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Hawai‘i CC Chancellor Selected as Omidyar Fellow

June 9, 2019, 11:00 AM HST (Updated June 8, 2019, 1:02 AM)
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Rachel Somemsaas. Hawai‘i Community College chancellor. Courtesy photo.

Hawai‘i Community College chancellor Rachel Solemsaas is among 15 local leaders selected to join the Omidyar Fellows Program. The program helps equip mid-career leaders with the skills and cross-sector relationships needed to help affect positive societal change.

Each of the selected fellows were selected through a rigorous application process based on their accomplishments, motivations, and ability to make change in Hawai‘i.

As chancellor at Hawai‘i CC, Solemsaas is the chief executive officer for the college and an officer of the University of Hawai‘i schools. She previously served as the vice president for administrative services at community colleges in Nevada and Washington State. She earned a doctorate of education in higher education with an emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. Solemsaas is the past president of the National Asian Pacific Islander Council and is a board member for Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce.

The 15 selected leaders for this yearʻs Omidyar cohort include:

  • Rachel Solemsaas (Kaumana, Hawai‘i Island), chancellor, Hawai‘i Community College
  • Lia Hunt (Pālolo, O‘ahu), president and chief educational officer, Goldwings Supply Service, Inc.
  • Meli James (Kahala, O‘ahu), co-founder, Mana Up
  • Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā (Kailua, O‘ahu), director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority
  • Sondra Leiggi Brandon (Mililani, Oʻahu), systems director, behavioral health services, Queen’s Medical Center
  • Kawika McKeague (Kāneʻohe, O‘ahu), planning principal, G70
  • Brandee Menino (Keaʻau Ag Lots, Hawai‘i Island), chief executive officer, HOPE Services Hawaiʻi, Inc.
  • Jess Munoz (North Shore, O‘ahu), president and co-founder, Hoʻōla Nā Pua
  • Kanakolu Noa (Kuliouou, O‘ahu), manager of strategy development, community engagement and resources, Kamehameha Schools
  • Mark Noguchi (Mānoa, O‘ahu), chef and co-founder, Pili Group; curriculum specialist, Punahou School
  • Chris Sakuda (Kāneʻohe, O‘ahu), executive director, Transform Hawaiʻi Government
  • Claire Sullivan (Waiʻalae, O‘ahu), director of development and impact, MAʻO Organic Farms
  • Ann Teranishi (Wilhemina, O‘ahu), executive vice president of operations, American Savings Bank
  • Darcie Yukimura (Līhuʻe, Kaua‘i), director of community philanthropy, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
  • Kuhao Zane (Keaukaha, Hawai‘i Island), creative director and chief of operations, Sig Zane Designs and SigZaneKaiao LLC
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These leaders will commence in the program beginning in October 2019 with 15 months of structured curriculum, including one full-day session each month, executive coaching, conversations with community, business and government leaders, and more. Following the completion of the curriculum, participants engage with an active network of 85 cross-sector leaders and change makers.

The Omidyar Fellows, a program of the Hawaiʻi Leadership Forum, launched in 2012 with 13 fellows in its inaugural year. The program is dedicated to addressing Hawai‘iʻs most pressing issues.

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