 8 non–profit organizations that collaborate on humanitarian projects. Alexis was very involved in helping them improve their ministries.

In August 2015, Alexis was forced to leave Rwanda with his family and came to the United States as a refugee. He struggled to find his footing before eventually deciding to start New Hope Revival through his relationships with Bellevue Presbyterian. He then helped co-found Agape In-Home Care. Through both New Hope and Agape, Alexis is able to help immigrant families get connected with services, jobs, and social connections as they get settled in their new country and homes.

JK Schatzman

Community advocate & organizer

After a rewarding career in the healthcare field, JK has focused her time and energy as a community advocate helping families and children. Her experience expands 18 years with non-profit organizations and school fundraising programs. JK has been an active member of the Attain Housing luncheon committee & a table captain for several years, and is motivated to help families provide stable housing in our community. JK lives in the Redmond area, with her husband, and is the proud mother of an adult son and high school daughter.

Attain Housing Advisory Board

Mary Lue Gutow

Mary Lue Gutow and her husband Gary own a home-based business, Colormasters Northwest, LLC, entering its 28th year. As an Attain Housing board member, she has worn every hat except that of treasurer. Some of the hats fit well, some were a little tight, but all of them were times of personal growth. Working with the board and ever-growing team of volunteers to develop housing for homeless and underfunded families has been a lesson in communication, collaboration, satisfaction, and love.

Walt Krueger

Walt Krueger is an attorney practicing in Kirkland in the areas of estate planning, probate, and trusts. Walt served on the Attain Housing board for 14 years and as President for two years. Among his volunteer activities, he serves as Secretary of Mentee Educational Foundation, which is building an early childhood education school in Kakata, Liberia, and as an ex officio member of the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce.

Jane Petter

Jane Petter is a driving force for communicating about Attain Housing’s vision and passion to help make a difference in the lives of those who are homeless. She has the gift of being a great project manager, leading teams successfully through some large projects and challenges. For the past 15+ years, Jane has served in many volunteer capacities. She formerly worked for Northshore School District, and she is an accomplished musician.

Mark Shinstrom

Mark Shinstrom is a partner at Shinstrom & Norman Insurance and long-time Attain Housing supporter. Shinstrom & Norman is independently owned and locally operated, focusing on Kirkland, but offering affordable and reliable insurance choices all across Washington. Having served on the Board of Directors, Mark continues to support Attain Housing’s mission and vision by volunteering to serve on Attain Housing’s Advisory Council.

Amy Walen

Currently serving as State Representative for the 48th Legislative District, Amy was the former Mayor of Kirkland has also served on the Kirkland City Council. She practiced law in Australia until she returned to Oregon in 1994. Amy is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Ford-Hyundai of Kirkland.

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She has been an active fundraiser for the Komen Race for the Cure (Puget Sound Chapter) and has helped organizations such as Old Dog Haven, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Kirkland Pace Race, Evergreen Hospital, and Attain Housing. In July 2011, Mayor Walen completed the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Certificate for Municipal Leadership training program.

Lynn Sanborn

Managing Broker, member of the Builder Solutions Group and Premier Associate at Windermere Real Estate for over 20 years, Lynn serves as President Elect and State Representative for the Seattle King County Association of Realtors, where she received a Community Service Award in 2011 and 2018. Lynn has been recognized for 13 years as a 5 Star agent by Seattle Magazine and was voted the best of Kirkland by Kirkland Reporter Readers in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Lynn is also a member of the Butterfly Effect Group and has served multiple times on the Board of The Windermere Foundation, Attain Housing’s largest corporate foundation funder.

Christine Rose

Christine Rose, ACC, is an ICF and Taylor Protocols CVI™ certified business and executive coach, speaker, and author. After retiring in 2014 from Attain Housing, where she served as Development Director during a tenure of incremental growth, building community support during transitions, including its merger and rebranding, she founded Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting, a boutique coaching firm in the greater Seattle area.

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As a coach she facilitates transformation for individuals and organizations, helping business leaders grow their leadership skills, teams, and companies. She was honored as Tacoma’s Top Small Businessperson in 2018 by small business owners on Alignable.com, and named 2019 Business Coach of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals. Ms. Rose brings her life experience as an abuse survivor and a coach approach to transformation to her first book Life Beyond #MeToo: Facilitating Global Transformation: Creating A Safer World for Our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Friends (December 2019 release.)
A mom of two adult daughters, Christine is a member of Forbes Coaches Council, graduate of Georgetown University (B.S. Business Administration) and Coach U’s Advanced Corporate Coaching Program, and holds a Fundraising Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Christine is also the Board Secretary for the Tacoma-based NPO Urban Business Support, and Development Committee Chair for the global NPO Educational Communities Worldwide. She is also a volunteer facilitator for ICF Washington, and coaches NPO executives in the ICF/United Nations Ignite Global program.

Bill Vadino

Bill Vadino is currently serving as the Policy Director for the Federal Way’s Mayor. He was formerly the Communications Director for King County Council Vice-Chair Jane Hague (District 6), From 2002-2012, he served as the Executive Director of the Kirkland Downtown Association and the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he was an administrator at the University of Minnesota and Washington State University.

Susan Sumeri

Susan Sumeri is a past Attain Housing Board member who is enjoying her retirement from careers in education (42 years) and business. She and her husband Alex have owned a home in the Kirkland area since 1967. Her recreational activities include bicycling, traveling, hiking, and reading. She is also a long-time member of the Cascade Symphony cello section.

Peggy Walton

A longtime Kirkland resident, Peggy is devoted to service and education in her community. She served as Secretary on the Attain Housing board from 2014-2018. She has transitioned to an Advisory Board role and has hosted multiple donor appreciation events at her and her husband John's home. Since 1997, Peggy has been on the Board of Directors for Seattle Children's Hospital. As part of her Master's in Education at Seattle University, she did extensive work with designing curriculum and instructional methods for the adult learner. Peggy researched and wrote a comprehensive thesis on Parent Education which includes rationale, history, and assessment and recommendations for programs to serve general population and special needs families.

Attain Housing Staff

Greg McLeod

Program Services Manager

Greg joined Attain Housing in September 2016, with 5 years of experience working with vulnerable populations, providing case management and resource navigation. He has worked at a nonprofit in Seattle, providing support and assistance for individuals with criminal histories, substance abuse, mental illness, and housing issues. Greg is dedicated to assisting people in overcoming obstacles and is passionate about every individual’s capacity for change.

Megan Gililland

Case Manager

Megan moved from Knoxville, TN, and quickly found a place with Attain Housing in July of 2018. She has a history of working with women and children fleeing from domestic violence, those seeking transitional housing, and those who needed extra support outside office setting. For the past three and a half years Megan has spent her time trying to help those she can make positive change in their life by providing case management, resource guidance, and a helping hand. Megan hopes to continue to try and help those in need find not only temporary placement, but a place to call home!

Eric Sanford

Communications & Development Specialist

Eric joined Attain Housing in 2018 with a background in journalism, marketing, social media, event coordination, and nonprofit management. He is very excited to use his skills for a good cause and increase awareness of Attain Housing in the local community in order to better serve families in need. Eric lives in the Ravenna area of Seattle with his wife, 3-year-old daughter, and a rascal dog named Rookie.

Nita Lindsey


Nita Lindsey joined Attain Housing in February 2015. Originally from Illinois, she has 20+ years of bookkeeping experience in both non-profit and private sectors in the great Northwest.

Kathy Fleming

Executive Director

Kathy joined Attain Housing in September 2017 as Executive Director, with 17 years of leadership experience in the financial services sector. After years of volunteering to support vulnerable women and children, Kathy decided to make the non-profit sector her second career. She jump-started that by achieving her Master’s degree in Non-Profit Leadership at Seattle University in 2010. Progressing through several development positions with human services organizations over 6 years has prepared Kathy for the challenges and excitement of helping Attain Housing meet its mission. She has welcomed that opportunity.

Carol Ryan

Development Director

Carol Ryan’s career has spanned daily newspaper reporting, magazine editing, corporate marketing, nonprofit fundraising, and storytelling. Carol delights in engaging donors, volunteers, and leaders to uncover their “whys” for giving back to the community and connecting them to others who share their passions. She also enjoys exploring and strengthening the interconnections between people and organizations working to create a supportive, thriving community. Carol is a native of the Seattle area, a graduate of Seattle University, and now lives in Bothell with her husband and their two teenagers.

Jesse Perrell

Resource Coordinator

Jesse Perrell is a Seattle native who has spent the last decade developing an arts nonprofit, producing music and arts festivals, working at community-engaging projects and development in the Pacific Northwest. He originally joined Attain Housing in 2015 as Ride Director for the 7 Hills of Kirkland cycling event. He is constantly tempted by the combination of panniers, Amtrak, and bicycle.

Kurt Larson

Facilities Manager

Kurt began supporting Attain Housing in 2018 as an independent contractor to help streamline and strengthen the maintenance of Attain's property assets. Kurt has over 35 years of private sector management experience, the most important for Attain being the technology, planning, development, and maintenance of facilities, process, and systems.

Darlene Jones

Stable Home Advocate

Darlene joined Attain Housing as a volunteer assisting with the Stable Home Program. She currently is a Real Estate Broker with Keller Williams in Kirkland. She became acquainted with Attain while she was assisting a refugee family looking for housing. Her background consists of extensive sales, management, events, and entrepreneurship. The last three years she has been assisting low income families who need housing. Darlene is excited to be able to use her skills and passion to help those in need through Attain.

Katie Galasso

Case Manager

Katie started her career as a marketing director and media buyer but decided to follow her passion for helping others by getting her master’s degree in behavioral science. She has worked as a case manager, group therapist, and as a mental health counselor. During her career she has worked in forensics, addiction therapy, and housing assistance for struggling families. As a child, Katie’s family experienced periods of homelessness so she feels a personal connection to Attain Housing's mission.