The Wāhine Wordpress and Digital Freelancer Academy


The Wāhine Wordpress and Digital Freelancer Academy empowers wāhine (cis, trans, and gender-expansive, and non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers the experiences of wāhine) by providing a pathway for remote work and self-employment opportunities through freelancing in Wordpress development (website development), website design, and content creation for digital platforms.

This Academy will be uniquely developed and taught by four wāhine freelance website designers, developers, and content creators based in Hawaiʻi who have decades of experience working remotely as freelance designers and developers and have found economic success, sustainability, and empowerment in a freelance career pathway. Our Academy will connect the participants to freelance opportunities in Hawai’i while also exposing them to a global marketplace of freelance work. More importantly, this Academy will offer participants an insiders look into and network building skills needed so they can accelerate their pathways towards becoming successful freelancers.

Why Are We Doing This?

Careers in tech are highly desirable by wāhine. Yet, many have left their traditional tech careers due to factors including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexism in the workplace and lack of support for wāhine balancing parenting with the demands of a career in technology - and the onset of COVID 19 has exacerbated these barriers.

Our Academy aims to engage in and provide an avenue for “gender and socially responsive recovery” as recommended in the report, “Building Bridges, Not Walking on Backs: A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Covid-19” by the Hawai’i Comission on the Status of Women. The report indicates that women dominate the workforce in low paying service based industries in which sexism proliferates. 

As suggested in the Recovery Plan, we believe that access to freelance work opportunities and the training to get started in freelancing can help wāhine access professional opportunities that may be out of reach without these learning and training opportunities.

Here's Our Team & Partners:

Marion Ano is the owner and developer for Wahine Coder. She has nearly a decade of experience as a freelance mobile and website developer for Hawaiʻi based clients. Additionally, she specializes in information architecture including organizational and business strategies around the implementation and integration of technologies. She prefers long form content over short form content and loves stories and storytelling! Beside her client work, Marion teaches coding and visual design for mobile applications at the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu for the Academy of Creative Media.

Paola Martin is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary graphic designer and web developer with over a decade of digital design and Wordpress development experience. She works as the lead designer and developer for a wide breadth of clients ranging from local start-ups to nationally recognized franchise brands. Paola is passionate about helping others succeed through the services she provides, as well as through mentorship and collaboration. This passion has led her to wonderful opportunities(such as this!) and close relationships with amazing teams. Her success as a full-time freelancer with no formal education is something she looks forward to sharing in hopes of inspiring other women to begin their journey towards personal and financial freedom via Wordpress design and development.

Jess Manapul is a freelance graphic designer who has experience working with brands of all sizes to create effective websites and digital marketing campaigns. After earning her Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Creative Media from the University of Hawaii–West Oahu, Jess began her career in the digital design field by joining one of Hawaii’s largest marketing agencies. She continues to work independently with her clients, using her design and UX skill set as well as freelance freedom to focus her time creating online experiences and digital content for small businesses. She is passionate about community-focused projects where she can lend her professional experiences to help other women navigate through the digital world and reap the benefits of freelancing.

Vera Zambonelli is an academic, artist, and activist. Vera earned her Ph.D. in Urban Planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, a Masters in Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, and Laurea in Japanese Studies at Ca' Foscari University of Venice. Engaged scholarship informs her research interests, which include issues of diversity, social justice and inclusion, community building, and feminist filmmaking. In 2011, Vera founded Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking (HWF) with the mission of using filmmaking to amplify women and girls' voices and share their own compelling stories. She has been teaching at the Department of Women's Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the Academy for Creative Media at West Oʻahu since 2016. Vera has co-produced and directed Season 1 and Season 2 of Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi, a film series that redresses gender inequity in the film industry by documenting the real-life stories of Hawai‘i women filmmakers through a female gaze.

Ben Trevino is President and CEO for the Hawaiʻi Institute for Public Affairs (HIPA) and joined the organization in 2020. Treviño is an experienced executive, entrepreneur and technologist, and is a committed advocate for the public sector and civic engagement. Treviño earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Computer Science from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Shidler School of Business at University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is a member of the inaugural class of Obama Leaders Asia-Pacific, the 6th Cohort of Omidyar Fellows, and was recognized as a member of the Pacific Business News Forty under 40 Class of 2016. Treviño serves as the co-chair for the National Advisory Council with Code for America as well as on serving on the boards of The Entrepreneur's Foundation, The SEEQS (The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability) Foundation, the organizing committee for the Code for Hawaii brigade, and the advisory boards of Common Cause Hawaii, and Sustainable Transportation Coalition of Hawaiʻi. He has been commuting by bike in Hawaii for fourteen years and is committed to deepening his understanding of and drawing attention to indigenous knowledge systems.

Council for Native Hawaiian AdvancementThe Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a member-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians. Headquartered in Kapolei, CNHA is a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the US Treasury department and a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling agency. We provide access to capital, financial education and individualized financial counseling services with a focus on low and moderate-income families. CNHA serves as a National Intermediary, providing grants and loans targeting underserved communities in Hawaii.