ʻAha ʻŌpio - Adulting 101
Guest Speaker Bios
E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center, CEO
Melonie Leihua Stewart
Maui-born Leihua (Villanueva) Stewart’s primary focus at E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center (EHCC) is preserving and perpetuating the Native Hawaiian culture. Leihua is deeply passionate about the work that EHCC does by educating, engaging, and connecting with the community.
Leihua is pursuing a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization from the University of Hawai`i at Hiloʻs Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. Leihua holds a masterʻs degree in Education|Curriculum Studies: STEM with social science and sense of place from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from North Park University, Chicago, Illinois, and enjoys providing educational opportunities to showcase the vibrancy of Native Hawaiian people. Leihua served as the President of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association – East Coast Region and is a current lifetime member.
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, D - Hawaiʻi, Deputy Chief of Staff
Coti, who previously served as the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, has almost ten years of Congressional experience in the Offices of Senators Hirono and Inouye.
Prior to her time in Washington, D.C., she served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. Originally from Mililani, Coti is a graduate of Punahou School, Gonzaga University and the William S. Richardson School of Law, and splits her time between Waimanalo and Washington, D.C.
Nakupuna Companies, CEO
Jason also serves as the Executive Vice President for Na Ali`i and Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Nakupuna Foundation – the majority owner of all Nakupuna Companies. Jason is responsible for the long-term vision of the Nakupuna Companies and is proud to have been on the ground floor to oversee the growth of the organization from a single firm with a handful of associates to a family of companies with several hundred employees working across the United States.
Jason is extraordinarily passionate about supporting the Native Hawaiian community; as a board member of the Nakupuna Foundation, Jason is responsible for community outreach and developing the investment portfolio of the Foundation’s charitable activities. Jason is a distinguished alumnus of Campbell University and holds a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) from the George Washington University along with executive certifications from the Kennan-Flagler Business School, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Elliott School of International Affairs, and the Federal Executive Institute. Jason is also on the board of E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center.
Nakupuna Foundation, Executive Director
ʻAulani Ah Loo
A Kamehameha Schools Graduate and O`ahu native, `Aulani received a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Yale as well as an MBA from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. For over 15 years, she supported the U.S. Navy as both a civil servant and consultant. Since 2015, she has been part owner of Na Ali`i Consulting & Sales, which was founded in 2003 by her father, the late Warren Nakupuna Ah Loo, namesake of the Nakupuna Foundation and Nakupuna Companies. Nakupuna Foundation is a non-profit Native Hawaiian Organization with a mission to support the economic advancement of the Native Hawaiian community. A cornerstone of its mission includes preparing Native Hawaiians for 21st-century job opportunities through a portfolio of targeted investments in STEM educational programs.
`Aulani is also on the Board of Directors of APIA Scholars.
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Director
Kelly Kahalewai McKeague was born in Honolulu and grew up in the Papakolea Hawaiian Homestead. He is a graduate of Damien Memorial High School, and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. Kelly currently serves as Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency whose mission is the worldwide search, recovery, and identification of missing Americans from past wars.
In December 2015, he culminated a 34-year U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard career, retiring as a major general. Kelly also serves on the Diocese of Arlington Catholic Charities Board of Directors and Georgia Tech School of Industrial and Systems Engineering Advisory Board; as well as being a member of the Hawai`i State Society and Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors. Kelly is also Chairman of the Board of E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center.
Nakupuna Companies, Director of Advocacy
Keawe’s focus at Nakupuna Companies is the advancement, growth, and development of the Nakupuna Foundation companies by advising the management team about policy, culture, and contracting strategies to optimize strategy, growth, and give back. He often serves as a national-level advocate for Native economic development and GovCon small businesses who provide goods and services to Federal Agencies.
Keawe is a graduate of the USAF Academy, has a master’s in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado, a master’s in strategic military studies from the Air War College, and a master’s certificate in government contracting from the George Washington University. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Lu Young Fund for Children, a charity that funds programs supporting Alaska Native children; is the Treasurer for the Board of Directors for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; the Secretary for the Aquia Harbour Host Lions Club, and Treasurer of E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center.
Nakupuna Companies, Chief Human Capital Officer
Andrea Zito has been with the Nakupuna Companies since 2018. She brings a toolbox of human resources experience that includes execution of compliance audits, business process improvement initiatives, organizational culture promotion, and employee career development and planning techniques. She uses her passion for teamwork and open communication to collectively support all aspects of the employee lifecycle: organizational development, talent management, recruiting, employee engagement, and retention, all while helping create a workplace that embraces the aloha spirit.
Andrea earned her master’s degree in History from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Longwood University. She is dedicated to continual learning and advancement in the human resources field and is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP).
Nakupuna Companies, Talent Acquisition Manager
Sadie joined Nakupuna Companies in 2019. She brings 16 years of recruitment and human resources experience to the company. Sadie partners with leaders, business development, and hiring managers to strategize on workforce planning, developing role-specific recruitment strategies, and managing the recruitment process throughout the entire talent acquisition lifecycle.
Sadie is passionate about creating and maintaining an excellent full life cycle recruitment experience for both the company and candidates. She helped hire countless talented, hard-working individuals who have been the force behind the positive business growth at Nakupuna Companies. Sadie shares her excitement, “It has been immensely rewarding to see the company and its people grow and thrive!” She is honored and grateful to be entrusted to develop a strong, gifted, and dedicated group of employees as she watches Nakupuna’s continuous growth and impacts in our world.