Deborah Zysman, Executive Director
Deborah provides overall leadership at HCAN and works with the Board of Directors and community partners to improve the lives of children. She has over a decade of experience leading non-profit organizations. Deborah has an MPH in community health, has served on many community boards, and was recently appointed as a Weinberg Fellow by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. She is passionate about social justice, community advocacy and building community leaders.
In her actual spare time, she can be found running after her two small kids at Kaimana Beach and renovating her fixer-upper home in Manoa. In her imaginary spare time, she enjoys yoga, reading and drinking good scotch.
Mike Fahey, Senior Community Engagement Specialist
Mike has over 40 years of experience as an early childhood education/special education teacher and administrator. In Hawaii, his career has spanned 40 years from Pali Preschool, United Cerebral Palsy Association to the Department of EducationatWaialai, Honowai, Jarrett, and Lili`uokalani Schools. He served the DOE for 17 years as the State 619 Coordinator for Preschool Special Education Programs. Mike was one of the original members, back in 1997, of the State of Hawaii Interagency Transition Team for STEPS (Sequenced Transition of Education into the Public Schools) and remains very active state team member and liaison/consultant to community teams. He helped develop many of the transition tools and protocols made available through the Readiness Taskforce which he co-chaired with UH Professor Emeritus, Stephanie Feeney. He joined Good Beginnings in January of 2008 as the Professional Development Coordinator for the P-3 (Provisions for Early Learning to Third Grade) movement of the Hawai‘i’s P-20 Partnerships for Education. He facilitated the team who developed the Hawaii Early Learning and Development Standards (HELDS). In his leisure time, he enjoys traveling, working out with his trainer, good films, and books. He has lived in Mililani for the last 25 years and has just completed a new house in Massachusetts for his parents who are in their 80s.
Angelina Mercado, Director of Advancement
Angie brings a wealth of experience in developing funding strategies and risk management policies. Angie worked for more than a decade in credit and capital markets positions for major Wall Street firms. In her most recent role, she held a senior position in the central funding group of RBC Capital Markets. Based in Hawaii since 2012, Angie has been involved in a range of social ventures with a focus on non-profit operations and funding. In addition to her passion for children, Angie is an animal lover and has rescued two poi dogs and a one-eyed cat.
Mandy Finlay, Director of Public Policy
Mandy is passionate about using strategic advocacy to change laws and policies that perpetuate cycles of poverty and inequality. Prior to joining HCAN, Mandy served as the chief lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. Mandy holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She serves on the board of the Hawaii LGBT Legal Association and volunteers as a docent at the Honolulu Zoo. She currently lives in Kakaako with her partner and their two cats.
Jan I'i, Office Manager
Jan brings over 20 years of management in the service industry to Good Beginnings Alliance, along with a passion for working with youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Jan first came to the organization under the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant, planning and running play groups with children and their families at the Institute for Human Services (IHS) houseless shelter. Jan now manages the GBA office, providing support in ensuring smooth everyday operations, including payroll, general accounting support, clerical, and serving as a liaison to the Board of Directors and contractors.
Kristin Osakada, AmeriCorps VISTA, Data & Evaluation Coordinator
Kristin is serving as Data and Evaluation Coordinator VISTA at the Hawaii Children’s Action Network. She relocated from Chicago to Honolulu to serve as a VISTA after finishing her bachelor’s degree in statistics at the University of Illinois. Kristin is interested in analyzing data to create meaningful information about community wellness, as well as improving data quality and accessibility among the community. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and biking around town.
Bruce Broisman, Policy Fellow
Bruce joins HCAN from New England by way of San Francisco, where he studies for his Master’s of Public Policy degree through UMass Dartmouth while also running Saga Educational Services, a tutoring & consulting company. With a decade of experience in fluency, reading comprehension remediation and classroom teaching, he looks forward to advocating for policies that increase access and equity for students. When not working or studying, he can be found reading a book in the woods, searching for great restaurants, or advocating for the queer community.
Shannen Mae Aragon, Communications Intern
Shannen is currently a senior in her last semester at University of Hawaii at Manoa. She will be graduating with her BS in Human Development and Family Studies. She has a part time job at the UH Manoa Children's Center as a student assistant where she enjoys working with children and helping them grow and discover the world around them. Shannen hopes to see a better and brighter future for the children in Hawaii and is prepared to support them while being a part of the HCAN team.