Board of Directors


Michelle vales, Board President

After years of exploration Michelle has found her home here in Tacoma where she is passionately engaged with our community by doing Business Development for Apple. She is also the Founder of IYE Healing Arts which offers Laughter Yoga, individual and team development & consulting, retreat creation & facilitation and sound healing. Having a Masters in Cultural Studies has supported her work with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, KTF - the Pat Graney Company Prison Project, and through the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. You will find her laughing with her whole being especially in the company of her moon circle sisters and while playing in the snow or water with her dog Mallory.




Nancy Wright, Treasurer

Nancy brings her passion for community service to SKY, along with administrative, financial, and budgeting experience in both the private and the public sector.  She currently works full-time for the City of Tacoma. Nancy started her yoga journey in 2005. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, she knows the value of a yoga practice and meditation in developing holistic mind, body and spiritual health. She recently completed her 200HR YTT certification with Pamela Higley Yoga right here at SKY.







Susan Jensen, Secretary

Susan Jensen has completed more than thirty years as a public lawyer.  She serves on the City of Tacoma Ethics Commission and previously served two terms on the Pierce County Board of Ethics.  She intends to bring her passion for justice to SKY’s Board of Directors.



Alisa O'Hanlon, Board member

I am from riding the school bus to McCarver, afraid to sit with the big kids in the back, and the bus monitor waking me on the ride home so I don't miss my stop.

Kumusta? My grandma greets me on the city bus. 

What's she saying? Who IS that? My high school friends query.

I am from rice, and Vienna sausages, and wanting mashed potatoes because they're a special treat, not to mention my favorite! (next to ice cream)

I'm from a dad who's dark skin startles my friends, or maybe I'm just self conscious about fitting in. 

I'm from two boxes - picking one denies a whole line of my family tree. 

I'm from out running the boys, but not allowed to walk alone;

From not being asked to be the bat girl, and defiantly refusing to clear the table if the boys don't too. 

I'm from privilege - my daddy bought me a car, a house, a college education -

And I'm from a white sorority, but also the one that takes all the Asians. 

I'm from the comfort of the custom of patriarchy and at the same time fiercely trying to stand on my own two feet and shout with my own voice.

In the end, I am from brothers who remind me I am from my mother who I will become.

Heather Saunders Benson, Board Member

Born of two worlds.  Born to a Scottish mother.  Poor and uneducated.  A history of tragedy.  Born to a Navy father.  Well educated.  A history of privilege.  My Scottish family taught me about community.  About generosity.  About loyalty (both good and bad).  That poverty will twist you up inside.  My dad taught me about achievement.  Gave me opportunities and expected a lot.  I developed drive.  Passion.  A need to please.  Fast forward to now.  I am a reluctant wife.  I love my husband deeply, but I rail against boundaries.  At my self-perceived box.  I am the mother of one terrific person.  Everyday I try to get better.  To be more present.  To care less about making the bed.  Doing the dishes.  And embrace joy and this amazing creature who is just so happy to be with me.

I'm a healer and a seeker.  I dive into a dream, and they are waiting for me.  Robing me.  Talking to me.  Impatient.  Waiting for me to step into my power.  I want to do whatever it is they ask, but I don't quite know exactly what it is.  So I listen.  Do my yoga.  A rare bird rising.

As I've listened, I've transitioned from healing myself, to hearing a call to service.  I believe that everyone has a different path to healing and joy.  And there are so many paths to choose from!  So I learn about them so that I can hopefully make a connection for someone, at some point, to a thing that they need, when they need it.  I believe in wellness and that healing plus wellness becomes joy.  Mind, body, and soul are one, and we are all made of stardust. Do your yoga.  All will come.