CTL Team

Our Leadership Team

The CTL team works every day in classrooms across the state to engage, equip, and empower young leaders for Hawaiʻi.


Katie Chang, Executive Director

CTL Team since 2011

Katie Chang is the Executive Director of the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, and is a proud alumnus of the very first class of CTL Fellows. Since her appointment in 2013, Katie has expanded the CTL from its flagship Fellows program to include the innovative Ambassadors program which offers leadership development directly to Hawaiʻi’s high schools and CTL’s other impactful programs. She is a certified presenter of the nationally-acclaimed Student Leadership Challenge, which is the foundation of the program. Prior to joining the CTL, Katie worked as an advisor for the US/UK Fulbright Commission in London, UK. She also served as an intern in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature and Governor’s Office. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Pepperdine University. She serves on the board for Housing Hawaii’s Future, the Salvation Army and Encounter Church.

April Nakamura, Associate Director

CTL Team since 2012

April Nakamura is the Student Activities Coordinator at President William McKinley High School and the volunteer Associate Director for the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. Born and raised in Kaneohe, she graduated from Castle High School and UH Mānoa. She began her career at Farrington HS, then moved to McKinley where she taught various subjects in Social Studies and other disciplines. She was also actively involved in extracurricular activities, including class/club advisorships and head coach for the Cheerleading Team. April chaired McKinley High School’s 150th Anniversary Committee and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Housing Hawaii's Future.

Joy Yoshida, High School Programs Coordinator

CTL Team since 2019

Joy Yoshida was born and raised in Kaneohe and is a graduate of Hawaii Baptist Academy. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, she returned home to Hawaii where she taught the 4th grade at Windward Nazarene Academy for 15 years. She is actively involved in her church as the Elder for the Middle School and High School ministries as well as a vocalist on the worship team. Joy has a heart to see the youth of Hawaii step into their roles as the leaders of tomorrow by becoming passionate and educated about leading today.

Lahela Manning, Student Leadership Facilitator

CTL Team since 2016

Lahela Manning was born and raised in Honolulu in ‘Alewa Heights, and graduated from Kamehameha School Kapalama campus. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dixie State University in Saint George, Utah and went on to work as a Student affairs advisor for the college. She also worked for the Southwest behavioral health center of Southern Utah, where she learned that her passion was working with youth. While living in the mainland for 10 years, she found a great need for local students from here in Hawaii to learn skills that would help them become confident, independent thinkers who could travel the world and bring their unique aloha spirit to all they meet. Upon arriving home 6 years ago, she found CTL and has been involved as both a student facilitator and volunteer ever since.

Trisha Ramelb, Student Leadership Facilitator & Marketing Coordinator

CTL Team since 2020

Trisha Ramelb was born and raised in Honolulu to Filipino immigrant parents. She is a graduate of McKinley High School, and received her Bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Trisha is an alumnus of the CTL Ambassadors program, Fellows program, and Summer in Hawaiʻi internship program. Her experience in peer advising exploratory freshmen at UH Mānoa fuels her interest in helping students identify their purpose, and providing support to students as they navigate higher education. Trisha is excited to help build stronger and deeper connections with Hawaiʻi's young leaders.

Chaz Mihara, Student Leadership Facilitator

CTL Team since 2021

Chaz Mihara was born in Honolulu, Hawai'i. He was raised in Pearl City and is a proud graduate of Pearl City High School. He received his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. He is passionate about sports and is continuing to chase his dream of becoming a Sports Broadcaster. He also volunteers his time coaching Boys and Girls volleyball at Pearl City High School. As a CTL alumnus of the 2012 Fellows class, he is grateful to be a part of CTL and give back in such a way to inspire and touch the lives of the next great leaders of Hawai'i!

Sue Yoshida, Office Manager

CTL Team since 2022

Sue has lived in Kaneʻohe for most of her life. She is a proud graduate of Castle High School and attended Kapiʻolani Community College. Prior to coming to CTL, she worked at Hawaii Baptist Academy as the Admissions Secretary (Grades 7-12) for 22 years. She attends church at Hope Chapel Koolau. Sue is a blessed mom of three children who are educators in their chosen fields, and a proud grandmother of three amazing grandkids.

John Taira, Student Leadership Facilitator

CTL Team since 2023

John Taira was born and raised in Kalihi Valley and is a proud graduate of Farrington High School. GO GOVS! After earning an accounting degree from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, he worked in banking and commercial finance for over 35-years, reaching senior management. After retirement, he returned to college to earn a teaching certificate and taught business at his alma mater. John has served on numerous boards over the past 30-years, namely Waikiki Rotary Club, Special Education Center of Hawai'i, Hawai'i Agriculture Research Center, Kunia Village Title Holding Company and Palama Settlement. He also coached youth sports for 10-years. John currently serves on the Palama Settlement Scholarship Committee and the UH Foundation Achieve and Earn Mentor Program. John's wife Lori is a retired CPA and they raised two adult sons, an electrical engineer living in Palo Alto and an architect living in Pittsburgh.

Gabe Monceballez, Student Leadership Facilitator

CTL Team since 2023

Gabe Monceballez was born in Honolulu, Hawai'i, but has moved between the islands and the states throughout his life. Gabe graduated from Kalaheo High School and then received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Throughout Gabe’s college career, he has been a coffee lover and has worked at a few different coffee shops. After graduating from college, Gabe wanted to return home and work with the youth. Throughout his school career, he has had many mentors, friends, and support that have helped him grow and become the person he is today due to their impact. As a result, he desires to give back and get involved with the next generation of students and leaders.

Karla Takazono, Vanguard and Website Support

CTL Team since 2023

Karla Takazono was born and raised in Waipio, Hawaii but attended Christian Academy in Moanalua for her high school years. She later graduated from Pacific Rim Christian University with a Bachelor's degree in Pastoral and Christian Counseling and is now helping pastor alongside her husband, Shea Takazono, at Encounter Church Hawaii on the Senior Leadership Team. Karla has a passion for walking alongside the next generation and helping them pursue their calling in life.

Megan Tasaki, Student Leadership Facilitator

CTL Team since 2023

Megan Tasaki was born in Honolulu, Hawai'i, but she has spent the majority of her life residing on the Big Island in Hilo. She completed her education at Waiakea High School and pursued her Bachelor's in Allied Health Sciences at Azusa Pacific University. During her time at Azusa Pacific, Megan actively contributed to the Campus Life team by serving as both an Alpha Leader and Alpha Coordinator, assisting incoming freshmen in their transition to college life. Megan's deep passion for mentoring young adults has grown and flourished over the years. Her ultimate goal is to provide encouragement, guidance, and empowerment to young adults, fostering their self-confidence and leadership skills. Megan aspires to instill in this generation the belief that they can make a change in Hawai'i.

Phyllis Unebasami,

CTL Team since 2023

Phyllis was born and raised in Honolulu and graduated from Maryknoll High School. A long-time educator serving in public and private schools in Hawaii and Oregon, she has been committed to student learning and well-being in her job and community work. Working globally, she serves on a catalyst group for at-risk children, hoping to help preserve childhood for many children experiencing trauma. Locally, she works at the Bishop Museum with a focus on educational partnerships and serves on several boards: Hanalani School, Feeding Hawaii Together/The Pantry, and several education professional organizations. She enjoys working with the CTL team, helping to organize and present data to help inform leaders about the impact and value of the Center for Tomorrowʻs Leaders.

Vanessa Lau,

CTL Team since 2024

Vanessa Lau was born and raised in Honolulu and is a graduate of McKinley High School. Vanessa is enrolled at Kapiolani Community College to earn a Bachelor’s in Business administration. Vanessa was a part of the Ambassador Program and Summer in Hawai’i. Through the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, Vanessa’s character and leadership skills have grown tremendously over the years. Vanessa is passionate about giving back to the community and showing that Gen Z is our future of amazing young leaders.

Melissa Newsham,

CTL Team since 2023

Melissa was born in Tokyo and moved to Hawaii at the age of 9. She is a graduate of Punahou School and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Melissa's journey with CTL began in her junior year of high school when she wrote for the "Raise Your Hand" column. Since then, she has been involved with the Fellows program, Summer in Hawaii, and Vanguard. In addition to her work for CTL, she is a full-time risk management associate at PNC Bank. She lives in Chicago with her husband Sam (but hopes to return to Hawaii someday soon).