Meet Our Team
The Hale Kūʻike leadership team combines decades of experience and education, along with compassion and kindness to provide the highest level of care for its residents, and an excellent work environment for its team members. Get to know our leaders below.
In addition, Hale Kūʻike employs some of the most talented and dedicated staff in Hawaii. Our team consists of nursing assistants, activity leaders, chefs, and more. Each are instrumental in providing extraordinary care and support for our residents and their families.
Our Nu’uanu Team
Born and raised in Honolulu, Marcus has earned degrees in Japanese & Business from the University of Puget Sound, and in Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College. Marcus has been with Hale Kūʻike since 2009 and has since held various positions at the company, including Head Chef and Business Manager. He has been in his current role as Administrator since 2018 and is also a Certified Positive Approach® to Care Trainer.
Some thoughts about Hale Kūʻike from Marcus: "I've always been really impressed with Hale Kūʻike's commitment to setting the standard of care in our niche, while also striving to be a truly exemplary work environment. I'm proud to have spent the last 10+ years of my career at a company which such happy residents and staff."
In his free time Marcus enjoys hiking, playing soccer, and spending time with his family and dogs.
When Hale Kūʻike opened its doors in 2004, one of its first employees was Jessica, then a CNA Med Aide. Driven by her dream to become a nurse, Jessica went to school while working part-time, first getting a Liberal Arts degree from Windward Community College, and then her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chaminade University. Throughout this time, she worked her way up from CNA to RN to her current role as Director of Nursing, all while raising two daughters.
Today, Jessica thrives on making a difference in the lives of Hale Kūʻike residents. “They're a vulnerable group: they’re elderly, they have dementia. To me it’s rewarding to be able to watch over them and be their advocate,” she says. Hale Kūʻike’s home-like setting fosters a closeness among its employees and its residents. Jessica appreciates that the staff gets to know each resident from the time they first walk in until their end of life. “This is their home and we really get to know them and their families,” Jessica states. “That's part of what makes me excited to go to work every day.” Jessica is one of Hale Kūʻike’s Positive Approach® to Care Champions.
Cristina joined Hale Kūʻike in 2006 and worked her way up to her present role as Nursing Coordinator for our Nu’uanu location. She plays an active and important role in ensuring nurse aide shifts are staffed adequately and the Nursing department is running smoothly. But aside from providing operational support, Cristina serves as one of Hale Kūʻike’s Positive Approach® to Care Champions and daily employs its methods when working with our residents.
For Reeann, what began as a volunteer opportunity in high school developed into a growing career in Hale Ku’ike’s Activities department. In the beginning, Reeann found it hard to interact with the residents as she considered herself naturally shy. But as she entered college and thought about her career choices, she realized she loved working with the Hale Ku’ike residents and had a passion for creating activities for them. She felt even more affirmed when she discovered that Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach ® to Care justified many of the activities that she did with residents. Today she is one of Hale Kūʻike’s Positive Approach® to Care Champions and the Activities Director at our Nu’uanu facility. She is inspired by the residents she works with and finds great joy in coming to work each day.
Joanna got her Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College in May 2018. There, she was able to work with many different chefs while volunteering at school events. Prior to working at Hale Kūʻike, Jo worked at MW restaurant for two years where she gained experience in pastry, the fry station, and pantry.
Our Bayside Team
Raised on Oahu, Scott learned at an early age the importance of our kupuna. He moved to California where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Gerontology. He worked for several years in an adult day program and in various social service settings.
Scott returned home to Oahu and became a Certified Geriatric Case Manager. For 12 years he assisted seniors as a Case Manager before joining the Hale Kūʻike team in 2011 as the Director of Community Services. As the current Administrator of our Kaneohe location, Scott continues his passion in assisting our kupuna as a Positive Approach ® to Care Trainer.
Beth started her career as a licensed social worker in the Philippines, working with non-government organizations and across different community sectors. Personal circumstances later convinced her to return to school for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, relocate to the U.S., and pursue a career as an RN. Beth started at Hale Kūʻike in 2014 as a part-time RN after a friend urged her to apply to a “very cool” facility in need of a weekend nurse. She deems it a great opportunity to be part of the lives of residents and their families as they go through the different stages of dementia. Beth is a certified Positive Approach® to Care Trainer and appreciates Teepa Snow’s method of comparing these different stages to the characteristics of precious jewels – the GEMS ®. Says Beth, “Our day-to-day work at Hale Kūʻike makes these GEMS meaningful, beautiful and precious. We see that our residents, like gems, can still shine when given the right love and care.”
Beth assumed the role of Director of Nursing at Bayside in August 2015 and along with her commitment to providing the best care for our residents, enjoys mentoring young Nursing professionals in her department.
Ralph started his career as a CNA at our Nu’uanu location in 2014 after attending a Nurse Aide training program. It was at Hale Kūʻike where Ralph gained most of his experience providing hands-on care to residents. In 2017, he was promoted to his current role as Nursing Coordinator in which he is responsible for providing operational support to the Nursing Department, maintaining the department’s work schedules, monitoring nursing supply inventory, and assisting the Director of Nursing with matters relevant to OHCA monitoring. Ralph is one of Hale Kūʻike’s Positive Approach® to Care Champions.
Rena came to Hale Ku’ike in 2014 after 10 years at One Kalakaua Senior Living. She was first drawn to Hale Kūʻike because of its small family setting. “It’s a nice ohana feeling when you’re here,” she explains.
Even from a young age Rena has always been quite at home with elders, and vividly remembers spending much of her childhood with Kupuna. “My great grandmother was at Ann Pearl (Nursing Facility) and I would often go with my grandparents to visit on weekends.” It was perhaps this time spent with Kupuna during her younger years that encouraged her to work with seniors as an adult. Today, Rena is one of our Activities Directors and is a Certified Positive Approach® to Care Engagement Leader and PAC Champion. She values that Hale Ku’ike promotes “meaningful engagement” with its residents. Whether it’s to encourage a resident who can still write to keep a journal or lead a group to assemble care packages for military soldiers, Rena is happy to bring people together and help find fulfillment in their days. For her, Hale Ku’ike has also become a family affair as she occasionally brings her grandchildren to visit the residents for some “intergenerational therapy.”
Rena’s favorite things about working at Hale Ku’ike? Hearing residents tell rich stories (sometimes repeatedly) and still learn something from them, and working with a group of people who value each other and what they do. “Hale Ku’ike is not just a workplace, it’s our residents’ home,” she says, which drives her to stay positive and do her best for the residents.
Christy’s original career choice was either going to be in nursing or computer engineering. But when those didn’t work out, she recalled her high school culinary classes (in which she graduated with honors) and decided to pursue her passion for cooking instead. She received her Associate degree in Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College in 2017. It was during her internship at Hale Kūʻike that she was offered a job as a Line Chef, leading to her eventual promotion to Kitchen Manager in 2018. For Christy, Hale Kūʻike is a place that meets the needs of residents in a loving and caring way. She finds it an honor to work here and make people happy through their tummies.
Christy’s other passions includes shoes, playing the guitar, going fishing, and doing church activities.
Our Pali Team
David grew up in South Louisiana. He spent much time with his grandparents and his close relationship with them inspired him to seek a career in caring for the elderly. Upon graduating from the University of Colorado, David followed his girlfriend (now Mrs. Fitzgerald) to Hawaii. After several years working at a large family-run business, he secured an administrator position at Pohai Nani.
David had always dreamed of opening his own care home, so he conducted research by personally visiting 20 of the most progressive care facilities in Europe. After a decade of growth at Pohai Nani, David left to fulfill his dream of creating Hale Kū‘ike and incorporating everything he had learned into a model dementia care home.
“It was because of the sacrifices and generosity of my grandparents that I was able to start Hale Kū‘ike,” says David. “By striving for excellence in the services that we provide, I hope to honor my grandparents and all kupuna.”
Today, David serves as the company president and the administrator for the Pali location, managing its day-to-day operations.
Outside of work, David spends his time with his wife Kelley, and their two daughters, Grace and Emily. He enjoys canoe paddling, bicycling, eating delicious food, and most recently, surfing.
Christina began her career at Hale Kūʻike Nu’uanu in 2007 as an Activities Assistant while attending nursing school at Kapiolani Community College. During that time, she fell in love with the residents, their families, the caring staff, and of course, Vita, Hale Kūʻike’s first service animal. Christina also worked at The Queen's Medical Center in the Neurology unit where she witnessed the stark contrast between acute care and long-term care. She recognized that in acute care there is little time, if any, to accomplish daily nursing tasks, let alone develop relationships with the patients. She recalls caring for a sweet, elderly gentleman with dementia one day, only to learn the next day that he had been discharged, never to be seen again. Christina then realized that building lasting connections is what truly drives her. She has gained tremendous satisfaction knowing that since becoming a full-time nurse at Hale Kūʻike, she has become part of so many residents’ journeys with dementia. She is with them at their most vulnerable and needed time of their lives. Today, Christina is the Director of Nursing at Hale Kūʻike Pali, our newest facility, where she continues to help set the standard of care for a new generation of nursing professionals. She is also a Certified Positive Approach® to Care Trainer.
When not at Hale Kūʻike, Christina enjoys being with her husband, Charlie, their daughter and son, and their golden retriever, Coco.
Joy was born and raised in the Philippines where she also graduated with an RN/BSN degree. Her initial drive for going into Nursing was to find a stable job, be financially secure, and provide for her daughter’s future. But when she joined Hale Kūʻike as a Nursing Assistant in 2006, her experience here began to transform her perspective about the nursing profession. Joy notes, “It no longer became just about the money but about how we help our elders.” She acknowledges that working with people with dementia can be challenging, but at the end of the day it’s rewarding to know that she makes a difference in their lives.
In 2019, Joy was promoted to Nursing Coordinator when the Pali facility opened. She now manages the schedule for Pali’s Nursing Assistants, maintains nursing supply inventory, and assists the Director of Nursing in all other department functions. Joy is one of Hale Kūʻike’s Positive Approach® to Care Champions.
Breanna’s experience with people living with dementia started in her youth, when her mom who was a CNA at a residential care home often brought her to work. She spent a lot of time after school with the residents and at age 16, she decided to pursue her own CNA training. Once she got a job as a CNA, she instantly fell in love with “her” residents! She took care of many patients with dementia who she says brought her so much joy every day.
By her early 20s, Breanna had tried many other career paths, but ultimately missed being a CNA and working with people with dementia. In 2019, when her husband got military orders to Hawai’i, Breanna was hired at Hale Ku’ike as Activity Leader. In just a few short months in January 2020, Breanna was promoted to Activities Director.
“I love being the Activities Director at Hale Ku’ike because it gives me the opportunity to really get to know the residents. And being from such a different background they teach me so many new things every day,” Breanna expresses.
When she’s not running the Activities program at Hale Ku’ike Pali, Breanna can be found spending time with her dogs, traveling with her husband, snorkeling, and exploring the island.
It was when Kat took her first culinary class in her junior year of high school that she realized culinary arts is what she wanted to do. She went on to get her Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College. Her experience includes the esteemed Honolulu dining establishments, MW Restaurant and Fête, where she worked the line on opening night. In 2017, Kat brought her culinary talents to Hale Kūʻike as a Line Chef and has since worked her way up to Kitchen Manager. She loves that she can cook while being in a work environment where she can interact with the residents.
Besides cooking (her favorite thing to cook is garlic chicken), Kat’s other passions include traveling, Disneyland and all things Disney, and watching football (Go Bears!).
Our Management Team Led by David, the Hale Ku’ike Management team provide support to all three of our locations.
Dorothy was born in Hawaii and raised in Hauula on the island of Oahu. She attended Bryn Mawr College where she completed her Master’s degree. Dorothy has a very personal connection to dementia care: her grandmother, with whom she grew up, had Alzheimer's disease, her father had stroke-related dementia, and her father-in-law had Parkinson's-related dementia.
Dorothy is a Positive Approach® to Care Trainer, Coach, and Mentor. She is a dementia care specialist with more than 20 years of professional and personal experience in caring for people with dementia. She has worked at Hale Kūʻike since 2005, helping residents and their families navigate through the course of the disease.
Dorothy's mission is to help families understand what is happening to the brain of their loved ones who have dementia. Through her work at Hale Kūʻike and her public education classes, Dorothy helps those who work with and care for people with dementia understand the process of brain failure. Dorothy’s philosophy is that by understanding that the brain is dying, we can empathize, adjust our approach and expectations, and connect and communicate with those who have dementia.
Raised in Guam, Imelda started out as a pre-med student in undergrad to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a doctor. A change in her path led to an MBA from UC Davis instead, and a career that has spanned the biotechnology, medical devices, and healthcare industries. She has a breadth of experience in many areas of business but finds that one of her most rewarding roles thus far is her current one as HR Director at Hale Kūʻike. “From the moment I first walked into Hale Kūʻike on my interview day, I knew it was a special place and that I wanted to work there. It struck me that the residents and staff all looked happy, and I wanted to be a part of that,” Imelda shares. Today, she leads Hale Kūʻike’s Human Resources program to ensure that its talented and compassionate team members are represented, well-trained, and happy.
A recent transplant to Hawaii, Imelda likes to travel, practice her calligraphy, and hang out with her dogs.
Kristin assumed her role as Quality Assurance (QA) Nurse in October 2019. One of her primary responsibilities in this position is to ensure that the Nursing staff at all Hale Kūʻike locations adhere to the same policies, procedures, and standards of care. She does this through weekly QA audits at each facility.
Kristin was first introduced to Hale Kūʻike while getting her BSN at Chaminade University. She completed a clinical rotation at Bayside during which she helped the nursing staff and assisted with the resident activities. Her rotation led to part-time shifts, and eventually a full-time position. Says Kristin, “It’s great being a part of the Hale Kūʻike family, providing quality care to all the residents at every facility. I enjoy seeing the residents participate in group activities and having fun together.”
For her own off-work activities, Kristin likes spending time with her friends and family, watching movies and drinking boba tea.
Chad was managing business accounts at Borders Books and Music for 15 years, but when the company closed its doors, Chad realized he wanted to try something different. He had always wanted to learn how to cook so he enrolled at KCC’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific. This interest led to a Culinary Arts degree and the Culinary Institutional Food Service Management degree.
He started as a Line Chef at Hale Kūʻike in 2016 and finds it a great place to work. “It’s really nice, and we have a great staff. I enjoy cooking for and spending time with the residents. And it’s not as hectic as cooking in a restaurant,” he says with a smile. In his current role as Head Chef, Chad oversees Hale Kūʻike’s Dietary staff and helps develop menus that are not only delicious, but also appropriate for the dietary needs of our residents.
Among his favorite things to cook are different kinds of fried chicken, like mochiko chicken, garlic chicken, and beef stews like boeuf bourguignon.