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Colleen Cidade

GEM is excited to have Colleen Cidade serve as our Board President!




Kamaile Hopfe

Program Support Technician 

Disability and Communication Access Board




Kamaile serves as the Secretary on the GEM Executive Board. She was born and raised on the Big Island in a  town called Ocean View in Ka‘u. Kamaile graduated from Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus on O'ahu. She obtained an Associate’s in International Business degree from Remington College and received her Bachelor's Degree in Public Administration. 


Kamaile currently works for the Department of Human Services. 


Kamaile’s interest in GEM started when she began her journey at DCAB. She was immediately fascinated by ASL and wanted to learn more in order to effectively communicate with other members of DCAB. Since then, Kamaile has learned basic conversation signs and hopes to continue learning ASL and hopes to continue learning about Deaf culture through schooling and by interacting with members of the Deaf community. 

Kamaile Hopfe
Gerald Isobe

Gerald Isobe

Financial Management Analyst

Naval Health Clinic – Pearl Harbor


Gerald Isobe hopes to bring a skill set to the GEM Board which combines his: 1) passion and love for the game of golf; 2) his work experience in accounting and finance; and 3) his enthusiasm for raising money and cultural awareness for all things Deaf-Related.


Gerald was born profoundly deaf.  Through his parent’s legislative advocacy and the visionary push of motivational teachers, he was one of the first deaf students to be mainstreamed through the public school system in Hawaii.  


When Gerald attended elementary school at Diamond Head School for the Deaf and Blind, sign language was not taught.  The curriculum emphasized oral communication - lip reading and speech communication.  When he mainstreamed to Kahala Elementary in the sixth grade and moved onto Central Intermediate and then to McKinley High School, there were no sign language interpreters, only volunteer note takers - a critical void which spurred Gerald’s interest and life-long commitment to teaching sign language and raising deaf awareness within the hearing population.   Gerald taught American and Japanese sign language in Hawaii and Okinawa for over 30 years through the DOE’s continuing education program.


Living by his motto, that he must “try 3 times harder”, Gerald graduated from McKinley in 1971 at the top third of his Class.  His rank, 299 out of 801 students.  In 1999, he was humbled to be inducted into McKinley High School’s Hall of Honor.

Significantly, Gerald first learned “total communication” sign language in his first year of college at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), affiliated with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York.  Gerald graduated from RIT College of Business in 1976, with a degree in accounting.  In 1988, Gerald was named RIT Distinguished Alumnus of NTID.

In college, Gerald played for RIT golf team, in all four years, qualifying in NCAA Division II & III Championships three (3) times.  As a junior, he was named to the NCAA Division III All-American 6-man Third Team.  As a senior, he received NTID Award for Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year.  In 2001, Gerald was inducted into RIT Sports Hall of Fame.


Gerald has worked for the Department of Defense (DoD) for 38 years, as an accountant, supervisory accountant and a financial management analyst.  In 2003, Gerald was recognized for being one of several Outstanding DoD Employees with Disabilities, in Washington D.C.  


Golf has opened doors for Gerald and allowed him to give back to the community.  He served as the head coach of Punahou School’s Junior Varsity Golf Boy and Girl Teams for 12 years (1992-2004) leading them to victories and raising student awareness about the deaf and hearing impaired.  He has been a regular participant in the National and World Deaf Golf Tournaments (WDGC).  In 1982, he placed first in the inaugural national deaf championship in Connecticut.  Since then, he has flown more than 170,000 miles to compete in qualifying tournaments in the Continental U.S. and throughout the world including South Africa, Ireland, Sweden, Japan, and Denmark, representing the U.S.A. team.  July 2018 will mark the ninth (9) time he will compete in the bi-annual WDGC, which will be held in Ireland.  In 2015, Gerald was inducted into the United States Deaf Golf Association (USDGA) Hall of Fame.


In the past, Gerald has served as a board member, treasurer, and golf fundraiser for the Hawaii Service on Deafness (HSOD) and the Aloha State Association (ASAD).  He has served as GEM’s Treasurer since July 2016.  It is his goal to serve as a role model and mentor to the deaf and hearing impaired community and to improve the lives of our deaf keiki and kupuna by working toward improving the quality of their education, employment opportunities and social/cultural inclusion.

Karl Mikasa

Karl Mikasa
Management Assistant
United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation


As a management assistant at the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation, Karl creates and develops web based tools/applications for the office. He also maintains the office computer user access for all incoming/outgoing employees.  In addition, Karl administers and provides technical assistance to other branches throughout the Pacific:  Hawaii, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Pohnpei and Palau. 


Karl was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. During his spare time he enjoys fishing, spear diving, hunting and traveling.


Karl joined the GEM Board because his parents are deaf.  He remembers how there were no programs and services for his parents while growing up, and seeing his parents frustrated is what motivated him to join GEM.  It is through Karl’s part time job with Sorenson Communications that he has met many deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals statewide with the same frustrations as his parents. Karl’s goal is to use GEM as a resource to address these community concerns and assist in developing statewide programs and services.

Other Members of GEM 

Suzanne Chun Oakland
Florence Rapozo


Kaim Seminara
Anela Poeoe
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