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Homes first board
Photo of Mary Roberts


Mary Roberts
Data Abstractor, WA Dept of Health

Mary, also a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, joined the board in February 2018, and brings a wealth of insight to the struggles of living at less than area median income. 


Mary has a passion for serving the low income community and helps Homes First remember who we are here to serve.

Mary followed in her families footsteps of working in State Government for the past 21 years.


She raised her two children in the Tumwater school District and passed along her passion and commitment to public service to them.


Mary enjoys volunteering for other organizations and community events in Thurston County. She also enjoys gardening in her back yard and spending time with her family and friends.

Vice President
Photo of Chris Lester


Chris Lester
Business Development Manager, Thurston County Title

Born in Longview, Chris joined Homes First Board in 2017 and in August 2018, stepped up to be the Vice President.  Living in our area for his entire life and raising a family here, he knows that serving his community is a lifelong passion.

You may have seen Chris around in his role at Thurston County Title or as the owner of The Tailgate BBQ.  Chris has also been a Volunteer Firefighter for Black Lake Fire Department. Working for Thurston County Title as their Business Development Manager has led him to many new opportunities to serve. Some include: Homes First, Thurston County Realtors Association, Thurston County Multiple Listing Sales Association, Olympia Master Builders, and Yelm Professional Network.

Chris also volunteers his time with Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Homeless Backpacks, Tumwater Rotary, Tumwater Chamber of Commerce, Yelm Chamber of Commerce among other organizations.  He is also Vice President with Lacey Chamber of Commerce. Chris has stayed true to his dedication to community, passion for services for others and looks ahead to new opportunities.

Photo of Kai Neizman


Kai Neizman
VP & Loan Team Leader, Columbia Bank

A welcome addition to our Board of Directors in 2018,  Kai exemplies the talented people we have in our community who support the mission of Homes First.  Kai has 12 years of banking experience and has been with Columbia Bank for 2 years.His previous experience was with First American and Bank of America.


A graduate of the University of Hawaii with a degree in Business Administration, he will receive an MBA in Finance from City University this coming June. He lives in Olympia with his wife of six years and their two children. Kai is also involved with the American Heart Association and Junior Achievement.

Thomasina Cooper


Thomasina Cooper
Executive Assistant to Thurston County Commissioner Tye Menser

Joining the Board in 2019, Thomasina has a heart for service and uses her talents by day as the executive assistant to Thurston County Commissioner Tye Menser.  In that role, she helps citizens problem-solve issues, ensures the commissioner is successful, manages independent projects, and participates in county-wide programs. As an executive assistant to elected leaders for the past 5 years, Thomasina understands the importance of keeping a positive attitude and prioritizing needs in a fast-paced, sometimes emotionally-charged environment.

Thomasina brings nearly two decades of non-profit experience, in which she wore many hats. From reception, to program manager, to development assistant and finally development director, she is familiar with both programmatic and administrational facets of non-profit management. Working in substance use prevention and domestic violence crisis response agencies taught Thomasina how to stay grounded even in the most challenging moments. She is proud to continue her non-profit service as a Board member for Homes First.


Thomasina shares her Olympia home with husband Jim, daughter Maggie, and rescue dog Rusty. An avid gardener, traveler and photographer, Thomasina is most happy when adventuring with her family in their camper trailer.

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