Puanani Forbes is the Chief of Staff and Chief Administration Officer for the Othering & Belonging Institute where she provides senior administrative and operational leadership for the organization's human resources, budget and financial management, fund development, grants and contracts, facilities, and events. She also works closely with the Director and senior staff on setting organizational priorities and facilitating opportunities for cross collaboration and learning.
Prior to coming to the Othering & Belonging Institute in 2016, Puanani worked for a number of international development organizations, including Equal Access International in San Francisco, where she held several senior positions in program and development. In this work, she directed project implementation, grants management, and operations of its overseas country offices. She also led strategic pursuit of multi-million dollar funding opportunities from a variety of donors and contributed to the doubling in size of the organization’s operating budget. She previously worked for Save the Children and the United Nations World Food Program in Afghanistan and earlier in her career, Puanani organized hotel and restaurant employees in Los Angeles in their struggle to earn a living wage. Puanani completed her BA in Race, Class and Gender Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA and earned a Master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.