Young Maui Professionals Yamashita, Miyake & Leahey Named To 40 Under 40 List
Three young professional on Maui were named to the 2021 statewide list of 40 people under 40 who made significant impacts to Hawaiʻi businesses and communities. They are: Cassi Yamashita, Maui Economic Opportunity’s Director of Community Services; Tyson Miyake, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino’s Chief of Staff; and Ashley Takitani Leahey, Director of Communications and Development at ʻOhana Pacific Health.
“The competition was fierce this year,” according to Pacific Business News that compiled the list of doctors, nonprofit executive directors, and top government and business officials.
Yamashita, 36, runs the largest department by programs (13) in one of Maui County’s largest nonprofit organizations with more than 225 employees. The programs under her management offer assistance for basic necessities, including housing (rental/mortgage) and utilities, and employment and other services to low income residents, recently released inmates, persons with disabilities, immigrants and kupuna.
Community Services programs provide assistance and social activities for kupuna, training in first aid/CPR for the hearing impaired, translation and other necessary services for the Hispanic community and training and subsidies for immigrant farm workers.
She joined MEO in 2011 as a youth program specialist and rose through the ranks, becoming director of Youth Services in 2015, Assistant Director of Community Services in 2017 and Director of Community Services in 2019.
“I have known Cassi since her days as an MEO Youth Services program specialist where she worked with youth to prevent under-age drinking,” said Maui County Council Member Yuki Lei Sugimura, who wrote a letter of support. “Cassi exhibited a wonderful rapport with youths and community leaders. Today, I know there are young adults on the island who are abstaining from alcohol and driving under the influence because of Cassi’s work.”
Yamashita serves as Maui chairwoman of Hawaiʻi’s Partners to Prevent Underage Drinking, vice chairwoman of the Maui County Commission on Children and Youth and as a member of Maui County Coalition for Underage Drinking Prevention, Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi, Prevent Suicide Maui County Task Force and Maui County Reentry Council.
Helping inmates released from incarceration is a special cause for Yamashita, who has had family members behind bars and visited them at a young age. She is treasurer of her church, My Brothers Keeper, Maui, which has a prison reintegration ministry, and goes into Maui Community Correctional Center regularly to offer help to inmates, including public notary services.