Wanatoshia (Toshia) Everage, Child Policy Fellow
Toshia Everage is a 22-year Air Force retiree, currently pursuing her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Toshia is a recent graduate of the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) which focused on parents and community leaders advocating for children. Toshia is passionate about ensuring children have access to quality education from birth to high school regardless of their socioeconomic status and advocating for social justice for individuals from marginalized or oppressed populations. She joins HCAN as an MSW intern, with a primary focus on the PLTI alumni program, and early childhood education. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, volunteering, and spending time with family. Toshia is originally from Terrell, TX.
Mike Fahey, Senior Community Engagement Specialist
Mike has over 40 years of experience as an early childhood education/special education teacher and administrator. In Hawai`i, his career has spanned 40 years from Pali Preschool, United Cerebral Palsy Association to the Department of Education (DOE) at Waialai, 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 of the State of Hawai`i 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 HCAN 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.
Jan I'i, Office Manager
Jan brings over 20 years of management in the service industry to HCAN, 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 playgroups 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.
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 was a Vice President 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 and has served on several local boards. In addition to her passion for children, Angie is an animal lover and has rescued two dogs and a one-eyed cat.
Laura Nevitt, Director of Public Policy
Laura brings 20+ years of organizing in both the electoral and issue advocacy worlds. She has a Master’s Degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies/Political Science from Metropolitan State University.
She has worked with Healthcare workers in Michigan to engage them in the political process, advocated and educated for Clean Energy in Louisiana, was the Political Director for a Labor Union in Washington State and most recently, was the Executive Director for the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In her spare time, she likes to hike, take photos, read, swim and run along Waikiki’s beaches. She is joined by her husband of 32 years who recently retired.
Emily Nip, Community Engagement Coordinator
Emily is serving as a Community Engagement Coordinator through the Americorps VISTA program. She is engaging in community outreach, volunteer engagement, and fundraising efforts at HCAN. She recently graduated from Wellesley College where she studied Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she interned at the Center for Addiction Medicine in Boston and helped mentor students through an after-school program. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking and reading. Emily is originally from Houston, TX.
Jordan Smith, Data & Policy Coordinator
Jordan is a recent graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in International Health and originally from Saint Louis, Missouri. Jordan is passionate about collecting data and stories from community members in order to advocate on their behalf and help mobilize communities to advocate for themselves. She joins HCAN as an AmeriCorps VISTA working on data, policy, and community engagement. In her free time, Jordan enjoys fostering abandoned cats, laying at the beach, and traveling.
Deborah Zysman, MPH Executive Director
Deborah provides overall leadership at HCAN and works with the Board of Directors and community partners to improve the lives of children. Deborah previously served as Executive Director of Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawaii from 2003 to 2012. The non-profit advanced Hawaii’s smoke-free workplace and tax laws and achieved a substantial decrease in smoking rates.
She has a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her work has spanned chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse prevention, women’s health, and community health. Her work has focused on public policy, advocacy, organizational capacity building, and developing community coalitions.
Deborah is a Weinberg Fellow and the winner of the 2017 AIM for Excellence in Nonprofit Management award. Deborah and was named one of Hawaii’s “Forty Under 40” by Pacific Business News and she is the past board President of Hawaii Public Health Association and the Junior League of Honolulu.
In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, reading and going to the beach with her long-time partner and their two young children.