Maui Business

Ulupono Initiative names communications director, announces promotion

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Caroline Julian-Freitas (left); and Keith DeMello (right).

Ulupono Initiative announced the hire of Caroline Julian-Freitas as the Hawai‘i-focused impact investing firm’s director of communications and community, effective July 19, 2022.

Julian-Freitas is responsible for managing all communications campaigns and programs in support of Ulupono’s mission to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawai‘i by working toward sustainable solutions that support and promote locally produced food, renewable energy, clean transportation, and better management of freshwater resources. 

Julian-Freitas is stepping into the former role of Keith DeMello, who was recently promoted to senior vice president of communications and external affairs. In DeMello’s new position, he oversees Ulupono’s communications and policy teams.


“Ulupono Initiative is greatly strengthened by Caroline’s breadth of experience, ranging from TV news to government communications across legislative and executive branches,” said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative. “We are pleased to welcome an individual who so strongly complements our team while also sharing our commitment to a more self-sufficient and resilient Hawai‘i.”

Julian-Freitas joins Ulupono Initiative after serving more than a decade in various positions in the government sector ranging from communications director for the State of Hawaiʻi’s Office of the Lt. Governor to Hawaiʻi State Senate communications director and senior communications manager at the State Office of Enterprise Technology Services. Before entering state government service, Julian-Freitas worked as a broadcast journalist at television news stations in Hawai‘i and ABC News Network. A University of Hawai‘i School of Journalism alumnus, she lives in Honolulu with her husband and two children.  

DeMello has worked for Ulupono Initiative since August 2019 and brings more than two decades of experience in public relations and communications across various sectors, including more than 13 years at Anthology Marketing Group (most recently as vice president of public and government affairs) as well as deputy communications director for Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Also a University of Hawai‘i School of Journalism alumnus, he was recently appointed to the State of Hawai‘i Workforce Development Council, is a past-president of the Hawai‘i chapters of the Public Relations Society of America and the American Marketing Association, and currently serves on the boards of American Advertising Federation Hawai‘i Chapter and the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi. He resides in Makiki in Honolulu.


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