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.
Local2030 Islands Network Lead Coordinator
Laura Kam is the Local2030 Islands Network Coordinator. Laura previously served as HGG’s Network Manager and program and strategic initiatives coordinator. She completed a year of service with Hawai‘i Green Growth through AmeriCorps VISTA in partnership with Kupu Hawai‘i and the AmeriCorps Program. Laura has her Bachelors in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Affairs from Colorado State University and studied Russian for a year before returning to Hawai‘i. Laura previously interned with Amnesty International USA, and has volunteered with the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, The Nature Conservancy at Kamakou and Mo‘omomi Preserves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Midway Atoll, and National Marine Fisheries Service Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Laura is from O‘ahu and graduated from Kalani High School.
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 to the field of sustainability. She has prior experience as a research fellow with the UH Office of Sustainability, leading the project on calculating UH Mānoa’s institutional carbon & nitrogen footprint and at HGG Local2030 Hub’s as their Sustainability Dashboard AmeriCorps VISTA. This has strengthened her passion for systems-based solutions to sustainability issues, sustainable development, urban and regional planning, and political ecology.
Russ Masuda is Hawaii Local2030 Hub’s Software Developer. Prior to joining Hawaii Local2030 Hub, 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii at Hilo and holds a BA in Biology and Computer Science.
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, the first frontier tech organization focused on securing technology leadership for the US and its partners by bridging governments and capital markets. 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.
Community Engagement & Ala Wai Watershed VISTA
Casey Maslan supports the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration as an AmeriCorps VISTA. After growing up in New Jersey, she attended Boston College and earned her BA in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Climate Change and Social Adaptation. While in college, she studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, and also earned her LEED Green Associate certification from the US Green Building Council. Casey’s professional experience has mostly been in sustainability consulting, working with the organization Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants for over a year and a half.
Sustainability Business Forum VISTA
Dylan Senkiw supports the Sustainability Business Forum as an AmeriCorps VISTA. 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 Hawai’i, 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.
Local-Global Communications & Outreach VISTA
Jadie H. Iijima Geil
Born and raised on O‘ahu, Jadie is a recent returnee to Hawai‘i after graduating from Waseda University with a bachelor’s degree in International Liberal Studies. As an undergraduate, she worked as a science communications research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Upon returning to Hawai‘i, she worked to enhance non-profit outreach and community engagement as an employee of Crystal Clear Communications and volunteer for the houseless advocacy organization Hui Aloha. Her experiences with Hui Aloha have been particularly influential in shaping her understanding of culturally grounded and radically inclusive paths toward a sustainable future.
Network Partnerships & Outreach AmeriCorps VISTA
Jasmine (“Jazz”) Evans
She is a graduate of Wittenberg University where she holds a B.S. in Biology and double minor in Marine Science and Africa & the Diaspora Studies. During her time as an undergraduate student, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica where she volunteered for local non-profit organization CEPIA. Shortly after graduation, she completed an internship at a local philanthropic organization, Springfield Foundation, as a researcher investigating the discrepancies and inequities surrounding affordable housing in the community of her alma mater. Before joining the Hawai’i Local2030 Hub, she was able to engage in post-baccalaureate studies at Duke University’s Marine Laboratory where she participated in classes encompassing social science areas such as policy and conservation service learning.
Research and Data VISTA
Valerie LaFerney supports the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard through research and community engagement as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She attended Harding University and earned her BBA in Business Management, concentrating in Entrepreneurship and Project Management. While in college she studied abroad in Vina del Mar, Chile, and also served as a director on the Campus Activities Board for two years. She interned at the Waldron Center for Entrepreneurship, studying small businesses in the region, as well as the Lighthouse Mission, working to break the cycle of homelessness in Whatcom County, Washington. After graduating Valerie worked with the North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership on the Oahu Safe Farms Initiative, sparking her excitement for sustainability through local food production. She also worked with Pono Pacific as a supervisor at Kuilima Farms, before coming to work at HGG.
Rayne’s work focuses on climate change, tech law, Indigenous innovation, youth advocacy, as well as nature-based solutions and social entrepreneurship in island communities. At PreCOP26, Rayne represented the United States at the UN’s inaugural Youth4ClimateSummit in Milan.
Rayne serves as an executive advisor at the Oxford Artificial Intelligence Society (OxAI). At OxAI, he co-developed the initiative on diversity & inclusion, and managed industry relationships with Alphabet’s X, QuantumBlack, and other leading firms. Through his research, he analyzed socially responsible AI development as a member of the Rhodes Artificial Intelligence Lab and conducted field research on national innovation strategies in Southeast Asia. Additionally, Rayne cofounded, Georgetown Diplomatic Strategies, a diplomacy non-profit that engaged with over fourteen embassies and launched a program to increase gender equality in foreign policy. Rayne is currently pursuing his J.D. at Stanford Law School. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where he researched emergent technology. He received his B.A. from Georgetown University. At Georgetown, he studied international relations and foreign investment, and led Georgetown’s largest event on climate change and international security.
Global Outreach and Communications Fellow
Kiara Kealoha is a global outreach and communications fellow with the HGG Local2030 Hub, and completed a Master’s degree at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2018. She previously served at as the Communications Coordinator for HGG, as well as worked with KYA Sustainability and as an education project assistant for the Climate-KIC Switzerland. Kiara completed her undergraduate education at Harvard University, obtaining a degree in History and Science with a secondary field in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Kiara is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, and was born and raised on the island of O‘ahu.
Digital Strategy Fellow
Ariana Caruso is a Digital Strategy Fellow with the Hawaiʻi Green Growth Local2030 Hub supporting the Sustainability Dashboard and digital communications. Previously, Ariana served as HGG’s local-global communications specialist through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Born and raised in New Jersey, Ariana spent six months in New York working with the SDG Integration team at the United Nations Development Programme before relocating to Hawaiʻi. She holds a BS in Marketing and a minor in Sustainability Leadership from Penn State University.
Sustainability Dashboard Fellow
Megan Hickinbotham is the Sustainability Dashboard Fellow, providing support to the Dashboard Hub. Previously, Megan was the Sustainability Dashboard and Data Lead at HGG through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Originally from Wisconsin, Megan has worked in the sustainability and community outreach field for three years, including conducting climate research on lake sediment cores and organizing multiple student-led climate strikes. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with a BS in Geography and Environmental Science.
Julius Fischer is a Global Fellow with Hawaiʻi Green Growth’s Sustainability Dashboard and the Sustainability Business Forum. Before joining HGG, he worked for the Hawaiʻi State Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. Previously, he was a Fellow for the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), a voluntary partnership of islands across the globe that catalyzes action on resilient and sustainable island communities by mobilizing high-level political leadership. Born and raised in Germany, he has lived in New Zealand, Japan, and Micronesia. Julius holds a BA in International Relations and BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University and a Master in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.