Liza is Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) and was born in Hawaiʻi and raised on the island of Oʻahu. In her work, she is deeply committed to indigenous Hawaiian issues, social justice for all people, and creating spaces that cultivate anti-colonialism and equity. She is a writer, scholar, activist, and solopreneur.
As the Director of Cultural Transformation at Planet Women, Liza leads the organization’s efforts to teach conservation practitioners how to align with their deepest values to promote anti-oppression and anti-racism in their organizations, teams, and communities. In her work she is also deeply committed to women’s leadership, empowerment, and healing.
Liza’s educational background and training is interdisciplinary and feminist. She earned a BA in Psychology and two minors in Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and a PhD in American Studies from New York University. Her research focuses on ways that Native Hawaiians navigate histories of colonialism through contemporary economies, expressive art, and sites of decolonization.
Before Liza joined Planet Women, she received numerous awards for her scholarly contributions. She also received funding for her writing as a Mellon-Hawaiʻi Doctoral Fellow and three years as a University of California Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Ethnic Studies department.
In addition to her scholarly work, Liza is the owner and founder of The Wailani Project – a coaching business that teaches women to trust their inner guidance through the unknowns of career change and life transition to create a new path of greater social impact and deeper meaning.
Liza lives in the coastal community of Pacifica in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner, their two daughters, and their little Terrier named Hokulani.