Maui hotelier Michael White is appointed to the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii Tourism Authority New Board: Top LR: Michael White, Mahina Duarte and Kimberly Agas. Bottom LR: Jim McCully and Stephanie Iona

The Hawai’i Tourism Authority announced the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors: Michael White, Maui hotelier and government relations veteran; Kimberly Leimomi Agas, hospitality and community leader; Mahina Duarte, social entrepreneur; Stephanie, specialist in Community Issues on Kaua’i James McCully, Farmer from Iona and Hawaii.

John De Fries, President and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, said, “This dynamic group of appointments complements HTA’s diverse Board of Directors as we accelerate our efforts toward a regenerative tourism model that is centered on the needs of our community. Balancing the well-being of our people and place with significant economic, environmental and cultural benefits is critical to our state’s recovery.”

The Board of Directors is a policy-making body composed of members appointed by the Governor of Hawaii and confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate.

Board Members serve as volunteers and guide the work of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority in holistically managing tourism and fulfilling its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and the interacting pillars – community, natural resources, Hawaiian culture and branding.

The terms of office of the new board members will begin on July 1, 2022 and end on June 30, 2026. They will replace outgoing board members Micah Alameda, Fred Atkins, Daniel Chun, Kyoko Kimura and Kimi Yuen.


Hawaii Tourism Authority Chairman George Kam said the outgoing members’ contributions included the development of destination management action plans for each island.


Here are the bios of all new members:

Michael White: He is a business and community leader with five decades of hospitality experience in Maui and Hawaii; and is now General Manager of the Kā’anapali Beach Hotel and the Plantation Inn on Maui. He was mentored by Kenneth Brown, Winona Rubin and Gard Kealoha to develop the Kā’anapali Beach Hotel’s Po’okela program with Dr. George Kanahele influenced. White also served as a member and chair of Maui County Council, representing Makawao, Ha’ikū, and Pā’ia, and as state representatives for West Maui, Moloka’i, Lāna’i, and Kaho’olawe. He is a graduate of the Punahou School and earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from the University of Hawai’i at the Mānoa School of Travel Industry Management.

Kimberly Leimomi Agas: A hotel management executive with over 35 years of experience, she now serves as General Manager of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, overseeing resort operations and partnerships with communities, stakeholders and owners. Previously, she held leadership positions at Outrigger Resorts in Hawaii and French Polynesia. Agas was educated at the Kamehameha Schools, Hawai’i Pacific University, and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She has also served on the Bishop Museum Advisory Council Board and the Honolulu Zoological Society Board, and continues to serve on the board of the Hawaiʻi Lodging and Tourism Association.


Mahina Paishon Duarte: She co-founded Waiwai Collective in 2016, a social enterprise that connects culture, community and commerce to achieve prosperity and prosperity for Hawaii and beyond. Previously she was the headmistress of kano o ka ‘Āina for secondary education and Hālau Kū Māna. As a co-author of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration, Duarte has worked with various cultural and community organizations throughout Hawaii. She has earned a number of degrees from local universities to develop her unique skills to serve Hawaii through ancestral knowledge and ways of life.

Stephanie Iona: She specializes in Kaua’i community and government affairs. She has five decades of experience serving Hawaii’s communities, primarily in the farming and hospitality industries. She currently provides community affairs services for Kaua’i Shrimp and the Kekaha Agriculture Association. Previously, she was manager of community and government affairs at Dow Agrosciences. Iona has also served as General Manager of Waimea Plantation Cottages and Aston Papakea Resort.

James McCully: Since 1976 he has been a self-employed orchid grower with Mauna Kea Orchids on the island of Hawai’i in agriculture. He has also specialized in real estate management for more than 20 years, including greenfield claims, subdivisions and land use actions, public and private infrastructure development and conservation projects. McCully is a member of the Hilo Chapter of the American Orchid Society.

The new members will attend their first regular monthly board meeting today. For more information visit

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