Maui Business

CNHA Announces Newly Elected Board Officers

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At its regular quarterly meeting in April, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s Board of Directors elected the new officers to lead the organization into its next phase of growth.


Hanalei Aipoalani, Ph.D., MBA, Chairman:  Aipoalani is an individual CNHA member who serves as the Director of Human Resources & Developmental Projects at ʻŌlelo Community Media. ʻŌlelo is Oʻahu’s non-profit community Public, Education, and Government access provider created to empower the voice of the community. Aipoalani has over 15 years of human resources and operations management experience. Aipoalani holds a bachelor’s degree in business management, master’s in business administration, and doctorate degree in organizational psychology. Aipoalani is also a resident and board member of the Nānākuli Hawaiian Homestead Community Association. Since returning home from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, Aipoalani has been an active community member and leader.

Blossom Feitiera, Vice Chairwoman:  Feitiera is the Executive Director at Friends of Moku‘ula, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1995 to cultivate awareness of the Hawaiian culture through restoration, preservation, education and revitalization of Moku‘ula island and Mokuhinia ponds. The heritage site in Lahaina is on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Feitiera has  expertise in affordable housing, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, financial literacy programming and community development.

Lahela Williams, Treasurer:  Williams serves as the Program Director at Hawaiian Community Assets. She joined the organization in 2011 with a background in community organizing, youth programming, and financial services. Williams has over 15 years of experience in working in Native Hawaiian communities statewide. In her current capacity, she manages HCA’s housing counseling, financial education and asset building programs. Williams provides training and technical assistance to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations across the nation, to deliver youth and family financial education. She is the co-author of HCA’s Kahua Waiwai, Keiki Edition, a Hawaiian culture-based financial education storybook for children under age 8.


Lance C. Lanakila Holden, Secretary: Freelance graphic designer and digital illustrator, Holden is the Pelekikena of ʻAhahui Siwila Hawaiʻi o Kapolei, founded and chartered in 1993 by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs. The Association consists of five councils and 63-member clubs throughout the State of Hawaiʻi and the continental US. Holden is one of CNHA’s Arts & Culture Caucus leaders working to advance the policy priorities of Native Hawaiian artists and cultural practitioners.

CNHA’s Board Officers are actively engaged in the organization’s executive search after current President, Michelle Kauhane, announced her departure in early March. Recruitment efforts resulted in 38 interested applicants who submitted resumes to fill the position of CNHA President & CEO. Four candidates are scheduled for interviews with a recommendation by the Executive Committee slated for a full board discussion and vote on May 11, 2018.

Kauhane is working with the CNHA Board to identify her successor in support of a healthy executive transition. As President & CEO, Kauhane has successfully established critical partnerships and secured funding to expand the organization’s reach:

  • A five-year relationship with the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation with a $1.4 million funding commitment to increase civic engagement and mobilize the Hawaiian community.
  • A 10-year partnership with the Kresge Foundation with a $500,000 Program Related Investment to expand the reach of CNHA’s community loan fund.
  • A partnership with USDA that includes a $400,000 loan and $100,000 grant to expand the Rural Micro-Entrepreneurs Assistance Program to help microenterprises across the state startup and grow.
  • US Treasury Awards of $1.3 million expanding capital access to underserved Hawaiian communities.

Kauhane will continue to serve as CNHA’s President & CEO until the board identifies and hires her successor. She will transition to serve as a member of CNHA’s loan fund committee to support the growth and expansion of the U.S. Treasury certified, Native CDFI.

CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian Organizations, providing assistance to access capital and technical resources and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the cultural, economic, political and community development of Native Hawaiians.

Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement new board members.

Hanalei Aipoalani, Ph.D., MBA, Chairman

Blossom Feitiera, Vice Chairwoman

Lahela Williams, Treasurer

Lance C. Lanakila Holden, Secretary


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