Lead For


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

Lead For Hawai'i Fellowship Program

Hawai'i faces challenges that span from its coastal waters and are in the center of each of its islands. From being the "Endangered Species Capital of the World" to logistical resource challenges and cultural strains that debilitate inclusion and accountable leadership, Hawai'i's complex history and culture present an unprecedented opportunity for innovation and progress. 

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. The Hawaiʻi-based cohort will participate in the month-long LFA Catalyst Institute and receive Hawaiʻi-specific historical and cultural training. In addition, Fellows will receive 1:1 mentorship and counseling while joining a nationwide community of young changemakers. 


LFHI embraces the Hawaiian value of alakaʻi, or leadership. This traditional value of action is taught beyond the family nucleus and well into the extended family. A LFHI cohort will serve as extended family while learning what it means to be true alakaʻi.

Throughout their two years, Fellows will be placed with a host organization to work on crucial initiatives in their communities. Fellows will conduct a listening tour, work on a community venture, and contribute to the multiplier effect. LFHI emphasizes the importance of professional, emotional, and spiritual growth, along with cohort connection by providing ongoing training, retreats, and counseling. The strength of our identity will be built on a foundation of trusted relationships that inspire a lifetime commitment in service.


We are strongly committed to our Fellows and our communities; we believe it is what our Fellows do AFTER their fellowship that makes for lasting, sustainable, and regenerative change. At the end of their two years, graduates of LFHI will continue to engage in an active and robust alumni community to support their long-term career goals. In our commitment to grow and sustain our alumni, LFHI will hold annual alumni workshops and maintain networking opportunities.

Staff/Photo of HI/Other

ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi


“All knowledge is not learned in one school” 

— ~Mary Kawena Pukui, ʻŌlelo Noʻeau No. 203

Changemaker Hui Initiative

Fellows will form connections with other policy-minded organizations and individuals  which will contribute to the Changemaker Hui Initiative: a network that strives to connect, inform, and empower collective changemakers throughout the State of Hawaiʻi. This hui, or group, will actively work to track policy issues, influence policy in Hawaiʻi, and recruit and engage with youth as future leaders in policy making. As with other initiatives, the goal is to build a strong and resilient foundation from which future change can thrive.

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. Through our place-based curriculum, Fellows will learn to work for and with the land, and one another.


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.   


Another aspect of LFHI’s Place-Based Leadership Development will be our “Talk Story” Workshops. These workshops will connect Fellows with community kūpuna that will speak to the history of their community, cultural practices, and traditional ecological knowledge. 

Fellows will also be given the opportunity to go on a handful of huakaʻi, or field trips/journeys, to various portions of Hawaiʻi Island to learn about different areas and  practices (i.e. hula, taro farming, native plant restoration, paniolo/ranching, etc.). A huakaʻi will connect Fellows to current leaders in their fields, and provide a hands-on experiential component.


Our Partners

"Being a Fellow has helped me become more creative in approaching and addressing the issues my community faces. I've been able to establish networks of support and avenues of collaboration. What could have been a frustrating and lonely journey has been exciting and empowering."

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Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono


“The life/sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”

~King Kamehameha III (Adopted in 1959 as the motto of the State of Hawaiʻi)


Become a Fellow

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Host a Fellow

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Our Staff

Executive Director, 

Lead for Hawai'i

Deputy Director,

Lead For Hawai'i

Program Manager,

Lead For Hawai'i


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Lead For America
PO Box 56

Dodge City, KS 67801

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