2016 is a year to be innovative and think outside the box, to let your creativity flow.  With that in mind, we have a great wealth of knowledge being brought to use by inspiration speakers both from island and beyond.  It is our hope that you will take full advantage of this opportunity to network with and meet new resources who can help you help your business grow. See you there!
Teena Rasmussen
Dir. of the Mayor's Office for Economic Development for the County of Maui

Teena Rasmussen is the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development for the County of Maui.  She and her husband own Paradise Flower Farms, Inc., a family agri-business founded 39 years ago by her parents.


A resident of Maui for 39 years, Rasmussen has served in numerous capacities for non-profit, business, and educational organizations.  She served on the Board of Regents for University of Hawaii from 2008 to 2012, and is now a regent emeritus for UH.  She served as a State Committee member of the USDA Farm Service Agency, is past Chair of the State of Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corporation, past Chair and member of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Advisory Council for 10 years, and a past Vice-Chair of the Maui County Salary Commission.   She is a current board member of the tri-agency Maui Youth and Family Services, Malama Family Recovery, and Aloha House. 


Rasmussen has received numerous awards for her public service, including “Small Business Advocate of the Year” from SBA, the “Outstanding Community Service & Achievement Award” from the Maui Agricultural Foundation, and “Entrepreneur of the Year” from the Maui Chamber of Commerce and Island Business Magazine.

Helen Wai
It's Your Money

Helen N. Wai, Consultant Helen is a Native Hawaiian and lifelong resident of Nanakuli, Hawaii. Her business has been built upon first-hand financial hardship and success. She has been a consultant since 2001 and has been assisting communities and organizations in the areas of financial literacy, homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention and lease cancellation throughout the State Hawaii as well as nationally in the states of Alaska, Michigan, and Washington DC. The organizations that Helen has had the pleasure to assist are Neighborworks America, Oweesta Corporation, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaii Housing Authority and YWCA of Oahu. Measurable influences such as increased awareness of credit and money management to obtaining and retaining homeownership are just a few of the advantages that over 7000 participants have gained and achieved throughout Helen’s illustrious career. In September 2011, Helen’s impressive skills lead her to the doorstep of Hawaii Energy into the field of Energy Efficiency. Her uncanny desire to not only learn but excel proved no different when entering into the growing world of energy efficiency. In three years, Helen has facilitated 274 workshops and served 8000 participants on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Lanai and Moloka’i

Matt Hong
Banan Bowls

Matt was born and raised on Oahu. During his senior year in college, he and his childhood friends wanted to create a company that would push the world in a mindful and fun direction. Banán, a food truck (and now store) that serves dairy-free soft serve made from local bananas ended up being their vessel to do so. Matt strives to build a company that not only focuses on profit but also on fun and purpose.

Luana Mahi 
Maui Food
Technology Center

Luana is the owner and Principal broker for a natural, organic and grocery marketing company that has been in business in Hawaii since 1992.  Her company represents a variety of national, international and locally made products that are sold throughout the state of Hawaii in health, grocery, convenience and specialty stores.  She assists the MFTC clients with help in sales and marketing, wholesale and distribution pricing, sourcing products, product quality and labeling integrity.

Pierce Gray
SMART Tax Solutions

Pierce Gray, MA, EA is CEO of Smart Tax Solutions. Pierce received his BA from New York University and his MA in Accounting, Finance and Economics from the University of South Florida and is an Enrolled Agent and QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

After graduating Pierce taught in the MBA program at the University of South Florida and the University of Pittsburgh Ph.D. program where he was recruited by Mellon Bank and served as International Comptroller for Europe and the Middle East based in Frankfurt Germany, with responsibility for foreign exchange and derivative trading activity oversight and the audit relationship with Peat Marwick, a “BIG-4” accounting firm. Pierce returned to Silicon Valley California and co-founded and served as CFO of SCS, Inc., a startup that designed and manufactured high voltage ionization equipment for neutralizing static charge in clean rooms and wafer manufacturing facilities for Apple,Seagate, Motorola, Intel, and other high-tech companies worldwide. During the same period, he was a partner in the companies that first introduced Spirulina and commercial ionizers into the US market. After moving to Vermont, Pierce was a principal at Logic, Inc. a software company that designed accounting systems for the printing and graphics industry; and supervised the installation of systems throughout the United States, Europe, South America,and Asia. Before moving to Maui, Pierce was CFO of Periplus Group, a global publishing company with subsidiaries in Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the US with headquarters in Singapore. After moving to Maui Pierce founded Pierce Gray & Associates, a business consulting firm specializing in business startups, tax planning, and QuickBooks optimization serving clients on throughout Hawaii and the mainland. Pierce teaches popular courses in QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, and Taxation at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

Pierce brings extensive hands on experience and a passion for excellence in the areas of business startups, accounting, tax planning and preparation, financial planning, QuickBooks, and business organization.

Susie Theiman
Lokahi Pacific

Susie serves as the Executive Director of Lokahi Pacific, a community development non-profit organization building affordable housing, housing people with special needs, business start-up assistance (featuring commercial kitchens, office incubators, training room, loan program (currently on hold), etc. (Interim Executive Director August 2011-September 2012) (Maui, HI).  She has served in this position since 2011.  Prior to working with Lokahi Pacific, Susie worked with MEO Business Development Center.  You may remember her from her time time here on Molokai.  Lokahi Pacific is responsible for administering the 2016 Molokai Small Business Revitalization Grant Program.

Cindy Sakai

Cindy Sakai is co-­‐owner and co-­‐founder of TH!NK LLC, an award-­‐winning business talent and development company that has partnered with more than 300 Hawaii enterprises over the last 16 years to deliver results-­‐driven workplace solutions that are helping businesses to succeed and keep employees engaged, productive and happy. 

As an executive coach and training resultant, Cindy collaborates with island leaders to transform employees, developing solutions to help employers maximize employee results. The partnerships have produced stronger relationships that fortify customer loyalty, increased sales revenue, and enhanced flexibility to manage the ever-­‐changing cycles and dynamics of business. 

Recognized with the 2015 Diamond Award by Wiley Publishing, winner of the 2014 Hawaii Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Small Business, and recognized as a Pacific Business News Business Leadership 2010 Awards finalist for Innovative Company of the Year, TH!NK has been the state’s leading provider and authority of Everything DiSC®, a life-­‐changing training solution that is transforming the way people behave and communicate in the workplace. DiSC has proven to enhance team building, communication and productivity, resulting in better work environments and bottom line results. It powers another innovative solution benefitting local companies, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™, which is designed to build trustful and effective teams that keep staff engaged and productive.


Cindy holds a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s in business from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A Waikiki resident, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii. She has also co-­‐authored two books, Direct Selling Power, where she shares her expertise on creating a business model that values relationships yielding high-­‐end results, and Mom Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, which provides strategies to help people achieve goals of building families while growing their careers and businesses. For more on TH!NK, visit www.think-­‐training.com or call (808) 936-­‐4992. 

Barbara Haliniak
The Business Depot

Molokai born, local independent business person, Barbara Haliniak, President and owner of The Business Depot Inc., has learned the value of hard work and education through the many opportunities in work and travel. Born and raised in Maunaloa, a pineapple plantation, Barbara attended Maunaloa School and got her high school diploma from Molokai High School. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Oahu, got married and with two children started her work career with
various different companies, finally settling with GTE Hawaiian Tel. Barbara learned early in her career that higher education was one of the key components to life-long success. She went to night schools, UH Continuing Education, Hawaii Pacific College taking courses in communications and accounting. It was a huge effort, one the oldest (at age 30) student in college classes, she was determined to get good grades in college, so recreational outings were put on hold and studying became a top priority. Barbara held several positions at GTE, till she earned a promotion as Regional Tariff Administrator, providing interpretations for federal and state telecommunications tariffs while dealing with the Hawaii State Public Utilities Commission. Shortly after, she opted for early retirement to move back to Molokai to care for her father.

Once on Molokai, she immediately reacquainted herself with her hometown by volunteering to sit on the Molokai Planning Commission. During her 5 year term, she vice chaired the commission in her 2 nd year and chaired the last 3 years. After the 5 year term expired, Barbara was motivated to revitalize the Molokai Chamber of Commerce (membership organization) which became inactive 2 years previously. To create interest and build membership among the business community, Barbara invited presidents and CEO’s of Hawaii’s large corporations to visitMolokai and be guest speakers at chamber membership meetings. The intent was twofold, the CEOs would experience firsthand Molokai’s business climate and the chamber members would hear from the CEOs their own business philosophies.

After much success with these meetings, Barbara secured partnerships with other Molokai organizations to start an annual “Molokai Small Business Summit,” targeting Molokai entrepreneurs and the general business community. Guest speakers were neighbor island small business owners who told their stories of the challenges they encountered as entrepreneurs and how they were able to overcome these challenges. Breakout sessions were held on specific topics, i.e.; how to subcontract with the military and how to start a new business. During her years as a volunteer president of the chamber, Barbara continued to work full time growing her bookkeeping business while at the same time managing the chamber’s business.

Stacy Helm Crivello
Council member

Stacy Helm Crivello holds the Maui County Council seat for the Molokai residency area.  Stacy has been serving Maui County for 3 ½ fulfilling years and is Chair of the Housing & Human Concerns & Transportation Committee.


Stacy is homegrown and a proud graduate of Molokai High School and a 1965 graduate of The Honolulu College of Commerce.   Her work experiences list that of a legal secretary, administrative aide, non-profit executive director, and manager for a telecommunications company.  Stacy also free-lanced as a consultant-facilitator for employee motivation.


Community advocacy is her passion and her past involvement included:  One of the founding member of the Molokai Land Trust and the East Molokai Watershed Project; Board member of Na Puu Wai Hawaiian Health System; Chair Maui County Fire and Public Safety Commission; Advisory member Hawaii State CBED (Community Based Economic Development); Board Member, Hawaii Alliance Community Based Economic Development) and Member of the Maui County Board of Water Supply.


Molokai’s Kuhao Business Center is a project of the 1998 Molokai Enterprise Community organization where Stacy served as board president.  Today, the County of Maui funds the Kuhao Center and Stacy’s involvement continues through supporting necessary resources to serve our island community by supporting new entrepreneurs and providing assistance of County of Maui grants.

Mckenna Hallet
My Golden Words

Mckenna Hallett has over 50 years in retail and wholesale sales and marketing.  She was consulting small business owners in sales, marketing, and management in San Francisco before moving to Maui in 1986. In 1992, she started “Currents”, a line of wearable art jewelry, which she sells in over 40 locations across
the U.S. In 2007 she started “My Golden Words”, assisting with copywriting and marketing and sales training. She is on the faculty of the Arts Business Institute, where she also is a guest blogger. She is also the Marketing Guru for Artsy Shark, a guest blogger for that site, and recently co-authored the highly successful e-course for artists, “The Artsy Shark Success Guide to Email Marketing for Artists with Carolyn Edlund. She has been a guest writer on the Art Biz Blog and interviewed by the founder Alyson Stanfield as well as several others in the art industry. Mckenna is also an Authorized Local Expert with Constant Contact and Certified Solutions Provider. She presents on-going seminars and webinars to her many followers and clients. She covers a variety of subjects that are essential for growing small businesses. Her years of success with her own career and small business coupled with her Akamai approach to the special challenges in our Islands, make her a valuable resource.

Kuulei Arce
MEO Business Development Center

Kuulei has over 20 years of experience in the field of business ownership. But it wasn’t until she  started working for MEO Business Development Center in May of 2006 that she has become successful as a “real” business owner of Arce’s Farm. She has learned many tips and strategies thru the Core Four Business Planning Course. Strategies to keeping businesses afloat and successful when actually starting up.  Kuulei is the instructor at the MEO Business Development Center on Molokai and she does 6 week sessions on a quarterly basis. Through these sessions, she’s learned the importance of having a business plan prior to starting your business and now shares it with anyone that’s interested in starting their own business. She doesn’t have a Business degree but she does have a lot of hands on experience in this field.

Dania Katz 
Edible Hawaii

Dania fell in love with edible Hawaiian Islands years ago, and in 2006 joined the team as Director of Advertising. In the summer of 2013, an opportunity to publish the magazine arose, and she happily stepped up as owner/publisher. She continues her love affair with sharing the stories of the people and places that are directly connected to our food sources in Hawai‘i. Dania has been a proud Hawai‘i resident since 1988, and resides in Maui along with her husband, Joel and two teenagers, Noah & Lily.

edible Hawaiian Islands is a subscription-based James Beard award winning food & drink publication covering the entire state of Hawaii/


Dania says, “Hawai‘i is special because of our desirable location and unique culture. Please join our conversation and love affair with our islands.”

Lynn Nakamura-Tengan
UH College Of Tropical Agriculture And Human Resources

Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, Extension Agent, Maui County, has 28 years of

experience as an Extension educator working with consumers, small

businesses, farmers, and community organizations. Her major

responsibilities include coordinating consumer and farm food safety

education programs, and food and nutrition education.  She has worked with

local, statewide and national collaborators to implement outreach programs

such as Good Agricultural Practices, Germ City: Clean Hands Healthy People.

Wayne Wong
Hawaii Small Business Development Center

Wayne is a recovering “technologist” with 30 years of Information Technology experience specializing in e-commerce during the “dot com” era.  As the Small Business Solutions Project Director under EdVenture at UH Maui College, Wong developed curriculums for small employers to remedy skill shortages and education/training gaps.  Currently, as Senior Business Advisor and the Maui Center Director of the Hawaii SBDC Network his community outreach and employer engagement experience, combined with his expertise in small business commerce represents a compelling offering to assist small businesses struggling to keep up in an ever-changing environment.  Wong graduated from Kamehameha High Schools and holds a BS from the University of Washington and an MBA in marketing from the University of Puget Sound.

Nico Fisher
Skywriting By... Nico

An energetic entrepreneur with over 20+ years of experience assisting small business owners and professionals on how to use online marketing resources to grow their business.  She is passionate about taking businesses from good to great through various marketing arenas, and she rocks at it!
Imaginative and dedicated, she is a true team player with a drive for success that motivates others to get on board with new ideas and new technology.
With 2 grown children and 23 years of marriage under her belt. Her excitement for life, football and family keeps her engaged, thankful and happy.  Her favorite quote is: ”I Love my job”!

Pancho Alcon
Pancho Alcon, Ltd.

Biography:  Pancho Alcon

Born:  Oct. 24, 1951

Attended Kaunakakai Elementary School-K-6; Kamehameha Schools-7-12;University of Puget Sound-B.A. degree Business Administration;Insurance History-First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Ltd.-1974-1993; Started own Insurance Agency 1993-present-Pancho Alcon, Ltd.

Tokie Ogawa
County Of Maui

Born in Tokyo and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Journalism and Strategic Communications.  After settling on Maui in 2003, Tokie worked for two major resort hotels and founded two successful businesses (wedding planning company and language school) before starting her employment with OED.