Sharon Quituisaca, Extension Fellow '19 + Travis Ghidharie, Hometown Fellow '19

Informed by the Past + Grounded in the Present + Solving for the Future


Lead For Hawai'i Fellowship Program

Lead For Hawai'i (LFHI) is based on the belief that to navigate a course for the future, we must reconcile with Hawaiʻi’s complex history. LFHI will empower future leaders to embrace Hawaiʻi’s host culture and bring policy into alignment with these values. LFHI will recruit local leaders to fulfill their potential as civic catalysts and community cornerstones by entering into a paid, two year fellowship in the summer of 2021. Throughout their two years, Fellows will be placed with a host organization to work on crucial initiatives in their communities. LFHI emphasizes the importance of professional, emotional, and spiritual growth, along with cohort connection by providing ongoing training, retreats, and 1:1 mentorship + counseling throughout their fellowship.  

In partnership with our National organization, Lead For America, the Hawaiʻi-based cohort will participate in the ten day Catalyst Institute while receiving Hawaiʻi-specific historical + cultural training. Over the course of two years, Fellows will conduct a listening tour, work on a community venture, and contribute to the multiplier effect, while joining a nationwide community of young changemakers.


Place-Based Leadership Development

Due to Hawaiʻi’s unique values and challenges, a core component of LFHI is rooted in our experiential learning and training structure. Our Place-Based Leadership Development provides Fellows the opportunity to learn from cultural practitioners and kūpuna (elders) to strengthen their sense of place and responsibility in the community they serve. Fellows will learn to work for and with the land, and one another. Through our Place-Based Leadership Development curriculum, Fellows will participate in our flagship Hawaiian canoe carving program, "Talk Story" workshops with local leaders, and immersive huakaʻi experiences.


In partnership with Hawaiian canoe carver/practitioner, Alika Bumatay, our primary Place-Based Leadership Development curriculum will involve each cohort carving a Hawaiian canoe. The waʻa, or canoe, is as symbolic as it is functional, and for our cohort’s purpose, it will serve as the vessel that steers us through the fellowship in service to and with one another. The art of canoe carving will not only strengthen the Fellows’ cultural/historical foundation, it will serve as a mode of healing and personal transformation. At the end of their two year collaboration, the cohort will have formed robust bonds while completing their canoe, and learning how to fulfill the unique roles and responsibilities associated with each canoe seat.   


ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi


“All knowledge is not learned in one school” 

 ~Mary Kawena Pukui, ʻŌlelo Noʻeau No. 203

Become a Fellow

As a Fellow, you will attend national and statewide retreats to learn from world class leaders, deepen your leadership potential, and build meaningful community with other change-makers. During your fellowship, you will become a change-maker by working side-by-side with local Hawaiian leaders to address the pressing challenges in your community. As a member of the national Lead For America network, you will build life-long relationships with peers, each working to strengthen communities across the country. 

Ready to join the next generation of Hawaiian leaders? Click 'apply' below to register for the application or schedule a call with a member of our team to learn more about the Lead For Hawai'i fellowship!

Host a Fellow

Welcome Diverse, Trained Talent

Fellows possess extraordinary integrity, drive, and commitment to public service. Each has access to a variety of mentors, trainings and conferences before and throughout their fellowship. Our training is designed to help make our Fellows real contributors in your organization from the start, and bring that needed capacity to become change-makers in your community.


Make a Long-Term Investment

Fellows are encouraged to work with partners in the community, including public institutions, small businesses and community-based nonprofits for four of the next seven years. Some will also be helping mentor, teach, or otherwise engage other local leaders. ​For outstanding host organizations that cannot pay for the initial full cost of the Fellow's scholarship, we may be able to work with your organization to raise funds through community philanthropies.

Connect With Civically-Minded Organizations

We believe it is important that we connect our host institutions and organizational partners to one another. As such, all hosts are invited  to join our online community of forward-thinking community organizations. All hosts will also benefit from the resources of our university partners.

Our Staff

Alexis Ching

Executive Director of Innovation,

Lead For Hawai'i

Director of Community Engagement & Entrepreneurship

Lead for Hawai'i