Meet the GriefWorksTeam


Preston ("Gene") Humphreys – BS, City University
Executive Director

Gene has over 25 years of experience in business management, staff supervision, budget development and control, program and project management, and workload and demand management. Gene brings strong leadership skills and a solid framed approach to the business operations of the organization. Currently Gene is enrolled at the University of Washington, working towards earning his Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership. Gene’s enthusiasm for the vision of the organization integrates growth of support services and programs into the community to achieve the maximum benefit to the populace of South King County. Gene possesses the management skills necessary in the Executive Director position.

Mel Erickson BA, RC, CT
Co-Founder and Program Director

Mel (Mary Ellen) is known for her compassionate care and effective healing tools. These grow out her personal losses, her education, and her 25 years in social service work. Mel helps people of all ages understand and experience the natural healing process of grief. She also trains professionals and volunteers, equipping them to further serve the bereaved.

Mel is a registered counselor and certified thanatologist. She and Nanette Flynn are co-founders of GriefWorks and co-authors of Teen Talk, an 8-week curriculum for grieving teens (which has been adapted for all ages). Mel also is creator of Our Story, a workbook for grieving children.

Michele Ray, BSW, MEd
Bereavement Facilitator

Michele earned her BSW at University of KY and her MEd in Counseling from University of Puget Sound. She is a registered counselor in Washington and a certified school counselor and teacher. She has experience working with children, the handicapped and elderly, with abused women, and immigrants. Her experience extends over the last 35 years with a focus primarily on folks struggling with grief, depression, eating problems, and marital difficulties. She has special training in the area of domestic abuse and has been a leader in women’s ministries, children’s ministries, prayer ministries, and teaching ministries.

Debbie Brenner
Office Manager

Your phone calls to GriefWorks often are answered by the warm, caring voice of Debbie. Through her personal losses and years of work in social services, she understands your needs and will make every effort provide you with support from our staff or another agency.

Debbie not only is a compassionate listener, but she also is a gifted administrator who keeps our office running smoothly. And in our ever-changing world, she seizes opportunities to continue to learn and grow in her knowledge and skills.

Alicia Tomlan
Marketing & Development Director

A management professional with over 28 years of experience in the corporate arena encompassing the disciplines of procurement, training and development, project management and event planning, Alicia brings to her role at GriefWorks a diverse portfolio of business experience. Possessing a heart for serving the wounded and brokenhearted within the community, Alicia’s volunteer efforts include official appointment as a chaplain to a regional first responder community, service as a lay counselor, and as a volunteer communications representative for a city’s office of emergency management. Self published, Alicia authored: The Book of You – Simples Truths to Reawaken the Journey.

Together we’re mending hearts…
and re-landscaping lives.

The mission of GriefWorks is to serve as a bereavement resource providing education and support for people grieving a death or seeking to understand the grief process.

We envision a world where grieving people are supported in compassion and companionship as they journey through their unique loss experiences.

- our TEAM -
- our WORK -
- our HISTORY -
- our VALUES -



Rob Perry

Rob Perry has been involved with funeral service for 22 years and is currently manager of Yahn & Son Funeral Home in Auburn. He is also president of the King County Funeral Directors Association and an active member of Valley Kiwanis of Auburn. Rob has seen firsthand the value and need for a quality local grief counseling organization. In his free time, Rob enjoys biking, skiing, and spending time with his family.

Kelly McGill
Vice President / Treasurer

Kelly McGill has lived in the Puget Sound Area for 29 years. He is dedicated to public service and has worked for Puget Sound Energy for 10 years and owns his own business. Kelly is a natural leader and through his personal losses he understands the importance of GriefWorks and its importance in our community. In his personal time Kelly enjoys sport shooting, coin collecting and spending time with his wife and dogs.