Board of Directors

Leslie Yoest

Board President

My name is Leslie Yoest and I am proud to serve as Board Chair for Giraffe Laugh. The work that we do in this organization is amazing and every child deserves these educational opportunities. In my professional life, I am a Mortgage Loan Officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage in Garden City, Idaho. This profession allows me to help people achieve one of the most important goals in their life, purchasing a home. I pride myself in being a resource to people with advice, comfort, and support at every turn of their life. In my personal life, I share a beautiful home with the love of my life, Matt. I have two of the most amazing girls that a mother could have and a stepdaughter that ranks just as high. I have a dear love for animals, the great outdoors, family, friends, and most importantly, LAUGHTER!

Jennifer Erickson

Vice President

I have lived in Boise for ten years with my family and work for the Idaho Foodbank as the Food Safety and Compliance Coordinator.  Feeding people safely is my passion.  It is never a dull moment in our household as I juggle a full-time job with the demands of being a full-time mom!

Anne Kunkel


I am currently with Varin Wardwell, a small boutique law firm in downtown Boise. We work with all sizes of clients in a variety of business, tax, and litigation matters for the growth and protection of their businesses. My husband, Jason, and I have been in Boise for the last 17 years. Before coming here I received an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, and my law degree from Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon. I was lucky to grow up in a family that valued education. They made sure I was school ready when I started kindergarten. Due to this, I want to make sure that all children have the same opportunities to thrive and succeed. I enjoy traveling, wine, food, and spending time with my three kitties: Satchmo, Charlie, and Ella (and Jason).

Maria Thomas


I am currently with Deloitte Tax, serving a variety of clients in Boise and throughout the Pacific Northwest. I have lived in Boise for ten years and received my finance and accounting degrees from Boise State University. Education is the great equalizer in our society, so I am passionate about providing educational opportunities to underserved communities. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family, reading, and the arts.

Scott Johnson

Prior to pursuing my college degree, I served in the United States Army stationed in Nuremburg, Germany. There I was able to travel Europe extensively and upon completing his duty, he enrolled at Boise State University to complete his education. I have enjoyed a career as a Financial Planner and currently have a role as partner in a long established Boise Financial Planning firm. I enjoy many of the activities that Boise has to offer, to include: mountain biking, skiing, paddle boarding and the arts. I have two daughters who are 16 and 19 both of which spend time volunteering in various capacities.

Emily Solly

My husband, two daughters, and I take advantage of living in beautiful Idaho. We love to go camping, fishing, hiking, and skiing. We enjoy traveling and hope to do more as our girls grow. As a commercial lender at Mountain West Bank, I am able to help my clients with the best tools and services for their business. One of the things I admire about my workplace is their commitment to helping our community. I first learned about Giraffe Laugh when I was a Loaned Executive with the United Way, and their gift to children and families here in Boise match an area of immense need for our community. As a working mother wanting the best for my two daughters, I am proud to be a part of an organization that helps parents provide a stable, loving, educational and safe place for their children, regardless of their income. Their support for the entire family helps set children up for a lifetime of success; this, in turn, makes our community a better place.

Dorothy Hardee

Having lived in Boise since the early 70’s I definitely call this great city home.  I’m a single parent of 3 daughters with a full-time career.  My busy life constantly gives me lessons to experience gratitude and I feel I have great relationships in my community to help others experience the same.

Julie Waters

I am a native Boisean and mom to three teenage daughters.  I love all things Boise and couldn’t imagine raising our family anywhere else.  We love spending time outdoors, taking road trips to the Oregon Coast, and camping in the summer.  I fell in love with Giraffe Laugh’s mission and am excited to serve on the Board of Directors.  Sharing Giraffe Laugh and advocating for children and families within our community is my passion and I’m thrilled to have a role in building strong futures.

Jennifer Panitch

I moved from New Orleans to Boise with my husband and son just over 2 years ago. I graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Communications. Following graduation, I worked in advertising and post-production in New York City. Eventually, I returned to New Orleans and shifted gears by venturing into the non-profit arena and spent the next decade or so working in non-profit development and fundraising.
After moving to Boise, I spent some time working from home as a graphic designer. This gave me the opportunity to get to know my new city and discover all the amazing things Boise has to offer. I have now returned to the non-profit world and works at Learning Lab in Garden City. I still enjoy Boise and love exploring beautiful Idaho with my family.