Meet Our PICA-WA Staff

The amazing folks behind PICA-WA who work day in and day out to support the greater Pacific Islander community here in Washington.

Click on their photos to read more about each of our members!

Our Navigators

Malie Chanel (Samoan)

Lead Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Arleen Marston (Kosraean)

Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Clorine Joujen (Marshallese)

Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Aaron Helenihi (Native Hawaiian)

Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Martina Naich
(Chuukese)

Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Jiji Jally
(Marshallese)

Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Angela Williams
(Chuukese)

Pasifika Wellness Navigator

Our Wayfinders

Keleni Tavaiqia
(Itaukei)

Pasifika Wayfinder

Kelcy Maun
(Marshallese)

Pasifika Wayfinder

Our Coordinators

Hector Pouono
(Samoan)

Pasifika Food Networks Coordinator

Waisale Serevi
(Fijian)

Program Coordinator

Britney Jae Lujan Kingsbury
(CHamoru)

Communications Coordinator

Our Managers

Autasia Westerlund
(Samoan)

Operations Manager

Brandon Tacadena
(Tokelauan, Samoan)

Leadership & Spirituality Manager

Ritae Wallace
(Chuukese)

Pasifika Food Networks Manager

Our Directors

Amelia Bai
(Fijian)

Director, Western WA Services

Layla Afu
(Chuukese, Tongan)

Director, Southwest WA Services

Kiana McKenna
(Samoan)

Director, Eastern WA Services

Va'eomatoka Valu
(Tongan)

Director, Communications & Arts Development

Our Founder & Executive Director

Joseph Seia
(Samoan, Tongan)

Founder & Executive DIrector

Our Board Members

Hazel Herkemor Johnson (Palauan)

Board Chair

Franky Erra (Marshallese, Chuukese)

Board Secretary

Tyson Johnson (Quinault)

Board Treasurer

Paula Carvalho (Native Hawaiian)

Board Member

Taffy Johnson (Samoan)

Board Member

Suni Tolton (Samoan)

Board Member

Puakaleihua Westbrooks (Native Hawaiian, Samoan)

Board Member

Malie’s passion stems from cultural upbringing in their village setting, as well as values instilled in them by their grandparents. There were always village events that required participation or contributions. They were taught about sharing with our neighbors, inviting passersby for meals or help distribute food to families in their village surroundings during any environmental or health disasters. It became a natural thing to do back home. At a young age, one becomes accustomed in giving as well as honoring everyone else in unselfish cultural practices.

 

Community Organizer, Community Outreach on Sexual Assault & Domestic violence. Lifelong Aids Volunteer, Pageantry Organizer for LGBT Community, Samoan Cultural Day Committee Member, Pasifika Island Fashion Show Organizer. Former Case Manager For ACRS: LTC Home care Services. Family Homeless Feeding Project. Meals On Wheels Volunteer. Born: Fagatogo, American Samoa.

Arleen Marston is a Kosraean 4th year student at the University of WA and your Pasifika Wellness Navigator. She was born and raised in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. She moved to Hawaii as a 9-year-old with her family for educational and job opportunities. She moved to Kent, Washington as a middle schooler and was fortunate through the grace of God to join the Husky Pack at the University of WA a few years later.

 

She is proud to be Pasifika because the strength and the wits her ancestors carried were so grand, and she aspires to carry the same qualities. Arleen was fortunate to be a “secondary tutor” for High school students under the Highline public school as a 3rd year in college. This work inspired her to further provide resources to the Pasifika community, who are still trying to adapt to the Western world. She recognizes the barriers in relation to societal structure that stands in the way of our social mobility, and is motivated to help her people overcome those barriers. 

Clorine Joujen was born in the Marshall Islands and came to the states when she was about seven years old. She has resided in Washington state for about 12 years and graduated with the class of 2020 from Auburn High School. She will be attending college, majoring in accounting. Clorine enjoys playing volleyball and reading. She is overall a homebody but enjoys going out here and there.

 

She is a proud Pasifika woman because of the values of Pasifika people, most importantly the value of family. Pasifika people love to help each other in any way they can, and Clorine really loves the wide variety of unique Pasifika cultures. Her volunteer experience that shaped who she is today includes working at the food bank. Her experience there really opened her eyes to how fortunate she was to have parents that were able to support their family with food. Her gratefulness and humility inspired her to help other families in need. 

Aaron Helenihi, a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), was born and raised on the island of O’ahu and grew up on the west coast of the island. After graduating high school from Kamehameha Schools, he attended and graduated from the University of Southern California. He moved with his wife and children to the Pacific Northwest in 2004, and has been active in supporting the local Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community in Southwest Washington and Oregon ever since.

 

Aaron is a certificated Teacher in California and Washington state, and currently works as Campus Security at Cascade Middle School in Evergreen Public Schools where there is a high population of Pacific Islanders. In this role, he makes personal and effective connections with the youth and their families to guide them in their educational journeys. In addition to serving as Wellness Navigator for Pacific Islander Community Association of SW Washington, Aaron also serves as the Director of Political Action for Ka ʻAha Lāhui O ʻOlekona Hawaiian Civic Club of Oregon and SW Washington, as well as the Chair for Health and Human Services for Na Lei Makalapua – Mainland Council, Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs. In all of his roles, Aaron is committed to working with the current generation of Pasifika youth to help build a stronger and more vibrant future generation of thriving Pasifika people.

Angela Williams is Chuukese from the island of Weno, but was born and raised in Washington. She was fortunate enough to be able to attend school in the states. She recently received her BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology at PSU. Angela currently works as the Pacific Islander Student Specialist for Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver Washington and hopes to bring down the barriers our families may have within the school system. Knowing that she can help her community is what is driving her to strive for better.

Calson Tommy Tiweyang was born and raised in the PNW, but his roots lay in the lands of Uman (island in Chuuk) and Ifalik (outer island of Yap). He was the Senior Class President at Federal Way High School, and is now currently attending Eastern Washington University, working towards majoring in Communication Studies. He has spent the past 9 months deepening his connection with his Pasifika community, while working alongside the Pacific Islander Community Association (PICA). Calson now works as a Pasifika Wayfinders organizer with a mission to empower the Pasifika youth and advocate for a strong foundation for future generations.

Atelete (Lete) Makasini’s life started in the city of Seattle, but her roots stretch back to the Kingdom of Tonga. She recently graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and plans to further her education in hopes of attaining a degree in nursing. Lete’s leadership skills were on display during her 4-5 years with Our Future Matters and has been putting those attributes to use with the Pacific Islander Community Association of WA (PICA-WA). She is one of 5 Pasifika Wayfinder Organizers, working alongside her peers to better her community with an emphasis on our Pasifika youth. 

Cedrique Ho’onakoa Derouin’s life began in South Seattle, but his roots stretch beyond the seas to the great island of Oahu, Hawaii as Kanaka ‘Oiwi. He recently graduated from Federal way high school and is now attending Highline community college but is planning to transfer to a university in hopes of obtaining his degree in communications and a minor in architect. Koa’s leadership skills began to grow his sophomore year when he became a youth leader. To this day, his leadership skills continue to develop and inspire others. He is on a mission to help and give back to his community with the help of his Pasifika community. Koa is one of 5 Pasifika Wayfinder Organizers, working alongside his amazing peers with an emphasis on our Pasifika youth.

Keleni Tavaiqia was born and raised in Washington State, and her family comes from the island of Fiji in the village of ViseiseiKeleni recently graduated from Hazen high school; she plans to attend Bellevue College Fall 2022 to pursue a career in nursing. In the past she has volunteered at various homeless sheltersShe has also been a part of the ‘aMAYzing‘ helping hands group going on a mission trip with them to Suva, Fiji to help a school for the blind, special needs school, and a women’s prison, also participating in the Pasifika FoodNetworks food distribution since 2020. A goal of Keleni’s is to help strengthen her community and help people get the help that they need. 

Kelcy’s roots lay underneath the lands of the Marshall Islands, where she grew up around her beloved culture, before moving to the state of Washington to continue her education. Kelcy is a recent graduate out of Auburn High School’s class of 2020.

 

During her time at Auburn, Kelcy was the President of the Marshallese Club. She has a vision to inspire and motivate others, while respectfully advocating for a better future. One of her many goals is to be the first one in her family to graduate from a four year university with a degree. Kelcy is most excited about being able to have the opportunity to help empower her peers!

Rev. Hector Panama Pouono was born & raised in Long Beach, California. His roots are from Siumu & Falelatai (Upolu Island), Pago Pago (Tutuila Island) & Fitiuta (Manu’a Islands). He currently serves as an ordained minister for the Samoan Congregational Christian Church in Kent (Malua-Seattle EFKS). Earlier in his life, Hector went to Samoa in 2007 on a church trip & ended up living in Samoa & Fiji for 10 years by way of being a student at Malua Theological College in 2012. He moved on to get his master’s degree in Pacific History in 2014 from the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji. He was a lecturer at Malua Theological College in Samoa for 4 years before being called to serve the 150 member parish in Kent, Washington in 2018.  

  

His interest in the Ministry stems from a strong desire to bridge the gap between young people and Pasifika spiritual leaders. “It is my belief that we as spiritual leaders, need to promote the ecumenical relationships between all Pasifika peoples whether here in America or in Oceania. Serving our community is part of being Christian and it is part of our identity as Pacific Islanders.” Hector serves alongside Faletua or First Lady Herema Tiatia Pouono & 2 children – Talita & Panama. 

Waisale Serevi was born and raised in Suva, Fiji Islands. Investing much of his life to the sport of rugby, he believes God gifted him the talent to be a rugby player. He played in 7 Rugby World Cups and won 2 Rugby World Cups as a captain for Fiji. It was an honor and privilege for him to be awarded the Honorary Doctorate Sports Science at Leeds Met University in England in 2008 and to be inducted into the Rugby Hall of Fame 2013.

 

Waisale is proud to be Pasifika because Pasifika people have their own identity and culture. He recently joined PICAWA and is excited about helping the Pasifika community of the Pacific Northwest. His vision and goal for the Pasifika community is to help one another and uplift our voice in the USA. 

Britney Jae Lujan Kingsbury is a CHamoru/Chamorro woman born on Guahån, from the village of Dededo. She grew up in Federal Way, Washington but now resides on Coast Salish lands in the Tacoma area. She earned her Bachelors degree in Communications at the University of Washington Seattle. There, she found her passion for community and cultural work as she took part in volunteering with the Pacific Islander Student Commission and later becoming an officer for the UW Micronesian Islands Club, while also working at the university’s Ethnic Cultural Center.

 

These experiences along with her membership in the Tacoma-based Chamorro dance group Guma’ Imåhe have pushed her to pursue and commit to work of advocacy, organizing, empowerment and overall support of our indigenous Pasifik mañe’lu. Britney is also a lover of learning, art, games, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

Autasia “Sia” Westerlund is of Samoan heritage born on the Duwamish – Coast Salish Land aka Seattle. She has three younger brothers who are inspiring friends, leaders and siblings. She has served within the Pasifika community as an organizer for UPRISE Education Summit for many years. She rests in the confidence that our Pasifika communities heal and thrive most when we are together.

 

Autasia serves as an elder at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church surrounded by many who are just as passionate about intergenerational leadership, anti-racism and justice as she is. Autasia graduated from Federal Way High School and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies from the University of Washington. 

Brandon Tacadena was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, in the town of Mililani. Brandon has genealogical ties to Samoa, Tokelau, The Philippines, and various parts of Europe. Raised in a faith rooted household and fortified by the prayers of a resilient single mother, Brandon discerned a vocational call early in his life. He pursued that call—earning a B.A. in Bible and Christian Ministries from Pacific Rim Christian University and an M.Div., in Systematic Theology and Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. His interests explore the intersections of Pasifika identity and indigeneity, theology, decoloniality, and spiritual fluidity.  

 

Brandon is committed to the work of liberation of Pasifika peoples from systems of domination, extraction, and dehumanization. His background includes social justice advocacy, organizing, hospital chaplaincy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion work in higher education. Brandon is also an associate educator for the digital platform Talanoa as well as a co-host of the podcast Solwata Kin. In his spare time, Brandon gardens, enjoys talking story with folxs, and loves sharing meals.  

Jessie Ka’ahumanu Ray Coen hails from the island of Moloka’i, Hawai’i. After spending her childhood in foster care, away from her culture and people, Jessie reconnected with her ‘ohana at the end of her high school career. Invigorated by her return to the islands, she immediately began to realign herself with her Native Hawaiian roots. Immersion in Pasifika culture is a constant journey she is happy to be on. Jessie’s deep passion for volunteering, social justice and civil rights work contributed to her being honored with the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. award in Snohomish County.

 

Jessie is committed to the advancement of all Pasifika people through policy change, education, technology and entrepreneurship. Jessie is a talented Instructional Designer for one of America’s top healthcare systems, specializing in Anesthesia and Surgical software. Along with balancing the hat of business woman and activist, she is a proud mother to her two beautiful children Zimora Ka’ahumanu Mei and Lennox Fa’asaau Loi.

Ritae Wallace is from the Island of Chuuk State Federated States of Micronesia. She came to Hawaii in 1990 to study at Hawaii Pacific University till 1994. We moved to Germany in 2003-2008. Ritae earned her bachelor’s degree double majoring in Accounting and Business Management at the University of Maryland, Germany.

 

She is the founder of the First Chuukese Washington Women Association established in 2019. Since COVID started, Ritae wanted to support not only the Chuukese communities but also the whole Pasifika community. Writing grants, gathering resources and supports for our communities has fueled her passions. 

Amelia was born and raised in the beautiful island Nation of Fiji. She migrated to the United States twenty years ago with her family. She attended Lynnwood High School, where she began her service work in being involved with her local community. 

 

She started a Pacific Islander dance troop called Island Breeze. Her post-high school education includes graduating from the Everett Corp and from American River College in California. She is an enrolled BSN student with the goal of becoming a nurse one day. Amelia also teaches CPR & First AID as a self-employed Instructor. 

 

She has a heart of service for her Pasifika community and wants to contribute in uniting our many different Pasifika nations through our collaborations. She also loves a game of tennis.

Layla Afu was born and raised in Vancouver, WA. Her dual heritage includes her Chuukese roots through her mother and her Tongan roots through her father. She currently works as a school counselor at Fort Vancouver High School Center For International Studies. She is committed to her work in youth development, helping students and families navigate their educational journeys, and advancing the well-being of her Pasifika community. 

 

Layla Afu graduated from the University of Washington with a Political Science degree and received her M.Ed. from City University in School Based Counseling. Being raised in SW Washington, she understands the critical need of making sure NHPI communities have the support that they need to navigate well and thrive in their rural communities.

Kiana began working with PICA-WA in the Spring of 2020 as the Spokane lead for our PI COVID-19 Taskforce. She currently sits on the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) Spokane’s Advisory Committee where she also has the opportunity to collaborate on opportunities for improving civic engagement on the Spokane Coalition of Color, which also includes NAACP Spokane and the Hispanic Business Professionals Association (HBPA) of Spokane. Kiana is currently serving in her third year as a board member for YWCA Spokane, where she is involved in their Racial and Social Justice Committee and is passionate about uplifting voices of domestic violence survivors, womxn and girls of color. 

 

Kiana is experienced in communications and marketing, project management and public affairs. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2017 where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations as well as minors in promotional marketing and psychology.

Va’eomatoka “Toka” Valu was born and raised in the South Pacific Islands of Tonga and migrated to the United States with his late mother in 1997. His work reproduces visual motifs, symbols, and patterns from oceania, arranging them into redefined stories that honor the deep roots of the Pacific but are firmly entrenched in re-imagined brilliant futures.

 

Toka heavily references his own cultural upbringing to explore the varying spaces (va) between all things where relationships are forged, negotiated, tested, and nurtured. Rather than settle for simply retelling the folklore of Oceania, Toka aims to encapsulate a future that Pacific Islanders deserve while keeping his past firmly in mind to guide the way through the confusion. Toka is a proud Pacific Islander, youth advocate, community organizer, Oceanic artist and Pacific Arts enthusiast who lives in Seatac with his partner, Maile, and their daughter, Loleto.

Joseph Seia was born in LA, grew up on Tutuila and Upolu islands with his ‘āiga in Sāmoa and emigrated to Coast Salish Territory with his father Aitulagi Iosefa and his siblings in 1994. He has 15 years of experience in direct service, youth development work, and nonprofit leadership & administration. Joseph champions systems change work the centers the leadership and history of most impacted communities to enact social change.

 

He is committed to ending the impacts of systemic racism through coalition building, anti-racism organizing, and creating inter-generational leadership opportunities to co-design Beloved Community. Joseph works actively against the political erasure of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (NH/PI) communities and will continue to provide soul labor in re-envisioning what it means for Pasifikans to feel cultural belonging in the U.S. Diaspora.

 

Joseph chairs the National Association of Pasifika Organizations (NAOPO), the first national NH/PI organization convened by NH/PI leaders across the country to advance NH/PI sovereignty in policy work, health justice, data disaggregation and research, media, communication representation, and in developing civic power and leadership of Pasifika communities. He currently serves as the Executive Director of PICA-WA, an organization he founded to provide a cultural hub and a center of advocacy for Pasifika peoples in Washington.