OUR HUI

BOARD MEMBERS

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Joseph Lapilio

President & CEO

Joseph has worked on the Wai`anae Coast for more than forty years. He is a community and organizational development consultant. He was executive director of the Wai`anae Coast Coalition for eleven years and coordinated community projects focused on economic development. He was appointed to the Governor’s Economic and Community Navigator Task Force and is a member of the State House of Representatives Select Committee on Economic and Financial Recovery to help with post-COIVD planning. Joseph is the immediate past president of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, active in the community including the Wai`anae Coast Rotary Club, the Lualualei Hawaiian Civic Club, among others. Joseph is a Native Hawaiian and a resident of the Wai`anae Coast.

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Dan Gomes

Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer, and Member of the Board of Directors

Dan retired from Pitney Bowes in 2005, after a 37-year career in various management positions with extensive experience in business and project management, strategic planning, organizational development, personnel management, computer technologies, and marketing.
Dan is a member of Ulu Mau Development LLC, a firm specializing in business development
projects on the Waianae Coast. He is active in community organizations that include the
Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Board of Directors, the Waianae High School
Community Council, the Waianae Elementary School Community Council, and the Waianae Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii Board of Directors.
Dan sees our community's potential to provide cultural education, multi-cultural entertainment, and effective business management programs based on cultural values and principles. His focus on developing local community resources and expertise into marketable products will contribute to the overall improvement and sustainability of our multiple Waianae Coast Communities.

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Annie Ferreira

Treasurer, Member of the Board of Directors

Annie graduated from Wai'anae High School, Class of '65. Her father, Floyd Loving was an active Model City Board member and was instrumental in bringing the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and Kaiser Permanente to Waianae. Annie sees herself following in her father’s footsteps, leaving a legacy of community development initiatives that will benefit the coast for years to come. Her community work also began in Wai'anae with Model Cities and continued in a succession of jobs, serving the community through Alu Like, Self-Help Housing and USDA Rural Development's Housing Program.

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Verna Landford-Bright

Member of the Board of Directors

Verna has lived on the Coast most of her life and is a Job Specialist with the City and County, Department of Community Services, WorkHawaii Program. Prior to this, Verna worked at the Wai`anae Mental Health Center. She volunteers for the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai`i and assists visitors in need. Verna is the Co-Founder of the Wai`anae High School Alumni Foundation and was President for five years. She is also a member of the Wai`anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Research Committee and Secretary of Valley of Rainbows.

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Georgianna Navarro

Member of the Board of Directors

Georgianna has lived in the Wai`anae Moku for 70 years and is a resident of the Wai`anae Valley Hawaiian Homestead. She has worked in a variety of jobs primarily in the hospitality industry and received a Certificate in Hospitality Training from Leeward Community College. She is currently the President of Ka`anani`au O Wai`anae (a coalition of Westside Hawaiian Civic Clubs), a member of the Ho'omau Ke Ola Board of Directors, and was previously president of the Makaha Hawaiian Civic Club. She is currently a planning committee member of Made on the Wai`anae Coast and a member of Wai`anae Moku 2030.

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Stephanie Kawelo

Member of the Board of Directors

Stephanie is a resident of the Wai`anae Valley Hawaiian Homestead. She has lived in Wai`anae since 1960 and graduated from Wai`anae High School in 1969. She is currently the Vice President for the Wai`anae Hawaiian Civic Club and Secretary for Ka`ananiau O Wai`anae. Stephanie retired from the Kuakini Medical Center after working there for 22 years.

STAFF / CONTRACTORS

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Momi Nelson

Administrative Director

Momi is involved in the strategic planning, daily administrative, operational, and financial support of the organization. She has been working and supporting non-profit sectors for over 25 years. She served as a board committee member, and as an awarded participant of the Oahu Self-Help Housing Program, who has made homeownership possible for over 142 families on the west side. She has volunteered and collaborated with community and faith-based organizations using her event planning skills with, food-drives, blood-drives, and clean-up and beautifications projects. She has helped small-businesses by helping to organize market-place pop-ups, community events which hosted vendors, and assisted in the creation of an online-makeke with an international reach, and a quick find directory called connect96792, both of which highlight and upsell our local businesses.

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Nainoa Logan

Program Director

Nainoa Logan has a background in Business Finance but his passion stems from supporting community through Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurial education. Nainoa founded the 501c3 Non-Profit organization, Hiamana, through which he offered classes on finance and business to organizations and families. Nainoa is also owner of multiple other LLCʻs. Currently, Nainoa oversees grant-writing and programs for The Waiʻanae Economic Development Council, and delivers both the Financial Loʻi and Maolipreneur programs.

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Shavone Lave

Program Manager - Maolipreneur

Shavone Lave is a Business Developer for the Wai`anae Economic Development Council, and utilizes her education, background, and experience to assist entrepreneurs in the development of their businesses. Shavone has a Master's degree in Psychology and a background in counseling and education. Prior to joining WEDC, Shavone owned and operated The Sugar Hut, a bakery located in Ma’ili, Hawai’i. She is currently a Business Strategist and helps other business owners create strategies that increase their profitability and time freedom.

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Kēhau Paulo

Program Manager - Financial Loʻi

Kēhau Paulo is a Money Mentor for Waiʻanae Economic Development Councilʻs Financial Literacy Program, Financial Loʻi. She is a Kamehameha Schools Alumni, has a background in University Education and is a self-taught Web and Graphic Designer. Kēhau combined that knowledge to became an Entrepreneur, and has been a Freelance Website Developer and Graphic Artist for a little over 20 years. In 2012, she began an online mentorship, taught various online courses, and has been coaching others for the past decade. Kēhau specializes in accountability, focused action and goal achievement. She uses her skillsets to empower others through education, and helps people improve their financial wellness.

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Kaʻiulani Kauihou

Program Manager - E Mau Ke Aʻo

Kaʻiulani Kauihou is a long time Makaha resident, graduating from the Kamehameha schools and the University of Hawaiʻi in Mānoa. With degrees in both Hawaiian Language and Education, Kaʻiulani founded Hiʻohia, a publishing company specializing in Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Culture Resources. As a former Hawaiian Language Immersion teacher, Kaʻiulani fell in love with curriculum development and continues to create programmatic content for WEDCʻs Financial Loʻi and Maolipreneur programs. Kaʻiulani is co-owner of an LLC and loves mixing business with culture, often teaching the idea that our Hawaiian ancestors were innately entrepreneurs also.

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Carol Pelekai

Project Manager - Community Outreach

Carol Pelekai has lived in Nanakuli on the Hawaiian Homestead for over 53 years. She has always been interested in creating new things and helping others. She has her Associates Degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising of Los Angeles. Her work experiences has been developing national youth programs and large event planning. She has organized 30,000 to 50,000 people conventions in New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles and Hawaii. She retired in March 2016 after 34 years working for the SGI-USA a nonprofit national organization. Carol is very passionate about helping people and creating events of all sizes; such as parades, conventions, concerts, special events, parties and corporate events. She is a small business owner, her company is Ultimate Aloha Services, LLC. The services are events planning, such as special events, silent auctions, weddings, and festivals. In Hawaii and on the Westside, Carol has also volunteered in the community for the last 25 years. She is now supporting the Waianae Economic Development Council. Her project is Community Outreach and Connect96792 Community Directory to bring all the businesses and services together, and to see how we can create a thriving economy in Waiʻanae. Most recent we are coordinating the Nanakuli Community Makeke Pop Ups.

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Hinano De La Cruz

Special Projects Coordinator

Hinano is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Wai`anae Economic Development Council. She is born and raised in Wai`anae and has been involved with several community organizations from a young age including the Lili`uokalani Trust, Waianae Comprehensive Health Center’s Behavioral Health Unit, Wai`anae Adventist Malama Elementary School, Nanakuli Boys and Girls Club and a the Wai`anae District Park. Hinano graduated with a high honors bachelor’s degree in Psychology in December 2019 and she is now pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

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Leiʻa Haff

Marketing Director

As WEDCʻs Marketing Director Leiʻa brings almost a decade of experience. Her experience spans from individual clients, private companies, small companies, large companies, and nonprofits across ten different types of industries in a handful of states. With her passion and love for marketing, Leiʻa brings a unique perspective to the WEDC team. She provides both leadership for the execution and monitoring of comprehensive development and marketing plans. Leiʻa holds a Bachelor's from the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu and a Master's degree from Southern New Hampshire University in Marketing and is currently attending Oxford University to continue her education in Digital Marketing and Marketing Strategy. She currently holds over 25 different certificates in marketing outside of school activities. She has earned several awards and recognitions in both the community and marketing.

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Umi Jensen

Evaluation and Quality Assurance

Umi Jensen is the Program Evaluator for the Waiʻanae Economic Development Council. She supports data collection and analysis and monitors program progress and impact to support program improvement and telling our story. She is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Stanford University, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with degrees in Ethnic Studies and Education, and soon, a PhD in Educational Psychology. Umi enjoys helping organizations to create positive change in their communities and owns an LLC to do this through grant writing, research, and evaluation services.

VOLUNTEERS

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Craig Alvarado

Craig is a content contributor and project volunteer. His family has been on the Waianae Coast for three generations. After working in the aviation industry for more than 30 years, he is now a realtor based in Waianae. He is a member of the Waianae Coast Rotary Club and active in many community service projects. Craig is an advocate and promoter of locally owned businesses on the Waianae Coast.

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Sandra Kaleimomi Maunakea Rose

Sandra has worked for the State of Hawai’i in the Public School System for more than 30 years and is also the owner of V E Vacations 808, a full-service travel agency. Sandra and her ‘ohana moved to the Wai’anae Coast in 1976, residing in Nānākuli Hawaiian Homes. Sandra has played a vital role in helping WEDC grow its social media platform while featuring the special places in our community that truly captures the essence of Wai’anae.