Celeste Connors has twenty years of experience working at the intersection of economic, environment, energy, and international development policy. Before joining Hawaii Green Growth, she was CEO and co-founder of cdots development LLC, which works to build resilient infrastructure and services in vulnerable communities. Celeste previously served as the Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council and National Economic Council in the White House where she helped shape the Administration's climate and energy policies. Prior to joining the White House, Celeste served as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Germany. She also held positions at the U.S. Mission to the UN, served as the Climate and Energy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and worked for City of New York.
Celeste is faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in the Energy, Resources and Environment Program. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Celeste is a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations, member of Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) Steering Committee, and serves on the board of America’s Service Commission. Celeste grew up in Kailua, Oahu.
Operations & Partnerships Manager
Breanna Rose is Hawai‘i Green Growth's Operations and Partnerships Manager, and has worked with HGG since 2012. She manages the public-private-partnership's network, operations, communications, and strategic priorities. She is President of the Board of Directors for Kanu Hawai‘i, a non-profit working to build more compassionate, resilient, and sustainable communities through island style action and personal commitments. She previously worked with the Green House Hawai‘i in sustainability education programs with school communities and as an instructor for the Urban Agriculture Program at the Institute for Human Services (IHS). She has worked with diverse organizations and initiatives including Paepae o He‘eia, Hawai‘i 2050, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and community garden and urban agriculture projects. Breanna is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, and was born and raised on Maui.
Sustainability Dashboard Coordinator
Chelsea Harder is Hawai‘i Green Growth’s Sustainability Dashboard Coordinator, and is leading the implementation of the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard. Chelsea brings her background in engineering, community development, education and energy sector work to Hawai‘i Green Growth. Before joining the team, Chelsea served as the market transformation specialist at Hawai‘i Energy. There she managed projects and fellowship programs to enhance strategic partnerships and provide professional development and community education to shift the market to help achieve Hawai‘i’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. Previously, she was a STEM educator and program director at local public and private schools and worked as a geotechnical engineer in the midwest. Chelsea served in Kiribati as a Peace Corps volunteer where she implemented programs aimed at improving the health of the community and improving their resilience to climate change. Chelsea is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources & Leadership for Sustainability at the University of Vermont, holds a degree in Civil Engineering from University of Minnesota and studied abroad in Advanced Environmental Measurements Techniques (AEMT) program at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. She is a Senior Fellow through the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) National cohort. Chelsea is from northern Minnesota and has lived in Hawai‘i for nearly a decade.
Smart Sustainable Communities Project Coordinator
Dave Simpson is Hawai‘i Green Growth’s part-time Project Coordinator for the Smart Sustainable Communities Roundtable. He is the primary liaison for facilitating and managing the action agenda and objectives for the SSC Roundtable and Study Team to develop targets, indicators and metrics for the Smart Sustainable Communities goal within the Aloha+ Challenge. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Emory University in Political Science and History. Dave is from North Carolina and brings a diverse background in non-profit, public policy, housing and hospitality management.
Communications and Community Coordinator
Kiara Kealoha is Hawai‘i Green Growth’s Communications and Community Coordinator. She is managing HGG’s first cohort of interns dedicated to community education and engagement on the Aloha+Challenge, launched in partnership with Kamehameha Schools, University of Hawai‘i, and Kupu Hawai‘i. She coordinates regular Aloha+ Challenge communications with social media and website platforms, public-private partners, and community outreach with the cohort. When not at HGG, Kiara works as a Sustainability Specialist at the Honolulu-based KYA Sustainability Studio. She previously worked at Climate-KIC Switzerland, an EU organization dedicated to climate entrepreneurship and innovation, where she supported the Education team as a Project Assistant. Kiara completed her undergraduate education at Harvard University, obtaining a degree in History and Science with a secondary field in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Kiara is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, and is thrilled to be back home on O‘ahu to contribute to Hawai‘i's journey toward a resilient and sustainable future.
AmeriCorps VISTA Sustainability Intern
Laura Kam is Hawai‘i Green Growth’s AmeriCorps VISTA Sustainability Intern, a position hosted in partnership with Kupu Hawai‘i and the AmeriCorps Program. She supports HGG’s partnership operations, meetings and events, and outreach. Laura completed her undergraduate studies at Colorado State University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Affairs, and studied Russian for a year before returning to Hawai‘i. Laura previously interned with Amnesty International USA, and has volunteered with the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, The Nature Conservancy at Kamakou and Mo‘omomi Preserves, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Midway Atoll. She currently volunteers in public outreach for the National Marine Fisheries Service Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Laura is from O‘ahu, and graduated from Kalani High School.