Hestia Retreat's Circle of Directors

Our volunteer Circle of Directors and Advisory Circle make Hestia Retreat possible


Circle of Directors


Emily Herrick

Emily’s varied experience includes a stint as a professional organizer helping people clear clutter from their home, work as an advertising proofreader, founding and operating a farmers’ market with her husband, and running the children’s department of a public library. She currently works for an organic and natural food broker,  is a yoga teacher, and wedding officiant. Emily joined Hestia because she believes in the power of women supporting each other to come home to themselves. She and her husband made a huge leap of faith in 2014 when they discovered and moved to Vashon Island from the East End of Long Island (after reading a book written by a Vashon dairy farmer) and built a home and studio. She loves great food, interior design, nature, travel, walking, dogs and spending time with family and friends.


Susan Lynch

Susan Lynch is a shamanic practitioner, teacher, editor and poet. A gifted dreamer, degreed in both shamanic and academic studies, she has a BA from Reed College, an MFA in Creative Writing, and studied literature and myth at Oxford. Susan connects to the natural and unseen worlds through stillness and enjoys creating space for others to find their quiet powers. She brings her leadership expertise with women and girls, and her creative empowerment skills, to the mission of Hestia Retreat.

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Valerie Manusov

Co-founder Valerie Manusov received her PhD from the University of Southern California and has been a Professor of Communication at Rutgers University and the University of Washington for over 25 years, studying interpersonal, relational, nonverbal, and intercultural communication. She moved to Vashon with her son in 2007 as part of her choice to live more authentically and married her junior high school crush, a man who fully supports women's retreat time, in 2013. Valerie has been involved actively with women's issues for most of her life and with retreats since 2002. Creating Hestia Retreat is part of a larger calling to value quiet and stillness as a means for self-understanding and compassion for oneself and others.


Catherine Swearingen

Never one to let an opportunity go by unexplored, Catherine has had a wild and wonderful ride career-wise—as forester, lawyer, lobbyist, mediator, adjunct faculty, and career counselor—and still found time to volunteer at numerous non-profits benefitting women and families. Growing up in the deep South, she knows first-hand about discrimination, and has made it her life’s work to empower women to realize their full potential. She is blessed to share her life with three loving men—two sons and a wonderful husband—who know that to call yourself a feminist is a badge of honor. Leaps of faith have generally worked out for Catherine, and she hopes her work with Hestia will instill that same fearlessness in others.

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Joanna Wiebe

More than anything else, we want to love and be loved. Love is a gift. Love is not time bound. Love is good will in action. Love is a response to need. These principles of loving came from the heart of Jerry Jud, the founder of Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center.  Since Joanna’s first retreat there in 1996, she has used these words as her guide for becoming an intentionally loving person. Like a child playing with the same toy over and over again, she keeps diving into loving relationships to experience their mystery, pain, and delight. Following these principles also helps her bring curiosity, compassion, and mindfulness to her work as a user experience designer and writer. The first of Hestia Retreat’s principles is “to act from a place of love,” and it’s Joanna’s joy to encourage that in herself and others.


Advisory Circle


Julia Lynton Boelte

Julia is a life coach who specializes in job satisfaction, career changes, and bringing balance to overworked and overwhelmed clients. She has worked in fields as varied as oceanography, special education, arts management, and corporate recruiting. Julia's experience in all these fields has taught her that retreats, relaxation, and rejuvenation are crucial to the success of any of us. 


Mela Bredouw

Pamela Bredouw, Hestia Retreat Co-founder, has her Master’s degree in Urban Planning, and had a long career specializing in community visioning and citizen participation programs. More recently, Mela has served her community as a life coach. She has been on Vashon for 20 years, studying healing, yoga, compassionate communication, BodyTalk, aromatherapy, and Reiki. Mela lives in the island's CoHousing community where she practices collaboration, consensus, and artful group dynamics. Her life’s desire is to create a healing retreat center and support a peaceful world.



Reeney OReilley

Reeney has over 25 years of experience in the marketing, public relations, and non-profit world. From traveling the U.S. creating special events promoting the K2 brand, to becoming involved with a groundbreaking internet startup known as MountainZone.com, her life was certainly not dull. She then began a quest for spiritual growth, personal transformation, and the opportunity to live from her heart. Being Executive Director of The Starlight Foundation ignited her spirit, giving her the opportunity to grant wishes to many chronically and terminally ill children. After several years of non-profit work, she was magically drawn back home to Vashon. Ainslie MacLeod, an internationally acclaimed psychic, spiritual teacher, and award winning author, encouraged her to expand upon the intuitive and empathic gifts he recognized in her. She is now working on her own PHD (Personalized Holistic Development). Hestia Retreat resonates with her on many levels, by supporting women’s personal, creative, and spiritual development.  


Carolyn Shilling Gill

Carolyn is an enthusiastic and energetic person. Yeah, she’s done all those things you might expect: studied hard and received degrees, launched her own business, was a management consultant for Price Waterhouse, was the general manager of a women’s organization for thirteen years, raised a family, and is married to a super guy. And she has a life-long passion for supporting women and girls to live full lives with the freedom to make good choices, develop their potential, and to find their passion for life! Carolyn is an artist and designer, as well as a lover of classical music, singing, Japanese gardens, and baseball. Her vision is that Hestia Retreat will be a resource for helping women become rejuvenated and restored to their strongest self.