Meet the team
Our hard-working team at HCL gets the job done! We are committed to working with you to make homeownership a reality and sustain homeownership for generations to come.
Housing is a human right, not a privilege for only those who can afford to pay the most. This conviction is what drives Jeff Gilbreath every day as he works to help make housing and living in Hawai‘i more affordable for local people and Native Hawaiians.
As Executive Director of Hawai‘i Community Lending, Jeff directs a team in implementing the strategic objectives of the community loan fund. Back in 2000, working for AmeriCorps in Northern California, Jeff coordinated a countywide mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and came face-to-face with their hardships living on the street. When he made the move to Hawai‘i to work with Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, he realized the even greater need of the Native Hawaiian population.
Jeff joined HCL’s parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets, in 2008, and six years later, Jeff established HCL as a nonprofit community development financial institution. “I believe it is my responsibility to make better wherever I am and call home,” he says, “with an understanding that I am a guest to this place and should be at the service of the native people who have come before me and taught me so much.”
In 2021, Jeff was honored with a Ho‘okele Award from Hawai‘i Community Foundation, recognizing his work as a nonprofit leader working hard to improve the quality of life for Hawai‘i’s people.
Kahau was born and raised in Kāneʻohe and Waimānalo where she makes her home today on Hawaiian Homelands. One of 11 siblings, Kahau is a fourth-generation lessee on Hawaiian Homelands after her great-grandmother received their Waimānalo homestead land in 1939 when she was forced out of the Mokauea fishing village.
A strong Native Hawaiian advocate, Kahau began working for Hawaiian Community Assets in 2013 after she was approached by one of the founders Aunty Blossom to attend Hawaiian Homes Commission contested case hearings to help prevent lease cancellations. She believes that her presence at HCL is her calling from Ke Akua.
Today, with oversight of HCL’s operations, Kahau ensures the needs of staff and community members are met in a timely way. She oversees five managers and 12 staff members administering the organization’s loan fund, Homeowner Assistance Fund, Native Hawaiian Owner-Builder program, and the recently established, Kānaka Anti-Displacement Fund. Still she says: “Working for HCL doesn’t feel like work. I feel fulfilled by contributing to the goals of our lahui.” She finds strength from her kūpuna and is fueled with passion and commitment, seeking economic advancement for all, especially the native Hawaiian communities.
During her off-work hours, she enjoys being with ‘ohana, dancing hula, singing karaoke, going to the beach, playing ‘ukulele and playing the spoons. She credits her parents for inspiring her and teaching her the values that have shaped her personal and professional views on life.
“I follow the values of my ke akua and makua who lead in the fight of rehabilitation and make sure that our identity as native Hawaiians never gets forgotten,” Kahau says. “Aloha kekahi i kekahi, love one another. Lama kākou i ka hauʻoli o haʻi, we will rise together by lifting those around us.”
External Affairs Director
Chanel was born and raised on Oʻahu and currently resides in Anahola Homestead on Kauaʻi with her husband and seven children. Formerly program manager for Hawaiian Community Assets, Chanel is excited to join HCL and brings many innovative ideas and fresh energy.
As director of external affairs, Chanel handles fundraising, marketing, outreach and policy advocacy. She is responsible for connecting with communities to understand the issues and challenges they face when building, buying and savings homes, so that she can help create relationships and coordinate resources to get Hawaiians on the land and to stay there.
“I was drawn to HCL because of the intentional commitment to facilitate positive financial change, particularly within the kānaka ʻōiwi community,” Chanel says. “I’m grateful to be able to share our organization’s moʻomeheu (culture), moʻolelo (story) and kaunu (passion) with communities across Hawaiʻi, partners and investors who believe in the work we do.”
Chanel is inspired in everything she does by the memory of her tūtū kāne, Robert William Kalaihiapo Wilcox (Wilikoki). “He was a fearless kānaka ‘ōiwi advocate who encompassed the spirit of aloha ʻāina – the love of his land, and home.” During her free time, Chanel loves spending time with ʻohana, reading, cooking and dancing hula.
Haarell, a seasoned Finance Director, has a diverse professional background that spans corporate, government, and non-profit sectors. Born in the Philippines and raised on the sunny shores of Oʻahu, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University.
For Haarell, finance is more than just crunching numbers, it’s a powerful tool for positive transformation. As a non-profit Finance Director, he navigates a mission-driven landscape, ensuring donor trust, financial stability, and impactful initiatives that leave a tangible mark on the world, particularly in Hawaii.
His financial expertise seamlessly blends with a deep understanding of the communities he serves. This unique combination enables him to champion fiscal responsibility while advocating for community well-being. Haarell firmly believes that responsible financial management, coupled with an unwavering commitment to social good, are the driving forces behind lasting positive change.
Expressing his perspective, he states, “My role extends beyond numerical considerations. It’s about nurturing a brighter future for the communities we serve, where financial impact transforms into authentic and enduring change.”
Beyond spreadsheets, Haarell discovers joy in trying new dishes and immersing himself in diverse cultures through travel. Finding solace in nature, he takes pleasure in hikes and meaningful moments with his ʻohana. Haarell values and holds dear simple yet diverse experiences on various occasions.
Mortgage Loan Manager
Husband, Father, Papa. Families are Forever.
Mortgage Loan Consultant
Born and raised in Hawai‘i, lives in Kaneohe. I’m committed and dedicated to making Hawaii’s Families dream of homeownership come true.
Mortgage Loan Consultant
Every family’s journey toward homeownership is different, I am blessed to be a small part of their success. The strength of our community is the strength of its people, lets work together toward your goals!
Kailua Kona, HI
Consumer Loan Manager
My mission is to serve our local communities in the best way that I can and ensure that all our local people are taken cared of with all the aloha any one could get.
Loan Servicing Assistant
I have been blessed to join HCL as a Loan Servicing Assistant. I look forward to contribute to the purpose of this program that will benefit the needs of our communities.
Loan Servicing Manager
Humbled to bless others and see dreams come true.
Dedicated to serving our community, while providing the utmost Aloha.
Technical Assistance Manager
As a proud native Hawaiian homeowner on the island of Maui, it is my privilege to help our community members toward their homeownership goals and financial success. Through partnerships and advocacy my goal is to support and empower those around me.
Lani Manuel works mainly in the HCL office site in Kahului, within the Kako‘o Maui Resource Hub at Maui Mall. A single mother of a young daughter, she was a former employee for Aloha Air Cargo. Lani was drawn to work with HCL in order to help native Hawaiian and local families affected by the Maui fire disaster.
Maria Linz is a Leiali‘i homesteader and works mainly in the HCL office site in Lahaina through the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) office. A former massage therapist and operations manager in the hospitality industry, Maria has always been committed to making a positive impact in the lives of those around her. Following the 2018 Lahaina fires, she helped lead disaster relief out of Waiola Church, forming “Team No Sleep” and participating in recovery efforts. A mother of three boys and a bonus daughter, she has also been a volunteer wish granter with Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i.
Data & Compliance Specialist
Graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kansas State University. I live on the Big Island with my husband and fur babies.
What I value most about my work is that I get to help my team. I feel they are the ones that deal with trying to make a difference in other people’s lives; that’s hard stuff. I value being here to support and assist them so they can do their great work.
Loss Mitigation Specialist
In my professional career, I have worked in Insurance (medical at HMSA), am a licensed property and casualty adjuster and I have my Mortgage Loan Originators license. I have previously worked at a nonprofit as a Disaster Case Manager for the 2018 Kilauea Eruption, and I understand the importance of getting resources to the Hawaiian Community and the urgency to act when peoples’ livelihoods depend on it. Let’s save a home!
Compliance & Reporting Manager
One of my greatest joy’s in life is helping others. It is a blessing for me to make a living doing what brings me joy. I am blessed. I am grateful and I am honored to be here to serve you.
Loss Mitigation Specialist
I love to use my teaching background to help families learn about the homeownership process. I have experience in business, tax and accounting analytics and look forward to helping develop the HAF program at HCL to help as many families as we can to save their homes.
Loss Mitigation Specialist
I am a San Francisco native with over 20+ years in the Mortgage Industry, with a range of experience in sales, underwriting and servicing. I am excited about this journey with Hawaiian Community Lending, where I will be able to make a difference in the community and still follow the career that I love.