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Molokai Energy Projects

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Pūlama Lima

Cheney-Ann Pūlama Lima

President (8/2019–Present)
Vice President (1/2018–8/2019)

Land, Culture, History Research Manager, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Born and raised on the island of Molokai, Pūlama Lima is a current PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa specializing in Hawaiian and Pacific Archaeology. She has over 9 years experience in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) and Heritage Preservation in Hawaiʻi, working as an Archaeologist and Cultural Resource Management Specialist in both the Private and Federal Sectors. Pūlama is also the Executive Director of Ka Ipu Makani Cultural Heritage Center and has also served on the Maui County Cultural Resource Commission. In addition to her background in CRM, Pūlama has also had experience working in Education at the University of Hawaii Maui College—Molokai Education Center, where she worked as the Academic Support Specialist and lectured in Hawaiian Studies and Anthropology. She is also fluent in Hawaiian Language and has experience in translating Hawaiian Language documents/recordings, including producing Hawaiian language educational materials.

Pūlama is currently employed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as the Pou Kākoʻo Noiʻi ʻIke Kūpuna (Land, Culture, History Research Manager) in the Paia Kāne, Research Division, where she is tasked with the responsibility of providing quantitative, qualitative, and comparative research services to OHA, so that they can make informed decisions using credible historical analyses to protect Native Hawaiian physical and intellectual rights. In this capacity, Pūlama also oversees the Kuleana Tax Exemption Program as well as the Papakilo and Kīpuka digital repositories of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Through her role as the Executive Director of Ka Ipu Makani, Pūlama’s background in Agriculture comes from her coordination of the Kāwao Kaʻamola Loʻi Restoration Project at Kaupapa Loʻi o Kaʻamola on Molokai, where the non-profit is currently restoring a 1.6 acre loʻipunawai (spring-fed irrigated pond field for cultivation of taro/kalo).

Matt Yamashita

Vice President (8/2019–Present)
Member-At-Large (5/2019–Present)

Owner, Quazifilms Media

Audrey Newman

Audrey Lynne Newman

Secretary/Treasurer (5/2019-Present)
Member-at-Large (3/2018-5/2019)

Conservation & Sustainability Advisor

Audrey has more than 30 years of experience working with leaders and teams to create and implement conservation and sustainability initiatives at the site, state, national, regional and global scales. Her expertise includes Facilitation, Strategic Planning, Collaboration & Partnership Development, Project Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Peer Learning, and Leadership Networks. Since 2016, she has enjoyed using her skills and experience to support and strengthen worthy projects led by partner organizations as an advisor, board or committee member, consultant and friend.

From 2011 to 2015, Audrey spearheaded Hawaiʻi Green Growth (HGG) and the Aloha+ Challenge.  HGG is a public-private partnership and statewide network that helps catalyze action across government, private sector and civil society to achieve Hawaiʻi’s 2030 sustainability goals, and serve as a model for integrated green growth.  Since 2010, she has served as Senior Advisor to the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), where she provides guidance and support on strategy, international partnerships, program implementation, organizational effectiveness, funding, communications and monitoring.

In 25 years with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Audrey launched, directed and advised a wide variety of conservation initiatives in Hawaiʻi, the Pacific islands, Indonesia, China and globally. In Hawaiʻi, she worked with partners to create and lead many key early conservation programs – Hawaiʻi Heritage Program database to guide conservation planning; Hawaiʻi Conservation Biology Initiative, which became the HI Conservation Alliance; Natural Area Partnership & Forest Stewardship programs & long-term funding mechanisms; and five new nature reserves.  As Deputy Director and Senior Conversation Advisor for TNC’s Asia Pacific region, her accomplishments included launching and strengthening:

  • Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC) – a pilot learning networking for leaders of government and non-government conservation organizations across Micronesia.
  • Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) and associated Pacific Invasives Partnership, strengthening regional coordination and action in invasive species management.
  • Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet), which trains and coordinates peer learning for conservation coaches in more than 50 countries.
  • Island Biodiversity Programme of Work under the UN Convention for Biological Diversity (UNCBD)
  • Global Island Partnership recognized under the UNCBD and the UN Commission for Sustainable Development to promote leadership and collaborative action to build resilient and sustainable island communities.

Audrey lives on Molokai with her husband, dog and garden—and continues to work with partner organizations to advance conservation and sustainability locally and globally. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa (MA in Geography) and the University of California, Irvine (BS in Biology).

Malia Akutagawa

Member-at-Large (7/2014-Present)
President (2/2010-6/2014)

Assistant Professor of Law, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa

Malia was born and raised on Molokai and is President and Founder of Sust ʻāina ble Molokai. She is an attorney and Assistant Professor of Law with both the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law and Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. Malia is a 1997 alumnus of the William S. Richardson School of Law, having earned a Juris Doctor and Environmental Law Certificate. Her focal studies included Hawaiian and water rights, environmental regulations, land use, administrative and international law.

She is part of Hui ʻĀina Momona, a consortium of scholars throughout the university community charged with addressing compelling issues of indigenous Hawaiian knowledge and practices, including the legal regime and Native Hawaiian rights associated with mālama ʻāina, and with focus on cross-disciplinary solutions to natural and cultural resource management, sustainability, and food security.

Before joining the law school and Hawaiʻinuiākea faculty, Malia was the Director of the Molokai Rural Development Project for 9 years. She led training and education initiatives through the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College – Molokai and partnered with a number of community organizations to strengthen the capacity of the workforce and local economy.

Keoni Lee

Keoni Lee

Member-at-Large (5/2019–Present)
Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiʻi Investment Ready
Co-Founder, Waiwai Collective
Co-Founder, ʻŌiwi TV

Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Keoni is a Native Hawaiian entrepreneur and community change agent. He co-founded ʻŌiwi TV – a media production company that leverages the power of media to reshape the narratives of the modern Hawaiian experience. He also co-founded Waiwai Collective, a contemporary Hawaiian gathering space that is growing a community and movement grounded in collective values and shared responsibilities to mobilize systemic change in Hawaiʻi. In his current role as CEO of Hawaiʻi Investment Ready, he is working to accelerate social enterprise impact and increase investment into Hawaiʻiʻs innovative impact sector.

Keoni is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and went on to Oregon State University and has a MBA from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His leadership accomplishments also garnered his selection in the Omidyar Fellows program and the First Nations Futures Program.

Fiona Benjamin

Fiona Benjamin

Member-at-Large (3/2019-Present)
Clerk, Kualapuʻu Elementary Public Conversion Charter School

Fiona Benjamin has been a clerk at Kualapuʻu Elementary Public Conversion Charter School for the last seven years. Born and raised in Kalamaʻula Hawaiian Homesteads, Fiona has been a Mobile Market customer, since 2017, and became inspired to look into sustainability and carbon footprint issues after taking a course in environmental studies—particularly in ways that focus on “buying local.” As a youth, she served on a community service council group. She currently supports 4H through her three children, who are active in the organization.

Eric Co

Member-At-Large (8/2019–Present)
President (10/2015–8/2019)
Vice President (10/2012–9/2015)

Nearshore Marine Resource Conservation Program Officer, HKL Castle Foundation

Over the course of his first year, Eric has helped the Foundation completely overhaul its grant making approach to nearshore marine conservation in Hawai‘i (available for review at  One of his major roles is to proactively engage partner organizations throughout the state in an effort to co-develop projects that move the Foundation toward achieving its marine conservation goals articulated within this new framework.  Eric comes to the board with well over 15 years of experience with the Castle Foundation, and formerly with the Nature Conservancy in Hawai‘i and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

His background includes initiatives in tropical marine systems throughout the Pacific (especially in Hawai‘i), fundraising, grantmaking, grants management, project development, program building and oversight, employee supervision, strategic planning, field implementation, marine monitoring, community coordination, partnership building, and effective communication.  His strengths in these areas will allow Sust ʻāina ble Molokai to move forward with strong strategic focus and project development guidance toward prospective donor development, forming collaborative partnerships, and strengthening core funding plans.

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