Celebrating Our Leadership
Announcing the Appointment of Executive Director and Introducing New Board Members
Announcing the Appointment of Executive Director
The Donkey Mill Art Center is proud to announce changes to its executive leadership both on staff and the Board of Directors. On March 28, 2023, the Board unanimously voted to appoint Ashley Raymond as Executive Director. As an artist and arts administrator Ashley has dedicated her career to the arts and holds a deep passion and love for the Donkey Mill, its history, community and culture. She has diligently served as Interim Executive Director since August of 2022 and before that as the Mill’s Operations Director since 2018.
Ashley has been a part of the Donkey Mill staff for nearly seven years and has a true talent for nonprofit business operations, finance, marketing and visual communications. During her tenure, she has continued to improve critical administrative, HR and financial processes in order to build a strong organizational infrastructure.
With her education and experience in graphic communications, Ashley has been instrumental in the establishment and growth of the Donkey Mill brand, new website and overall marketing plan. More recently, she maintains momentum in multiple strategic plan initiatives, including the development of a master campus plan alongside board level committees.
“I’m incredibly honored to accept this position and thank the Board of Directors for the distinction. It continues to be such an exciting time for the Mill and I look forward to working with our dedicated staff and board to further position the Mill as a regional leader in arts education and continue our legacy for years to come.” says Executive Director Ashley Raymond.
Board of Directors
The Donkey Mill’s Board of Directors continues to evolve and strengthen. Natasha Ala was elected as President of the Board in 2022, Eric Ziemelis took the role of Vice President in 2023 and the Mill heartily welcomed two new board members this year: Meetu Kelen and Ihilani Phillips. Returning board member, Jasmin Kiernan, has joined again to serve as Board Secretary.
When considering Board service and the importance of the Donkey Mill, Natasha says, “The Mill provides our community a safe space to connect when sharing ideas about who we are, what we value and how we see our shared lived experiences. One of the greatest gifts the Mill provides our community is passing along the value of art to younger generations, encouraging them to explore and defining the future of who we will become as a community.”
Natasha Ala, Meetu Kelen and Jasmin Kiernan all bring years of experience in the nonprofit health sector and possess long track records of strong organizational leadership and community building through their work at Hawai’i Island Community Health Center.
Board President Natasha Ala has a background in photography and painting and is also the Director of Programs & Resource Development at HICHC as well as a seasoned grant writer. She has spent the past twenty years working in the nonprofit sector including as the Program Director for the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center in Alaska where she was able to promote exhibitions and events with different Alaska Native Tribes, mostly notably with the Kenaitzie Indian Tribe.
Meetu Kelen is a community health worker at HICHC and leader among the Marshallese weaving and sewing group Wodde Jippel that centers Marshallese womens’ empowerment through classes, cultural exchange, and community events.
Jasmin Kiernan is a retired RN and was the Director of Innovations & Transformation where she led the Community Outreach and Education Program. She has served on various nonprofit boards & committees and has been a tireless advocate for improving health and wellness of West Hawai’i.
Ihilani Phillips, a licensed architect and the CEO of 200forty Architects Ltd. Kailua-Kona’s premier Commercial and Institutional Architectural Firm, brings incredible expertise and talent to our Board-level site plan committee to continue developing a master campus plan which includes caring for our beloved, historic building.
Please join us in congratulating and celebrating these exceptional leaders who all go above and beyond for the arts and culture in our community.