Meet our team

 
 

CORE TEAM

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MAXINE BURKETT

Co-Founder & Executive Director

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 international expert on the law and policy of climate change, she has presented her work in 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 a member of the boards of The Climate Museum, ELAW, Global Greengrants Fund, and the Blue Planet Foundation.  She also serves as is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, the American Law Institute, and as the Co-Rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Sea Level Rise Committee.

 
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MAYA SOETORO-NG

Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

Maya serves as a consultant to the Obama Foundation, working closely with their international team to develop programming in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to her work with the Obama Foundation, she was the Director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa where, in addition to leading outreach and development initiatives, she also taught Leadership for Social Change, History of Peace Movements, Peace Education, and Conflict Management for Educators. She was awarded a master’s degree in Secondary Education from NYU's College of Education and a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaiʻi. For many years, she worked at the University of Hawaiʻi College of Education where she taught Multicultural Education, Social Studies Methods, and Peace Education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Maya has published a number of book contributions as well as a picture book entitled Ladder to the Moon and is currently under contract to write a Young Adult novel entitled Yellowwood. Maya sits on many voluntary boards and is the co-founder of the nonprofit Ceeds of Peace, which creates peacebuilding action plan workshops for educators, families and community leaders.

 
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ZELDA KELLER

Deputy Director

Zelda is a peace and conflict transformation specialist. Her other area of expertise is in the political realm, where she has been part of local, state, and presidential campaign teams. Zelda has also traveled, researched, and worked extensively on peacebuilding initiatives in the Pacific Asia region, most recently as a fellow at the East-West Center. She received her B.A. in Peace Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi, a certificate in Asia Pacific Leadership from the East-West Center, and she is an alumna of the national service program, AmeriCorps VISTA. In addition to her work with the Institute for Climate and Peace, Zelda is a consultant on the Obama Foundation’s international team.

 
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LILLY SASSE

Programs Associate

Lilly is a full-time undergraduate student of Political Science and Mandarin at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon she has grown passionate about travel and spent a semester at the University of Hawai'i - Mānoa and Donghua University in Shanghai. After graduation this Spring, she plans to pursue higher education in Environmental Policy and Law. Her professional background is largely rooted in political campaign work but is excited to focus her skills on the environment, and more specifically, the intersection of climate and peace.

 
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MONDY JAMSHIDI KENT

Operations Manager & Executive Assistant

With a 20-year career in social ventures, Mondy has over a decade of experience in peace and sustainability program facilitation having directed and founded a Hawaii chapter of a youth peace and global issues organization in 2011. Often assisting organizations with fundraising, management, strategic and executive duties, she specializes in nonprofit capacity building and received her Master's Degree in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development from Hawaii Pacific University with a double-focus on applied energy efficiency and 21st-century learning for children in schools. Having served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and as the statewide director for a large national nonprofit, she is currently President-Elect of PRSA Hawaii and serves with the executive board of a sustainable voluntourism nonprofit in Hawaii and the Pacific region.

 

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

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AUBREY YEE

Dr. Aubrey Yee is a futurist, systems thinker, and passionate advocate for positive social transformation in Hawaii.

With Hawaii Leadership Forum, Aubrey is in charge of support for and development of the Forum of Fellows network. She also actively coaches Fellows who want to create scalable impact initiatives and innovative collaborative efforts.

 
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GRETCHEN ALTHER

Gretchen is an international educator with a passion for helping communities positively impact the future. She is a Senior Leadership Development Specialist at the East-West Center in Honolulu and works with leaders from across the Asia-Pacific. Gretchen is also an occasional consultant with the EarthWatch Institute and facilitates sustainability leadership program for global corporations. She earned an M.A. from Brandeis University, postgraduate certificates in leadership and peacebuilding from the East-West Center and Chulalongkorn University, respectively, and a B.A. from Texas A&M University.

 
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JOSÈ BARZOLA

José Barzola as a passion for creating social change through nonviolence, nurturing relationships that transcend cultural barriers, and focusing on issues of diversity, identity and multiculturalism. He is a highly organized administrator with over 15 years of experience and success in higher education administration, student development within academic and student affairs. José aspires to continue to develop his skills as a peacebuilder and to strengthen his knowledge on the power of nonviolence.

 
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JUNO FITZPATRICK

Juno Fitzpatrick is Conservation International's (CI) Center for Ocean's Program Manager in Social Responsibility, where she works to lead CI's global effort to address human rights violations in the fishing industry. With a background in development and political ecology, Juno previously worked in international development in remote and hostile environments. Juno was previously based in the Niger Delta working at the intersection of conservation, human rights and corporate social responsibility in the oil sector with the United States Conflict and Stabilization Operation (USCSO) and the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED).

 
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KEALOHA FOX

Kealoha is an Obama Leader: Asia Pacific with the Obama Foundation. She is a state of Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commissioner (HRS § 225P-3) and serves as a member of numerous boards including the Hawai‘i Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force (HRS § 225P-4). She received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the John A. Burns School of Medicine and has trained for half her life in traditional practicesincluding ho‘oponopono. Kealoha is co-author of Mana Lāhui Kānaka, focusing on indigenous resilience. She works as the Native Hawaiian Liaison at AlohaCare.

 
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SEKITA GRANT

Sekita Grant is an environmental policy and social justice strategist and consultant. Sekita worked as the Policy and Impact Strategy manager for Emerson Elemental where she helped to catalyze new approaches to scaling environmental and social good through their Environmental Equity team. She worked to make energy and climate policies in California equitable and beneficial to communities of color. She came to Greenlining from Business for Social Responsibility where she worked as a climate and energy sustainability consultant to large corporations. Prior to that, Sekita worked as a policy advisor at the California Energy Commission in Sacramento as lead advisor to the chair on climate, transportation, and legal matters.

 
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UJAY SIDDHARTH

Ujay is a consultant and research analyst with a specific focus on environmental planning. He holds a B.A. in Architecture and Geography from Middlebury College and spent his formative years here at home in Honolulu, Hawaii. His areas of expertise include urban forestry, storm-resilient infrastructure planning, and environmental research. Ujay is also currently employed at the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency and works continually to bring the intersection of climate and peace to the forefront of the conversation on today’s “climate crisis.”

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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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 international expert on the law and policy of climate change, she has presented her work in 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 a member of the boards of The Climate Museum, ELAW, Global Greengrants Fund, and the Blue Planet Foundation.  She also serves as is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, the American Law Institute, and as the Co-Rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Sea Level Rise Committee.

 
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AMANDA ELLIS

Amanda is the Executive Director for Hawaii and the Asia Pacific at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. She is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center. 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. Throughout her extensive career, she has served as Deputy Secretary of International Development of the New Zealand Aid Programme, Lead Specialist in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Group at the World Bank Group, founded the International Finance Corporation’s gender program, and served in senior executive roles at Westpac Banking Corporation in Australia, including as Head of Women’s Markets and National Manager Women in Business.

 
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LISA GROVE

Lisa Grove, partner at Anzalone Liszt Research, is a pollster, strategist, and communications professional for progressive candidates, nonprofits and labor unions here and on the mainland.  She polls for key Hawaii players, national groups, elected leaders across the country, and served on Barack Obama’s presidential re-election team. She is known for being a “code cracker,” moving hearts and minds on some of the most contentious issues.  Grove is a national thought leader on climate change and conservation issues more broadly.  She serves on the board of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and provides sustainability consulting to Pulama Lanai on her home island of Lanai where she is active in the community.