Maya serves as a consultant to the Obama Foundation, working closely with their international team to develop programming in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to her work with the Obama Foundation, she was the Director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa where, in addition to leading outreach and development initiatives, she also taught Leadership for Social Change, History of Peace Movements, Peace Education, and Conflict Management for Educators. She was awarded a master’s degree in Secondary Education from NYU’s College of Education and a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaiʻi. For many years, she worked at the University of Hawaiʻi College of Education where she taught Multicultural Education, Social Studies Methods, and Peace Education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Maya has published a number of book contributions as well as a picture book entitled Ladder to the Moon and is currently under contract to write a Young Adult novel entitled Yellowwood. Maya sits on many voluntary boards and is the co-founder of the nonprofit Ceeds of Peace, which creates peacebuilding action plan workshops for educators, families and community leaders and is the co-founder of the Institute for Climate and Peace which advances effective and inclusive processes to build peaceful and climate-conscious futures for the wellbeing of all.
Ivee is an educator, facilitator, counselor, advisor, and instructor. Ivee holds a Bachelors in Global & International Studies and Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara. She has a Masters in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Ms. Cruz has volunteered with a number of community organizations, including the Education Leadership team of the Polynesian Voyaging Society including the Hokule‘a Worldwide Voyage. Ivee has participated in various fellowship programs in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Vietnam, Washington D.C., New York, and studied abroad in Granada, Spain. Her professional experience includes secondary, higher education, international development, and the Department of Statement Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. She aspires to bridge culture, diversity, spirituality, social justice, youth leadership, mindfulness and consciousness within the field of education.
Paula Adams, originally from Argentina, has been living in Hawai`i since 2003. She is the Executive Director of the Hawai`i Afterschool Alliance. Ms. Adams completed her Master’s degree in Psychology. She began her professional career as a psychotherapist in a mental health clinic in New York City and she helped with research at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Before moving to Hawai`i she worked at the University of Buenos Aires in research and in education. After arriving to the Aloha State, she began working at the University of Hawaii as the Fun 5 program coordinator, a physical activity and nutrition program for afterschool kids. Working for afterschool programs gave her the opportunity to be selected as the Hawai`i Afterschool Ambassador, a program run by the national Afterschool Alliance. Since 2014, as the director of the Hawai`i Afterschool Alliance, Paula Adams has been supporting afterschool and summer learning programs for all children in Hawai`i. Paula is married and has two teenage children, as well as a cat, a dog, and a lot of plants.
Annie Cusick-Wood is a Hawaii-based Director and Writer of theatre for children. Born in Scotland, Annie graduated as a drama teacher from Aberdeen College of Education and has taught and directed since 1987. She is a playwright and director of plays for several companies across the UK including TAG, The Citizens Theatre, M6, Newcastle Playhouse, Leicester Haymarket, Visible Fictions, the macRobert and Catherine Wheels. The recipient of the Scottish Arts Council’s ‘Creative Scotland Award’ in 2000, Annie’s shows ‘The Red Balloon,’ ‘Martha,’ and ‘The Happy Prince’ have played in New York and toured internationally. She has also won a Victor Award, and ‘Best Play for Children’ (Shanghai Children’s Theater Festival.) In Hawaii, she has directed “The Red Balloon” and “Charlie Brown” for Hearts, and “Stellaluna” for Kids Entertainment. Annie wrote and directed “Blue”, “Sort It Out”, “Peter Rabbit and the Garden” and “Auntie Martha and the Nene” for Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY).
Aaron Domingo is a financial advisor at Westpac Wealth Partners – One of Hawaii’s fastest growing financial services companies. Aaron has always had a heart for being involved in the community and has a passion for spreading financial literacy to all in need. In addition to his career in finance, Aaron is also a performing musician and has a degree in Music Business Production from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He is a volunteer musician for “Make ‘em Smile” a local non-profit that brings music to children battling illness in our local hospitals. Aaron and his wife Jenn are proud parents to their daughter Teagan. Their hope is to raise Teagan to know and be a delegate for empathy and peace.
Eric Johnson is the Artistic Director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth, leading an ensemble of local theatrical artists creating new work celebrating the diverse cultures and dynamic stories of Hawaii. Since his arrival in 2005 the company has collaborated with numerous local non-profits, government organizations and cultural communities across the State and abroad. His work has toured nationally and internationally winning numerous awards and recognition including a Helen Hayes Award for Anime Momotaro and a Visionary Voice Award from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. He is a proud alumnus of the TCG/NEA Early Career Directors Program and the Princess Grace Fellowship.
Olin Lagon incubated and then spun out Shifted Energy while he was Executive Director of Kanu Hawaii, one of Hawaii’s largest grassroots organizations with nearly 20,000 members statewide. Olin is a technology innovator and social entrepreneur with a long time passion for sustainability. He co-founded several companies and helped invent pioneering technologies in diverse fields including content localization and crowdfunding. He co-authored multiple technology patents and his inventions have been adopted by many Fortune 500 companies as well as organizations like MIT and the Olympics. His startup ChipIn created the first commercial crowdfunding system and directed nearly $100 million to causes worldwide. Half of Olin’s life has been spent in service including the U.S. Navy, the Peace Corps, and several nonprofits. Born and raised in Hawaii, Olin got first-hand experience of low opportunity communities through his years living in public housing projects. He spends all of his free time with his family and volunteering at a Foundation he co-founded, Purple Mai’a, which teaches coding and computer science through after-school or elective classes to Native Hawaiian students, low-income youth, and others who are underrepresented in tech.
Cleo’s passion for team building and brand advocacy is rare in financial services. As Head of Café Operations and community affairs for ING Direct in the USA, she built a culture that put its cafes at the center of the brand’s national profile and made community outreach a pillar in its success. Before leaving her mark on America’s most successful online bank, Cleo acquired deep experience in multi-national financial service groups, in executive posts at Custom House, Thomas Cook and Deak International. Cleo is married 55 years to Carl Brown, Retired HPD and they have three adult daughters, one adult son and seven grandchildren.
José Barzola has a passion for creating social change through nonviolence, nurturing relationships that transcend cultural barriers, and focusing on issues of diversity, identity and multiculturalism. He is a highly organized education administrator with over 15 years of experience and success in higher education administration, student development within academic and student affairs. José aspires to continue to develop his skills as a peacebuilder and to strengthen his knowledge on the power of nonviolence.
Borjana Lubura-Winchester was born and raised in Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina. When she was 17, civil war broke in her country. Borjana experienced two harsh years of war followed by five as a refugee. She lost many family members and friends and witnessed the devastating impact of war. Upon return to Sarajevo, Borjana worked at the NATO base as a liaison and interpreter between local contractors and international peace building forces, helping overcome the obstacles that communities face while trying to rebuild peace and live together. In 2005, Borjana came to Hawaii, and earned an Associates degree with honors from Leeward Community College, a BA with Honors in Geography and Geographic Information Systems and MA in Geopolitics with focus on Humanitarian Interventions, both from UH Manoa. Meanwhile, Borjana continued to help build peace in her native Bosnia. In 2011, she began facilitating with the Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, where she earned a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution. Her facilitation includes seminars for the Department of Defense Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies on security, development, and transnational issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Borjana teaches geography and geopolitics at Leeward Community College and UH Manoa. Her three children fuel her passion for peace building.
Naomi Rombaoa Tanaka, Ph.D. is a faculty member of the Center on Disability Studies at the College of Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The Principal Investigator/Project Coordinator of the Hawaiʻi Positive Engagement Project (H-PEP), her projects aim to grow the strengths of educators, families, and students. Naomi is passionate about strengthening teams through technical as well as adaptive leadership.
Her area of interest is the use of technology to increase personal happiness, peace, and resilience.
She is the author and illustrator of an award winning children’s book, Brighter, Brighter, Brighter!, which was originally created as a peace project in Dr. Maya Soetoro’s class. Naomi holds a PhD in Learning Design and Technology and Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies from UH Mānoa and a BS in Educational Studies/Family and Community Services and MS in Early Childhood/Special Education from the University of Oregon.
Katie Ranney was born and raised on O’ahu. Her interest in conflict resolution and social justice bloomed during her undergraduate studies at Santa Clara University in California. After graduating summa cum laude, she spent one year working at a daytime women’s shelter in Boston as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Katie returned to Hawaii and earned her Masters Degree in Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution from University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She currently works as a freelance facilitator and communication consultant as well as project assistant for the ACCORD3.0 Network. Katie’s latest projects include a Joint Fact Finding team on Kauai, and note-taking for a few of the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress panels.
Holly Polk is a Common Core State Standards Resource Teacher for Oahu’s Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex Area. After 25 years in the Hawaii Department of Education, she still finds love and joy in teaching. Holly has 14 years teaching elementary school students, primarily in 6th grade, and 11 years teaching adults as a School Assessment Liaison, Data Coach, and Common Core Resource Teacher. She loves learning and hopes to instill that love of learning to her fellow teachers!
As a School Improvement Resource Teacher at Waipahu High School, it brings Joyce much joy to work with new educators who are passionate and eager to help all students succeed. The willingness and great attitudes of new teachers gives hope for the future they will inspire and instill a love of learning in their students. Prior to Waipahu High School Joyce worked at the district level as a School Assessment Liaison Resource Teacher, and an Induction and Mentoring Resource Teacher, and she also taught 6th grade at Leihoku Elementary School. Joyce believes that we can all learn from each other and that is why she enjoys working with students and teachers.
An educator for over 35 years, Steve has worked with youth from preschool through college age adults. A proud graduate of Hawai`i public schools, Steve has been a school counselor at Solomon Elementary, and he previously served in the Marine Corps, Hawai`i Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve. He advocates for “mindfulness,” a practice he has done since beginning Aikido in 1978. Steve has created “RAINBOWS in Me: Values of Aloha”, an evidence-based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program. He is most proud of his graduate student daughter, Nikki, and he feels blessed to be connected with Ceeds of Peace, helping promote Aloha and building peace in our world.
Brad Kusunoki is a School Counselor at Alvah Scott Elementary School in Aiea. As a board member of the Hawaii School Counselor Association, he is working to create more professional development opportunities specifically for School Counselors that count towards their reclassification. Brad has been a University of Hawaii football season ticket holder for many years, and hopes the team will once again return to the glory days, as it was in the 2007 season. He is also a new father to a son!
Nicole Colello is currently the school counselor at Sunset Beach Elementary School on the North Shore of Oahu. She enjoys working with her students and loves letting them share their voices. When she is not working she loves to workout, travel, surf, eat and spend time with her two fur babies. As the President of the Hawaii School Counselor Association she thrives to support the work of school counselors and social emotional learning.
Dawn Rego-Yee (she/her) was born and raised in Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island and identifies as wahine Hawaiʻi, mother, wife, daughter, aunty, hula learner, ʻāina aloha and social justice worker. She received a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Certificate in Hawaiʻi Life Styles from Hawaiʻi Community College. Dawn is a facilitator, trainer and project manager who has worked in child advocacy, community-building, leadership, equity, nonprofits and centers social justice in the work she does. She believes in our pilina (relationship) to ʻāina, environment and each other to support healthy and thriving ʻohana and communities.
Deborah is an educator, minister, artist, mother of four, and grandmother of one. Living in Hawai’i since 2010, she is a founding board member of Parents for Public Schools of Hawai’i, co-founder of Fund our Hawai’i Public Schools Coalition and active member of HE’E and the Broadband Hui. Her mission is to support engaging, deep education to unlock each person’s unique gifts bringing personal and familial satisfaction, happiness, and well-being, thereby advancing peace. She has worked extensively in media, assessment, knowledge management, and blended learning. She led product development at Kaplan, served as CEO at Galaxy Classroom and AwesomeStories, founded Teacher Universe and LearningBond. Deborah delivered media in learning, open education resource, assessment for learning, teacher professional development, STEM learning, and career technical blended learning solutions statewide in GA and district wide in NC, FL, and OH. Through LearningBond she serves non-profits and others seeking to deepen and expand learning.
Dana is a lawyer and nonprofit generalist, whose approach and perspective are defined by three decades of experience, as a teacher and curriculum author for the NYC Board of Education, director of development for a large charter school, and inaugural executive director of the Frieda C. Fox Foundation. Known nationally for her conference sessions, webinars and publications with the Council on Foundations, Exponent Philanthropy, and the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Dana’s tenure at Fox saw her incubate and implement innovative programs including Youth Philanthropy Connect and Education by Nature, and manage over $4 million in grants to nonprofits. Semi-retired, she shares expertise in cloud-based technology, online marketing, collaboration, and governance. Dana graduated from Wellesley College and the Santa Clara University School of Law.
Tina Nader, an educator in diverse public, parochial, and private schools for over 30 years, has taught preschool through college students in the US and South Africa, supervised teachers in Southern California inner city schools and on a Navajo reservation, and directed a diversity recruiting program at Sewanee: University of the South. In New York, Tina worked as a corporate salesperson with clients at Wall Street brokerage firms, Fortune 500 companies, and the United Nations headquarters. Over the past fifteen years, Tina has provided consultation for development projects in South Africa, Peru, and Cambodia, and promoted the PBS Village America series, which presented national news through a multicultural perspective. Tina also currently serves on the board of the United Nations Association: Hawaii-Honolulu. Tina and her husband, the Very Rev.Walter Brownridge, have been married over 30 years and have two grown sons, Alexander Thurgood and Martin Desmond.
A retired senior executive at Intel Corporation, Dennis applies decades of experience in corporate sales and marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and management of large teams and billion dollar budgets, to the nonprofit and social benefit sector. A 15 year mentor at Santa Clara University Business School’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI)/ Miller Center of Entrepreneurship, Dennis coaches award-winning social entrepreneurs in business plans for scaling enterprises that improve lives around the world. Dennis leads Strategic Planning efforts for the UCSF School of Dentistry, the UCSF Cranio-facial Center at Benioff Children’s Hospital and the UC Berkeley School of Optometry. He has advised, consulted and served on the boards of dozens of nonprofits. He is a decorated U.S. Army officer and combat veteran, and an avid golfer.