“Individually and collectively, our board members bring a wide range of experience and expertise necessary to keep our organization functioning.”
Karen is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Her long career in the field of opera, began at Virginia Opera directly after graduating from college. Two short years later, she became the Director of Production for Opera Memphis. She was in Memphis for seven years, ending her tenure as the Executive Director.
When she left Memphis, she became the General Director of Opera Festival of New Jersey, the youngest General Director in the opera field, followed by the role of Managing Director of Music Theatre Group in Manhattan. During those years she served as both a frequent panelist and onsite evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and a board member and board consultant for Opera America, the service organization for companies in the US and Canada.
In 2004, Karen moved to Honolulu and became the Executive Director of Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT). She served as executive director for over nine years. During her tenure, she balanced the budget, re-organized the board, revitalized the development department, and achieved a 4-Star rating on Charity Navigator. She created and executed the implementation of a new strategic plan, which included the sale of outdated property and the renovation of their new location on Beretania Street.
Throughout her time at HOT, she directed several critically acclaimed HOT productions including: Susannah, Jun Kaneko’s Madama Butterfly, The Pearl Fishers, and the 2013 production of Turandot. Other notable productions in her career include; Sweeney Todd at HOT, The Turn of the Screw at Opera Memphis and Orpheo et Euridice at OFNJ. She directed Three Decembers for HOT with Frederica von Stade, which led to two more opportunities to work with the grand dame of opera at both Livermoor Opera and San Diego Opera. She continues to work as a stage director in Hawaii and beyond.
In April of 2018, HOT asked Karen to serve as the interim General Director while a search was on for a permanent replacement. She served the organization with pro bono work for about a year, until the replacement was found. Throughout her career, Karen has often worked with other non-profits as a volunteer and board member.
In recent years she served on the national board of the Joyful Heart Foundation, the board of the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific and a volunteer to the event committees for the Hawaii Humane Society, Hanahau’oli School, and event chair of Kama’aina Christmas at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Currently, Karen serves as a trustee for the Kapiolani Hospital Foundation in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she also sits on the Pediatric Heart Center Capital Campaign. She is also a member of the capital campaign committee for Ho’ola Na Pua’s Pearl Haven, a residential facility on the North Shore of Oahu for exploited girls. She is in her final term as commissioner at large for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
Karen is a proud mother to two wonderful children, Sophia and Eli.
Chris Eldridge is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Koa Capital Partners, a Hawaii-based private investment firm focused on buying and running local businesses in Hawaii. Koa seeks to preserve, enhance and grow local businesses that can both compete and beat out mainland competitors, while providing a proving ground for the next generation of leaders. Chris, having spent most of his professional life in Hawaii, brings to Koa a strong understanding of the local business community and a track record of revenue growth mixed with an emphasis on healthy business cultures. Prior to Koa, Chris was a serial entrepreneur, starting highly successful local companies such as FileMinders/PortaBox Storage and America’s Mattress. Presently he serves on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Pacific Health Medical Group as well as on advisory boards for several local private companies. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Eldridge attended Punahou School and earned a BA in Economics and Business from Boston University. Eldridge, his wife and two children reside in Honolulu.
Melissa Rueschhoff was born on Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas, in 1973 to a teacher and a B52 pilot who served in Vietnam. She was primarily raised in Plano, Texas, then received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from the University of Texas in Austin and a Jurisprudence Doctorate degree with a specialty in Criminal Law from South Texas College of Law in Houston. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, Arizona, Alabama and Hawaii and five federal courts. As such, she has practiced civil and criminal law, state and federal law. She has also been a law professor at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law, University of Hawaii’s Richardson School of Law and University of Arizona’s Rogers College of Law. The majority of her legal career has been focused on criminal prosecution in Special Victims Units and, most recently, in combating child sex trafficking at home and abroad.
In her spare time, she serves as the General Partner for an LLP established for real estate purposes in Texas, as well as the Lead Key Spouse Mentor for the 613 AOC on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.
Melissa is the first military spouse to become a licensed Hawaii attorney under the military spouse reciprocity rule enacted on July 1, 2018. Her husband, Colonel Jason Rueschhoff and two children, ages nine and seven, accompanied her to the Hawaii Supreme Court swearing-in ceremony in November 2018.
Charles Harris is a Partner at The Shidler Group, where he is responsible for research and strategy development for new business ventures and investments. Working out of the Honolulu office, Mr. Harris co-developed many of The Shidler Group’s leasehold, leased fee and ground lease innovations.
Prior to joining The Shidler Group in 2005, Mr. Harris had a 22-year career in the U.S. Navy, including that of Commanding Officer of the USS HONOLULU, a fast attack nuclear submarine based at Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Harris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina.
Jessica Munoz is the President and Founder. She is also a practicing Nurse Practitioner in Hawaii. While working as a pediatric crisis nurse, Jessica encountered first-hand the brutality and traumatizing effects of sex trafficking on children and young women. She recognized the need for a comprehensive system of care specific to meeting the unique needs of girls who have been sexually exploited. Rooted on the “justice gene in her DNA”, her passion for shining the light in the dark places and watching new life come forth shapes her vision and life’s mission.
She provides executive leadership, innovation, and development of a growing social service agency. She has 15 years of health care experience, entrepreneurship, and community advocacy, transformational systems change, and leadership.
Over the past 12 years she has published articles, provided training and strategies on identification, intervention, and response for hundreds of health care professionals, service providers, law enforcement, and community leaders. She works closely with the judiciary, district attorneys, and state, federal, and local law enforcement to help shape a multi-disciplinary collaborative response to trafficked youth and young adults in Hawaii and beyond.
Since 2009, Jessica and her team have been driving the anti-trafficking movement in the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific. Her passion to serve exploited children and her pursuit of comprehensive understanding of their needs has fostered her role as a trainer and advisor in Cameroon, Africa with Vital Voices Global Partnership. She has also provided training on trauma informed survivor centered care and building MDT’s in Samoa, Cambodia, Africa, and Thailand. She has also provided services, training, and medical care in Guatemala and Mexico.
Through her work, Jessica has emphasized the continuum of care and the Response Framework needed for underage trafficking victims through collaborative, health centric, trauma-informed systems and victim-centered approaches and partnerships. One of her core initiatives has been to open Pearl Haven— Hawaii’s first residential treatment campus for sexually exploited teenage girls.
Of note, she and her team worked with CBS and the executive producers of the TV show Hawaii Five-0 to bring awareness through their March 10th, 2017 episode Puka ‘Ana or “exodus” which highlights the issue of child sex trafficking in Hawaii and the work being done by the organization. This episode had over 8.9 million viewers and multiple PSA’s created by the cast to help spread awareness.
Awards & Accolades:
Patrick Boyce is a former Partner of Highland Capital Management, L.P. and recently served as the Chief Financial Officer of Le Jardin Academy in Kailua, HI. During his career at Highland, Mr. Boyce served in multiple firm-wide operating and investing roles including Chief Financial Officer and Head of Private Equity.
Before joining Highland, Mr. Boyce worked in the Investment Banking departments of Solomon Smith Barney and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Los Angeles focused on the portfolio companies of financial sponsors.
He has an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BBA in Finance from Baylor University where he was a Teagle Scholar and on the NCAA golf team. In addition, Mr. Boyce has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (Illinois). Mr. Boyce has served on the boards of a variety of middle-market companies with significant experience in the healthcare services and education sectors.
Sondra Leiggi Brandon is the VP of Patient Care, Behavioral Health. Sondra is responsible for developing and implementing business and strategic plans for behavioral health services and programs across the continuum of care. Sondra is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She has Master’s degrees in Nursing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Johns Hopkins University. She also has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Loma Linda University. Sondra is an Omidyar fellow and was recently recognized as one of Hawaii Business Magazine’s “20 for the Next 20.”
Lauran Bromley is the CEO of several International companies as well as businesses in Hawaii and runs the Joyful Heart Foundation in New York city. Lauran originally hails from Hawaii where she attended La Pietra- Hawaii School for Girls, graduating in 1976. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in cinema and minored in business. She began her professional career in Chicago working for Stern Electronics, where she was the director of marketing after a year of training in all departments for Stern Electronics, a manufacturer of pinball, video games and Seeburg jukeboxes. This was her passion as it was a family owned business which her father started, and Lauran is third generation in the coin operated gaming industry. In 1989, she founded her own company, Bromley Inc, a global redemption company manufacturing redemption games for arcades. She currently owns a Chuck E Cheese on Guam as well as Guam Music Inc, a gaming retail facility. She also has investments in Hawaii as well as Kent England. Lauran has a long list of charitable work. In 1990, she established the “Bromley Awards” for a school in Evanston, Illinois which gives merits and scholarships for students in the special education department. This program remains in existence today. Lauran has assisted more than 90 special ed children in attending college through this program. Lauran plays a significant role in running the Joyful Heart Foundation which was founded by Mariska Hargitay and supports issues based on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Her most recent influence is as a documentary producer. Having produced documentaries such as the Emmy award winning, “I Am Evidence” which documents the untold and previously unknown story of the rape kit backlog across America. She has also produced a film on the white supremist killing of the congregation at the church of Emanuel which was recently picked up by Comcast and is the Executive Producer of a film called “Hot to Trot” which is based on same sex ballroom dancing. Lauran is an avid exercise enthusiast enjoying tennis, hiking, and kayaking.
Mark Davis is a founding partner of the Honolulu law firm of Davis Levin Livingston. In recent years, Mr. Davis and his firm have represented individuals in civil rights cases and serious personal injury cases and especially medical malpractice claims against private institutions and military facilities. He has served as lead counsel in numerous civil rights and class action matters throughout the country. Davis has been recognized as preeminent in his practice by his fellow attorneys in both the plaintiffs and defense bar. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America and was selected by Honolulu Magazine as Lawyer of The Year for 2009, 2010 and 2011. He is a trustee of The Davis Levin Livingston Charitable Foundation, a board member of The Hawaii International Film Festival, board member of the Friends of Richardson School of Law, a trustee of The Washington University Law School National Council and an active sponsor of Hawaii Public Radio. In recent years he has been active in numerous legal and charitable organizations that advances human rights and access to justice. He was elected a fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is also a member of The International Academy of Trial Lawyers and International Society of Barristers, all of which are peer selected legal organizations. He is one of only 100 lawyers in America and the only practicing lawyer in Hawaii who is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates. He is a past president of The Inner Circle of Advocates. He also is past president of the Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii and was a twenty-year member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Board of Governors. In recent years, he has lectured and written on the subject of trial advocacy and for the past 12 years has taught at the University of Hawaii’s Richardson School of Law.
Laura Esslinger has more than 20 years’ experience in the managed care industry including roles in public policy, consulting and small to large health plans. She brought best practices knowledge to AlohaCare from starting a variety of new Medicaid programs around the country as well as managing health plan operations in Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and New Mexico. She previously served as CEO of two other health plans. Her career has focused around mission centered work – primarily working with Medicaid and Dual Eligible populations focusing on service integration, care coordination and program development to better meet individual needs.
T. Mike Hogan has been in the investment, employee benefits and financial service industry for twenty eight years. From 1987-89 he served as lead employee benefits and financial services representative for Aetna Life and Casualty during the launch of Aetna’s 401(k) platform, “401EZ”, and its Preferred Provider Health Insurance Program, “Aetna Partners”. He worked in both the Los Angeles and Honolulu offices before starting his consulting practice in January of 1989 offering investment advisory, employee benefits and financial services to individual consumers, corporations, associations, and unions.
Keslie Hui is an entrepreneur and investor who focuses on Hawai`i based real estate and private equity opportunities. His experiences in a diverse set of industries and investments in Hawai`i, the continental United States, and Asia continually inform and shape the way he analyzes opportunities, structures investments, and sources capital for growth in the Hawai`i market.
Both a founder and acquirer of businesses, Keslie is an active leader, developer, and broker in his real estate companies. As a Principal and Co-Founder of HNL Development, Keslie works with a team of established professionals and leverages his experience working at national real estate development companies including Forest City Enterprises and National Housing Corporation to deliver residential developments that address Honolulu’s workforce housing crisis. Keslie is also President of Monarch Properties, Inc., Hawai`i’s leading leasehold-to-fee solutions provider. Founded in 1986, Keslie acquired the company in 2015, leads its operations, and serves as its Principal Broker.
In addition to his daily operational efforts, Keslie oversees a portfolio of investments in hotels, retail, and other operating businesses. Keslie brings a strong finance and business strategy skill set to this role, initially developed while working as a strategic consultant with Accenture, where he planned, negotiated, and initiated long-term corporate growth and restructuring strategies for several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to his work with Accenture, Keslie picked-up valuable small business and international experience while running a small import, distribution, and retail business in Beijing, China.
Keslie Hui is a graduate Punahou School and the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. He has been recognized as one of Pacific Business News’ Forty Under 40 young business leaders, a Pacific Century Fellow, and has served as an appointed Board Member of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit. He is currently the Vice Chairman of the Honolulu Rate Commission and a Young Leader Board Member for Make-A-Wish Hawaii. Keslie loves Hawai`i and continually seeks out opportunities to contribute to its growth, sustainability, and stewardship.
Scott Inatsuka, Principal , Inatsuka Engineering LLC has over 22 years of experience in the mechanical engineering field. His career has encompassed a wide variety of projects from healthcare to retail, and construction cost amounts in upwards of $200M.
Melissa Jackson is on the board of the Zilber Family Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations that work to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and neighborhoods. The foundation’s work is close to her heart, and led her to be involved with several nonprofit organizations. She is on the governing board of Adventist Health Castle, where she helped establish the hospital’s best-in-class birthing center. She is a member of the development committee for Make-A-Wish Hawaii and the capital campaign committee for Ho`ola Na Pua’s Pearl Haven campus. She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology, is the mother of four young children, and an active school parent.
Sterling Lee puts his BA from UH and his Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to work in his current position as Senior Pastor at the first Baptist Church of Pearl City, where he oversees the day-to-day operations of the church, as well as all counseling programs. Prior to this position he worked with students in schools and churches as a teacher, coach, counselor and mentor for at-risk youth for 20 years. He continues to work with families and lead the parenting workshops at the Ke Kama Pono Safe House Program in Kalaeloa.
At present, Sterling also serves as Program Management Specialist at the Ke Kama Pono Safe House. He consults and assists the management administration team of the program. This work includes licensing, policies and procedures, staffing, and case management. Sterling previously served as Program Director for the Ke Kama Pono Safe House venture with Partners in Development Foundation.
Kanakolu Noa is a native Hawaiian woman from Hāna, Maui-Nui-a-Kama where the moʻokūʻauhau of her father originates. At the age of thirteen Kanakolu and her ʻohana returned to the ʻāina of her mother in Kuliʻouʻou, Oʻahu-a-Lua to live. Kanakolu graduated from St. Francis School for Girls, Gonzaga University with a degree in Special Education, and the University of Otago with a Masterʻs in Indigenous Studies.
After many experiences that allowed her to study, travel, and live across the globe, Kanakolu returned to Hawaiʻi in 2007, worked in the non-profit sector, in both public and independent schools, and completed a second Master’s in Business Administration. In 2010 Kanakolu began her work at Kamehameha Schools Maui campus as a Curriculum Coordinator and has served the Kamehameha organization in various capacities for the past eight years.
Currently Kanakolu is the Manager of Strategy Development housed within the Community Engagement and Resources division at Kamehameha Schools.
Local Hawaii native, Kaleo Schneider was born and raised on Oahu. Graduated from Punahou School in 1978, then attended the San Francisco City College Hotel and Restaurant management school. Currently Director of Operations for her family business known to many as Buzz’s Original Steak House, a 55-year-old successful island business. Kaleo spent time living on the Island of Hawaii where she was the manager of the Kahilu Theatre where she worked in operations as well as fundraising for the theater. Her work in the area of combatting child sex trafficking started in 2012 when she attended her first Shared Hope Conference and became an ambassador for ending this horrendous crime. She has passionately worked on legislative initiatives to better protect the keiki of Hawaii from being exploited. She has helped trail blaze as a volunteer HNP’s prevention and in school education program for the past 5 years and has educated thousands of Hawaii’s youth. With her noted history in hospitality, successful fundraising and business growth and partnership development strategies, she has helped to increase HNP’s capacity, growth, and collaborative efforts through multiple fundraising campaigns and initiatives.
Michelle Stofle has called Honolulu home for the past 26 years. Born in Illinois, at a very young age she moved to Hong Kong with her family where she spent most of her formative years educated in the British system and the American system at the Hong Kong International School and then graduated from Suffield Academy, a co-ed college preparatory and boarding school in Connecticut. After graduating with honors from Boston College with a double-major in Marketing and Communications, Michelle worked in television and the fashion, film and music industries in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines.
Susan Utsugi is a Senior Vice President & Director of Business Banking at Central Pacific Bank. Utsugi manages the Business Banking group, which is comprised of 23 team members across the State. With 30 years of banking experience, Utsugi held positions as a Community Banking Region Manager, Senior Commercial Banking Officer and Branch Manager. Utsugi holds a bachelor’s degree of Business Administration in Finance from Seattle University and is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School. Utsugi currently serves as Secretary of the Board for Hale Kipa, Advisory Board Chair for Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership, Treasurer for Hoops 4 Christ Hawaii, and Board member for Hawaii Baptist Academy Alumni Association. She was the 2008 SBA Small Business Advocate of the Year – Women in Business Champion – City & County of Honolulu. She resides in Aiea with her husband, Jim Utsugi and has two daughters.
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