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Meet our strong, dedicated board of directors and executive leadership team.

Emerald Communities appreciates the expertise, guidance and dedication of our board of directors and executive leadership team. These talented professionals bring a full range of experience, including financial planning, real estate, not-for-profit organizations, senior housing, health care, accounting, marketing and construction.

  • Dwight S. Whiting Chair
    Dwight S. Whiting Chair

    DWIGHT WHITING is a Financial Advisor and Partner at Auxano Advisors, LLC, a private wealth management firm in Bellevue, Washington.

    He offers clients comprehensive financial, tax, estate, retirement and lifecycle planning. His specialties include high net worth planning, business succession planning, estate planning, multigenerational family wealth education, retirement income planning, portfolio management and philanthropic planning.

    Prior to joining Auxano Advisors in 2014, Mr. Whiting was a wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley and a financial advisor at UBS Financial Services. Earlier in his career, he managed the development and marketing of advanced technology alternative fuel systems at IMPCO Technologies, Inc. and worked as Director of Marketing at Dynalco Controls, a unit of Crane Co.

    Mr. Whiting earned bachelor’s degrees in management science and systems science from the University of California, San Diego, followed by a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University.

    Mr. Whiting and his wife, Mary, have three children and live in Bellevue, Washington.

  • Jill Guernsey Vice Chair
    Jill Guernsey Vice Chair

    JILL GUERNSEY brings to the board deep expertise on regional politics, land-use planning, and law.

    Ms. Guernsey served as mayor of the City of Gig Harbor — the home of Heron’s Key — from 2014 to 2017. Earlier she served on the City Council and was a long-time member of the city’s Planning Commission. She was an early supporter of the development of Heron’s Key and remains a strong advocate for the community.

    Professionally, Ms. Guernsey’s three-decade career in law included serving as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Civil Division. She held that position for more than 25 years, before her retirement in 2016. Earlier in her career, she served as Legal Counsel to the Pierce County Executive and as Chief Civil Deputy in the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

    She was a member of the Washington State Bar Association for 37 years and was President of the Environmental and Land Use Section. She also served on the National Board of Trustees of American Inns of Court and was president of the Tacoma Chapter of the American Inns of Court. Her extensive community service includes serving on the boards of Peninsula School District, Gig Harbor Waterfront Alliance and Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board. She is an active member of Rotary Club of Gig Harbor and serves on the board of Cars4Change.

    Ms. Guernsey earned her bachelor’s degree from University of California, Irvine, and her law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

  • Danna VanHorn Secretary
    Danna VanHorn Secretary

    DANNA VANHORN retired in 2018 after serving nearly two decades as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. She served as Pastor of several Presbyterian churches and as Chaplain in three acute care facilities in southern California. From 1993– 1999, Rev. VanHorn was Director of Pastoral Services at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier, California She created a unique program of pastoral care among the 1200-member hospital staff and served as Pastor to staff, patients and families. Rev. VanHorn also served on the board of directors of the Whittier YMCA and as a member of two hospitals’ ethics committees.

    Rev. VanHorn earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, received a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, and completed 1,600 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education. Most recently she was  Associate  Pastor for Congregational Care at First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, where she was a teacher, a preacher, and a leader of the Deacon Ministry and various support groups. She also provided home and hospital visitation and counseling. Rev. VanHorn has a son and a daughter, both of whom live in Washington, and is the very proud grandmother to grandson Daniel.

  • David Hudson Treasurer
    David Hudson Treasurer

    DAVID HUDSON has more than 40 years of experience in the financial services industry. As the Executive Vice President, Retail Markets, of Central Pacific Bank, Mr. Hudson oversees the bank’s entire branch network throughout the State of Hawaii, the Customer Contact Center, Consumer Lending, and Retail Product Management, including ATMs and Electronic Banking.

    Mr. Hudson started his banking career in international, corporate and commercial real estate lending with Crocker National Bank and First Nationwide Bank. More recently, his career has focused on retail and branch banking.

    Prior to joining Central Pacific Bank in 2009, he spent six years as Senior Vice President of the consumer and business banking division of Hawaii based American Savings Bank. In addition, Mr. Hudson served at Honfed Bank and Bank of America in Hawaii and California in various positions from process design executive to consumer region executive.

    Mr. Hudson currently serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii and Luana Kai. He has previously served on the boards of Kapiolani Health Foundation, Kahi-Mohala, Positive Coaching Alliance and Epiphany School.

  • Lisa A. Hardy President & CEO
    Lisa A. Hardy President & CEO

    Ms. Hardy joined Emerald Communities as president and chief executive officer in January 2008. Since joining Emerald Communities, Hardy has led Emerald Heights, a subsidiary of Emerald Communities, through successful master planning to reposition the community. Commencing in 2010 and completed in 2014, the $60M comprehensive master plan included extensive renovation of existing buildings, as well as new construction. Projects included renovation and expansion of dining venues, updating of interior corridors and common use areas, addition of a new multi-purpose/auditorium building, construction of new residential apartment homes, and replacement of the fitness and aquatic center. There is an additional $185M in expansion and capital upgrades planned over the next 7 years, started in 2021. The expansion currently will add a 3-story assisted living building with 56 one-bedroom apartments and the Courtyard independent living apartment building that will add 42 additional apartments to the 38-acre campus.  A new Life Plan Community, Heron’s Key in Gig Harbor, also opened in summer 2017. Heron’s Key is a $145M community consisting of 194 independent living apartments and cottages, 36 one-bedroom assisted living apartments, 15 private memory care suites and 45 private skilled nursing suites. In early 2022, Ms. Hardy assumed responsibility for development of a new Life Plan Community in east Honolulu through a successful affiliation between Emerald Communities and the Luana Kai board of directors.

    Ms. Hardy has held leadership roles in the industry since 1988. She previously led the new development and construction of projects on several Life Plan communities during a 14‐year tenure with Life Care Services.

    Hardy earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a management concentration from Saint Joseph’s College in Maine, as well as an associate’s degree in health care administration. She has received licensure as a Nursing Home Administrator in multiple states.

    She currently serves as Board Secretary on the Board of Directors for Caring Communities, a leader in insurance and risk management serving NFP senior housing and service providers throughout the United States; and has served on the Boards of LeadingAge Washington; Washington Care Services, a provider of a wide range of skilled nursing care and rehab services for people of all ages.

  • Denisa Feddersen Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
    Denisa Feddersen Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

    Denisa Feddersen joined Emerald Communities as Vice President, Chief Financial Officer in January, 2024.  In this role, she manages the strategic and operational aspects of finance, accounting and information technology, working with leadership and other stakeholders to ensure that the organization meets it business goals.

    Ms. Feddersen brings more than a decade of experience in not-for-profit senior housing, with expertise in financial reporting, financial modeling, audit and tax preparation, budget preparation, accounting and team leadership.

    Ms. Feddersen first joined Emerald Communities in 2023 as Corporate Controller.  Previously, she served for nearly a decade as Corporate Controller for a large multi-site senior living provider based in California.

    Ms. Feddersen earned her bachelor’s degree in Accounting from San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, and an MBA, with honors, from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.  She obtained an MIT Executive Certificate in Management & Leadership, and is also a licensed CPA.

  • Kay Wallin VP of Marketing & Public Relations
    Kay Wallin VP of Marketing & Public Relations

    KAY H. WALLIN is currently Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Emerald Communities, having joined Emerald Heights as the community’s director of marketing and public relations in 1992. Previously, she spent eight years as director of admissions for Horizon House in Seattle.

    Wallin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Montana, and has received national certification as a certified aging services professional through LeadingAge and the University of North Texas. She is a former member, and past chair, of LeadingAge Washington (formerly Aging Services of Washington), and also served as a member of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

  • Michelle Wood VP Operations
    Michelle Wood VP Operations

    MICHELLE WOOD has been an integral part of Emerald Communities since 2013 when started as Corporate Controller. She moved up in 2020 to serve as Corporate Controller, Accounting & Information Systems before being promoted in April 2023 to Vice President of Operations.

    Ms. Wood provides strategic insight and daily operational support to the executive directors of Emerald Heights and Heron’s Key, ensures proper management, planning, evaluation, and control in all operating departments at each community, and serves as the Corporate Risk & Compliance Officer for Emerald Communities.

    Prior to joining Emerald Communities, Ms. Wood served as controller for PWC Construction, where she was responsible for all treasury, budgeting, audit, tax, cash management, and financial reporting activities, as well as establishing internal controls to ensure the integrity of the accounting system, processes and data.

    Earlier in her career, she worked as a contract accountant with Expedia, Inc. and as finance director for both WPP/Cole & Weber United and WPP/Hill & Knowlton, Inc. She also experienced life as a small business owner when she financed and opened a pet supply store and boutique. In this role, she negotiated leases and vendor contracts; designed and implemented policies, procedures, and management/accounting systems; recruited a manager to run the day-to-day operations; determined pricing and discounts; and more.

    Ms. Wood earned her bachelor of arts in business administration from Seattle University, and she is pursuing her master’s in business administration there as well, with an expected graduation date in 2024.

  • Jo Hollis Chief Human Resources and Compliance Officer
    Jo Hollis Chief Human Resources and Compliance Officer

    JO HOLLIS joined Emerald Communities as Chief Human Resources & Compliance Officer in January 2020. In this role, Ms. Hollis develops, manages and integrates a full range of human resources programs, including talent acquisition, training, leadership and organizational development, performance management, employee relations, human resource information systems, safety, compensation and benefits programs. She also serves as Chief Compliance Officer, guiding and managing compliance and risk management for Emerald Communities, Emerald Heights and Heron’s Key.

    Ms. Hollis brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources within the senior living industry, including four years at Emerald Heights, where she served as the Human Resources Associate, and then  Human Resources Generalist. In 2007, she became Director of   Human Resources at Timber Ridge at Talus, and in 2015 was promoted to Regional Human Resources Director, overseeing the human resources function for 20 Life Plan communities nationwide for Life Care Services.

    Ms. Hollis earned her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in social science and child development from Pacific Christian College in Fullerton, California.  She then earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology from California State University, Fullerton. She began her professional career as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist.

    Ms. Hollis holds active professional certifications in human resources from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and has a passion for serving in the senior living industry!

  • Daphne R. Schneider Director
    Daphne R. Schneider Director

    DAPHNE R. SCHNEIDER is Principal and Owner of Daphne R. Schneider and Associates, a Seattle-based consulting firm providing assistance with difficult people and systems issues in the workplace. Services include investigation of allegations of harassment, discrimination and employee misconduct, executive/ leadership/employee coaching, team development, mediation, human resources consulting, facilitation of meetings and retreats, and related training. She has conducted hundreds of workplace investigations, consulted with many public, private and not- for-profit clients, and presented at numerous professional conferences.

    Ms. Schneider also has more than 40 years of organizational leadership experience, having held senior human resources, business, and support services management positions, as well as not-for-profit board leadership positions.

    Ms. Schneider has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in organization development from Central Washington University. She is a trained mediator and is also a licensed private investigator. Professional and community affiliations include having served as adjunct faculty for Seattle Pacific University and Western Washington University and is a past President of the Western Region of the International Personnel Management Association. Her non-profit board member and officer experience includes the Center for Human Services, the Eastside Heritage Center, the Redmond Chamber of Commerce and Washington Care Services/Southeast Care Center Facilities. Ms. Schneider is also actively involved with the promotion of equitable development in Seattle’s Othello neighborhood.

  • Karen Cohoe Director
    Karen Cohoe Director

    KAREN COHOE brings nearly 36 years of experience in non-profit environments to the board. She started her career in California as a museum docent and soon joined the museum’s board of directors. She then became President of the Junior League in San Francisco before accepting the role of Executive Director with the Heritage Museum.

    In 1986, she began a 17-year career with the Discovery Science Center (now known as Discovery Cube), a hands-on science center, assuming the roles of Executive Director, CEO and Founding President. During her tenure, she managed both the Heritage Museum and the Discovery Cube for a number of years, initiated a successful $24.5 million dollar capital campaign, hired senior staff in all departments, oversaw board activities, and managed a staff of 65.

    In addition to her non-profit experience, Ms. Cohoe has also owned and managed rental properties in both California and Washington.

    Ms. Cohoe earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Washington and participated in the Fieldstone Foundation program for Executive Directors, a nine-month program designed for 12 top staff persons from the largest non-profit organizations in Orange County, California.

    Ms. Cohoe and husband Bruce committed to Heron’s Key as Charter Members in 2014, and moved to Heron’s Key in October 2017, shortly after the community opened. Karen is the first resident at Heron’s Key to be elected to the board.

  • Robert G. Crist Director
    Robert G. Crist Director

    ROBERT G. CRIST recently retired from his position as Business Administrator of the First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, where he had overall responsibilities for finance, human resources, facilities, and all activities not related to ministry.

    Mr. Crist has more than 30 years of experience in professional management consulting and in senior executive positions. Over the course of his career, Mr. Crist has consulted with more than 200 organizations in various industries. His positions included serving as Chief Financial and Operating Officer for Community Health Plan of Washington and for 23 years as a partner with the international accounting and consulting firm of Ernst & Young, most recently as the partner in charge of services to both the health care and natural resources industries. In this role, several of his clients were continuing care retirement centers. He provided early professional advice during the formation of Emerald Heights.

    Mr. Crist is a graduate of the University of Redlands and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Financial Executives Institute, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Crist has served on the boards of numerous community service organizations, and is currently on the Boards of HumanGood Affordable Housing, which operates over 100 affordable senior housing units, the John 14:2 Foundation, the Outreach Foundation, which supports Christian missionaries throughout the world, and all three entities of Emerald Communities.

  • Jeffrey F. Jones Director
    Jeffrey F. Jones Director

    Emerald Heights resident JEFFREY JONES retired in 2017 from a law career that spanned more than four decades. During that time, he rose from associate to managing partner of his Boston-based law firm of approximately 160 lawyers, negotiated the merger of that firm with an even larger one, and then served as part-time, in-house counsel for his alma mater, Williams College, for 10 years.

    Mr. Jones’ practice centered primarily on commercial litigation, with clients ranging from public utilities, insurers, biotechnology companies, and a national telecommunications company to nonprofit entities, including educational institutions and social welfare organizations. He developed an appreciation for the differences in purpose, culture and motivation that distinguish nonprofit organizations from for-profit businesses and looks forward to expanding his experience with nonprofits through service on the board.

    His extensive volunteer board experience includes chairing three nonprofit boards and leading a variety of board committees and special projects. He served as director and board chair for both the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and the West Suburban YMCA in Newton, Massachusetts. He also served as a trustee for Radcliffe College, ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts, uAspire and Willow Hill School.

    Mr. Jones earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he earned his law degree, also with honors, from Harvard Law School.

    Mr. Jones and his wife Susan relocated from Boston to Emerald Heights in August 2018, in order to be close to their daughter and her family who live in the area. Prior to joining the Board, he served in leadership roles at Emerald Heights, serving on both the By-Laws Committee and Residents’ Council Advisory Group.

  • Judy Richardson Director
    Judy Richardson Director

    JUDY RICHARDSON retired in 2014 after working more than four decades in the fields of education and public finance, including providing financial advisory services to school districts and assistance with bond underwriting. In addition to her expertise in school finance, Ms. Richardson has experience in state government, having worked several years for the Arizona State Senate and the Arizona Department of Education.  There she created a new state agency called the State Board for School Capital Facilities, which later became the School Facilities Board. She is continuing to be involved in school finance by serving as an expert witness in an Arizona lawsuit about the constitutionality of the school capital finance system.

    As a resident of Emerald Heights, she has served on several committees of the Residents’ Association, including the Audit Committee, the Fund Development Committee, and the Council Advisory Group, which she chaired in 2019.

    Ms. Richardson earned both her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education from Stanford University in Stanford, California. Later she earned her doctorate in higher education from the University of Washington in Seattle.

    Ms. Richardson has been a resident of Emerald Heights since January 2016, but her connection to the community dates back to its founding in 1992, when her parents John and Isabel McEwen became “pioneer” residents. Ms. Richardson’s two sisters are also Emerald Heights residents!

  • Stephanie Marshall Director
    Stephanie Marshall Director

    MS. STEPHANIE MARSHALL, RN, MSN, FAAN was the Director for Community Partnerships and tenured faculty for the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at the University of Hawaii at Manoa from 2006 until she retired in 2016. She was responsible for developing and managing strategic educational and practice efforts with external constituents including health care systems, long-term care organizations, government entities and community health settings. She led the successful building of a $10 million Translational Health Science Simulation Center at the school.

    Ms. Marshall retired from a distinguished, 32-year military career with the rank of colonel. She last served as Chief Nurse Executive and Deputy Commander for Nursing, Tripler Army Medical Center from 2001–2005. Her assignments during her military career included numerous clinical, staff and executive positions within the continental US and Europe.

    Ms. Marshall earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her master’s degree with a specialty in oncology nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and of the Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives in Health Care Management.

    She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, member of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders, Oncology Nursing Society, Sigma Theta Tau. Her recognition and honors include selection as Mana’olana, the State of Hawaii’s Oncology Nurse of the Year and recipient of the Anita Newcomb McGee Award as the Outstanding Army Nurse of the Year. Her military awards include the Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Legion of Merit.

    She currently serves as Vice Chair, Luana Kai Board of Directors, and a member of the John A Burns School of Medicine Advisory Council. Previously, she served as Vice Chair, Board of Directors, Oahu region, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation for five years and on the board of American Cancer Society, Hawaii. She also served on the Hawaii State Workforce Committee and the Hawaii Action Coalition for State Center for Nursing for five years.

  • DeWayne McMullin, CPA Director
    DeWayne McMullin, CPA Director

    E. DEWAYNE MCMULLIN, CPA brings over 40 years of experience in the senior living industry. He has held management positions with Southern California Presbyterian Homes, Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey, and United Methodist Homes of New Jersey. Earlier in his career, he worked for Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young), in the firm’s national retirement living industry consulting practice. Most recently he has worked as a consultant, specializing in management and development services for not for-profit clients in the senior care industry.

    Mr. McMullin began his education with a bachelor’s degree in business management from University of Maine, followed by a master’s in business administration from Syracuse University. He later received a master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California, and he became a certified Retirement Housing Professional Fellow (LeadingAge, 1989). He is a certified public accountant in five states: Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, California and New Jersey.

    Mr. McMullin volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol, where he has attained The rank of captain and served as the state Director of Finance, assisted with aerial mapping of California wildfires and supported the Salvation Army’s food distribution to families affected by COVID. He has served as a board member and corporate officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, and on boards of other retirement communities and affordable housing communities. He is an adjunct lecturer at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and represents the school on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors.

  • Uche Okezie Director
    Uche Okezie Director

    Uche Okezie is Director of Real Estate Development at HomeSight, a Seattle based nonprofit Community Development Corporation and Community Development Financial Institution, a position she has held since 2016.  Prior to her current position, she was Senior Project Manager, New Construction & Rehabilitation for HomeSight, beginning in 2002.  Ms. Okezie has extensive experience with project feasibility activities, project and construction management, project funding mechanisms, and in developing effective partnerships with public and private agencies, neighborhood groups and community members.

    Ms. Okezie earned her Bachelor’s degree with a focus in Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, LA and her Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington in Seattle.  She has also achieved professional certifications in Life Coaching, Construction Management and is a certified Project Management Professional.

    A passionate volunteer, Ms. Okezie also serves on the Advisory Board for South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP).

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