Board of Director and
Candidates for Secretary
Coralee Chin, MSW, LSW
Housing Supervisor at Kalihi-Palama Health Center - Health Care for the Homeless Project (2014-present)
Field Instructor - Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) BSW Program (2015-present)
Awareness Committee Member - Partners in Care - Oahu's Continuum of Care (2010-present); Chair (2014-2015)
HPU Graduate Masters in Social Work Program (2008)
NASW Member since 2008
I have always believed in the resilience of the human spirit to overcome seemingly impossible odds. From having experienced uncertainty in my early life, I am truly honored to be considered alongside the same set of individuals without whom I would be the person I am today. As change agents, we have a unique duty and opportunity to not only provide direction and resources, but to also inspire and influence the future of our profession. My values are deeply rooted in education and sustainability. These are the qualities that I would bring to the Secretary position, if elected. I am very encouraged by the direction the Hawaii Chapter has been moving toward and would like to do my part to support the further growth and development of our professional organization.
Estarla Mondragon, LBSW
Employed at UHC since Jan 2013 as a Field Service Coordinator; year one I worked with the aged, blind, and disabled (ABD) as well as non ABD members, year two my focus was on members with special health care needs, and the third year (to date) I work with members with complex needs. Two of those years, at UHC, I served on the local employee engagement team targeting both internal employee engagment and external community engagement. I joined NASW Hawaii Chapter in mid 2016, shortly thereafter I was appointed as interm secretary and I am an active volunteer for the ASK Campaign. In 2010 I graduated with honors, followed by an internship and two subsequent contracts (i.e. identification of service gaps and benefit enrollment) at the Governors Office of Economic Opportunities in West Virginia. Afterwards, I took a position as a Social Services Supervisor for a 120 bed nursing home.
I am dedicated to promoting both the core value of the NASW and the community of social workers it serves. With a deep passion for both the profession and the individuals/community we serve, I aim to continue to strive for collective equality, focusing on both compassionate and informed care, as well as closing identified gaps.
Candidates for Member at Large:
Palama Lee, PhD, LCSW
Palama works for the Lili‘uokalani Trust, a benevolent Trust established by Queen Lili‘uokalani to benefit orphaned and economically-disadvantaged Hawaiian children. His areas of experience include community-based mental health, outpatient substance abuse treatment, Native Hawaiian health, organizational and workforce development, and research and evaluation. He is honored to have learned from kūpuna Lilia Hale, Malia Craver, Ulu Garmon, and Betty Jenkins. He serves on No Ke Ola Pono o Nā Kāne, an initiative to improve the health of Hawaiian men; the Joyful Heart Foundation’s Hawai‘i Advisory Committee; the Consuelo Foundation Hawai‘i Community Leaders; and the Hawai‘i Culturally Responsive Evaluation Association. Pālama’s dissertation focused on the implementation of Hawaiian cultural practices and haumāna or client recovery at Kū Aloha Ola Mau’s outpatient program, Hui Ho‘ōla O Nā Nahulu O Hawai‘i.
Palama was the past president of NASW HI and with a committee of NASW colleagues served to move forward the national policy on Health and Sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples which provided National NASW the first policy to speak from in advocating for federal policies specifically related to indigenous peoples. He believes both national and local associations have a responsibility to promote the welfare of citizens as well as being respondent to the needs of its members. To this end and given the changing political landscape, Palama is committed to effectuate changes that safeguard the human rights of all people especially the disenfranchised, and to increase NASW HI's responsiveness to its members.
Wilfred Lee, MSW, LCSW
I am currently the Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs and help blind and severely visually impaired veterans and their families adjust to vision loss. I have been active with the California Chapter of NASW since 2001, when I served as a social work intern and organized a local conference for social work students. Subsequently, I have assisted with their annual state conferences, spearheaded the formation of the New Professionals Network-Los Angeles, a group dedicated to supporting new social workers entering the field by organizing networking events, educational conferences, and various professional development activities. Finally, I also served on the Ethics Committee. In my career, I have worked in social work education, community mental health, child custody mediation, and medical social work. I received my Master of Social Work from the USC School of Social Work in 2002.
I have returned to Hawaii after 17 years and practicing social work for 15 years in California. After having been active with the California Chapter for the past 16 years, I hope to bring my knowledge and contribute the same energy and commitment to the Hawaii Chapter. I am passionate about the field and I want to find ways to develop it. I am committed to the work that we do for others and I want to support our social workers in their pursuits. It is good to be home and I am really looking forward to serving the Hawaii Chapter.
Lauren Wilson, MSW, LCSW
Aloha, I earned my MSW from the UH Distance Education Program and have been a member of NASW since 2008. I joined the NASW HI Board in 2015 as a Member at Large and have served as the Legislative Committee Co-Chair. I currently work as a clinical social worker in private practice working with children and families and lecture for the UH School of Social Work, Manoa Outreach and Maui College.
It's been my pleasure to work with NASW-HI as the Legislative Committee Co-Chair ensuring that Social Worker voices are heard at the Capitol. It was an important success passing legislation that allows supervision for licensure via video. Given the opportunity my intention is to continue working to increase our presence and advocacy on behalf of our profession and vulnerable populations we serve. I would also like to work towards increasing membership engagement with the legislative process by inviting participation and providing regular updates on bills being watched and supported. Our voice can be made stronger when many speak together.
Maui Branch Representative Candidates:
Michelle PonTell, MSW, LCSW
I have been a practicing professional on Maui for 4 years, having moved here from Oahu in 2013. I am currently a Hospice Social Worker for Hospice Maui, and also work with children/adolescents/families in crisis as a contract Therapist with Aloha House where I have covered both Maui and Lana'i. In these, and previous roles, I interface and partner with multiple agencies, including the Department of Education, Department of Health, Maui Memorial Medical Center, The court system, police departments,Veteran's Administration, Office of Aging, as well as multiple private and non-profit agencies. Prior to my current role, I was a Behavioral Health Specialist covering mental health needs of keiki and adolescents, and was housed at Lahainaluna High School. I also have a private practice, and specialize in Trauma with additional training in Somatic Experiencing and Hypnosis. I believe my varied experience and connections would be beneficial as a Maui Branch Representative.
As mentioned in my Biographical Statement, in my professional life here on Maui, I have had the opportunity to be very connected with many public and private agencies and institutions, as well as having strong and positive professional relationships with fellow Social Workers throughout the county of Maui, including the island of Lana'i. I am committed to the importance of outer islands being well represented, and keeping strong and consistent communication between Maui and the state headquarter on Oahu. I believe my writing ability, my flexible schedule and ability to travel to meetings, if needed, as well as my undergraduate degree in Communications/Marketing/Public Relations makes me particularly qualified as a board member/liaison. I have served on multiple boards in my past, including United Way, and international organizations such as World Vision. Thank you for your consideration and for an opportunity to serve.
Meghan Walles, MSW, LCSW
Meghan Walles, LCSW has been practicing social work on Maui since 2015 after transitioning from Oahu. Meghan is the owner operator of Walles Wellness and a contracted provider with Maui Counseling Group. Meghan has a wide variety of post grad work starting as a Legal Guardian for Jewish Family Services in Palm Beach, FL prior to transitioning to the Hawaiian Islands. On Oahu, Meghan provided Community Care Services through CARE Hawaii to individuals with SPMI and SMI. In 2015, Meghan transitioned to Maui where she provided Crisis Services through the Crisis Line Hawaii and Intensive In Home Family Therapy with Aloha House. Currently, Meghan is in private practice. Meghan has been a member with NASW since 2011 and has actively participated with programs throughout the islands. Meghan is an advocate for suicide awareness and prevention. Meghan is certified in Gerontology, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and ASIST.
In applying for Maui Branch Representative, my hope is to connect, encourage, and inspire social workers of Maui County. We on Maui, have a wide spectrum of workers from developing practitioners through UH Maui looking for next steps; to seasoned veterans looking to recalibrate their careers as they transition their interests and scale of work. My hope is to fuse these brilliant minds and committed workers to provide a higher caliber of social work opportunities and services here in Maui County. We have a unique situation having three very diverse islands. Moloka’i and Lanai have culturally rich, passionate, and dedicated workers who would also benefit from licensure opportunities and trainings. My hope in being given an opportunity to represent Maui County through NASW, is that we can together accomplish connection, engagement, and most importantly continual learning from one another. Mahalo nui loa for all of your time and consideration.
Committee Member for the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification Candidates:
Jessica Garlock, MSW, LSW
My first involvement with NASW was during my Bachelor's program at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have continued to be involved with NASW and the profession in a variety of ways since that time. Together with Robin Arndt, the current President, we started what became the "Social Work Social Hour" in an attempt to gather social workers in an informal way to talk about current events in a fun way. Most recently, I served on the Conference Committee for NASW Hawai'i.
I have lived in Hawai'i since 2003 after serving in the Peace Corps in Independent Samoa. I have worked in the public and private sector and in Higher Education. I am currently a lecturer at HPU School of Social Work where I teach a variety of courses.
I am involved with a variety of other organizations on Oahu including Hands in Helping Out and KEY Project.
I believe my history of affiliation with NASW and my work done with current and past Executive Directors and Presidents speaks to my commitment to NASW Hawai'i and the profession. Participating on the Nominations and Leadership Committee will allow me to help highlight our profession and the great work that Social Workers do. My networks in the public and private sectors are in part due to my community involvement, as well as my experience at both UH and HPU's schools of social work. I have been privileged to teach many social work students over the past 12 years. Social workers serving our communities need to be engaged more than ever, and recognized more than ever, so that the public can understand what kind of impact we have on a daily basis.