Interior Applauds Executive Leadership Development Program

Concludes Third Session in Yap, Micronesia

U.S. Department of the Interior

DevelopmentWASHINGTON - U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Doug Domenech today applauded the twenty-six island government officials in the 2018-2019 cohort of the Pacific Islands Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). These officials recently completed the third and penultimate session of their leadership development and training program in Yap, Micronesia.

“We are proud to support the development of leadership skills and capacity in young professionals from the U.S. insular areas,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “We look forward to seeing them continue to develop and assume more responsibility in decision-making for the future of the islands.” 

The twenty-six participants hail from the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and from the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Students from the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in a separate Executive Leadership Program that takes place in various locations on the East Coast and in Washington, D.C.

The third week of the ELDP focused on leading institutions, with the participants being challenged to practice policy advocacy skills through the use of leadership concepts and principles taught during the first two ELDP sessions. Participants interpreted and utilized fiscal and economic data to develop policy reform options to address issues relevant to island jurisdictions. Other activities included updating individual leadership development plans, presenting team project updates, and participating in one-on-one meetings with ELDP program advisors to review each individual leader’s progress to date and discuss continued professional growth.

ELDP participants were welcomed to Yap by Governor Henry Falan and heard from additional guest speakers including T.H. Vincent Figir, Speaker of the Yap State Legislature; Mr. Larry Raigetal, Traditional Navigator and Director of Wa’agey; T.H.Cyprian Manmaw, Yap State Chief Justice; and Dr. Margie Falanruw, Director of the Yap Institute of Natural Science. Three program advisors supported the ELDP during the week: T.H. Sebastian Anefal, FSM Ambassador to Fiji; Dr. Mary Okada, President of Guam Community College; and Ms. Anna Mendiola, President and CEO of the FSM Development Bank.

The ELDP was created in 2009 to address challenges attracting and retaining qualified individuals to work in core functions of island governments. The U.S. insular areas now count 103 alumni who have developed their leadership abilities through the ELDP. Graduates of the program now serve in their respective island governments as ambassadors, elected representatives, judges, cabinet members, directors, and dedicated public servants.

The ELDP 2019 participants from each insular area are as follows:

American Samoa

  • • Katrina Hunkin-Seumanutafa, Travel Division Head, Office of the Attorney General
  • • Peteru Lam Yuen, Financial Aid Officer, American Samoa Community College
  • • Burg Salanoa, Community Services Block Grant Program Manager, Department of Commerce
  • • Crystal Simanu, Teacher, Department of Education


  • • John Camacho, Jr, Accountant, Department of Administration
  • • Rodalyn Gerardo, Special Assistant, Office of Public Accountability

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

  • • Michelle Atalig, Special Advisor, Department of Public Lands
  • • Ryan Camacho, Technical Financial Analyst, Department of Finance, Office of the Secretary
  • • Patty Coleman, Program Leader, Nutrition & Health Programs, Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research, Extension, & Education Services
  • • TaAnn Kabua-Demapan, Drug Court Manager, Judiciary

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) National Government

  • • Erick Paul, Assistant Secretary, National Treasury, Department of Finance
  • • Shaun Suliol, Webmaster, College of Micronesia
  • • Sherlyn Reynold, Budget Analyst, Department of Education

Chuuk, FSM

  • • Roxalynn Kaminanga, Accountant, Chuuk Department of Administrative Services
  • • Wisney Nakayama, Representative, Chuuk State Legislature

Kosrae, FSM

  • • Julie Sigrah, Administrator, Kosrae Visitor’s Bureau

Pohnpei, FSM

  • • Mitaro Simina, Vice Principal, Student Services, Bailey Olter High School

Yap, FSM

  • • Vallynna Gippin, Staff Auditor, Office of the Public Auditor

Marshall Islands

  • • Maybeline Bing, Secretary, Ministry of Finance
  • • Laurence Edwards, II, Legal Advisor, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority
  • • Holden Nena, Clinical Director Of Human Services, Health and Human Services
  • • Isabella Silk, Director, Office of Compact Implementation
  • • Francyne Wase-Jacklick, Assistant Secretary, Health & Human Services


  • • Antonnette Merur, Director Of Nursing, Ministry of Health
  • • Sunny Ngirmang, Director, Ministry of Community And Cultural Affairs
  • • Tmong Udui, Epidemiologist, Palau Ministry of Health

The ELDP remains competitive, with over 100 applications received and evaluated each program year. This 2018-2019 cohort of the Pacific Islands ELDP will participate in one final session and graduate in June 2019.  

The ELDP is administered by the Graduate School USA with funding support through the Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical Assistance Program.  Additional information is available online at More information on funding assistance from the Office of Insular Affairs may be found at

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