Our team

To uplift our people, it will take a collective of tremendous donors, supporters and staff to ensure that Pauahi’s legacy lives on! Meet the team that will continue to advance Kamehameha Schools’ mission in serving more Native Hawaiian learners through education.


Pono Ma‘a

Director of Advancement
Executive Director of the Pauahi Foundation
Director of Alumni Relations

Pono is the Director of Advancement, Executive Director of the Pauahi Foundation, and the Director of Alumni Relations. He is responsible for leading the development of the Office of Advancement’s strategic plan to align with Kamehameha Schools Strategic Plan 2020 and Strategic Vision 2040.

Pono has more than 20 years of experience in planning and implementing community driven programs and initiatives. His previous positions include Director of Kamehameha Schools’ seven resource centers, as well as Admissions Manager for Kapālama campus.

Pono is a 1982 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Jennifer Burke

Director of Philanthropy

Jennifer Burke joined the Kamehameha Schools Office of Advancement as the Director of Philanthropy in 2021. She is responsible for managing the development program to build and steward meaningful relationships with donors, alumni, KS ‘ohana, and community partners to further advance educational opportunities for students and the mission of Kamehameha Schools.

Jennifer has over 16 years of experience in educational non-profit management as the previous Director of Institutional Advancement and Community Relations at St. Andrew’s Schools and various development positions at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts double-major in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Lihla Noori

Senior Program Philanthropy Officer

Lihla joined Kamehameha Schools with over 20 years of non-profit and government experience in education, community development, and natural resource management primarily across the Hawaiian, Micronesian, and Antilles archipelagos.

As the Senior Program Philanthropy Officer, Lihla supports the development of philanthropic partnerships with a focus on leveraging Kamehameha Schools’ resources and influence to scale and deliver key statewide initiatives. Her work involves developing fundraising priorities, lifting marquee programs, and fostering internal and external collaborative funding opportunities.

Lihla previously served as the Executive Director for the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance & Foundation where she was responsible for leading a partnership of 25 government, cultural, educational and non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing capacity for native ecosystem restoration and bio-cultural conservation across the state.

Lihla holds a Master of Science in Experiential Education and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies.

Bran-Dee Torres

Director of Annual Giving Programs

Bran-Dee is the key development officer responsible for planning and raising annual funds through partnerships with Kamehameha Schools’ ‘ohana, including beneficiaries such as alumni, faculty, staff, students, like-minded organizations, and supporters.

Bran-Dee’s experience includes working in Advancement and Alumni Relations at Santa Clara University and The Harker School in Silicon Valley. She is a long-time active member of local and national chapters of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

An avid volunteer ambassador of alma maters Kamehameha Schools and Santa Clara University, she continually encourages giving of time, talent and treasures.

Dancine Takahashi

Associate Director of Alumni Relations

Dancine is responsible for the development and implementation of programs and events that keep Kamehameha Schools alumni connected and involved with their alma mater, the Pauahi Foundation and other alumni.

Her work history includes time as the assistant vice president and manager of the Pukalani branch of American Savings Bank.

Dancine is a 1979 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, and received a Bachelor of Arts in liberal sciences and Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Janel Chandler

Communications Manager

Janel is responsible for leading the overall Office of Advancement communications strategy and supporting the development of program-level communications plans to align with organizational goals.

With over a decade of experience in communications and marketing, Janel has worked with non-profits including the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, The Hawaii Bowl Foundation and Make-A-Wish. Prior to joining the Pauahi Foundation, Janel served as Director of Communications and Interim CEO at Make-A-Wish Hawaii.

Janel received a Masters in Business Administration from Chaminade University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

Ashlynn Book

Executive Assistant

Ashlynn is the Senior Executive Assistant responsible for leading office operations and managing the administrative, fiscal and human resources.

Prior to joining the Pauahi Foundation, she worked in the Trust Real Estate Department at First Hawaiian Bank and was responsible for procuring and maintaining property insurance for all trust real estate properties.  Ashlynn’s experience also includes retail operations management and executive administration at Starbucks Coffee Company.

Ashlynn received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from The University of Phoenix and focused on ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa.

Kanoe Vares

Donor Relations and Events Manager

Kanoe works in conjunction with our Development and Alumni Relations teams to plan, manage and execute all major events for the Pauahi Foundation.

Kanoe brings over eight years of fundraising experience, including past work as an Annual Giving Specialist with the Pauahi Foundation and an Interim Director of Advancement and Events Coordinator at La Pietra Hawai‘i School for Girls.

Kanoe earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Jacqui Sovde

Alumni Relations Specialist

Jacqui works as a liaison to alumni from all three campuses in partnership with staff, as well as Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association regions, to deliver programs and events that improve alumni engagement and foster advocacy.

Previously, Jacqui was a Program Coordinator for the Committee on National Statistics in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at The National Academies in Washington, DC.

Jacqui has a Bachelor of Arts from Porter College at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Shannon Li‘ili‘i

Donor Database Specialist

Shannon is responsible for managing our constituent database, including updating constituent information, processing gifts, and generating donation reports.

Prior to joining the Pauahi Foundation, Shannon served as the Development Assistant at Catholic Charities Hawai‘i. She holds an Associate degree and a Bachelor of Science  in Human Service Management from The University of Phoenix.     

Michelle Fong

Administrative Coordinator

Michelle is the Administrative Coordinator and serves as a primary contact for visitors and oversees the administrative requirements for various departments within the Office of Advancement.

Michelle has many years of experience in office administration and customer service, having worked in the retail and hotel industries in various capacities.

Michelle earned dual degrees in International Business and Restaurant Management at San Francisco State University.

Genny Wai‘alae Kelley

Donor Relations Specialist

Genny provides responsive donor stewardship and is responsible for the administration of donor funds, operational support, and other key elements of donor services as a member of the donor relations team.

Karen Yasuhara

Donor Relations Specialist

Karen provides responsive donor stewardship and is responsible for the administration of donor funds, operational support, and other key elements of donor services as a member of the donor relations team.

Prior to joining Pauahi Foundation, Karen worked in the Community Education Division of Kamehameha Schools and was responsible for event, project and process management, communications and marketing. Karen also brings with her experience in education, non-profit, and for-profit work.

Karen has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.