Staff

D. Noelani Kalipi

D. Noelani Kalipi

Executive Director

Noelani was born and raised in Hilo, HI. She earned a B.A. in Government and Economics from George Mason University and a Juris Doctor from George Washington University. Previously, Noelani was President of TiLeaf Group, a native advocacy firm. She has also served as Director of Government & Community Relations for First Wind, Democratic Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and as Counsel and Military Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka in Washington, D.C. Noelani serves on the Board of Directors for PBS Hawaii and Hawaii Island United Way and is a member of the Big Island Community Coalition Steering Committee and an Omidyar Fellow. Noelani is grateful for the opportunity to work with such inspiring and diverse team members who are committed to making the world a better place for all. She lives with her husband, Gaylen, and their two daughters, Hau‘oli and Ku‘uipo.

Monique Allison

Monique Allison

Director of Finance and Administration

Monique was born and raised in Southern California. She received her B.S. in Accounting from San Diego State University and studied abroad in Paris to feed her yearning for travel and culture. Monique started her career with a four-year stint as a public accountant for a firm in California. After relocating to the Big Island more than twenty years ago, she joined the development team at Hualalai Resort. For 16 years, she rose through the ranks to become the VP of Finance for both Hualalai and the neighboring resort of Kona Village. After leaving Hualalai, Monique ran her own consulting firm before transitioning to nonprofit organizations. She is grateful to be a part of the KI team helping to support their mission and values in giving back to the community. When not at work, Monique can be found in or on the water, on a trail, practicing yoga or behind the lens enjoying nature. Her greatest gift is her daughter, Angelique.

Marcus Woo

Marcus Woo

Director of Programs

Marcus grew up in Northern Virginia and attended the University of Virginia where he earned a B.A. in Religious Studies and Asian Languages. Since then, between extensive travels in Asia, he has worked for educational initiatives in Tibet and India, dabbled in sustainable farming in California and spent three years in real estate development in the Washington, D.C. area. Relocating to the Big Island in 2012, Marcus is grateful for the opportunity to serve others through his work at Kohala Institute. Out of the office, Marcus can be found on the tennis court, farming and harvesting ulu (breadfruit), or at home polishing his cast iron skillets.

Mara Ledward

Mara Ledward

Operations Coordinator

Mara was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. After graduating from Kohala High School in 2009, she went on to study biology at the University of Hawai‘i Hilo before returning back to her Kohala roots. Mara first engaged her passion for helping others while working at the Department of Human Services in North Kohala. She is thankful to be able to grow that passion and make a difference in the Kohala community through her work at Kohala Institute which began in 2011. When not at work she enjoys taking her daughters, Kalena and Kaydence, to the beach and various community events in Kohala.

Katie Schwind

Katie Schwind

Project Development Coordinator

Katie Schwind is a Midwestern girl, born and raised near St. Louis. She received her B.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo for a curriculum of her own design focused on Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development. A significant portion of her training in sustainable development, project management and systems thinking came from Uppsala University in Sweden and through working with Waimea-based systems engineering firm Rivertop Solutions. When Katie is not at work for Kohala Institute, she often helps out with Halau Na Kipu’upu’u and the Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders’ Association. She is also an avid dancer and teaches Aerial Dance on trapeze.

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