Our mission is to clarify purpose, align principles, and integrate systems to cultivate health and prosperity in communities and organizations.

At Elemental Partners, we combine the latest research and best practices in business, science, leadership and systems change with East Asian principles of well-being and Native Hawaiian values to deepen our clients’ capacity to thrive and grow.

We draw upon these Native Hawaiian values to conduct our work:

Kuleana

Responsibility and duty paired with generosity and reciprocity –

We help our clients discover and articulate their unique gifts and assets so they can better understand how to serve their communities and the world.

Pono

To be in right and harmonious relationship –

We foster the capacity to understand justice, feel hope and express compassion toward others by bringing our best to the table and assuming that others are bringing their best as well.

Ho’ihi

Respect for oneself and reverence for others –

We honor all perspectives through courtesy and mutual respect, and believe that diverse voices, skills and contributions bring strength to the whole.

Lokahi and Laulima

Lokahi – blending opposites – and Laulima – many hands together –

We foster the spirit of community and cooperation to underscore the importance of collective action in pursuit of harmonious and holistic outcomes.

Ho’omau

Perseverance and persistence that results in lasting positive impact –

We ask of ourselves what we ask of clients: to show integrity and accountability through active and dedicated participation.

Our Team

Our partners each has over 20 years of experience working with international, national, and statewide organizations as well as local community-based efforts.

Kevin Kahakula’akea John Fong

Founder and Principal

Kevin is a nationally recognized and respected cultural translator, facilitator, trainer, and speaker in transformative justice, leadership development and organizational design.  He has extensive experience in working with clients in the public and private sector, especially with diverse, multicultural/multi-lingual groups.

In recent years, Kevin has been called to facilitate community healing circles around the country, including: St. Louis|Ferguson, MO; Flint, MI; Dallas, TX; New Orleans, LA; Baltimore, MD; Sacramento, CA; Charleston, SC; and Los Angeles, CA, and throughout rural communities in Mississippi, New Mexico,  and Colorado.

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Prior to founding Elemental Partners in 1995, Kevin spent five years in executive management at Macy’s CA, and nine years as the Founder and Director of the Clinical HIV Program and Teen Clinic at Asian Health Services, a community health center in Oakland, CA. In addition, Kevin was awarded a three-year fellowship from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. During his assignments in East Africa, Brazil, Guatemala, Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, and throughout the U.S., Kevin paid particular attention to the effects of globalization on families, neighborhoods and villages from the context of community and citizen leadership.

Kevin is a faculty member of the UCSF Center for Health Professions, the University of Michigan National Leadership Academy, and serves on the Leadership Council of Within our Lifetime, a national movement to end racism. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Kevin resides in San Francisco with his partner and their two sons.

Juanita Capri Brown

Juanita Capri Brown specializes in racial equity and healing.  She supports the public and non-profit sectors, and communities across the nation to undertake breakthrough dialogues and processes. Her work results in staff, students, parents, educators and executives more productively agitating systems and transforming relationships in their respective contexts.

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Juanita co-produced the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North”. After the film’s debut, she co-founded the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery and served on its founding board of directors. Juanita has also worked with public and independent school systems, the U.S. Embassy of the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Starr Commonwealth youth development organization. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley. Juanita cherishes her family roots which run deep in the state of Alabama.

Puanani Burgess

Puanani (Aunty Pua) is a community building facilitator, poet and cultural translator noted for her experience in community, family and values-based economic development, mediation and storytelling processes as part of conflict transformation, and developing community-based organizations.   Based in Hawai`i, her work takes her all over the U.S., the Pacific and other parts of the world.

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Aunty Pua has been a lecturer with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai`i, where she was the first “Community Scholar in Residence.” She served on the Board of Directors for the Positive Futures Network, the publisher of “YES! Magazine.” and was the Miles and Zilphia Horton Chairholder for Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee. In 2009,  Aunty Pua was among five people named as Hawai’i’s Living Treasures.

Chris Messinger

Chris Messinger has been working for racial and economic justice for more than twenty years as a social justice educator and community organizer. Over the last decade in his role as Executive Director of Boston Mobilization, Chris has supported teens and young adults to build multi-racial coalitions to organize for justice on the issues that matter most to them, including jobs, environmental justice, progressive taxation, public education, closing the opportunity gap, and expanded youth voting.

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Chris has trained tens of thousands of teens and adults on a wide variety of social justice topics – from leading White caucus spaces, to core curriculum design, staffing retreats, and supporting the publication of the nationally recognized Racial Justice Resource Speak UP!

Chris serves on the Leadership Council of Within our Lifetime Network, where he co-created a Rapid Response protocol for communities responding to racial disasters. He lives in Boston where he also spends time gardening, foraging, hanging out with his niece and hosting monthly music gatherings.

Mee Moua

Mee was born in Laos and came to the United in 1978 as a refugee. She grew up in the mid-west, attended Brown University as an undergraduate student, received her MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and earned her JD from the University of Minnesota Law School.

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She is the immediate past President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, a leading national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. Prior to her work in Washington, DC, she was an attorney in private practice in Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota State Senate. She was the first Hmong American to be elected to a state legislature in the United States, and served three terms before retiring in 2010. Mee currently works and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Nha Yee Chang and their three children.

Simran Noor

Simran is an independent consultant focused on strategy development, institutional change/organizational development and movement building with a focus on developing processes and setting clear outcomes to achieve racial equity.  She brings over ten years of experience working directly with impacted communities, developing policy and strategy, leading organizational change processes and serving as staff within the philanthropic sector.

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Previously, Simran served as the Vice President of Policy & Programs at the Center for Social Inclusion, where she also served as a Deputy Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) where she supported the team in developing strategies and tactics to support local and regional government to achieve racial equity. Prior to joining CSI, Simran served as Program Manager at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she worked with the Food, Health & Well-being, Racial Equity, and Civic & Community Engagement portfolios. She also served as Program Assistant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she supported the Policy Research and KIDS COUNT teams.

Simran is deeply committed to youth development, having worked in organizational development and as frontline staff for the Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore-based yoga and mindfulness program, and as a language arts and community engagement teacher for middle school students through the Middle Grades Partnership. Simran has written and commented for a variety of media including the Detroit Free Press, The Times-Picayune, The Hill, Aljazeera America and City Limits Magazine.  She also has been a featured panelist on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry. Simran is also a regular speaker on issues of racial equity—frequently featured at conferences and public meetings.

Simran holds a dual bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Political Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a dual master’s degree in Public Administration and Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently also serves as a board member for Building Movement Project and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and as advisor for the Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders for Justice group.

Michelle Otero

Michelle is a writer, community-based artist, and facilitator, who utilizes creative expression and storytelling as the basis for organizational development and positive social change. Her process of engaging individuals and communities through the expression of shared story has found a wide range of applications, from helping local governments better serve immigrant and refugee communities to helping people heal from trauma. She is the author of Malinche’s Daughter, an essay collection based on her work with women survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Oaxaca, Mexico as a Fulbright Fellow.

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She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she works with fellow artists and local farmers to implement the Community Table project, which combines art, local agriculture, and economic development as a platform for neighborhood revitalization. As Spanish-language Director for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, she engages people navigating memory loss in a call and response performance of classic, well-known poems. She served as a coach/mentor for the inaugural class of W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellows.

Michelle holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. She is a co-founding member of the TIASO Artist Cooperative, supporting artists with purpose so they can continue to feed themselves and their communities.

Maggie Potapchuk

Maggie is founder of MP Associates, Inc., a national consulting practice that works in partnership with individuals, organizations, and communities to align, deepen, and sustain their work to advance racial equity and address privilege issues. She works with organizations seeking to align their policies, programs, and culture with their value of racial equity; works with communities to assess racial dynamics; designs and facilitates workshops and retreats; designs curriculum and tools on structural racism, white privilege and change processes; and builds networks and communities of practice to increase individual learning and collective action for racial justice.

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Maggie developed with CAPD and World Trust the Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity, curriculum funded by W. K. Kellogg Foundation, for leaders to better identify, talk about, and intervene to address white privilege and its consequences. She co-created the website, www.racialequitytools.org. Before launching MP Associates in 2004, she served as Senior Program Associate with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies co-developing the Network of Alliances Bridging Race and Ethnicity (NABRE). She serves on the leadership council of Within Our Lifetime network, advisory board for Baltimore Racial Justice Action and co-chairs, Illuminating Whiteness and Colonization: Developing a Literacy for Racial Justice Globally. Maggie is also a racial equity affiliate consultant of RoadMap. She earned a Masters of Education in Organizational Development and Applied Group Studies, as well as a Certificate in Social Justice Issues, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Joe Weston

Joe is an international workshop facilitator, author, consultant, coach, and advocate for lasting peace. His book, Mastering Respectful Confrontation, is selling throughout the world. Joe has almost 30 years of experience in providing training to corporations, government agencies and non-profits around the world, adapting the approach to the needs of each particular organization.

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Born and educated in New York, Joe lived in Amsterdam for 18 years and now lives in Washington DC. Joe brings a wealth of insight to his work based on many teachings, including Tai Chi Chuan, mindfulness and a variety of traditions—plus his experience in theater and various organizational trainings, to create a unique style of training and coaching that combines theory with somatic exercises.

He is currently adjunct professor at Georgetown University, School of Government, Department of Conflict Resolution, teaching a course: Body-based skill building for navigating stress and confrontation. Joe works with women’s rights and other humanitarian organizations in the Middle East and the US, focusing on empowerment and leadership, reframing power/masculinity, and overcoming gender-based violence. He has also worked with different veterans organizations, supporting returning and wounded veterans in their process of integration and healing, and has also volunteered for the Liberation Prison Project, teaching meditation and leadership to inmates.

Administrative Team

Christopher Caldara

Christopher brings twenty-five years of systems and business management expertise in support of the Elemental Partners team. He manages the company finances and is the team’s point of contact for questions related to invoicing and contracts. In his spare time Christopher volunteers with various charitable organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly those serving the HIV community.

Amro Radwan

Amro is a San Francisco Bay Area native who began working in the IT field in the 1990’s. Amro’s commitment and dedication to social change and helping others led him to seek and nurture partnerships in the social justice-nonprofit sector helping organizations focus on their missions by building sustainable IT infrastructures and offering sometimes around-the-clock service.

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Amro’s passion extends to youth development and social entrepreneurship. He helped found ASK Academy, a volunteer based organization that works with powerful community leaders to transform educational, juvenile justice, and foster care systems. In his spare time, Amro engages with at-risk youth around the San Francisco Bay Area by helping them tell their narrative stories through digital storytelling, music and other forms of artistic expression. He still lives in the Bay Area and enjoys spending time with family

Karen Rezai

Karen serves as the Executive Assistant for Elemental Partners. She is passionate about community leadership, and has worked for years empowering multicultural communities around women’s health, cancer prevention, and tobacco-free living.

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Karen founded the (then-called) East Bay Area Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network, served as a Past Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the American Public Health Association and on the leadership board of the San Ramon Chapter of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

She graduated with honors in psychology from Yale University and earned a Masters of Public Health degree in Behavioral Sciences with a specialty in International Health from UC Berkeley. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner and son.