top of page

Leadership Team

Maria Metzler

Executive Director   

(206) 842.7621  

Maria Metzler is the current director of Helpline House.  She most recently served as a senior manager at Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center, where her portfolio consisted of overseeing 4 emergency shelter programs providing over 450 beds of shelter each night, 2 scattered sites housing programs providing nearly 300 units of permanent supportive housing, and DESC's Rapid Rehousing program.  Metzler holds a Master's degree in counseling from Seattle University.  She has lived and worked internationally (Italy and Belize), has 3 kids that she and her husband are raising on Bainbridge Island, and she loves the Seattle Sounders and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Lianne Ristow

Food Bank Manager   

(206) 842.7621

Lianne came to Helpline House from Bay Hay and Feed where she was the Market Manager & Buyer for several years. Prior to this Lianne lived in the Snoqualmie Valley where she raised two children, was a Girl Scouts troop leader, and worked in Nonprofit Donations and Volunteer Management as well as a farm laborer on a biodynamic farm. Lianne has a MA from Antioch University in Environment & Community with an emphasis in Food Systems and Permaculture. She holds an AA degree in Sustainable Business from Bellevue College as well as a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Lianne is passionate about all things food and in her spare time, she loves to cook for family and friends, read and spend time out of doors. 


Kerry Lavigne

Volunteer & Program Manager 

(206) 842.7621

Kerry has professional experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors, including fundraising for an organization serving foster youth, and positions in marketing and business development for online curriculum and technology firms. She also worked with the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, Boys & Girls Club, and KiDiMu. Kerry has spent many years volunteering for the island’s public schools and is very active as a founding Board member of the Troy and Baden Biddle Foundation—in memory of family friends (father and 13-year-old son).


After growing up in Seattle and graduating from Seattle Pacific University with a B.A. in Communication, she met and married her husband in California. Since 2003 they have worked and lived on Bainbridge together with their daughter and son. Kerry is honored to follow in the footsteps of current and former Helpline House staff members as the Volunteer Services Manager.

Dean Lierle, LICSW

Fund Development Manager

(206) 842.7621

After graduating with a BA in Psychology from Kenyon College in 1985 Dean began a 12-year career with Nordstrom including five years in Human Resources management.  After a stint as a recruiter and HR diversity consultant Dean went back to school to earn his master’s in social work (MSW) at the University of Washington in 2001.  His career in social work has included both fundraising and direct service as a licensed clinical social worker (LICSW).  In 2001 Dean took the position of Capital Campaign Manager at the Compass Center homeless shelter in Pioneer Square and helped them rebuild after the Nisqually earthquake destroyed their shelter facility.  During that time, Dean and his family moved to Bainbridge Island and in 2005 he took a job as Social Worker/Case Manager with Helpline House.  In 2012 after 7 years with Helpline House Dean joined Peninsula Psychotherapy Center in Silverdale and began his career as a psychotherapist in private practice.  In 2020 Dean left PPC to open his solo private practice on Bainbridge Island specializing in working with individual adults.  Dean made the decision to rejoin Helpline House in April of 2023 after learning that Helpline was looking for a fundraiser. Dean is currently the Fund Development Manager at Helpline House.

Myra Howrey

Business Manager 

(206) 842.7621

Myra has been the Business Manager at Helpline House since 1998.  She has a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and moved to Bainbridge Island in 1979.  She now lives in Suquamish.  Myra has served in positions of leadership in the League of Women Voters for many years – was on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters of Washington for 16 years and is the current President of the League of Women Voters of Kitsap.

Megan Lindgren

Buisness Manager

(206) 842.7621


Megan grew up in Oregon and graduated with honors from Southern Oregon University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice.  Her practicum was completed in nonprofit working with at-risk youth. Upon graduating, she worked in employee benefits administration, regional wine distribution, and as an administrative specialist managing small business bookkeeping, HR, and corporate records.  

Megan happily joined Helpline House in December 2021 as the Assistant Business Manager.  She is married with two daughters and an amazing rescue dog.  In her spare time she loves practicing piano with her kids, sailing, reading, and being outside with her family.


Debbie Stearns

Communications Manager

(206) 842.7621


Debbie's connection began as the Helpline House's Volunteer Services Coordinator in 2013; combined with her background in the printing & design industry, she has formed her new role as the Communications Manager at Helpline House. She holds an AA degree in Graphic Design from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and 25 years of project management in print production and visual communications. Debbie helps guide, inform, and share Helpline House's range of services through print, social and digital media.  Her different roles at Helpline House bring light to all community members that want to help or need support from the food bank, social workers, case managers, seasonal programs, along with many more resources. Since 1996, she and her husband have been involved in the Bainbridge community, inspired by the PNW's four seasons to play outside, garden more, and try every summer to grow a better crop of tomatoes while raising their four children.

Social Work Team


Shawn Nigh, MSW, LSWAIC

Child Therapist


Shawn was raised in Gulfport, Mississippi and moved to Kitsap County in February of 2014. She started her academic journey for Social Work in 2018, graduating with her Bachelor’s of Social Work in August of 2021. After earning her BSW, she joined the Helpline House’s Social Work Team as a case manager. Shawn completed her Master’s in Social Work in May of 2023, specializing in children, youth and families. She is now the child therapist at Helpline House and is excited to move forward in her social work journey towards her LICSW. Shawn has two children and, in her spare time, enjoys crocheting, reading, being at the beach, and spending time with her family.

Olivia Durel, LSWAIC

Clinical Social Worker


In awe of the community here at Helpline House, and the island at large, Olivia just moved to Bainbridge in June of 2023. Originally from New Orleans, LA, she pursued her Masters of Social Work at Tulane University. With a special interest in relational psychotherapy and ecological systems theory, she also pursued a certificate in disaster resilience and collective trauma from Tulane's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. She is grateful to the invaluable clinical, case management, and research experience she gained while interning in the psychiatry department at Ochsner Hospital, and is grateful for the opportunity now to support the people and connections of Helpline House. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of the Performing Arts in 2017, and in her free time has enjoyed getting to know the art scene here on the island and in Seattle.

Case Managers

Marilyn Gremse,  BA
Social Worker

Marilyn has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in Anthropology. After a short career as an archaeologist and researcher, she studied Counseling at the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked with victims of violent crimes in a California district attorney’s office. Combining her counseling and research skills, Marilyn worked as a Litigation Paralegal in Seattle for many years after obtaining a Certification in Paralegal Studies from University of Washington. In 1989, Marilyn joined Helpline House where she has served for 20 years as the Food Bank Operations Manager. Marilyn is currently a member of the Social Work team.   She is a certified Medicare specialist (SHIBA) and is obtaining credentials related to Social Security benefits application process (SOAR).   Marilyn enjoys assisting people navigate bureaucracies and untangle a wide range of issues as a case manager.

Kelly Zwicker, MS

Social Worker


Kelly has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Dominican University of California, where she performed as a student-athlete. Following her college athletic career, Kelly obtained a Master of Science in Kinesiology (Sport and Exercise Psychology) from Western Washington University, where she worked with athletes on mental performance. Kelly's work with athletes and interest in mental health drove her to continue her graduate studies in clinical social work, landing her in her current master's in social work program. Kelly hopes to combine her two degrees and provide a holistic service to future athlete clients, with both her sport psychology background and her developing social work experience. Kelly also has interests in medical social work and working with clients on trauma and anxiety. Kelly spends her free time with her rescue dog and playing tennis or other sports with friends. 

Donna Dahlquist, BSW
Community Care Coordinator


Donna grew up in Poulsbo and raised three sons here on Bainbridge Island.  She did her practicum at Helpline House in 1998 while attending the University of Washington School of Social Work and remained on staff until 2014.  She managed programs providing community access and job skill building for adults with cognitive disabilities as well as a number of other roles to support Helpline House’s mission.  She served on the boards of One Call for All and Housing Resources Bainbridge, among other community volunteer activities.


She is delighted to come home to Helpline House. She sees herself as a “lifelong learner.” She enjoys expanding her gardening and sewing skills–usually with a science, health, philosophy, or politics-themed podcast or audiobook going in the background.  She enjoys throwing balls for her dogs and introducing her grandkids to a wide range of music.

bottom of page