Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows
developing future leaders... planning for Maui Nui’s future
2014 Fellows
Jennifer Chirico
Dr. Chirico is the President of Susty Pacific LLC, a Hawaii-based firm specializing in responsible business and sustainability consulting. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) at UHMC and worked as a business consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton. She holds a PhD in Environmental Policy, a Master’s in Public Health (MPH), and a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) in Management and Finance. She also studied abroad at Oxford University in England, Italy, Spain, and Peru. She is the founder of the Maui Chapter of Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), serves on the advisory boards for Hawaii Green Growth Sustainability Metrics Committee for the Governor’s Office, and serves as a board member for Malama Maui Nui (Community Work Day), Hawaii WiRE, the Sustainability Association of Hawaii, and TEDxMaui.
Susan Clements
Susan was born on Maui and raised on a family farm in Upcountry Maui. She has fond memories of planting and harvesting produce with her family, including her grandparents. After graduating from Seattle University, Susan returned to Maui and has been very fortunate to work in fun and challenging fields such as education, retail, food service, public access television, and government. Susan currently works for Councilmember Don Couch where she continues to learn about the many issues surrounding Maui County and its impacts on our community. Susan loves to travel with her husband and spends her free time on the farm with her dogs.
Alison Cohan
Alison is the Field Representative for The Nature Conservancy’s Maui Nui Program. She has a Master of Applied Science degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior from Southwestern University. Originally from Texas, much of Alison’s professional experience lies in the area of marine vertebrate research, education and applied conservation. Alison has been involved in conservation activities on Maui for over fifteen years, working for the preservation and conservation of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. She is currently focused on strategic planning and management of a 12,000-acre core area in East Maui to prioritize and reduce threats to the native forested watershed. When not tromping around in the forest, Alison is drawn to the ocean, where she enjoys surfing, paddle boarding, and building forts on the sand with her 6-year-old son Travis and her husband Casey.
Akili Jones
After graduating from Collins with a degree in Visual Communications Akili married his childhood sweetheart. Akili began working for ABC News as a senior designer in the art Department creating graphics and animations for their afternoon and evening news programs. A few years into his employment with ABC Akili joined the sales team as an Account Executive. He was innovative in helping his clients advertise their businesses using ABC’s programming and website. For over a year Akili was number one in booking the station’s vendor friendly magazine style show. His expertise in acquiring and maintaining new business didn’t go unnoticed. He was recruited by CBS corp. in San Francisco California to join their sales team as an Account Manager with a focus on new business development. Akili’s talents for finding new business and generating sales revenue continued to cultivate throughout out his career. Akili went on to work for FOX, FOX SportsNet and Comcast SportsNet. In 2009 Akili and his wife took a 6 month sabbatical on Maui and never left. They fell in love with the Hawaiian culture and way of life. Akili is currently the creative director for the production company Nebulahcity. He is working on his business degree at the University of Hawaii Maui College, and is very honored to be a Big Brother in the Big Brothers and Big Sister program here on Maui, and serves as Vice Chair on this Board.
Ali Martin
Ali was born and raised on the North Shore of Maui. After graduating from Seabury Hall in 2002 she attended Loyola Marymount University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She studied abroad throughout Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding of the different cultures, economies, and politics of the world. Ali currently lives in Olowalu and is a Realtor with West Maui Land Company, assisting with project sales. She specializes in the resale of West Maui Land’s communities including Launiupoko, Olowalu and Haiku. Ali is also a Cooperative Short Sale Agent with Dignified Transition Solutions. Their Cooperative Short Sale program stabilizes the risk of loss for the lender and prevents foreclosure for the homeowner. As a Short Sale Agent, Ali works with distressed homeowners to inform them of their options and represents them throughout the sale of their home. Ali’s hobbies include traveling, running, paddling her outrigger canoe, camping and spending time with her friends and family.
Jordan Molina
Jordan is keiki o ka `āina `o Maui. His entire life has been spent on Maui, except for the several years he spent obtaining an Environmental Engineering degree at the Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Jordan is well versed in the County’s legislative process having served under three different council members, and currently serving as a legislative analyst for the Office of Council Services. He maintains a strong appreciation of Hawaiian culture and values, and deep respect for `āina.  Jordan enjoys listening and learning about the stories of Maui and its many special places. He believes the ancient Hawaiians had it all figured out, and had a more complete comprehension of sustainable island living with their “primitive” knowledge than we do today with all our modern “technology”.  Jordan takes every chance to be outdoors and visits new places. Hobbies include fishing, farming, hunting, camping, conservation work, home mechanic, and home contractor.
Sonya Niess
Sonya is a born and raised Maui girl from Ha`iku. She went off to Colorado College for her undergraduate in Anthropology and continued on for her Masters in Public Health at the University of Hawaii Manoa. Currently, Sonya works for a statewide non-profit called Healthy Communities Hawaii where she activates the community through networking, education and policy initiatives on health issues. She also works part time for Hike Maui as a hiking guide. She loves to travel and explore. Shortly after graduate school, Sonya moved to New Zealand for 6 months with husband Sam Young. More recently they went river rafting down the Grand Canyon for 2 weeks. She loves to free dive, scuba, hike (especially in the crater), hunt, paddle, yoga and loves adventures. In her free time she is a trained doula (assisting women in childbirth) and childbirth educator.
Adam Radford
Adam first moved to Maui in 1995 and has since become the Operations Manager for the Maui Invasive Species Committee. He oversees efforts to control invasive plants, animals, and plant diseases that threaten Maui County’s natural environment and quality of life. He holds a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management, has worked in fund raising, is a rappelling instructor, and is actively working with a wide range of conservation programs to protect our islands for future generations.
Nicole Nanea Spalding
Nicole was born and raised in Hawaii. Growing up in Kula, Maui, she attended Haleakala Waldorf Grade School and St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School, then left to attend Northern Arizona University. She returned home in 2008 after receiving a BA in Business Administration. Nicole currently handles commercial leasing, property management, tenant relations, and development projects for her family’s business. Because of her family’s constant adventuring over the years and a general love for the outdoors, she has always felt a strong connection to the land and waters of Hawaii. On her free time she loves surfing, paddling, sailing, hiking, traveling, and hanging out with people she loves.
Candace Thackerson
Candace was born and raised in sunny Southern California, but now calls Maui her home. After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California Irvine, Candace attended Western State University of Law and later Cal Poly Pomona where she received her Masters Degree in Urban Planning with an emphasis in Environmental Policy and Analysis. Candace then took a vacation to Maui and fell in love with island life. A former City Planner at Rancho Cucamonga, CA, she currently works with the County of Maui’s Planning Department as a Coastal Zone Management Planner, helping to manage development along the shoreline, as well as preserve and protect one of Maui’s most precious natural resources. When she’s not at the beach you can find her in the kitchen baking specialty cupcakes for her friends and charity fundraisers.
Chuck Yeaman
Chuck is a longtime West Maui resident. After graduating from Lahainaluna High School, Chuck studied entrepreneurship at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Currently Chuck is manager of Bank of Hawaii’s Kahana branch and is a member of the Lahaina Rotary Club.  In August, Chuck   will begin an MBA Program at the University of Hawaii and will be celebrating a two-year wedding anniversary with his beautiful wife Amber.