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Rachel Solemsaas

Hawaiʻi Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas has been selected as a member of the seventh cohort of Omidyar Fellows. The 15-member cohort is comprised of a cross-sector of leaders and change makers who were selected through a rigorous application and selection process.

“Leadership requires continuous learning,” said Solemsaas. “A program such as the Omidyar Fellows will broaden my horizons and leadership capacity as I learn from experts in this field and other participants. Similarly, it will provide me a chance to reflect on my leadership values and contributions to date.”

The Omidyar Fellows program seeks to cultivate the conditions in which Hawaiʻi thrives by equipping mid-career leaders with the skills and cross-sector relationships necessary to collectively affect societal change. Throughout the initial 15 months of structured curriculum, which begins in October 2019, Cohort VII Fellows will participate in a monthly session, executive coaching, conversations with community, business and government leaders and more. Following this, the cohort will become fully engaged in the Forum of Fellows, an active network of 85 leaders and change makers, all of whom are dedicated to making positive movement on Hawaiʻi’s most pressing issues.

Solemsaas joined Hawaiʻi CC as chancellor in 2016. Previously, she served as the vice president for administrative services at community colleges in Nevada and Washington State. She earned a doctorate of education in higher education with an emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. She is the past president of the National Asian Pacific Islander Council and is a board member for Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce.

Solemsaas is the latest University of Hawaiʻi leader to be part of the Omidyar Fellows. Other leaders from the program include: UH Mānoa Law School Professor Maxine Burkett, UH Mānoa Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs Vince Baldemor, Interim Chancellor for Honolulu Community College Karen Lee, UH Hilo Conference Center and Hawaiian EDventure Program Director Lisa Hadway, Interim Vice President of Community Colleges Erika Lacro, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi Executive Director Kaʻiu Kimura, Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language Graduate Chair and Professor Kāpa Olivera, UH Community Colleges Academic Officer Tammi Chun and P–20 Executive Director Stephen Schatz.

—By Thatcher Moats

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