Our Team

Brent Kakesako
Executive Director
Brent feels humbled to co-learn alongside communities across Hawai'i and beyond and blessed with an awesome team he supports as best he can. He is driven by his family upbringing, the connection he feels to this place, and his initial eye opening community engagement experiences. Brent also dabbled in supporting the startup ecosystem, founded a small consulting business, coaches wrestling, and wipes out a lot at Kewalo's. He received his J.D. from the William S. Richardson School of Law, an M.B.A. from the Shidler College of Business, and his Bachelors from Harvard University focused on the study of teams.
Merri Keli‘ikuli
Office Manager & Program Support
Merri Keli‘ikuli is responsible for day to day management of the office, accounting/bookkeeping, and support across various programs/projects. Merri’s work experience includes her previous role as Executive Director of Hoa ‘Āina O Mākaha, overseeing daily operations, grant and budget management, and community outreach. Prior to that, she led several teams in retail operations while executing merchant planning and buying for more than 25 years. Merri received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University.
Corin Thornburg
Community-Based Economic Development Project Associate
Corin Thornburg supports the team with current activities as HACBED grows partnerships and collaborative projects. Prior to HACBED, Corin worked as a teacher and grant writer at Hakipuʻu Learning Center, Public Charter School in Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu. Following graduation, Corin worked at the University of San Diego, supporting local procurement initiatives in Linda Vista, California. She is grateful to all who have guided, mentored, and taught her. Corin grew up in ʻEwa Beach and Mānana on Oʻahu. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University and M.A .from the University of San Diego in Social Innovation.

We mahalo the following former team members for their hard work and dedication:

Bob Agres · Paige Allen · Will Chen · Molly Chlebnikow · Jamie Cook · Ben Costigan · Brent Dillabaugh · Trung Doan · Anna Dorman · Kamuela Enos · Athena Esene · Avemaoe Galeaʻi · Justin Fanslau · Maggie Flynn · Elwen Freitas · Sharde Freitas · Randy Gingras · Tony Hall · Hunter Heaivilin · John Higgins · Eden Jablon · Manish Joshi · Larissa Meinecke Kick · Derrick Kiyabu · James Koshiba · Malachi Krishok · Trevor La Torre-Couch · Vivienne Lee · Jay Mason · Gary Maunakea-Forth · Blake McElheny · Hermina Morita · Briana Monroe · Paula Nagao ·  Alex Narrajos · Keoki Noji · Mika Okuno · Chelsie Onaga · Gaby Orantes · Tommy Otake · Vini Pabon · Kehau Padilla · Sang-Hyoun Pahk · Foley Pfalzgraf · Piʻilani Pang · Joong-hee Park · Angelica Ramsey · Richard Pezzulo · Ethan Porter · David Rothwell · William Simmons · Padmendra Shrestha · Collin Siu · Susan Tamanaha · Sean Tangco · Lee Tokuhara · Hanale Vincent · David Washburn ·  Pua Lani Yang · Johnathan Yim