14 Feb Meet Three New Board Members – Lisa, Rachel, and Harini

It takes a special type of person to serve on a board. It takes courage, curiosity, patience, dedication, and collaboration. In return, you get lasting relationships and lasting impact.

Our three new board members are special people. They are passionate, capable, and committed to a brighter future for every child in Washington. Here are their stories:

Lisa Merrill

Lisa is a photographer who creates compelling imagery for diverse clients including travel companies, tourism organizations, cities, families and non-profits. An inspiring photo educator, she enjoys helping people unleash their creativity and tell visual stories through her workshops and tours. Photography is more than a business for Lisa; it’s a passion, and a lifelong journey of learning, expression and connection. She has spent time photographing nearly every Tiny Trees classroom over the past six months, rain or shine.

A staunch advocate for the power of play-based early learning to transform lives, Lisa served as trustee of KidsQuest Children’s Museum from 2005-2017, and used her fundraising and marketing skills to help build community support for its expansion. Her images of “a-ha” moments of discovery and interaction were featured in KidsQuest communications to visitors, members, volunteers and donors. Lisa believes that engaged philanthropy, along with active citizenship and persistent advocacy, is essential to tackling huge societal challenges. Since 1998, she’s worked with others at Social Venture Partners Seattle to co-create thriving, sustainable and just communities. Lisa has been honored to witness and document the work of many local non-profits doing vital work, and she’s proud that her images help fuel their communications and growth.

Parenthood has and continues to be a source of intense joy and new challenges for Lisa. She prefers the term “second honeymoon” to “empty nest,” and is amazed she’s almost at that point already. Travel has profoundly impacted Lisa, and she relishes opportunities to explore fascinating places and cultures in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Nature and outdoor recreation are sources of deep pleasure and renewal — she especially enjoys hiking with foster dogs, skiing at Crystal Mountain, cycling, kayaking and whitewater rafting.

Rachel Kirschner

Rachel is from Kirkland, WA and attended The Overlake School during her high school years. She graduated from the University of Redlands in Southern California with a B.A in Economics and a B.A in Business Administration. In order to pursue her love of finance and working with families, she began working at Mellon Bank on Los Angles immediately following graduation in the Wealth Management division.

In 2006, she returned to Seattle and continued working at Mellon Bank. Shortly after returning, she joined the Junior League of Seattle and started to re-build her roots in the community. The Junior League was a great way to meet many women while learning about organizational skills, non-profit organization, the community and fundraising. In 2009, she married Patrick Kirschner and then in 2011 they welcomed their daughter, Finley. As a younger parent, Rachel wanted to meet other young parents and do some volunteer work, and joined the Alumni Committee for The Overlake School. That committee led to sitting on the Board of Directors as well as the investment committee. In 2015, Rachel and Patrick welcomed their son Maxwell into the world.

Professionally, Rachel manages financial assets as a professional fiduciary, serving on behalf of her firm as a corporate investment fiduciary and/or trustee for many trusts, family foundations and charitable entities. Rachel’s role at BNY Mellon is to help people navigate tricky emotional situations tied to their wealth and then walk them through the process of applying their personal values to the way they preserve, grow and distribute financial capital. She has built strong personal relationships and professional skills with the same firm over the course of 13 years. Rachel and her family live in north Seattle where they enjoy watching sports, exploring Seattle, cooking and spending time with other friends and extended family.

Harini Gokul

Harini has worked at Microsoft for more than a decade and is Director of Partner Cloud Strategy, managing a program that supports Microsoft’s partners in building an growing profitable businesses in the cloud. Harini is deeply engaged in her work and community, and focuses on inspiring women to harness their power and create a lasting impact in their communities. She is also active with the Washington Women’s Foundation and Seattle Venture Partners. She finds inspiration from curious people who are willing to take risks for big change. Harini lived in India and Western Europe before settling in Seattle.

Harini is passionate about building lasting relationships and brings this into her work and personal life. As she excels in her career, she keeps her family as her top priority. Making time for her husband and young son are key, and she also makes time to recharge by reading or heading outdoors. “The outdoors and my books are a good reminder of the world out there, of what is really important and helps puts things in perspective, helps me differentiate the urgent versus the important.” To hear more from Harini herself, check out GeekWire’s recent feature on her here.

We are so grateful to have a growing community of change-makers and leaders on our board. Please welcome three of our newest board members to the Tiny Trees family.


  • George Jay
    Posted at 11:52h, 17 February

    Heartening, indeed, enlightening too > >> Reading of the accomplishments, vision and background of these wonderful new board members! The board of any organization oversees and produces that operating plan for management and staff of the organization to fulfill. Tiny Trees is fortunate to have so dedicated a team of “wise ones” “workers” and cultivators of the longer term objectives of so powerful, thrilling an early learning organization! ONWARD!