Skip to main content

Employer Bios

Jake Hsu
Duke Kunshan University

Jake Hsu has 10+ years of university teaching experience, at five universities in three countries. He has held roles as director, professor, language instructor, international coordinator, technology and assessment, employer relations, and career advisor. For the last eight years he has worked in career services, engaging local and global professionals to transfer valuable industry and work life insights to lifelong learners. Currently he serves as Senior Manager of Career Services at Duke Kunshan University. Jake received his Masters of Public Administration from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University
Bruce Taimana
Amazon

Bruce is from Auckland, New Zealand, youngest son of Maurice Taimana and Amy Taimana (nee Keung). He attended Bucklands Beach Primary and Intermediate and graduated from MacLeans College. After serving a mission in Australia Perth, he attended and graduated from Brigham Young University–Hawaii Campus from 1996 to 1999 with a BS in Information Systems with an emphasis in Computer Programming. During his time, he worked at the PCC as a sound engineer and on BYUH campus as a lab technician, lab supervisor, and a teacher aid. He also was a founding member of SIFE (now Enactus) under the direction of Denise Woodbury. Upon graduation, he worked for Microsoft Corporation for 15 years in various positions from customer support, Software Developer Engineer in Test, Software Developer Engineer, and Program Manager working on a variety of products from Visual Studio, SQL Server, and machine learning cloud offerings. He took a job at Amazon.com LLC, where he is currently a Software Developer Manager managing a team of developers working on a variety of internal products.
Will Tukuafu
ProBio Group

NFL veteran Will Tukuafu has played in 12 NFL playoff games - including 2 Super Bowls and 4 NFC Championships. Recorded as the only player in NFL history to have played all three-phases (i.e. offense, defense and special teams) in a Super Bowl. It has been said that Will specializes in specialization. Today, Will serves as President of ProBio Group, a comprehensive white-label CBD manufacturing solution. His ability to accurately assess the challenges in front of him and quickly adapt in ever-changing circumstances has provided a solid foundation needed to excel in today’s health and wellness market. By combining his athletic experience with his passion for well-being and natural healing, Will Tukuafu’s new focus will do more than lift a team, it will advance a movement.
Ash Puriri
Manukau Institute of Technology

Academically, Doctor Ash Puriri graduated from the University of Waikato and completed a PhD, which was a doctorate that has broken new ground in business research and has four degrees of distinction including a double Masters with Honours. Dr Puriri’s PhD is an absolute first in terms of exercising an emancipated indigenous methodology. Dr Ash Puriri hails from, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rongomai-Wahine, Ngati Rakaipaka, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Porou and Ngai Tuhoe, and is a veteran of the cruise ship industry and tourism with over 25 years global industry experience he still manages all the Oceania cultural folkloric shows on the cruise ships covering throughout the South Pacific which employs over 225 performers on the cruise ships.

Dr Puriri also is a direct consultant to Indigenous economic development including
Government and Political leaders in New Zealand and Internationally. Dr Puriri Recently, I
completed a contract providing a senior executive role as KaiĀrahi Ako (Māori & Pacific
Academic Lead) at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), which required providing
academic cultural expert leadership, advice, academic assessment and quality monitoring
across a broad range of academic and education vocational training deliverables across all
of the campuses of MIT. The role at MIT drew on my skills to provide integral support to
both the Marae Team and the Deputy Chief Executive Māori regarding both academic,
operational, planning and Koomiti management as well as delivering Tikanga Māori with
an emphasis in Kiingitanga which included providing both a service as an advisor and
experienced cultural leader. I have extensive knowledge and experience gained from the
University of Waikato.

I have been the Advisor Māori to the Dean of the School of Management and led as senior
lecture and developed and composed both teaching curriculum and moderation rubric
analyses with the department of Tourism & Hospitality in the school of Management. In
addition to my PhD, I also studied my MBA at The University of Auckland and also
graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma of Business Administration, with a focus on
accounting and finance, New Venture Management and Property Management Human
Resources and Strategy. I am a seasoned academic and educator who has established
excellent working relationships with a high-level scale.

As an experienced business Management Specialist, who is dedicated to developing
effective strategies, which included communicating and applying the plan throughout the
organisation, to help the business reach and engage targeted audiences, goals and
business potentials. I have published in a number of reputable academic management
books, journals and have spoken as a key-note speaker on diverse themes relating to
Indigenous research methodologies, theoretical modelling and business development.
Piltz Napa
Self Employed Managing Director
Avarua, Rarotonga

Piltz has had a vast experience in the private sector in the Cook Islands. Over 30 years as Manager of a variety of business in retail shops to cinema, soft drink manufacturer and accommodation (private owned and family business). He also had a short time in the public sector - 5 years as the Chairman of the Board for the only Electrical Power provider on Rarotonga TAU(Te Aponga Uira Tumutevarovaro). And 3 years as a Trade and Business Manager for the BTIB (Business Trade Investment Board of the Cook Islands). He attended BYU–Hawaii in 1984 to 1987 majoring in Business Information and returned home and married Tarani Napa and they have 6 children. He also completed his Masters in Business - MBA from USP (University of the South Pacific).

"I enjoyed having the desire and courage to taking risk. Business is about bringing ideas into fruition, having that simple vision then making it happen. I have taught my children this same passion and have during my tenure at BTIB shared this value to other small entrepreneurs"

He is currently District President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6 years and formerly Branch Presidents for over 10 years. And is the BYU–Hawaii facilitator in the Cook Islands for the last 15 years.
Michael Ligaliga
Otago University

Michael completed his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University–Hawaii in 2010 where he completed a bachelors in Political Science and International Peace building. In 2012, through the University of Otago Pacific Islands MA scholarship, Dr Ligaliga completed both his Post Graduate Diploma and MA from the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. He then moved back to Hawaii where he taught for two years at BYU–Hawaii at the David O. McKay Centre for Intercultural Understanding. During that time, he also worked as the Interim Director for the David O. McKay Centre. In 2015, Michael was awarded the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust (PADET) PhD scholarship and in doing so returned to NCPACS to begin his PhD. In 2018, through the University of Otago Pacific Islands PhD scholarship, Michael graduated with a successful PhD submission where his thesis was awarded an exceptional thesis award. He is the first Pacific Islander to graduate with a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from NCPACS. Dr. Michael Ligaliga holds the title of Vaivaimalemalo from the village of Saleimoa. He is married to Faalima and have two children Joanie and Leachcim.
Lianna Kinard
Buckner

Lianna Kinard is Vice President of Marketing for the Buckner Company, an insurance broker located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lianna is a graduate of the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business, where she received a BA in Marketing. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Liberal Arts in General Management from Harvard University.
Lianna began her marketing career at KUED Channel 7, PBS affiliate. Shortly after, she became Marketing Manager for Utah Disaster Kleenup, the largest restoration firm in Utah. She managed all public safety fire officials in the state as well as over 300 independent and captive insurance agencies throughout Utah. She developed the largest fire department contract with the two largest agencies in Utah, making it the most profitable arm of their business. From there, she moved to Utah Business Insurance Company (UBIC) to serve as Vice President of Marketing. Advancing in her career, she managed 190 appointed agencies throughout Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Her time there was invaluable, helping the firm experience double-digit growth for three consecutive years. Buckner, who was a current client of UBIC, offered her Vice President of Marketing in 2016. Lianna manages the firm’s brand communications and marketing strategy for six offices. She has been instrumental in their rebrand and, while at Buckner, helped them jump 23 spots on the national insurance broker listing within two years of joining the agency.

Lianna is passionate about education and giving back to the community. She currently serves on three advisory boards. She is Chairman of the Board for the David Eccles School of Business Alumni Board, on the Board of Trustees for Hale Centre Theatre, and serves as Vice Chair for Utah Polynesian Professionals Board of Directors. She has previously held committee positions for the following organizations: Thanksgiving Point, Loveland Living Aquarium, American Red Cross Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter, National Fallen Firefighters, Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents, University of Utah Children’s Burn Camp and Kid’s Chance of Utah.

Her awards include the National Association of Insurance Professionals Rookie of the Year (2010), Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents Company Person of the Year (2013), Insurance Business America Elite Women in Insurance (2018), Utah Business Magazine’s Sales & Marketer of the Year (2019) and most recently, the David Eccles School of Business Rising Star Award (2019).

In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with her two small children, Khloe and Crew. Born and raised in Mililani, Hawaii, she travels home often to be near the ocean.
Sione Havili
DOMO

Sione Havili is a Sr. Enterprise Account Executive at Domo Inc in American Fork, Utah where he works with some of their largest Fortune 500 customers. Previous to Domo he worked at Mixpanel in San Francisco, CA and Adobe Systems in Lehi, Utah.
He’s active Board Member of the Utah Polynesian Professionals and is passionate about helping other Pacific Islanders, women, and anyone else of diversity land break-through job opportunities in the Technology industry. He’s also an advocate in helping convicted felons find meaningful 2nd chance employment opportunities in the workplace. He speaks to youth groups often across the country to share his unique life story and is in the process of writing an autobiography titled, “From a Mormon Mission to Maximum Security”.
Sione, whose parents originate from the Kingdom of Tonga, was born and raised in Glendale, Utah and is the oldest of 8 kids. His father Tevita Havili, recently retired after driving the City & School Bus for 38 years. His mother Elva Kinikini served as the CEO of the Havili household. Sione earned an Associate’s Degree from El Camino Community College in Torrance, CA before transferring to Texas Tech University where he played football and graduated as an honor student with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Mele Kioa, they have 5 beautiful kids, and currently reside in Sandy, Utah.
Rick Tolman
Pluralsight

Rick Tolman is the Vice President of Global Demand at Pluralsight and a digital transformation executive with 18 years of progressive experience working for companies including Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Domo, CNN, eBay, Ancestry, and Sun Microsystems. He is a proud Maori from the Ngati Toa tribe, a graduate of Brigham Young University, an investor, board member, and a philanthropic cultural leader focused on building pathway programs for Polynesians and under-represented minorities to enter and develop careers in technology. Rick is a founding leader of the Asia Pacific Career Conference bringing representation from companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Twitter, Ancestry, Xant, Domo, Pluralsight and other notable tech firms to build pathway programs with students and cultural leaders.