Staff and Board of Directors

Our agency consists of a board of directors, a small professional staff, and a corps of trained, volunteer mediators recruited from the community.

Board of Directors

Anita Giovanna Gherardi – President
Dawn Henry, Esq. – Vice President
Joyce Muktarian – Secretary

Joy Personius
The Honorable Elizabeth A. Strance
Ruth Smith
Niel Thomas

Professional Staff

Eric Paul – Executive Director

Eric joined the WHMC staff in May of 2018. A resident of the Big Island for five years, he brings experience in community development, conflict resolution, and volunteer management. Eric studied nonviolent movements of social change at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Upon graduation, he worked as the Development and Volunteer Manager at a non-profit doing food relief, food development, and food justice work in East Nashville. At this time, he also worked as a peacemaker in Israel/Palestine with Christian Peacemaker Teams. Eric serves as the Coordinator for Justice and Compassion for the Church of the Nazarene in Hawaii, and believes that conflict, when engaged in healthy ways, provides opportunities for individuals and communities to grow together and contribute to the health of our Island and its people.

Gina Agustin – Case Manager

Being a young member of the Waimea community, Gina quickly found a home at the West Hawai’i Mediation Center (WHMC) in 2014. With a background in the judicial system, WHMC seemed like the right fit. As Case Manager, Gina is responsible for conducting intakes for all parties requesting mediation, coordinating mediation dates, assigning mediators and coordinating mediation locations.  Gina also provides assistance to the Executive Director, performing tasks such as preparing reports, Special Projects, marketing and outreach, website design, social media campaigns, coordinating trainings and other gatherings.

Polly Sylvia – Conflict Resolution Coordinator

Polly joined the WHMC staff in October of 2018.  Trained as a sociologist, she brings experience in the nonprofit sector and in higher education.  Polly obtained her doctorate at CUNY Graduate Center where she studied the relationship of the politics of fear to the post-9/11 climate in New York City.  She also studied social inequality at Georgia State University.  She brings experience in conflict studies from a sociological perspective, and experience in fundraising, youth development, and volunteer management in her work with nonprofits.

Jennifer Halley – Bookkeeper

Jennifer Halley has worked in various areas related to financial reporting and bookkeeping since 1985. Prior to moving to Hawai’i Island in 2005 Jennifer had many years of experience in corporate America including a successful career for a leading members-only warehouse corporation in roles that included Executive Assistant to the President, Financial Analyst, Auditor and Corporate Trainer. She has been focusing on bookkeeping since the year 2000 with the last 12 years assisting businesses on the Big Island.