2020 Executive Committee Candidate Bios

2020 Chapter and Group ExCom Elections are open from October 21-November 22. All current members should have received an email from “Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi” around October 21, subject line “Vote now: Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi – 2020 Executive Committee Elections” with your personalized ballot link, access code, and password.

If you did not receive your ballot by October 25, please contact us at hawaii.chapter@sierraclub.org or 808.538.6616 ext 1 and we will issue you a new ballot. 

New members or those that renew their membership from October 1 should contact hawaii.chapter@sierraclub.org to obtain a ballot.

Chapter – Seats will be filled by the top four candidates.

Lucienne de Naie
Lucienne de Naie is a long time Club member who has served as Chair and Vice-chair of the Sierra Club Hawai‘i Chapter Executive Committee. She is a researcher and writer whose passion is protection of native plants, streams, watersheds, and cultural sites.

Debbie Hecht
Debbie Hecht has lived on the Big Island since 2003. In that time she has worked for the Save our Lands Citizen Committee and served on the Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association and the Sierra Club Hawaiʻi Island Group Executive Committee for several years. Living briefly in San Diego, she was elected chair of the Sierra Club San Diego Steering Committee in 2014, serving as chair for two years. An avid swimmer, snorkeler, hiker, gardener and tennis player, Debbie has many years of establishing nonprofits, facilitating, mediating, and conservation land planning in Tucson and Hawaiʻi.

Raquel Kamalu
Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Raquel grew up enjoying the outdoors. She currently works as a sales engineer at Johnson Controls, with a goal of working on energy efficiency and sustainability projects. With the Sierra Club Raquel hopes to become more engaged with her community and protect Hawaiʻi’s wild places, as they are critical to her culture as a Native Hawaiian and she wants to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy them. New to the Mālama Tree Crew, Raquel is excited to be involved in efforts that promote the return of Hawai‘i’s native plants.

Michael Nieling
Michael is a designer, educator, husband, father, and full-time cyclone of energy. He is the creative director and founder of Ocupop and co-founder of Kunoa Cattle Company. Michael has been helping to define the visual language of our digital experience for nearly 20 years and has directed Ocupop’s team in creating some of the most influential logos, campaigns, and user interfaces on the web and beyond. As a leader on the Executive Committee, he looks forward to lending those same talents and experiences to furthering the mission of the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi.

Sheila Sarhangi
Sheila Sarhangi is a communications strategist who specializes in partnering with communities, nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies to achieve conservation goals. She has worked on a wide range of environmental issues across the Pacific, in Hawai‘i, Palau, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Northern Mariana Islands and Indonesia, on issues ranging from endangered species protection to community-based fishing rules and public access. Currently, she is focused on protecting biodiversity-rich places to increase their resilience, and communicating solutions to curb the effects of climate change. 

Oʻahu Group – Seats will be filled by the top four candidates.

Tenaiya Brookfield
Tenaiya Brookfield is an exceptional VP with over 10 years experience in business development. She gained international recognition in South East Asia for her work in the hospitality industry. Whilst winning awards for revenue growth she also enacted wide sweeping environmental and social changes across over 130 hotels and 14,000 employees. Returning to her native Hawaiʻi, she aims to assist in a stronger unification of environmental and economic goals for Hawaiʻi’s long-term prosperity.

Hunter Heaivilin
Hunter Heaivilin currently serves as Chair of the Oʻahu Group Executive Committee. He grew up in Hawaiʻi and is pursuing his PhD in Geography at UH Manoa, researching climate change impacts to agriculture in Hawaiʻi. He works as an agricultural planner and spearheads Oʻahu Group’s efforts to preserve agricultural land and support local food.

Nate Hix
Nate Hix is currently the Director of Living Wage Hawaiʻi and is a passionate environmental justice advocate. He is focused on establishing a carbon pricing program in Hawaiʻi, as advocated for by the UN’s IPCC report to eventually eliminate our contribution to climate change. With the help of the Sierra Club and its members, Nate intends to leave the average resident better off financially as we transition to a carbon neutral economy.

Victor Gregor Limon
Victor makes maps. He is a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning. He has interned for the city’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency, where he mapped more than 500 infrastructure projects to evaluate for climate adaptation and equity. His current research interests include urban climate modeling, remote sensing technologies, and coral reef bleaching events.

Dana R. Lyons
Dana R. Lyons practices real property, commercial, and environmental law in Hawaiʻi, advocating for and advising clients on issues of sustainable and resilient business strategies. Mr. Lyons is also a forest steward, as co-manager of a 20-acre forest preserve on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, dedicated to the preservation of native ‘ōhia lehua rainforest. He enjoys spending time with ‘ohana, hiking, swimming, gardening, reading, writing, and practicing aloha ‘āina.

Lori Mallini
Lori Mallini is an environmental policy advocate with a passion for protecting the places she lives and loves. She is a graduate from Hawai‘i Pacific University with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies with a focus on environmental policy. Lori has volunteered with Sierra Club as a hike guide, Get Out the Vote efforts, and most recently as a policy advocate during the 2019 legislative session, where she championed bills relating to recycling and waste.

Soo Schake
Soo currently works as an Organizing Assistant for Faith Action for Community Equity, an interfaith nonprofit advocacy organization committed to social justice. She is also a part-time student at UH West Oʻahu majoring in Public Administration and has been active in the YPDA’s Environmental Justice committee since last year. Soo is passionate about protecting Hawaiʻi’s natural environment and ensuring that changes be made on the policy level to create a sustainable future for all.

Kauaʻi Group – Seats will be filled by the top three candidates.

Jesse Brown-Clay
Jesse Brown-Clay was raised in Wailua, Kaua‘i. A lifelong passion of malama ʻāina led Jesse to obtain a BS degree in Ecology from the Evergreen State College in Washington. Jesse is a project manager for Zero Waste Kaua‘i working on effective solutions for waste management issues. He also works on voter turnout issues amongst local youth and a budding agroforestry project in Wailua. Jesse’s goals are to help develop healthy resilient systems and communities on Kaua‘i.

Judy Dalton 
Judy Dalton has served on the Kaua‘i Group Executive Committee for 24 years and on the Chapter Executive Committee for 17 years. She facilitated the cease of construction of a 3/5-mile-long beach-destroying seawall fronting the Wailua Golf Course in 1996, initiated the formation of Mālama Māhā‘ulepū in 1999, and succeeded in legally challenging the Planning Commission to increase coastal setbacks for the Kealia Kai subdivision at Kuna Bay (Donkey Beach).

David Dinner
David Dinner has served on the Kauaʻi Group Executive Committee for 10 years. He also served as president of 1000 Friends of Kauaʻi, co-chair of the People for the Preservation of Kauaʻi, and co-chair of Citizens for Responsible Government. He is currently active in the Kauaʻi Community Coalition which is devoted to community education, particularly their candidate forums and affordable housing events.

Nina Monasevitch
Nina Monasevitch is an advocate for marine conservation. She has archived 29 years of research documenting the state of the ocean ecosystem. Nina serves on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and served as a Board member of the Hawaiʻi National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. She also served on the Kaua‘i Group Excom in 1987. Nina co-founded a nonprofit organization advocating for whales. Nina is committed to continue being a voice for our ocean planet.

Maui Group – Seats will be filled by the top four candidates.

Dr. Paul McCurdy
Dr. Paul is a Maui veterinarian working with pets, birds and fish. The South Florida native has a degree in Marine Biology and graduated from veterinary school in New Zealand after spending time studying coral reefs in the South Pacific. Paul is an avid diver, hiker, mountain biker and surfer who wants to help protect Maui’s environment. He was appointed to a vacancy on the Maui ExCom in 2018 and looks forward to continuing that service.

Charlene “Char” Schulenburg
Charlene was raised in Hawaiʻi, graduated from Maui’s St. Anthony High and California’s Santa Clara University. She has a background in media production and event and property management. She has volunteered for many years with organizations that help children, homeless families and the Kīhei community. Char hopes to assist the Sierra Club’s efforts on wetlands protection. She is active in many campaigns to protect natural and cultural resources in the South Maui area.

Jeanie Stewart
Jeanie is a life member of the Sierra Club who served as the first chair of the Delaware Chapter in the 1990’s. She teaches at Kīhei Charter School and has a passion for outdoor education, hiking and protecting our native plants and animals. Jeanie was appointed to a vacancy on the Maui ExCom in 2019 and looks forward to continuing that service.

Michelle Walton
Michelle is a dedicated hiker who enjoys getting out in nature, hiking and exploring different parts of the island. She wants to be part of the solution for Maui’s future, and would like to serve on the Sierra Club’s board to help the Club’s efforts to protect the natural environment, landscapes and native wildlife. 

Rob Weltman
Rob is a retired software engineer with a lifelong love for the outdoors and for preserving and securing an environment that will sustain the plants and animals of our shared earth and the people who walk it. He sees bringing people of all ages and backgrounds into nature to experience the outdoors first hand a key element of building broad support for the action required to safeguard our natural resources. Rob has been the chairperson of Maui Group since 2016.

Moku Loa Group – Seats will be filled by the top four candidates.

Rose Acevedo
Rose is a dedicated mother, partner, traveler, outdoor enthusiast and team member. A Volcano resident since 2011, she works as an elementary school teacher in the Kaʻu district. With a Master’s degree in teaching from UH Hilo, Rose has been employed by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education since 2006 and is very active in the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association. She was an outings leader from 2007-2011 and an ExCom member from 2008-2011 and looks forward to serving again.

Amanda Clausen
Amanda is a lifelong lover of the earth and sea, and has worked internationally as an environmental educator and wildlife biologist. She enjoys her work as a catalyst for human-to-ecosystem connection, and she’s a passionate student and teacher of cultural perception of environment. Amanda has worked for a number of nonprofits, schools, and communities globally to promote sustainable lifestyle and to advocate for our environment. She holds a bachelor’s degree in ecology from Western Washington University.

Dr. Marianne “Georgie” Fong, MS, ND
In high school, Dr. Fong wanted to become a cardiac surgeon, an ambition sprung from her love for living creatures. Over the decades, her love has expanded into all living things in nature and on earth. Dr. Fong became a vegan 20 years ago, horrified of the destruction animal agriculture has on the environment. To take action, she joined Earthjustice, believing the path was through the courtroom. As lawsuits are tedious, and often slow, she continues to her fight with several additional organizations who work diligently to save the planet.

Emily Garland
Emily Garland, of Hilo, is a lifelong environmentalist. She is passionate about living simply and sustainably and helping others do the same. Emily, 36, grew up in Edmonds, Washington and has lived in an assortment of places, including Alaska, Oregon, California, Washington, D.C., New Zealand, England, Toronto and Cambodia, where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Emily graduated from Linfield College with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and creative writing. Emily is a writer, editor, teacher and communications manager and has worked for several environmental nonprofits.

Dr. Joe Kassel
Dr. Joe Kassel lives Honokōhau and has been a Naturopathic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist since 1988. He has worked at Bridge House for over 16 years, runs a private practice, and volunteers with the Mauna Medic hui. He has worked on environmental and social justice issues since he was eleven, beginning with a school boycott for desegregation and in the 1980’s through Oregon Tilth and the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. Locally, he worked on the Kona Development Plan, groundwater preservation, Mauna Hualalai preservation, county GMO restrictions, and Pōhakuloa impacts and more