About Us


Ku‘ulani Keohokalole, President, is principal consultant and owner of People Strategies Hawai'i LLC, advising leaders on creating functional, healthy, and engaging workplaces. Prior, she served in organizational development consulting capacities at Bank of Hawai'i and Lili'uokalani Trust. Her passion for training and ongoing performance improvement stems from her upbringing; she was raised by a family of Native Hawaiian social workers with a strong belief in the ability of communities to advocate for and solve their own problems. She serves on the board of directors of KEY Project in Kahalu'u and KAI LOA, a non-profit supporting Ke Kula o Samuel Manaiākalani Kamakau Hawaiian Immersion Charter School. Ku'ulani holds a Master of Arts degree in Education Leadership, Politics and Advocacy from New York University and is certified as an Organizational Development Process Consultant by the Institute of Organizational Development.


Wendilee Adkins, Co-VP of Events is the VP of Training and Organizational Development, Manager at Central Pacific Bank. She supports strategic initiatives of the company by preparing team members to meet current and future needs beyond banking. She serves as Finance Director for Toastmasters. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and loves trying out new recipes on her family. 

Verna Wong, Co-VP of Events, is the owner and principal consultant for Verna Wong HR Services, LLC. Verna has over 25 years of leadership experience in the areas of talent management and operations. She has worked in the manufacturing, retail, higher education, and insurance industries in both the public and private sectors. Verna has held the positions of Senior Vice President Human Resources, Director of Talent Development, Director of Graduate Career Services, Talent Acquisition and Retail Training Manager. She has held retail management roles in operations and merchandising, with profit and loss responsibilities. Verna holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Finance, and a Master of Business Administration Degree, both from the University of Hawaiʻi, Shidler College of Business.
  Brandie Ota, VP of Membership, is the Talent Development Manager at AlohaCare. In her role, she leads by example to ensure effective and efficient implementation and maintenance of Leadership Development programs, policies and procedures. Besides being active in ATD and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Brandie has also volunteered with the American Diabetes Association, assisted the Junior League Hawai’i on a project for Hale Kipa, and assisted the Innovators of Fashion at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa with preparations for their annual fashion show. Prior to joining AlohaCare, she served as the Associate Services Manager for UHA Health Insurance.


Valerie Koenig, VP of Finance, is a business advisor with The Alternative Board Hawaii, a business and leadership development organization. She works with presidents of companies in coaching and advisory groups, as well as leading corporate strategic development groups. Her Master of Business Administration in Finance and Accounting from the American Graduate School of International Management and she is enjoying learning more about talent and organizational development. In her free time, she is an avid follower of current affairs and loves tennis. Learn more at LinkedIn.

  Melissa ‘MiMi’ Peace, VP of Marketing, is a Talent Development enthusiast with extensive experience developing and implementing programs designed to support an organization’s strategic plans. MiMi has worked in various capacities for financial companies with a proven track record of dazzling and delighting clients with fresh experiences. MiMi is passionate about creating an interactive and enjoyable learning environment that drives employee engagement and innovation. Currently, MiMi works with the Talent Development Team at American Savings Bank Hawaii (ASB) in Honolulu. MiMi attended Penn State University for its program in Criminal Justice.
  Cassie Nii, VP of Records, is the Learning and Development Manager, providing learning and development needs to all companies under the Island Holdings, Inc. entities, including affiliate companies. Prior to joining Island Holdings, Inc., she worked for Hawaiian Telcom as the eLearning Training and Development Specialist, creating leadership programs to support succession planning and growing future leaders. In addition, she expanded the access to users for Hawaiian Telcom’s LMS for field employees to access training content. Cassie has a Master of Arts degree in Education from Chaminade University, a Master of Science degree in Business Leadership from Concordia College of New York, and an advanced degree in Leadership Administration from Walden University.

Andrew Muccio, VP of Technology, is an Instructional Design Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, currently working with the US Army on curricula development projects. He has 10 years of experience in the learning and development field, working on various instructional design projects for government agencies. Mucc received his Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) in Information Technology (IT) from the College of William and Mary and a Masters of Education (MEd) in Curriculum & Instruction from George Mason University. Andrew truly enjoys applying an instructional design methodology that marries robust learning theory and research to meaningful training delivery vehicles. 

Gwen Navarrete Klapperich, M.Ed., CPLP®, Chapter Advisor/ATD National Liason, is Chief Learning Consultant of Klapperich International Training Associates (KITA) LLC, a talent development consulting firm that specializes in health and safety training, diversity & inclusion projects, and advocacy for people with employment barriers. She holds over 15 years of experience in training & development, customer service supervision, and quality assurance initiatives, and has worked in various industries such as retail, call centers, healthcare, government, hospitality, nonprofits, and continuing education. Gwen earned her CPLP® (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance) from the Association of Talent Development and holds a Master’s degree in education specializing in Training & Performance Improvement from Capella University. She has dedicated her career to helping adult learners reach their professional goals through effective job training.

  Jerome Bautista, SHRM-CP, APTD, Past President, is a Senior Performance and Learning Specialist at HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union. He serves as a performance consultant supporting the learning and development needs of the organization, specializing in the creation of eLearning content, instructional design, managing the Emerging Leader Program, and facilitating instructor-led training. Prior to joining HawaiiUSA, Jerome worked for HouseMart ACE Hardware/Ben Franklin Crafts as a Human Resources/Training and Development Coordinator. Jerome is a designated APTD (Associate Professional in Talent Development), SHRM-CP (SHRM-Certified Professional), has a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Development and Change from Hawaiʻi Pacific University, and served in board capacities for the Financial Education Alliance of Hawai`i and the Walkie Talkies Toastmasters. Jerome is an active volunteer, helping Hawai'i’s community through the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, Waikiki Aquarium, and HIHO Hawai'i. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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