Deep Roots: Navigating Mission-Driven Executive Transitions in Hawaiʻi

Panelists: Opehlia Bitanga-Isreal, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Joni Chun, Susannah Wesley Community Center, Jennifer Cornish Creed, HANO, Lily Bloom Domingo, CommUnity Works, LLC, Sarah Menzies, Laʻakea Village, Janis Reischmann, Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation

The nonprofit sector has been talking about the impending retirement of key leaders for years. This leadership turnover is no longer impending, it’s here! In Hawaiʻi, we’re seeing a wave of new leaders in charge of stewarding our community work.

Nonprofit organizations are rooted in core values that guide their focus and actions and we know that each leadership transition is unique. Many Hawaiʻi nonprofits have missions that are place-based and/or deeply rooted in cultural practices, sometimes passed down over multiple generations. These “deep roots” anchor and support an organization’s executive transition process.

Join us for an interactive conversation about lessons learned so far and help shape the future of nonprofit leadership transition in Hawaiʻi. We’ll talk story with local leaders who have recently undergone transitions and will share lessons learned from their first year on the job. We’ll also talk with funders and consultants who have supported organizations moving through transitions. Participants will have an opportunity to talk with each other in small group discussions to share successful strategies and bright spots, as well as challenges and concerns.

Whether you’re a board member anticipating or managing a leadership transition in the nonprofit you serve, a leader contemplating transition, a new leader taking the helm, or a staff member considering taking on a new leadership role, we welcome you! Participants will receive a copy of HANO’s brand new Mission-Driven Executive Transition Guide: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Hawaiʻi Nonprofits Managing their Own Leadership Transition Process.

Event Details:

Thursday, October 10, 2019
12:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Pomaika’i Ballrooms
735 Iwilei Road


  • HANO member rate: $89
  • Non-member rate: $139

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Ophelia Bitanga-Isreal is a Sr. Program Officer with the Community Grants and Investments Department at Hawaiʻi Community Foundation. Ophelia manages a diverse portfolio of programs, including organizational capacity building for nonprofits, and supports HCF’s Private Foundation Services. Prior to joining HCF, Ophelia was a grantwriter and program manager with Aloha United Way, leading an effort to develop a culture of evaluation. She has spent most of her career in the public and nonprofit sectors, including managing family programs for the U.S. Army, and supervising the Economic Services division for the Cumberland County Dept. of Human Services, North Carolina. Ophelia has a Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology and her MBA, and she is a strong proponent for imagining the possibilities.

Joni N. Chun is executive director of the Susannah Wesley Community Center (SWCC). She shares over 20 years of leadership experience in the social service and government sectors where she has worked in support of youth, immigrants, the homeless, and elderly. Prior to joining SWCC in 2018, Joni served as the Assistant Vice President of Programs at Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi (CCH), developing and managing its annual program operational budget of $24M and overseeing agency-wide program performance and risk management activities. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Joni is a servant leader who believes in leading with clarity of mission and honoring the past while cultivating excitement for the future.

Jennifer Cornish Creed is the Director of Professional Development at the Hawaiʻi Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations and has been with HANO and its predecessor organization for 19 years. She has an extensive background in curriculum development and is a trained facilitator. In her work at HANO, Jennifer plans, implements and evaluates training and consulting services, working with internal staff as well as consultants in the field to provide professional, affordable services to nonprofits of all sizes and all stages of development. Her areas of expertise include board governance, nonprofit management, outcomes, proposal writing and planning facilitation. Jennifer has additional training in Collaborative Leadership, Facilitating Strategic Thinking and Planning and Appreciative Inquiry and is a certified MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) practitioner.

Lily Bloom Domingo is principal of CommUnity Works, and brings over 30 years of specialized experience in planning and facilitation to a broad range of nonprofit, government and for-profit organizations. She is widely recognized for her expertise in facilitating complex conversations that build shared agreements and enable groups to move toward their preferred future. Prior to launching her consulting practice in 2009, Lily was chief operating officer and program director at the Hawaiʻi Alliance of Nonprofits. She has a M.S. in Community Development from the University of California at Davis and a B.S. in Human Development from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has advanced training in Collaborative Leadership, Appreciative Inquiry, Outcomes Design and Implementation, and Qualitative Research Methods.

Janis Reischmann has served as the executive director of Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation, an independent grantmaking foundation with offices in Honolulu, since April, 2008. She was hired as the Foundation’s first staff member, there are now five, and joined its board in 2011. Before coming to the Foundation, she served as Vice President of Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and was the principal of a consulting practice focused on organizational development. Her volunteer activities include being a founding member of the Women’s Fund of Hawaiʻi; serving on the board of the Keith and Judy Swayne Foundation; and serving on the Board of Exponent Philanthropy. Her home is on Oʻahu in Nuʻuanu with her husband and dog.

Sarah Menzies is the Executive Director at Laʻakea Village on the North shore of Maui. Her work and passions synthesize her diverse experiences and studies including contemplative education, intercultural communications, organic farming and facilitating community engagement in developing countries. Sarah began as a volunteer at Laʻakea in 2006, becoming the Business Manager in 2016. She now serves as the Executive Director supporting this diverse community as they establish a sustainable and thriving village – Laʻakea Village.

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