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~ Gladys Kauhale, with her Ohana, Homeowners

~ Gladys Kauhale, with her Ohana, Homeowners


About HCA > Board


Kehau Filimoeatu, Board President is a Native Hawaiian and highly respected leader and spokesperson for Native Hawaiian initiatives on Maui and throughout the state of Hawaii. She is a graduate of the Bank of America Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, an advanced training program for community development leaders. She was a delegate to the state-sponsored Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention and volunteers to assist many local civic and Native Hawaiian causes. Previously, she was a successful small business owner for more than 20 years. Ms. Filimoe`atu is a Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiary.

Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman is a Native Hawaiian attorney in private practice with an emphasis on civil and criminal litigation and also on real property matters. He also has been involved extensively with a number of Native Hawaiian rights and legal issues and is currently the President of the Native Hawaiian Bar Association. Mr. Wurdeman is a 1983 graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. He received his B.A. in Economics from the University of California-Berkeley, his J.D. from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii, and his advanced law degree, LL.M., with a focus on international law and indigenous issues from the University of California-Berkeley.

Noelle Kai is a Native Hawaiian and born and raised on the island of Kauai. Ms. Kai currently works as an Account Manager for NexTitle's Hawai`i Operation where she oversees the sale of title insurance and escrow closing services, as well as maintenance of existing client relationships. She brings with her 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Ms. Kai started her career at City Bank, where she learned about mortgage servicing, and later supervised Escrow Operations. Ten years of mortgage experience blossomed into a diverse 15-year real estate career covering transaction management, property sales, escrow processing, and client management. During that time, she was commissioned as a Notary Public in Hawai`i, and built a successful mobile notary business.

Dwight Witlarge is African-American and is a Financial Advisor with New York Life where he works with families and businesses to create custom investment solutions. Mr. Witlarge grew up in Los Angeles, California before moving to Hawaii in 2005. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, Shidler College of Business, Mr. Witlarge holds two bachelors in Business with focuses of Entrepreneurship and International Business. He brings to HCA’s Board 4 years of experience in the financial service industry, having assisted several, local start-up companies during his college career and later working as a Junior Executive Financial Analyzer for Samsung Technology in Korea.

Malia Akutagawa is a Native Hawaiian born and raised on Molokai. She is an attorney and Assistant Professor of Law with both the William S. Richardson School of Law Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law and the Hawaiinuikea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is part of Hui Aina 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 malama aina, and with focus on cross-disciplinary solutions to natural and cultural resource management, sustainability, and food security. Before joining the law school and Hawaiinuikea faculty, Malia was the Director of the Molokai Rural Development Project for nine years. She led training and education initiatives through the University of Hawaii Maui College - Molokai and partnered with a number of community organizations to strengthen the capacity of the workforce and local economy. She is President and Founder of Sustainable Molokai, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on maintaining Molokai's cultural legacy of aina momona (abundant land) while embracing modern pathways to a sustainable future.

Michelle Kauhane (President) is Native Hawaiian and a Beneficiary of the Hawaiian Homelands Trust residing in the Kaupea Homestead on Oahu. Ms. Kauhane is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Gonzaga University. She has over 20 years of management experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors with extensive knowledge in affordable housing, lending, financial education and community development. In her capacity as the Deputy Director at the Department of the Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), Ms. Kauhane was responsible for the management and oversight of the DHHL loan portfolio totaling more than $500 million in direct loans, federally insured mortgages and loans guaranteed by DHHL. In July 2013, Ms. Kauhane was appointed the President and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement overseeing the entire organization, and with direct management of Lending and Investment Services and the Native Hawaiian Policy Center.

Kapu Gaison (Vice President) is a Native Hawaiian and President/CEO of IN Events, a culturally-relevant promotional events company that strives to positively impact the community and local businesses. A graduate of UCLA’s MBA program, Mr. Gaison brings 5 years of private and community lending experience having served as a Residential Loan Officer with Bank of Hawaii and previously with local Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement where he brought to life the Hawaii Family Finance Project, 3-year, $3.1 million United States Department of Treasury CDFI funded program to deliver free financial education services and assistance to Hawaii's first-time home buyers.

Jeffrey Ling (Treasurer) is Asian American and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) who has been with MassMutual Financial Group for the past three years. Mr. Ling has been doing financial planning for businesses, families and individuals for the last six years. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BBA in Finance and BA in Economics. Mr. Ling brings a wealth of knowledge in areas of retirement benefits, investments, insurance planning, estate planning, taxation and overall financial planning.

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