Meet the Team
Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair
Cathy's transformative experiences interning at Big Brothers of Boston, being mentored, and most recently mentoring a young person for the past twelve years have made her a firm believer in the power of mentoring.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Cathy earned a B.A. in American Studies and History. After college, she ventured to Taiwan to study Mandarin and teach English. When she returned to Hawaii, Cathy worked at a residential treatment facility for children and youth, where she discovered a passion for engaging with young people and pursuing her graduate studies path. Cathy received master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health and has worked for over 25 years at various nonprofit and educational institutions in Asia and Hawai’i. Some of her experience in Asia included working at an international adoption agency, a substance abuse prevention nonprofit, a human rights organization, and a counseling center serving the expatriate community.
When Cathy moved home to be closer to family in 2005, she counseled high school students at an independent school for 14 years. Growing up in a family that valued giving back to the community, Cathy has had the privilege of serving on various nonprofit boards in Hawaii.
Cathy enjoys hiking, tennis, pickle ball, word puzzles, dark chocolate and spending time with her husband and two college-age children.
Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair
A first-generation Chinese American and third-generation Overseas Chinese born in the Philippines, Grace moved to Hawaii when she was 7 years old and attended Maryknoll School, Mun Lun Chinese School, and Punahou School. She graduated from Brown University, majoring in East Asian Studies and Economics and earned an M.B.A. from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Having had positive mentoring experiences as a young person while in school and in her professional life, Grace strongly believes that mentoring can have a significant impact on a young person’s life. After pursuing a corporate career in New York including Chase Manhattan Bank and Colgate-Palmolive, Grace stepped off the corporate track after the birth of her first child. Not content to be on the sidelines and always looking for a challenge, over the years, she started a retail business, worked as an editor and independent marketing consultant, and actively volunteered, while raising her three children.
Giving back to the community has always been an important part of Grace's life. She has volunteered with nonprofits on the East Coast and in Hawai`i serving children and young people, including being a Scout leader, college coach with Scholar Match, and career coach with YWCA Honolulu. Grace also served as a board member and president of Aloha Youth Lacrosse League and was a co-founder and Committee Chair of Boy Scout Troop 777 at Central Union Church.
Grace lives in Honolulu with her husband and has diverse interests like hiking, SUP, playing pickle ball, traveling, cooking, reading nonfiction, and binge watching Downton Abbey & other English period shows.
Our Board Members
Shirley has always taken a special interest in helping children and young adults realize their dreams. Born to immigrant Chinese parents, Shirley and her brothers were raised with a strong mentality that success is achieved through education, hard work, and kindness toward others. She reflects that it is the kindness and support of her many mentors that she remembers as having the most impact on her life journey.
Shirley previously worked in the retail industry both in New York and Hawaii until shifting careers to join her husband to manage his medical practices. She is a graduate of Brown University and The University of Pennsylvania, Wharton
School. Over the past 25 years, Shirley has volunteered with several non-profits
focused on children’s causes and community healthcare.
Shirley enjoys traveling, going to the beach, SUP, and various outdoor activities.
Marjie was born and grew up in Hawaii. She attended Tufts University for her B.A. in Political Science and attended UC Berkeley School of Law for her J.D. She began her career as an attorney at one of the large private law firms in Honolulu. She currently practices in the public sector as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii working with the Department of Transportation.
Marjie is very excited to be a part of `A`ALI`I Mentoring in its support of our next generation. She has volunteered with local established social service organizations over the years and wholeheartedly believes in the vision that Grace and Cathy have for this emerging mentoring program and its mentees.
On a personal note, Marjie loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys traveling, foreign films, and relaxing hikes.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Deneen attended Aiea High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is a CPA with her own firm and has over 30 years of experience working in several local and national firms here in Hawaii, including MC Group Hawaii, PKF Pacific Hawaii, and Grant Thornton.
Deneen’s compassion, willingness to give back, and share her talents whenever she can have led her to volunteer at many local organizations over the years. She previously held volunteer leadership positions at the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, ProjectFocus, Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation, and Aloha Council Boy Scouts Hawaii.
Deneen is a first generation college graduated . She believes in mentoring young adults because she feels that there is no better gift for a person than the advice and guidance of someone who believes in them.
Fun fact: Deneen is a BTS (Korean pop band) fan, otherwise known as ARMY, and is mostly fascinated by their positive influence on their audience, from young children to grandparents.
Communications and PR Manager
Nancy is a first generation Korean-American, born and raised in New Jersey/New York City, and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Environmental Studies from Lehigh University (LU). As a United Nations (UN) Partnership college ambassador, she was involved with coordinating, leading, and organizing events related to UN, with the goal of exposing students to international, interdisciplinary, and modern day concerns. It is Nancy's passion to enlighten others about unconventional perspectives and help them adjust to our ever changing world.
While at LU, Nancy was also involved in the Mentoring Collective and the Eco-Rep Leadership Program mentoring incoming first-year students as well as new Eco-Representatives joining the program. She learned about how important and beneficial mentor-mentee relationships can be, and how good guidance can make a difference in growth and experience a mentee can have. She is excited to be a part of the ‘A’Ali’i Mentoring team and to make a positive and meaningful impact on the community.
Nancy enjoys going to the beach, trying new foods, playing video games, taking her fur-baby Eli to the dog park, and finding new places to explore. She loves to learn about new trends, topics, and hobbies.
Community Programming Specialist
Born and raised in Hawai‘i, Isabel is grateful for the opportunity to serve as a family advocate for a local nonprofit, working closely with the community that raised her. Within this community are countless mentors who have lent ears, given guidance, and encouragingly challenged Isabel to dream wholeheartedly and pursue her passions. As a result, Isabel believes strongly in the power of mentorship and its potential to uplift and, ultimately, transform lives.
Education has played a significant role in Isabel’s life, and prior to working in family services, she interned at an educational nonprofit supporting students to and through college. While she currently serves our island’s youngest learners, Isabel is excited to engage with college students once again. In her free time, you can find Isabel hiking, baking, or struggling to teach herself to crochet.