• Board Members

    The Board of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation provides leadership and raises funds for the organization. Each board member serves a term limited to three consecutive two year terms.

    • Roy Catalani, President
    • Robert Merce, Vice President & Secretary
    • Kawena Suganuma Beaupré
    • Kevin Cockett
    • Angela Correa-Pei
    • Mike Hodson
    • Malia Ka`aihue
    • Marilyn Leimomi Khan
    • Gina Lobaco
    • Keali`i Lopez
    • Jon Matsuoka
    • Mark Kawika Patterson
    • Keali`i Reichel
    • Sunshine Topping

     

    SPOTLIGHT ON NEW BOARD MEMBERS

    NHLC recently welcomed four individuals to its Board: Keali`i Reichel, Angela Correa-Pei, Kawena Suganuma Beaupré and Keali`i Lopez. 

    Board members Keali`i Reichel, Angela Correa-Pei, Kawena Suganuma Beaupré and Keali`i Lopez explain why they wanted to serve on NHLC’s Board.

  • Keali`i Reichel

    Kumu Hula / Musician
    Hālau Keʻalaokamaile

     

    Serving on the NHLC Board is just a small way to give back to an amazing organization who has tirelessly served our lāhui over the past few decades.  I look forward to supporting their current and future efforts - so we may stand strong on all legal and cultural battlefronts.  Iē holo ē!

  • Kawena Suganuma Beaupré

    Senior Director of Gifts & Compliance / Associate General Counsel

    Hawai‘i Community Foundation

     

    As a Native Hawaiian female attorney, I am honored to be a part of an organization that has a rich history of providing legal assistance to our lāhui and shaping the jurisprudence of our Hawaii. I strongly believe in NHLC’s existence as a public interest law firm and the work it has done to protect and preserve the rights of Native Hawaiians while honoring our culture, advancing our traditional ways of life, and improving our quality of life.

  • Kevin Cockett

    Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer

    Kamehameha Schools

     

    ​It’s clear to me that the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation as an organization has aloha for all people of Hawaii.  I also strongly believe that if our Native Hawaiian people, culture and our ʻaina are healthy, so too is the health of our broader community.  I joined the board of the NHLC so that I could be part of their movement to serve and protect Hawaiian families who need access to legal services and advocacy, particularly in areas of land, cultural vibrancy and customary practices.    It is a privilege to contribute to NHLC’s mission and work.

  • Marilyn Leimomi Khan

     

     

    I volunteered to serve on the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation Board of Directors because I fervently believe in their mission to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture.  In this regard, their work to help Native Hawaiians is indisputable.  Likewise, in an environment that threatens the very existence of Native Hawaiians and their cultural values and practices, their work is absolutely critical!  Thus, I will do the best that I can to assure their continuing existence, to be strategically thoughtful to the needs of our people, to be steadfast and resilient in advocating for policies that strengthen the rights, customs and practices of our people, and to support the staff and proudly boast of their accomplishments.

  • Sunshine Topping

    Vice President – Human Resources

    Hawaiian Telcom

     

    I joined the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation board because I am passionate about everything that makes Hawaiʻi the incredible place that it is.  Whether it is for our rich cultural traditions and heritage, our dramatic beauty, or our people, there is no question about our relevance and our significance in today’s world.  My perspectives are from many angles, I am raised in Keaukaha and taught by greats like Auntie Edith Kanakaole.  I am college educated on the mainland where I learned about other people, cultures, and places.  I have spent most of my adulthood working in a human resources capacity, and dedicating myself and my efforts to seeing that there are opportunities to grow our people’s capacity and to be able to help manage and guide business decisions that are rooted in who we are and how we do things.  I believe that serving on the board would be an honor for me, and a way to help preserve the core of this place that is so much a part of me.

  • Gina Lobaco

    Associate Director of Philanthropy

    The Nature Conservancy

     

    Serving on NHLC’s board of directors is a huge honor and an important kuleana for me. When you live in Hawaiʻi, the presence of Hawaiians is felt everywhere. Every place on every island—river, mountain, forest, beach, valley, field—has a name and every name has a story, reflecting the love, reverence and stewardship of the ʻaina which was the hallmark of Hawaiʻi’s, pre-contact civilization. In some small measure, I hope to help NHLC in its mission to preserve the rights of Native Hawaiians to perpetuate their heritage, traditions and culture, but also their legal claims to land and water.

    I have spent the majority of my professional career working for public-interest law firms which seek to ensure that “equal justice under law” is not merely an empty phrase chiseled into the portico above the U.S. Supreme Court building. In a law-based society, we must ensure that access to the courts and to the corridors of power are open to all, especially those who need it the most but can least afford it. NHLC’s work to represent disenfranchised native communities in Hawaiʻi represents the highest expression of the notion of “liberty and justice for all.”

  • Mark Kawika Patterson

    Administrator

    ​Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center

     

    When I was a young boy, my father charged me to watch my grandmother as she foraged from the reefs fronting our home in Makaha. Wana, Haukeuke, Pipipi, Aama, Waiwaiole and Limu Kohu to name a few of the items my grandmother gathered for the family and her friends. For the most part she never paid attention to the ocean, that was my purpose. Once a rogue surge came upon the reef and knocked my grandmother down I lost sight of her under the white foam of the wave, I dove to the last spot I saw her. I found a leg and held it with one arm while the other was used to hold onto the reef. When the surge receded my grandmother was on her back laughing with haukeuke in each hand. She stood and made her way closer to the dead coral that made up the upper reef. She swung one hand and slammed the haukeuke against the coral and broke it in half. She held half the broken shell to her mouth and began sucking. When she was finished she offered the other half to me, I remember seeing the orange innards in the half shell, she laughed as she saw my face grimace as I backed away from her. She immediately sucked the second half, smiled and said "this is old school McDonalds" and started laughing again. The opportunity to join the NHLC reminded me of this story about my grandmother. For many Hawaiians, hardships come as we attempt to maintain our traditional ways of life, we search and gather what we can to sustain ourselves from our ancestral foundation but we are constantly being knocked down by external surges that we do not control. NHLC is an organization that is prepared to reach out through the mist to take hold when all seems hopeless to allow our people to continue to feed on who we are, to pick up our fallen and set them on their feet again so that we can become all that we can. I am honored to be a part of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.

  • Malia Ka`aihue, Ph.D.

    Partner and President

    DTL, a Hawaiian Strategy Studio

     

    It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. I have long admired the tremendous work of the organization who in my opinion works every day to carry out the state’s motto, ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono, in a manner consistent with Kauikeauoli.

    Waiōhinu and Kaʻimukī are my kulaiwi. I’m raising my seven children, along with my husband, Duane DeSoto in Kaʻimukī. I’m a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi [UH] where I earned a BA in both Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language and an MA in Political Science and completed a Ph.D. in Political Science specializing in Indigenous Politics.

    I’m the managing partner and president of DTL, a Hawaiian strategy studio, in Kakaʻako. And through my work continuously challenge the status quo by utilizing Hawaiian history, politics and language combined with experience in government, community and business to provide critical thought around deploying cultural and community assets to solve modern day challenges.

    I’m committed to utilizing these skills to support NHLC’s mission to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture.

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Your donation will enable the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation to provide effective, low cost legal assistance to individuals, families and communities who seek to protect their traditional cultural practices and maintain their ancestral ties to their lands and natural resources.

 

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