I’m born and raised in rural South Kona, and was surrounded by a large extended family. We farmed coffee, raised animals, and fished to supplement incomes. My brothers and sisters and I learned firsthand about hard work, determination, and service to community. After graduating from Konawaena High School and Hawaii Pacific University, I spent many years in the hotel industry where I developed skills in leveraging resources to achieve business objectives, streamlining processes for efficiency, and accountability in operations, while leading agents to deliver quality authentic services. An important highlight during this tenure includes building alliances between the Waikōloa/Kohala resorts and the Native Hawaiian community through a series of community projects.
Inspired by my ‘ohana’s value of community service, I decided to redirect my career path in 2011 and shifted from tourism to advocacy to work more closely with and on behalf of the community where my heart truly is. In my first role, I served Hawai‘i Island as Governor Abercrombie’s liaison and a year later joined the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to lead its West Hawai‘i Office. Alongside these professional experiences are 30 years of study and practice of hula and chant, gathering practices, traditional farming and fishing, caring for wahi pana, and genealogy research. I’m also a proud lifetime charter member of the Kuakini Hawaiian Civic Club of Kona which focuses on Governor Kuakiniʻs legacy of economic development, education, resources, land and housing.