“On every island, your team continues to amaze us with your fresh, interactive events and unique, relevant solutions to our ongoing challenge, ‘How do we raise the bar every time and make our guests feel individually special?’”
-Private (Financial Services)
Island Partners Hawai‘i is a diverse team of extremely creative, active listeners, with proven skills and constantly evolving destination experience (including team members Certified with CMP, CSEP and DMCP), empowered by genuine passion, true pride and an unwavering “can do” aloha spirit.
- People with deep passion, who love what they do for you.
- People filled with personal pride in absolutely doing their best and giving their all.
- People who live Aloha, cherish their Island home, and are ecstatic to share this spirit and the authentic experiences Hawai‘i offers.
Charlie Kealoha Manager, Operations & Travel Director Services
I am an 8th generation Hawai’i resident and I live for my grandkids, church, and helping out at Island Partners Hawai‘i. I have worked in the travel industry since 1974 and was a freelance travel director from 1991-2005 before joining IPH.
Karen Frangipane Program Designer
After spending many years as a frequent visitor to the islands, I left the hustle and bustle of New York City and decided to make Maui my permanent home. As an avid snorkeler, SCUBA diver, and hiker, I can never get enough of what this beautiful island has to offer me every day. And nothing makes me happier than sharing my knowledge and love for the islands with everyone I meet.
Kelly Lafrance, CMP, DMCP Senior Program Designer
Passionate about travel, I’ve spent 20+ years in the incentive & hospitality industry traveling the world for both work and adventure. In 2011, a love of astronomy, the ocean and the Hawaiian Culture guided me to my new home on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. I use my practical experience in planning, design and onsite program operations, to assist our clients in creating unique experiences customized to their specific goals and objectives.
Kimo Jenkins Director, Product Development & Cultural Guide
I am passionate about coaching youth football and basketball, my community church, and family events. Prior to joining IPH, I was a sales manager at Hilo Hattie, a tour manager at American Express, a tour guide & dispatcher at E Noa Tours and an apprentice archeologist at Waimea Falls Park.
Leona Balthazar Vice President of Sales
I am a 5th generation resident of Hawai‘i and am one of the co-founder of Island Partners Hawai‘i. I have had extensive experience in the destination management industry as a travel agent, Onsite Travel Director, Account Executive, Sales Manager, and Director of Sales. Animals are my passion, and I enjoy spending my time off with Ms. Kula (my yellow lab) and Ms. Lily (my Maltese).
Lillian Helton Systems & Standards Administrator
I believe in giving back to the community, especially to those that are less fortunate. I support the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Hawai‘i Food Bank, and Make A Wish Foundation. Prior to joining IPH, I worked at an animal hospital before deciding to join the travel industry and am loving the wonderful world of destination management services.
Taylor Hettinger Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Shortly after graduating from Auburn University, I came to Maui for an internship and immediately fell in love with the island and the rich culture. I am passionate about the ocean and love spending time with my family, friends and my dog, Cooper. With strong experience in both the hospitality and events industries, I am thrilled to share my knowledge and passion with you.
Michelle Moku Senior Program Manager
I love playing in the ocean & soaking up the sun with my husband and four children. Prior to joining IPH, I worked as a Sales Coordinator in the Corporate Meetings & Incentive (CMI) division at the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and am a proud graduate of the University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management (Bachelors of Science).
Noelani Kana‘e Manager, Program Design & Development
My extensive Island and vendor partner knowledge, coupled with proven expertise in “experience development” of activities and destination services, results in integrated program design for our clients and guests. I am passionate about my Hawaiian heritage, cultural values and my ‘ohana (family). Being born and raised in the islands allows me to incorporate a deeply-rooted “sense of place” into each experience designed for our clients.
Qian Wang Accountant
Sharla Ajifu Event Producer
Although I can be thought of as your typical local girl– loving to fish, sunbathe, and chowing down on the local Maui fare, I’m better known for my ability to creatively bring one of kind events to life. My passion for design and event production have always had a precious place in my heart and I can’t wait to help you create memories that you and your guests will cherish forever.
Tony Vericella President
I love family time with my wife, Dana, our 26 year-old triplets, Catherine, Joseph, and Nicholas, and our extended ‘ohana. I ‘live to eat”, travel, play golf and watch movies. Since moving to Hawai‘i 31+ years ago, my Hospitality & Tourism career extended from Hawaiian Airlines, American Express Travel Related Services, Budget Rent a Car-Asia/Pacific, and the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau, prior to joining Island Partners Hawai‘i.