October 18th, 2021
After 13 years at the helm of Blue Planet Foundation, Jeff Mikulina stepped down from his role as executive director on October 15th. Over his tenure, the Hawaii-based public charity has been an influential voice in driving Hawaii’s transition to a 100% clean energy future and helped to pass a number of unprecedented climate policies.
Melissa Miyashiro, previously Blue Planet’s Managing Director of Strategy & Policy and member of the leadership team, was selected by the Blue Planet Board of Directors to serve as the new executive director.
“I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful for having had the opportunity to serve and work alongside incredibly motivated and gifted individuals on the most critical mission facing humanity,” Mikulina said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished as an organization and as a community. We’ve helped change the conversation about climate and passed game-changing legislation. Although we were labeled ‘magical thinkers’ by some, we took what was once impossible and hastened the day that it is inevitable.”
Blue Planet led the three-year campaign to make Hawaii the first state in the nation with a 100% renewable energy requirement. Since that law passed in 2015, 12 U.S. states and territories have followed suit with nearly identical policies.
“On behalf of the Board, I want to express my deep gratitude to Jeff for his dedicated leadership and vision as executive director,” said Ernest Nishizaki, chair of the Blue Planet Board of Directors. “Over the course of his 13-year tenure, Blue Planet has achieved remarkable success and helped set in motion a period of clean energy progress that reverberates well beyond Hawaii’s shores.”
Nishizaki was confident that Blue Planet would continue to grow its influence and impact under the direction of the incoming executive director.
Miyashiro, an attorney by training, has worked with Blue Planet for over seven years, starting as Operations Director in 2014. She has served in a variety of capacities with the organization, including leading operations, communications, fundraising, programs, and the Power Forward initiative to share Hawaii’s clean energy model outside of the state. She currently heads the organization’s policy efforts and serves on the leadership team. Outside of Blue Planet, Melissa serves as the current president of Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) and a board member of Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii.
“We are very fortunate to have someone with Melissa’s experience and talent step into the critical executive director role,” added Nishizaki. “She has proven leadership that will serve our mission and organization well as we enter our next era of success and impact.”
“Since joining the Blue Planet team seven years ago, I’ve been fortunate to contribute to Blue Planet’s mission at nearly every level and with nearly every program area of the organization, as my role evolved from Operations Director, to Chief of Staff, and then to Managing Director of Strategy & Policy,” said Miyashiro. “I am excited about stepping into this expanded leadership role as the Executive Director and will bring with me an unwavering commitment to the mission and our incredible Blue Planet team.”
“Melissa is a savvy leader with a lot of heart,” said Mikulina. “I am confident that, under her direction and through her vision, Blue Planet will continue to set the pace of climate solutions through bold policy, effective strategy, and creative communications. Our planet needs it now more than ever.”
After stepping down, Mikulina intends to remain active with Blue Planet as a Board member.
“I am grateful for Jeff’s leadership and guidance over his many years at Blue Planet and the lasting impact his vision has made in Hawaii and beyond,” added Miyashiro. “I am honored to be continuing my leadership journey at Blue Planet and building upon the road he paved and the progress we have made together. We are at a critical moment for the planet and humanity, and I step into this role with conviction, humility, and curiosity. I look forward to guiding the organization as we evolve and continuing to work alongside the team and the Board to make the impossible possible, in the way only Blue Planet can.”