The Lei Company Cooperative, Inc Story
The Lei Company’s mission is to provide a year-round and environmentally conscious avenue to purchase leis for sacred, celebratory and bereavement occasions. We steward and evolve the craft of lei making, cultivate and support lei makers, and provide business ownership opportunities, training and employment to the Pasifika – Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian community. We are locally rooted yet have a continuously growing global reach with fair trade partnerships with artisans in Fiji and the Federated States of Micronesia. Our theory of change is simple: Reclaim the Sacredness of lei -- Spread our values of giving, reciprocity and environmental regeneration through lei -- Alleviate cyclical poverty through the sale of lei.
Tiffany Rose Naputi Lacsado
Founder & CEO
Tiffany Rose Naputi Lacsado is a daughter of Guam and started making lei in middle school. She is pursuing an Integral MBA in Creative and Regenerative Enterprise from Meridian University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Change & Activism with an emphasis on Social Entrepreneurship from New College of California. She resides in Oakland, California and is a mom of 3 children six and under. She has founded technology and agricultural micro-lending social enterprises internationally in Calapan City and Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. Her holding company the Tiffany Lacsado Companies also includes 2 other startups -The Rancho Las Lacsado Retreat Center in Yucca Arizona and The Kula Exchange, a company that aims to cultivate the business education methodologies, technological, and logistical solutions for artisans from island nations to increase their GDP by participating in the diaspora and global export art market.
Founding Cooperative Member
Daughter of Tonga and Samoa. Mom of 5. Founding Cooperative Member. A new minted lei maker who cares about continuing the indigenous art of lei. Fipe received her Associate of Science in Medical Assisting is 2010 and an Associates of Arts degree in 2011 from Heald College. Fipe is planning on using her experience as a cooperative business owner to open a Pasifika community health center. Fipe is a lifelong learner and is passionate about learning and contributing to her Pasifika and Oakland/Bay Area communities.
Founding Lei Maker
Daughter of Samoa, first time mom and founding lei maker, Leilua started making leis when she was in high school. She usually made leis for loved ones on special occasions to show her love, appreciation and support. She is a student in the Critical Pacific Islands studies program at City College of San Francisco. She is passionate about keeping culture alive for future generations to understand Polynesian peoples and culture and to also understand how far they've come as a people. She believes Polynesian culture is such a rich culture that she enjoys sharing with the world and is proud to be a part of endeavors that allow her to do so.
Founding Lei Maker
Daugter of Samoa. Aunt of 10 and founding lei maker. Sala has been making lei since she started her career in Polynesian dance at the age of 8. Sala serves as The Lei Company's production manager and leads the charge of developing new products and designs for our upcoming launch into the funeral and wedding floral industries. She is a student in the Critical Pacific Islander Studies at City College of San Francisco and is also the lead choreographer and instructor at Le Ala Polynesian Dance Company. Sala is passionate about her family and helping out Pacific Islander high school and college clubs across the Bay Area with her choreography.
Founding Lei Maker
Daughter of Samoa, grandmother of 10 and founding lei maker. Auntie Lenna (as we call her) has been making lei her whole life. Auntie Lenna serves as a kulture keeper and advisor to the cooperative. Auntie Lenna is a newly minted student in the Critical Pacific Islander Studies at City College of San Francisco and is also the owner and artistic director of the Award Winning Le Ala Polynesian Dance Company. Auntie Lenna is passionate about creating opportunities for Pasifika families to flourish and is committed to training low-income Pasifika youth in Polynesian dance and ensuring them the opportunity to compete in Polynesian dance competitions where they are often the minority.
Founding Lei Maker
Son of the Kingdom of Hawai'i and a newly minted lei maker. Ray is passionate about composing original Hawai'ian music and advocating for the rights of the visually impaired.
Kristin has over 20 years of experience in strategic marketing management, analysis, and brand development. Having held senior level positions in marketing, and operations with a focus in building digital and social media engagement for Citizens Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield, she is currently the Marketing Manager for Brookline Bank in Boston, MA.
Kristin has a BS from Lesley College in Cambridge, MA and lives with her family in Boston, MA. and enjoys reading a good book on the beach in her downtime.
Advisor, Culture Keeper
Manumalo “Malo” Ala’ilima came to Portland, Oregon three years ago from the San Francisco Bay area and is a Samoan American butch lesbian or “fa’afatama”/“fa’atama”/”fa’atamaloa”, Samoan for “in the manner of a male” and uses all pronouns. Malo is a new board member for the Q Center, which provides a safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, equity, visibility and community building. Malo has been involved with APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) for nearly two years and is currently serving on their Board Nominating and Development Committee. Malo also is a member of the Pacific Islander Coalition, which is a culturally specific advisory board for the Multnomah County Health Department. Malo recently founded and is the chair for U.T.O.P.I.A. PDX (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance Portland), which provides sacred spaces for QTPIs – Queer and Transgender Pacific Islanders – through community organizing, political engagement and cultural stewardship. She is also a board member for U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle. Malo was educated at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California and majored in Political Science and Public Policy and Management and has worked for the American Red Cross for over a decade and has worked in various departments and geographically regions. Malo currently works for their West Division Quality Assurance team in Portland. When Malo’s not busy trying to save the world, she enjoys spending time with her girlfriend, visiting family, singing karaoke, and being a foodie around town.
Dr. Raquel Pinderhughes, PhD
Advisor, Ecology & Cooperative Development
Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D. is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University and the Founder and Executive Director of Roots of Success. An internationally recognized expert on green jobs, green jobs training and environmental literacy, Raquel has decades of experience working with incarcerated, low-literacy and first-time college populations. Her Green Job Training Model was used to form the Oakland Green Job Corps and inform the Obama Administration’s Pathways out of Poverty Initiative funded with ARRA funds.
Corey S. Dishmon, JD
Director, Legal & Human Resources
Corey ‘S’ Dishmon is Head of Legal and Business Development for Molecular Diagnostics at Siemens Healthineers. Prior to Siemens, Corey worked in-house at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as Assistant General Counsel, and at Monogram Biosciences/LabCorp as Senior Attorney, where she headed Legal and HR. She has also held firm positions as Transactional Associate Attorney and Mergers & Acquisitions Associate. Corey received her Juris Doctorate from UC Berkeley, School of Law. Her hobbies include running, cycling and urban farming.
Jenny Kassan, JD
Advisor, Investment Strategy
Jenny has over two decades of experience as an attorney and advisor for mission-driven enterprises. She has helped her clients raise millions of dollars from values-aligned investors and raised over $1 million for her own businesses. Jenny is certified as a coach by the International Association of Women in Coaching.
She is the author of Raise Capital on Your Own Terms: How to Fund Your Business without Selling Your Soul (Berrett-Koehler, October 2017).
Jenny earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.
She served on the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies. She submitted the petition to the SEC that led to the passage of the 2012 JOBS Act and was present at the White House signing ceremony.
Jenny is also a fellow at Democracy Collaborative and the co-founder of the Force for Good Fund.
Before becoming a securities lawyer, Jenny worked for eleven years at a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.
Jenny is the President of Community Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and social development of communities. She also co-founded the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal information to support sustainable economies.
Jenny served as a director of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. She is a member of the Content Advisory Panel of Conscious Company Magazine and serves on the advisory boards of Lioness Magazine and Investibule.