Celeste Connors has twenty years of experience working at the intersection of economic, environment, energy, and international development policy. Before joining Hawaii Local2030 Hub, she was CEO and co-founder of cdots development LLC, which works to build resilient infrastructure systems and services in vulnerable communities. Celeste previously served as the Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council and National Economic Council in the White House where she helped shape the Administration’s climate and energy policies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to joining the White House, Celeste served as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Germany. She also held positions at the U.S. Mission to the UN, served as the Climate and Energy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and worked for City of New York.
Celeste is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center, Affiliate Faculty at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, and was a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in the Energy, Resources and Environment Program. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Celeste has served on numerous boards including her current service on Hawaiian Electric Industries, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience at the University of Hawaii and Icebreaker One. She previously served on the Board of America’s Service Commissions, the IUCN World Conservation Congress National Host Committee, and was a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations. Celeste grew up in Kailua, O‘ahu.
Operations & Strategy Director
In her capacity as HGG’s Operations and Strategy Director, Shelley oversees the organization’s operations, development and finances, personnel, and strategy, working closely with all members of the Hawai’i Green Growth team. Shelley’s prior experience includes outreach and capacity building as the Hawai’i Association of Watershed Partnerships’ Outreach Specialist, in addition to four years of international experience in the Mekong Basin (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar) as an analyst and writer to support a USAID climate change adaptation project; and subsequently as a Global Environmental Facility project design team leader on behalf of IUCN. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology, a Master’s in Water Resources and 20 years of professional experience working on environmental, climate change, and sustainability projects.
Data & Innovation Director
Kaimana Bingham is Hawai’i Green Growth’s Aloha + Dashboard and Partnerships Manager. Before joining Hawai’i Green Growth, Kaimana worked for the State of Hawai’i Enterprise Technology Services branch where she implemented the first State Executive Branch IT Roadmap and Dashboard. Her role at ETS transitioned to the State Portal Program Manager in which she provided guidance to the Access Hawai’i Committee Governing Board on digital government solutions. Kaimana also participated as a stakeholder for the State of Hawai’i IT Strategic Plan. She served as a panelist for the Hawai’i Virtual Digital Government Summit and as a sponsor for the ETS 2020 HACC program. Prior to working for the State, she was a consultant for CGI, administering the financial management system for State Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act in 2013.
Kaimana is a graduate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a BS in Psychology and a double minor in Business Diversity and Business Leadership. She spent a semester abroad at Telecom ParisTech, where she specialized in Information Technology and participated in visits to the International Telecommunication Union and United Nations.
External Affairs & Communications Director
Patrick Branco serves as the Director for External Relations and Communications with Hawaiʻi Green Growth. Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, he received his Bachelor’s degree from Hawaiʻi Pacific University and Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. As a Rangel Fellow, Patrick joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2012. He served tours in Colombia, Pakistan, the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Operations Center, and Venezuela. In 2020, Patrick returned home and was elected to the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives fighting for safer gun regulation, protection of native ecosystems, and Native Hawaiian rights.
GIS Analyst & Project Manager
Michael Omohundro is an accomplished urban planner, project manager, and GIS Analyst, with years of experience in environmental planning, urban and regional planning, and GIS work in the public and private sectors. He is responsible for providing project management and GIS expertise to developing the Aloha+ Dashboard. Specifically, his duties include implementing energy data modeling scenarios for the dashboard to capture the complexities of project pipelines, modeling land-use impacts, and modeling impacts on system reliability. Additional roles and responsibilities include coordinating, preparing, and following-up with network partners to ensure deliverables are being implemented; providing information and input regarding data development, maintenance, updates, and dashboard design; and, identifying State and County metrics, maintaining key master documents and organizational systems.
Dashboard Lab Coordinator
In her current role as Dashboard Lab Coordinator, Jillian Cristobal supports the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard through program development, capacity building, outreach, and project legacy. Local to Oʻahu, Jillian graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a B.S. in Natural Resource Environmental Management and a B.A. in Geography and Environment concentrating on the social, economic, and environmental aspects in the field of sustainability. She has prior experience as a research fellow with the University of Hawaiʻi Office of Sustainability, leading the project on calculating her alma mater’s institutional carbon and nitrogen footprint. Additionally, she served as a Sustainability Dashboard AmeriCorps VISTA at Hawaiʻi Green Growth before stepping into her current role. These opportunities have strengthened her passion for systems-based solutions to sustainability issues, sustainable development, GIS, data science, urban and regional planning, and political ecology.
Russ Masuda is Hawaiʻi Green Growth’s Software Developer. Prior to joining Hawaiʻi Green Growth, he was working as a Software Developer Intern at KBR where he developed programs to control USB cameras as well as developing user interfaces. Russ has also worked as a Student Programmer for the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi where he developed neural networks in order to determine the duration and frequency of native bird songs. Russ is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and holds a B.A. in Biology and Computer Science.
Community Engagement & Communications Coordinator
Kīhei Seto (she/her) is the Community Engagement and Communications Coordinator for Hawaiʻi Green Growth UN Local2030 Hub, raising awareness and leading community engagement and communications on the Aloha+ Challenge – Hawaiʻi’s local framework to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Dedicated to Hawaiʻi, Kīhei is an ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi practitioner with over 15 years of lived and professional experience with ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi as the primary language of communication. Prior to joining Hawaiʻi Green Growth, Kīhei worked at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School as a Kumu ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, collaborating in Professional Learning Communities and on interdisciplinary units, guiding haumāna to make connections to and value how ʻike and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi can inform innovation and creativity towards local and global solutions. Previous positions Kīhei has served in include Executive Administrative Assistant at ʻŌiwiTV, Fiscal Officer at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani – The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Hawaiian Language, Administrative Services Assistant at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Research Administration and Project Development (UHH RAPD), and Research Services Associate at the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
Kīhei is a doctoral student in Professional Educational Practice at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education and a lecturer of conversational ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi at the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu. Kīhei holds a master’s degree in Education in Educational Leadership with a focus in Instructional Design from Hawaiʻi Pacific University, two bachelor’s degrees in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and Business Administration with a minor in Economics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and is a proud public school graduate from Hilo High School. Kīhei is from Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi.
Born and raised in Oʻahu, Erin Azuma (she/her) supports the organization’s portfolio operations, communications and logistics. She holds a Master’s in Global Management and a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences with a focus on Conservation Science and Ecology with certificates in Cross-Sector Leadership and Geographic Information Systems from Arizona State University. Her collegiate studies have taken her to Costa Rica and Belgium, where she studied international sustainability and global business respectively. Erin is a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar at University of Washington and a Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University cohort member. She has also previously interned with The Nature Conservancy and NASA DEVELOP.
Sustainability Business Forum Coordinator
Dylan is the Sustainability Project Coordinator for Hawaiʻi Green Growth UN Local2030 Hub and supports the Sustainability Business Forum and related projects. Dylan completed one year of service as the Sustainability Business Forum AmeriCorps VISTA before transitioning to a full-time position. A graduate of Macaulay Honors College at John Jay, he holds a BA in Political Science and a BS in Computer Science and Information Security. During college, he studied in the Baltics and Russia, focusing on transitioning economic and political systems. He also interned with the Department of State at the US Mission to the United Nations in the Economic and Social Affairs Section, specifically focusing on economic and technology policy. Prior to relocating to Hawaiʻi, Dylan interned with the New York State Unified Court System in the Office for Justice Initiatives working to increase equitable access to the court system for all New Yorkers.
In her current role, Jasmine is a Project Coordinator working to develop a Customer Relationship Management system to streamline membership processes. Previously, she served as the Network Partnerships & Outreach AmeriCorps VISTA at Hawaiʻi Green Growth where she coordinated the Local-Global Next Generation and Policy & Legislation working groups, assisted in event planning, and conducted strategic outreach with statewide partners to advance network priorities She is a graduate of Wittenberg University where she holds a B.S. in Biology and double minor in Africa & the Diaspora Studies. During her time as an undergraduate student, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica where she developed a keen interest for marine life. Before joining the Hub, she was able to engage in post-baccalaureate studies at Duke University’s Marine Laboratory taking classes geared towards social science areas such as marine policy and conservation service learning. Jasmine is passionate about combating environmental and social injustices while simultaneously contributing to the overall well-being and success of communities.
Local-Global Communications and Outreach VISTA
Elena is a graduate from a bachelor’s in Literature and Linguistics (English/German) and a master’s in Business Communications at the KU Leuven University in Belgium. Growing up in Belgium, Elena’s mother taught her the importance of living sustainably and in harmony with our environment. She quickly realized our home needs to be protected from the harm human beings inflict upon it. Living in Hawaiʻi now, this reality becomes so much more clear. She has been living here for almost four years now, and the connection people in Hawaiʻi feel with the land is one to be admired. She tries to embrace that connection herself as often as possible, whether it’s by hiking to see the native plants high up in the mountains, visiting a waterfall, volunteering in a native Hawaiian plant garden, or participating in a beach cleanup. Elena’s previous work experience includes multiple legislative sessions at the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office, and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Now, she is excited to be working as an Americorps VISTA for Hawaiʻi Green Growth and contributing to making positive changes for the Hawaiian Islands.
Lilian Wan, CFA
Lilian Wan is an investment management executive and advisor. She is Executive Vice President of Investor Relations and Development at America’s Frontier Fund, an organization purpose-built to make America the best place in the world for innovators to build and scale the next wave of frontier technologies. She leads the organization’s efforts to develop long-term capital raising strategies, builds relationships with institutional investors, and oversees all fundraising activities. Previously, she was a senior executive at BlackRock, a global investment management firm, where during her 25-year tenure she helped lead its Institutional Client Business in the US and Canada. She played a pivotal role in formulating the growth strategy of that business, was instrumental in shaping its culture and talent management initiatives, and was responsible for advising its institutional shareholder clients. These clients represented the industry’s largest institutional investors across the federal government, corporate and public pension plans, and foundations and endowments. Lilian became aware of Hawai’i Green Growth and its mission through her work at BlackRock. HGG’s approach to developing solutions to address sustainability challenges resonated with her, and she is excited by the opportunity to help HGG meet its goals. Using her experience in advising institutional investors in Hawai’i and across the mainland, she will help HGG Staff and Board understand how sustainability is viewed by institutional investors, and how HGG can continue to accelerate adoption of sustainability within the finance and investment world. Lilian holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and is a CFA charterholder.
Josh Sawislak, AICP
Josh Sawislak is an internationally recognized expert on sustainability and climate resilience and is a managing director of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He holds concurrent appointments as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University and a professional affiliate of the Center Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) at Florida Atlantic University. Josh served on President Biden’s transition team and in the Obama White House as the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped craft and implement US climate policy. He also served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), on President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, and on the White House response coordination team for the H1N1 influenza pandemic (2009-2010). Josh practiced as an environmental and transportation planner for over 25 years and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He earned a degree in political science from The George Washington University and completed a program in infrastructure development at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Local2030 Island Network
Dashboard Development and Community of Practice Facilitator
Dr. Chris Hobbs is the Local2030 Islands Network Dashboard Development and Communities of Practice Facilitator. Chris was formerly the Curator of Sustainability at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and worked closely with Hawaiʻi Green Growth to co-launch the museum’s sustainability dashboards as part of the Aloha+ Challenge. Chris has a Bachelor of Science in Biosciences and a Doctorate in Biological Sciences from Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom. His dissertation focused on using data to better understand endangered species and more effectively direct management for their protection. Chris is dedicated to applying a data-driven approach to sustainability and climate resilience action, with a focus on transparency and public access to data. Chris is originally from England, United Kingdom and lives on Oʻahu.
Global Strategy and Communications Coordinator
Samantha Happ (she/her) is the Local2030 Islands Network Global Strategy and Communications Coordinator. Samantha is a sustainable development practitioner with experience across the Pacific and Southeast Asia, specializing in local and community-based strategy, policy, communications, and programming in furtherance of the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to joining HGG, Samantha worked as a Specialist with the Strategic Foresight team in UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, and UNDP Headquarters in New York on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) policy and programming. Samantha also lived and worked for years in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia in education and community development. Samantha holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and two bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Advocacy and Social Change (Communication) from Loyola University Chicago.
In her role as Project Specialist, Paula Moehlenkamp is working across the Pacific RISA and Local2030 Island Network teams to use the Aloha+ Dashboard – Hawaiʻi’s local framework to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – as a model to determine locally and culturally appropriate climate metrics for a similar framework in one or more of the Freely Associated States (FAS) in Micronesia. The project builds regional capacity in the ability to track biophysical and social indicators of climate change impacts, management responses and adaptation goals.