Carmela comes to the ACLU of Hawai‘i with nearly two decades of experience working with equity-focused organizations where she has served as an executive director, chief of staff, operations manager, college professor, development director, and strategic advisor.
A daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, Carmela was born and raised in New Jersey and received her Master of Public Administration from New York University as well as her Bachelor of Arts in Social Justice Studies and Mathematics from Saint Elizabeth University.
In 2015, after working in various capacities at the New York City Department of Education, Carmela started her own consulting firm to pursue her dreams of working remotely while traveling the world. This was well before remote work was normalized, so unlike the web developers and graphic designers of the time, this social change advocate and educator needed to carve her own path.
Through her company, she has helped Fortune 500 companies use quantitative data to better serve their target markets, engaged stakeholders and facilitated strategic planning processes for major universities and international NGOs, built teams to help businesses scale their impact, and implemented strategies that exponentially increased funding for organizations.
Most recently, Carmela served as the Executive Director of FLYTE, an organization that empowers youth from underserved communities by creating access to study abroad opportunities. In that role, she led the operations and growth of the organization, which included strategic planning, program management, and development.
She is also a seasoned long-term traveler, proud mathlete, devoted mālama ‘āina volunteer, and has the uncanny ability to locate the best chocolate chip cookie in most major metropolitan areas.