maxine burkett

Maxine is a Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. An expert in the law and policy of climate change, she has presented her work on diverse areas of climate law throughout the United States and in West Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Her work has been cited in numerous news and policy outlets, including BBC Radio, the New York Times, and Nature Climate Change. From 2009-2012, Maxine also served as the inaugural Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy. Maxine received her B.A. from Williams College and Exeter College, Oxford University, and received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is Vice-Chair of the Global Greengrants Fund Board of Directors, is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, and is a member of the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment.

amanda ellis

Amanda Ellis is the Executive Director, Hawaii and Asia-Pacific and Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. She is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center where, from 2016-2018, she served as Special Advisor for International Programs and Partnerships in the Office of the President on secondment from the New Zealand Foreign Ministry. Until March 2016 Ms. Ellis served as New Zealand’s Head of Mission and Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Francophone Africa. From 2010 she was Deputy Secretary International Development and the first woman to head the New Zealand Aid Programme, managing an annual budget of over $0.6 billion. Prior to this, Ms. Ellis was Lead Specialist in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Group at the World Bank Group in Washington D.C., where she managed the World Bank President’s Global Private Sector CEO Leaders Forum and led the Doing Business gender research project which created “Women, Business and the Law.” While at the World Bank, she worked with the Economist Intelligence Unit to create the EIU Women’s Economic Opportunity Index. Ms. Ellis also founded the International Finance Corporation’s gender program, where she developed the first lines of credit for women entrepreneurs in Africa delivered through local banks. In the late 1990s she served in senior executive roles at Westpac Banking Corporation in Australia, including as Head of Women’s Markets and National Manager Women in Business, growing a new business rapidly to over half a billion dollars in annual revenues within just three years.

Ms. Ellis is the author of two best-selling Random House books, Women’s Business, Women’s Wealth and Woman 2 Woman and lead author of five research titles in the World Bank Directions in Development series on gender and growth in Africa, the Middle East, East Asia and the Pacific. A founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, Ms. Ellis is the recipient of the TIAW Lifetime Achievement Award for services to women’s economic empowerment, the East-West Center Distinguished Alumni Award and the Columba College Distinguished Alumna Award and NZ Business Hall of Fame.

Ms Ellis serves on the advisory boards of FINCA International, the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, Friends of the East West Center, Hawaii Green Growth, the World Economic Forum Future Agenda Councils and the Council on Foreign Relations Advisory Committee on economic inclusion. She is a member of NZ Global Women and an honorary member of BPW International and Rotary International. Pacific Business News named Ms. Ellis one of ten 'women to watch' in Hawaii in 2017.

Ms Ellis holds a BA First Class Honors degree in French and Economics from the University of Otago, New Zealand, an MA degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa which she earned on an East-West Center scholarship, an LTCL from Trinity College of London. She has completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and INSEAD, and the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies Transnational Security Course for two star generals and civilian equivalent.

lisa grove

Lisa Grove has been the lead strategist and pollster for political candidates, nonprofit organizations, corporations and labor unions for over 20 years.  Lisa has had the privilege of working with an array of clients from US Senators, Members of Congress and Governors in Hawaii and on the mainland and was on Barack Obama’s presidential re-election team.   

Sustainability and conservation is a passion, not just a profession for Lisa.  Lisa has helped move and shape public opinion on a wide range of conservation issues from coal mining, establishing marine protected areas and wilderness to invasive species.  She is also a national thought leader on climate change and serves as an advisory board member for iMatter, a national youth-led climate change group.

Lisa divides her time between the island of Lanai, Hawaii and Honolulu.  She is an active member of the Lanai community, writing for the local newspaper, helping secure grants for the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center, acting as a hiking and history guide, and helping out with the school foundation she helped to establish.