The 2020 Fellows

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Mackenzie Ajimura

Mackenzie was born and raised on Kaua’i and now resides on Lāna’i. She is a Kaua’i High School graduate and has a degree in Business Technology from Kaua’i Community College. During her time at Kaua’i High School, she lettered in golf and cross country. While on Kaua’i, she spent the majority of her career in hospitality until she met the love her life, which is what eventually brought her to Lāna’i. She is currently employed by Pūlama Lāna’i and really enjoys being a part of the company and the community. She is a proud dog Mom to her Shih Tzu, Mollie and in her free time she enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, and spending time with family and friends.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Lauren Akitake

Born and raised on Maui, Lauren earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law. She also obtained a Master of Science degree in Applied Social Research from the University of Stirling, Scotland while on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Analysis/Politics from Pomona College in California. She graduated as a Valedictorian from Baldwin High School class of 1999.
After law school, Lauren moved home to Maui, clerked for the Honorable Shackley F. Raffetto and then practiced as an associate attorney for Carlsmith Ball, LLP. She later practiced civil litigation in Honolulu for 4 years.
Lauren has over 12 years of experience in diverse areas of law, including civil litigation, probate and trust litigation, estate planning, estate and trust administration, and conservatorships and guardianships. In 2016, she opened the Law Office of Lauren M. Akitake, LLC in Wailuku.
Lauren teaches Business Law at the University of Hawaii Maui College and is a frequent volunteer at the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Self-Help Center, which provides free legal information to the public. Based on her commitment to public service and access to justice, she was selected as a 2016 Hawaii Emerging Legal Practitioners Access to Justice Fellow.
Lauren is a life-long member of Iao UCC and a board member for the Maui County Bar Association. She is a tennis player and enjoys working out, running, and spending time with her husband and their two sons.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Farron Cabral

Farron is a Maui native who spent most of her life on island. She was a boarder in the Lahainaluna boarding program and went on to graduate from Baldwin High School in 2001. She then received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii in West Oahu and her CPA license in the state of Hawaii, not in public practice. She has worked for various local companies, managing their books and has also worked for a local CPA firm; currently now employed at Maui Electric as a Budget Analyst and System Administrator. In 2014, Farron and her husband took over Cabrals Ranch from his Grandfather. She is an active partner and serves as treasurer. She is very proud to be a part of this 3rd generation ranch, not only because they are carrying on the late Stephen Cabral’s legacy but also because they are continually looking for ways to be good stewards of the land. Her passion is to help people, serve the community, and care for the environment. Farron is a part of her church’s care ministry team where they take meals to families in need in the community and serves on the board of Common Ground Collective, as secretary, which is a grassroots non-profit aimed at providing food security for the island. She is wife to a wonderful, hardworking husband and mom to two eclectic girls. When she has some down time, she loves working out, reading, hiking, and playing strategy games.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Riley Coon

Captain Riley E. Coon was born on Maui and grew up in Kula- attending Kula Elementary and then Seabury Hall. Riley received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University in 2009 where he was awarded the Provost scholarship for all four years.
While he appreciated his time spent studying in California, Riley would return home every chance available and it soon became apparent that Maui’s beauty, people, and lifestyle – was where his heart was meant to be. He married his wife, Jenny, in 2013 and enjoy raising their 2-year-old Daughter, Kaia Day in Waikapu. They are expecting the birth of their second Daughter in Dec 2019.
From a young age, Riley enjoyed working in all aspects of his Family’s business, Trilogy Excursions. He started out helping his Mom bake the “world-famous” cinnamon rolls on weekends, to apprenticing with the maintenance team and becoming a crewmember starting at age fourteen, then receiving his Merchant Mariner Credential (Captain’s License) in 2010, and entering management in 2013. All of this has given Riley a unique insight and experience to help fulfill his current role as the Director of Operations starting in early 2019.
Riley is the youngest of the six “Coon Cousins” who collectively own Lanai Ocean Sports Management – an ocean activity company that exclusively manages the operations of a fleet of luxury vessels for Pulama Lana’i and services the Four Seasons Lana’i.
Riley serves on the Board of Directors for the Lahaina Restoration Foundation (2015) and Malama Kai Foundation (2018).
Riley’s hobbies include windsurfing, cooking, fishing, and mowing the lawn.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Jason Hew

Jason Hew was born and raised in the Waiohuli ahupua‘a of Maui. He grew up raising a small herd of cattle with his father on their family farm. He enjoyed spending his time outdoors and with his family.
Jason attended Seabury Hall for middle and high school and graduated in 2005. He loved to participate in team sports like cross country, soccer and baseball. Being born and raised on Maui, he sought a new experience in life after high school, knowing that Maui would always be home. Jason went to Montana State University for college. He chose Montana for the winter climate and friendly atmosphere. In Montana, Jason immersed himself in snowboarding, hiking, camping and experiencing everything that Montana had to offer, as well as making lifelong friends. The time he spent in Montana grew his love for nature and the outdoors. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology and a minor in Geographic Information Systems.
After moving back to Maui in 2014, he has worked for the Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts for nearly 5 years. He appreciates working with agricultural producers and conservationists in protecting Maui Nui’s natural resources. Jason has learned a lot in the last five years, especially after being away from Maui for 9 years.
Jason now enjoys spending time with his two daughters, going to the beach and hunting in his free time. He is excited about the Ka Ipu Kukui Fellowship program, and what he can contribute to his cohort.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Carissa Holley

Raised in Torrance, California, Carissa moved to Oahu in 2003 to attend the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where she received her B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition and her M.Ed. in Higher Educational Administration. Carissa dedicated over ten years in various roles as a Nutrition Educator and Program Coordinator for the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource’s Cooperative Extension Services. After moving to Maui in 2011 to start a family, she volunteered with various non-profits, then began working for the Blue Zones Project in 2017 as a Community Engagement Lead. She is thrilled about bringing the community together in a collaborative effort to help Maui become a healthier, happier place to live and is involved in numerous community volunteer projects. Carissa loves spending time with her husband and their two kids, Chasen and Maia. In her free time, she enjoys staying active, snorkeling and surfing with her family, paddling, cooking, and getting together with family and friends – especially over a meal.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Teana Kaho’ohanohano

Born and raised on Maui, Teana left the island at the age of 11 to attend Kamehameha Schools Kapalama where she graduated in 2000. She went on to further her education at the University of Southern California and received her Bachelors of Science in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in 2004. In 2007 Teana received her Master’s Degree in Health Policy and Administration from Washington State University.
Teana has over 10 years of experience as a licensed Administrator in California and Hawaii. She served 8 years on Hawaii Island and most recently has worked as the Senior Executive Director at Regency Pacific Management Hawaii.
In 2017 after many years of being away, Teana was given the opportunity to return home to Maui. She now serves as the Administrator for Hale Makua Health Services. As Hale Makua Administrator, Teana is responsible for the organization’s long term care operations, at both the Kahului and Wailuku campuses, which include 344 federally and state-licensed nursing home beds, a 20-bed care home, a Rehabilitation center and an Adult day health center.
In addition, Teana is the current Secretary for the Executive Committee on Aging for Hawaii County, and serves on the Healthcare Association of Hawaii Long Term Care Reimbursement and Post-Acute Care Collaborative committees.
Teana’s most proud to be the mother of 5 children, Kolt, Melia, Liliana, and twins, Holei and Kiele. In her free time she enjoys going to the beach, hiking, reading, dancing hula, and spending time with her ‘ohana.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Rebecca Kapolei Kiili

Rebecca Kapolei Kiili grew up in the little town of Happy Valley in Wailuku, Maui. She considers herself a life-long learner and is especially appreciative of all of the Kumu who have supported her passion, growth, and expansion throughout her young adult life. Along with formal schooling, she was fortunate to participate in many Hawaiian enrichment education programs that eventually led her to learn ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i and become a Kumu Kaiapuni.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hawaiian Studies and in Communications from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 2003. Kapolei also earned her teaching credentials with the Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Preparation Program. She returned to Maui in 2004 and began her public school teaching career with Ka Papahana Kaiapuni, the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, at Pā‘ia School. In 2010, she completed a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Kapolei then transferred to King Kekaulike High School where she worked for eight years with the high school Kaiapuni program. She is proud of her contributions in enriching her student’s learning through service learning projects with Maui’s conservation agencies and various community grant programs.
This is her second year as Resource Teacher for Maui Kaiapuni schools. Kapolei is currently working on an Educational Doctoral degree with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and will graduate in 2020.
She plans to continue serving the Maui community in her capacity as a public school educator and community leader to keep Maui nō ka ‘oi.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Jeeyun Lee

Jeeyun adopted Hawai‘i as her home in 2009 and has her Master’s in Social Work with a focus on international and community development. She launched her career of nonprofit service seventeen years ago in the Midwest, then moved to the East Coast where she worked in public health—specializing in cancer education, outreach, gerontology and children’s services. She contributed to the O‘ahu nonprofit sector for almost a decade before moving to Maui in 2018. Jeeyun currently serves as the People Development Director of Imua Family Services, leading human resources and shaping workplace culture for Imua while also supporting the agency’s development needs. In addition, Jeeyun works to have a positive impact on Maui through ChangeWorks, an independent consulting firm she and her managing partner Heather Pierucki lead to create impactful change within our community.

Prior to this, she served as Executive Director of Hawai‘i Nature Center on O‘ahu and Maui where she led a staff of nearly 30 and an operating budget of $1 million. She has held a position as Youth and Elder Services Manager for Waikiki Health and Clinical Operations Director for Gregory House Programs where she worked in the trenches with individuals living with mental health, substance abuse, and a diagnosis of HIV.

Jeeyun currently serves as the Vice President of the Maui Soroptomist Club and as a board member for Lahaina Canoe Club and she shares her life with her son, Kaimakana. They love spending their spare time creating outdoor adventures together, mauka to makai.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Sybil Lopez

Sybil K. Lopez has been with the County of Maui Planning Department since 2014 and has been the Molokai Planner with the Current Division where she loves to serve her island home of Molokai. In 2002, she was one of the first from Molokai to graduate through its online distance learning program with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii at West Oahu. In 2010, she earned her a Masters of Arts degree in Organizational Change and Development and Professional Certificate in Information Systems from Hawaii Pacific University. As the current President of Kalama`ula Mauka Homestead Association, inductee as the Molokai-Mokupuni Representative for the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA), and President for Wa`akapaemua Canoe Club as well as Friends of Wa`a, she loves to give back to her community. Raising her boys (Treston, and Kahakoilani) on Molokai and commuting to work on Maui, Sybil enjoys paddling, volleyball, softball, basketball, and deep sea fishing. She served as a volunteer for many homesteading activities/events including Molokai Ag Fair, Prince Kuhio Day Celebration, and Native Hawaiian Resource Fair. Sybil enjoys spending time with family and friends (going to the beach, camping, and traveling together). She also enjoys being a “Puna” to grand-daughter Aurelia and grandson Makua Dunnam.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Tyson Miyake

Before starting this new career in government, Tyson spent the past 13 years as the Chief Operating Officer for his family’s business, Miyake Concrete Accessories, Inc. After a successful decade of doing Human Resources Management and managing four branches for the company, Tyson now assists the director with managing the county’s various departments and being an aide to the Mayor.

Tyson enjoys traveling and is in the process of finishing his private pilot’s license. A few of his favorite travel destinations include New Zealand and Japan. Tyson also enjoys arts and culture and is conversational in four different languages. Tyson is very active in the community and enjoys volunteering. He is one of the youngest directors on the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific Board.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Buddy James Nobriga

Just a boy from Maui.
A native Hawaiian with pure Hawaiian roots from both his Nakoa and Pahukoa kupuna.
Also, 5th generation pure Portuguese bloodline that hails from Portugal to Hawaii.
Born into hard-working, business-minded and faith-based ohana, he continues to tradition of ‘made in Maui’ as the Producer, Distributor, and manager of Maui’s Own Roselani Ice Cream (an over 50-year family business tradition).
A St. Anthony Schools graduate, collegiate football player and enjoyed successful career’s in Las Vegas before returning home to raise his children.
‘It is my kuleana, as a Maui Nui Kane, husband, father, son and grandson, to malama my Maui. To give back, work hard, learn how to sustain, invest and engage with my Maui Community so that the beauty, opportunity, and uniqueness of my island home is here, for my children and their children’.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Randall Parabicoli

Born and raised on Maui, Randall Parabicoli graduated from King Kekaulike High School in 2004. Having an interest in computers and technology growing up, Randall decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He then continued on to complete his Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the same institution. For the past eleven years Randall has dedicated his career to creating software and improving technology in industries such as education, energy, and healthcare. When he is not working or furthering his studies, Randall enjoys travelling, going on hikes with his dogs, and spending time with his family.

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Chris Sugidono

Chris serves as Assistant Communications Director for the County of Maui and Office of the Mayor. Chris helps produce press releases and assists over a dozen County departments with media requests and public meetings. He also serves as the primary Public Information Officer for the County during emergency operations, working with first responders and various state, federal and nongovernmental agencies to provide the public with timely and accurate information.

Chris previously worked as Reporter/Photojournalist for six years at The Maui News. During his tenure at the newspaper he won 20 awards for Excellence in Journalism from the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hawaii Publishers Association. He graduated from Seabury Hall in 2008 and earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 2012.

His greatest loves are Jesus, his wife, Sara, his family and the San Francisco Giants (in that order).

2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Ashley Takitani

Ashley Takitani Leahey currently serves as the Statewide Marketing Director for Blue Zones Project – Hawai‘i and is responsible for strategic marketing and PR while providing engagement support for eight community initiatives. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Studio Arts from Loyola Marymount University. Before diving into “real life,” Ashley traveled as much as she could, reaching different ends of the globe. Upon returning to Hawai‘i, she completed her Executive MBA degree at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa while working as the Marketing Innovation and Project Development Manager at Sae Design. Ashley is now making great use of her experience and education to raise awareness for the importance of community and individual well-being in her home state. After being introduced to Blue Zones Project and its impacts, she energetically championed the effort in her hometown of Wailuku to bring the initiative to Central Maui. An active community member on numerous non-profit boards, Ashley loves to spend her free time outdoors either in the ocean, tending to her plants or hanging with her chocolate lab, Kaimana.

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows
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Kihei, Hawaii 96753

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