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meet the board
Tom Monahan (he/him)
Tom has worked in marketing for beloved brands including Amazon Go, Woodland Park Zoo, and PCC Community Markets. He graduated from Seattle University with a BA in business administration with a focus in marketing. His connection to childhood cancer is a personal one, experiencing firsthand the challenges a caregiver experiences during a child's diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Over the past few years, he has volunteered with both The Light Collective and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Tom lives in Issaquah with his wife, two children and their spoiled cats Rosie and Cooper. He loves spending time with his family, hiking the Issaquah Alps and playing drums.
JJ Kissinger, MDiv (he/him)
Founder and Executive Director
JJ moved from Colorado to Seattle in 1998 to attend Seattle Pacific University. After six years working in higher education in both Admissions and Residence Life, JJ received his MDiv from Regent College in Vancouver, BC. For nine years, JJ served as Director of an outreach program in Seattle supporting for families who have a seriously ill child. Leveraging his unique blend of joyful enthusiasm, inspired creativity, and heartfelt empathy, JJ is committed to cultivating communities of hope with kids and families who are suffering. He lives in Shoreline with his wife Lisa and their two children Jane and Leo. JJ enjoys cooking, road trips, and binging a great podcast or TV series.
Julie Giesy Metzger, RN, MN (she/her)
Julie is a pediatric nurse, author, advocate & educator for families. As the founder of Great Conversations, she has worked with teens and pre-teens and their grown-ups on topics of puberty, sexuality, and decision-making for over 30 years. Julie is the author of two books for preteens and has written health curriculum used in schools and communities across the west coast. Great Conversations is sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital as well as several pediatric practices and has been featured in the NYTimes and on The TODAY Show. Julie and her husband Mike live in Seattle’s Wedgewood neighborhood and have three adult children—an actress, a doctor, and a teacher.
Kelly Hampton (she/her)
Kelly is a passionate educator and creator of safe classroom environments that allow children to thrive. She began her career as a kindergarten teacher in the Seattle Public School District before discovering her love of preschool as a co-director and teacher at Bothell Family Cooperative Preschool. Most recently she was a co-founder and director of a preschool hosted in the Ronald McDonald House providing preschool services to patients at Seattle Children’s. Kelly is also a gifted parent educator, providing insight and support to parents on child development and positive parenting strategies. Kelly loves exploring the outdoors with her family and being in the kitchen baking anything with chocolate.
Jessica Muller (she/her)
Jess has always called the PNW home. With a passion for connections, she spent over a decade working in college Admissions before earning her current role as the Director of Human Resources for Sugar Plum, a local spa chain with a focus on sustainability, zero waste, living wages, diversity and inclusion. Guided by her own family being impacted by childhood cancer; she is dedicated to volunteering, fundraising, hosting toy drives and building a mountain retreat for families to heal. Jess lives in Kirkland where she spends way too much time playing video games and binging the latest and greatest tv series with her house full of boys.
Geomara Viernes (she/her)
As a child, Geo immigrated to the US from Michoacan, Mexico. Her parents worked the fields of Eastern WA, risking everything for more opportunity. Geo graduated from Yakima Community College and works as a dental hygienist at Yakima Valley Farm Worker's Clinic in Toppenish, WA. Her passion is public health, and she enjoys serving a wide spectrum of patients in her diverse community. In 2016, her youngest son Tiago was diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma, Stage 4. Tiago is now happy and healthy, and Geo is eager to join TLC in supporting families through the cancer journey. Geo and her husband Conan live in Wapato, WA with their three children JJ, Carissa, and Tiago.
Gretchen VonHeeder-Phillips, MSW (she/her)
Board Vice President
Gretchen is a Mental Health Therapist in the Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at Seattle Children's Hospital. Gretchen has worked as a clinical social worker supporting young people and their families in multiple settings, and has loved being part of the oncology team at Seattle Children's. She holds clinical expertise in grief and loss, pediatric oncology, palliative care, and relationship violence. Gretchen lives in Des Moines with her husband, daughter, perfect dog Radar, and non-perfect dog Cheddar. As a family they love story-telling, dramatics, and dance parties.
Uddhav Gupta (he/him)
Uddhav is passionate about building diverse, highly performant leadership teams. He is an associate at Parker Remick where he helps top technology companies build C- and VP-level leadership teams globally, and helps organize business development efforts. He has also worked in financial services, technology, and consulting. He holds a BA in Economics and Psychology from Claremont McKenna College, where he was a Research Fellow at the Kravis Leadership Institute. Uddhav currently calls Seattle home, but has enjoyed living and working in several cities around the world. He enjoys exploring Seattle’s fantastic coffee scene, photography, travelling, meeting new people, and focusing on personal development.
Doug and Laurie Bunnell
Informed by their own childhood cancer journey, Doug (he/him) and Laurie (she/her) have 15 years of experience facilitating hope-oriented conversational spaces where families who have a child with cancer feel seen, loved, encouraged, and supported...without any cheesy cliches. They live in Bellingham, WA where Laurie works as a preschool teacher and Doug serves as lead pastor at First Presbyterian Church.
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