More: About Our Staff
Trudy Soucoup, MAOL
Trudy joined Homes First as Chief Executive in October, 2011, and began leading the organization into its third decade of creating safe, healthy, and affordable rental housing in Thurston County. Trudy came to Homes First from Community Youth Services where she served as Manager of Organizational Development.
She has over 30 years experience working in nonprofits around the world. Trudy volunteers her time with many mission-driven organizations that include being a member of the Board for the Washington State Employee’s Credit Union (2017-2023) and as the 2023 incoming Chair of the Board for Washington Nonprofits (2018-2024)
A 2008 graduate of Lead Thurston County, Trudy’s passion is for working with staff and leaders to grow nonprofits and plan for their future so that our community members can have better, healthier lives.
Rachael joined Homes First, in March of 2023 as the Deputy Director. With more than 15 years of working in the nonprofit sector, an MA in Organizational Development (2013), and a passion for working human rights, Rachael, is excited to be working with an organization that creates an impact in the community.
Rachael spent over nine years working with Community Youth Services, where she saw the need for housing, and really started to develop her passion for housing rights. Rachael also spent almost two years with the Housing Authority of Thurston County. She has spent several years serving as the co-chair for the Rental Housing Work Group, through Thurston Thrives, providing education for the community. In Rachael’s spare time, she loves to travel, garden, and spend time with her friends and family.
Candace Wood, CPA
Director of Finance
Candace joined Homes First in September of 2020 as a contractor to help support the financial stability and long term planning which will enhance our ability to provide more homes for our community. Candace owns and operates a local CPA company "The Back Office Services" which provides all aspects of bookkeeping, payroll, and state/payroll tax services, such as accounts payable/receivable, and reconciliation for businesses ranging in size. Prior to working with Homes First, Candace was an Assistant State Auditor and was the Chief Financial Officer for Community Youth Services. In her off time, when she can find it, she loves country life, hiking, and spending time with her family.
Jena Embry Loes, B.Ed
Director of People and Culture
In 2020, Jena brought her two decades of experience serving in Olympia area non profit organizations to her position as Director of Operations for Homes First. In 2023, Jena became our Director of People and Culture.
Her position in low income Senior and Disabled HUD Housing helped foster a desire to increase her role in work that supports affordable housing. She is enthusiastic about the community efforts to promote safe, decent homes that are accessible to those who need them most and providing support and leadership to the hardworking staff team of Homes First.
Jena was born and raised in Olympia and with her husband Matt they have raised their two children, cared for aging parents and nurtured many friendships over the years. She loves to travel, enjoys playing with their two pugs, Rocket and Violet, and spends as much time in her flower and vegetable gardens as possible. She believes the PNW is filled with beautiful scenery and community minded people and wouldn’t live anywhere else!
Shannon Michlitsch, M.Mus., CFRE
Director of Development
Shannon is a knowledgeable development professional of 25 years, is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from UW Tacoma. She brings a broad and diverse range of nonprofit impact area experience to Homes First - from Education, Arts, and Housing, to Food Banks and Foundations. She is thrilled to connect and create new opportunities for the community to support housing those most in need with the permanent, stable, rental housing at Homes First.
Shannon holds a graduate degree in Music from University of Cincinnati, along with 3 years post graduate-work in Germany. Her community efforts are to leave the world a better place than when she entered as she spends her free time golfing, home renovating, and traveling as much as time allows.
Amy Sewell, MS
Amy joined Homes First in 2009 to help support daily office operations. Since that time, she has gone from working 20 hours a week to being a full time Office Manager. She has seen many changes at the organization and helps ensure that the daily care of our tenants and our finances stay on track.
When she isn’t at work, Amy is a loving mother and avid gardener. Amy has a masters degree in biology and still loves studying nature. You will often see Amy on her bike commuting to work or using the FREE Intercity bus system.
Director of Programs & Assets
Ron celebrated his 19th Anniversary with Homes First in 2022. With experience in construction, renovation, and rehabilitation Ron is a stalwart at our organization, supporting the maintenance of both our homes and our tenants. He doesn’t hesitate to enter crawlspaces or climb ladders when the day calls for it.
Ron is active in a local youth football league and a member of the Legion of BOOM! #Go12s . Homes First is lucky to have had his dedication to excellence for so many years.
Program Services Navigator
Dyana Todd is compelled to leave the world better than how she found it. It’s not likely to be a big, splashy, newsworthy effort that defines her, but someone’s life, hopefully, many someone’s lives will be happier, healthier, or better because she was a part of it.
The catapult that moved her into the world of social services was the birth of her first son, Justin. He has special needs, and Dyana’s job became to bend the rest of the world to his needs. Some success there led to an education, and a job helping parents of school-aged children, including spearheading a resource apartment in a neighborhood severely impacted by poverty, teaching parenting, supporting parents, participating on endless committees and boards, and continuing to raise her own family, now two boys strong.
Dyana likes to read, write, travel, take excellent care of her puppy, Luna, (now our official office mascot) and spend as much time as possible with friends and family.
A resident of Shelton, Keith comes to us with a broad background and skills in property maintenance work, including over 10 years' experience working with local property companies.
Keith enjoys fishing, the Dallas Cowboys, and sports in general. He also enjoys spending time with his family and 2 kids on the weekends.
Executive Administrative Assistant
Jenna joined the Homes First team in 2023 as the Executive Administrative Assistant. Backed by a wide range of experience in supporting efficient and productive office environments and a strong desire to inspire positive change in the local community,
Jenna is excited to offer her support as an administrator for the Homes First organization. Away from the desk, Jenna is an art enthusiast who also enjoys caring for her dogs, cats, and plants, and spending time with her partner, friends, and family.
Maintenance Technician I
He estado casado con mi esposa María Calderón durante 43 años y tengo dos hijas y dos nietos. Soy de San Salvador y vivo en los Estados Unidos desde hace 42 años.
Tengo 30 años de experiencia en mantenimiento de edificios y disfruto lo que hago.
My name is Carlos Calderon
I have been married to my wife Maria Calderon for 43 years and have two daughters and two grandsons. I am from San Salvador and I have lived in the US for 42 years.
I have 30 years of experience in building maintenance and I enjoy what I do.
Maintenance Technician I
Cedar Blue joined our maintenance team in January of 2023. Cedar was born and raised in Olympia. He comes to Homes First with a background of landscape construction and car mechanics. He states that his “eyes are full of wonder, enjoys contemplating life and taking in its beauty through star-gazing, forest walks, and looking at the ocean's horizon.”
Cedar, truly cares about his community and has always dreamed of helping others. He is looking forward to being a part of Homes First mission to provide services to those in need.
Maintenance Technician I
Tameka Brown joined Homes First in June of 2023 with a versatile background in caring for people and residences alike. She grew up helping her dad with all aspects of remodeling homes and worked as a dietary aid at a community retirement home. She graduated from Tumwater High School with the goal and passion to pursue internet web design and social marketing. She looks forward to furthering her independent studies and college education. Recently she graduated from the ANEW pre-apprentice program, which allowed her to sharpen her skills in construction and earn certifications in several areas of the trades.
Tameka is a mother of two boys. She loves music and helping others be creative. She believes in the message and motivations that Homes First strives to share. She is very excited to be a part of helping her community bring housing, comfort and safety to those struggling in the tough housing demand and hopes to bring awareness and shared opportunity for growth.
Felly Giorgianni, Jr.
Maintenance Technician II
Felly began working with us in 2013 as a contractor. Now staff, he is also a former tenant, a leader in his faith community and in the Oxford House International program.
He has many years of maintenance and remodeling skills learned alongside his father, who is a professional builder. In his spare time, Felly collects knives and is a rabid Subaru fanatic, #SubieFlowBro. We are happy to have Felly on our team.