Page 4 - Hawaii Island MidWeek - January 18, 2023
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     Simone Ispahani was in college when she first learned about human
by Ginger Keller
Coffee For Socially Conscious Consumers
   trafficking. A friend encour- aged her to tag along to an educational talk on campus —and she hasn’t been the same since.
al experience, Ispahani knows these figures are hard to hear and, to put it in her own words, quite the buzzkill.
fee shop to employ survivors and create sustainable job opportunities? That was how Social Brew was born.”
“This may sound a little ignorant, but I was not really aware of how big the issue was and how hidden in plain sight it is, especially here in the U.S.,” says Ispahani, who grew up in Kāhala and grad- uated from Mid-Pacific Insti- tute. “I remember at the talk, the speaker said, ‘Once you hear it, you can’t unhear it,’ and that just hit me. I knew I had to do something.”
Enter Social Brew, a coffee company that wants to be a conduit for change. Ispahani not only talks the talk — as in, spreads awareness about the issue (read on about her participation in a local peace- ful event) — but she walks the walk by donating 50% of her profits to organizations dedicated to fighting human trafficking, including Hono- lulu-based Ho‘ōla Nā Pua.
panies are like ‘here’s 1% or $1,’ but I wanted to be more focused on the people I’m try- ing to help than to profit off of them.”
endeavors, but is a coffee lov- er, too.
The long-term goal for So- cial Brew is to have a brick and mortar. But for now, its coffee — which has four op- tions: Kona, Waialua, Hawai- ian Blend and Decaf Brazil — can be purchased online ( or at The Kāhala Hotel & Resort and Hotel Renew.
Ispahani chose coffee as the vessel for her activism because she knows conversations flow over a cup of joe.
 She dove headfirst into ed- ucating herself on the topic, which turned into an intern- ship at an anti-trafficking nonprofit. Later, she co-led a women’s trip to India, where she met with survivors.
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Simone Ispahani
“My dad asked me what I wanted to do next (after I got laid off during COVID) and we always loved trying dif- ferent coffee shops and sitting there having a cup of coffee. I said, ‘I’d love to work with survivors in some aspect.’ The idea kind of just popped in my head — what if I had this cof-
75-170 Hualalai Road Suite C110 Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
V.I.P. Mortgage, Inc. does Business in Accordance with Federal Fair Lending Laws. NMLS ID 145502. HI: Mortgage Loan Originator Company License HI-145502.
foundational in everything I do, and so it’s always hard to put into words what it was specifically, but it’s like I couldn’t turn away,” she adds about why she felt drawn to the cause. “I just had to do something and I didn’t know what that was yet. When I was in India and actually got to in- teract with survivors, putting a face to the big statistics ... was mind-blowing.”
“Everyone asks me, ‘Why would you do that? How is it going to be sustainable?’ ” Ispahani says, laughing. “Thankfully, I have a dad who’s also an entrepreneur and has built a lot of business- es in his life so far. He’s been a great support and adviser in terms of how to financially and strategically go about this.
Ispahani chose coffee as the vessel for her activism because she knows conversa- tions flow over a cup of joe. It’s also her way of paying homage to her pops, who not only encourages her business
This past holiday season, the biz also launched pancake mixes. Flavors include guava, mochi, coconut and macada- mia nut.
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“That solidified that this is something I feel called to do,” says Ispahani.
According to International Labour Organization, human trafficking generates an esti- mated $150 billion in profits and affects nearly 50 million people globally. From person-
“I wanted to be bold. I want- ed to make a statement and be as transparent as I could about the process,” adds the 27-year- old. “I feel like a lot of com-
“For me, my faith has been a big thing in my life and very
   Compiled by Karen Iwamoto,
                  Hilarie Alomar
Hilarie Alomar has been appointed director of planning and development for Kamehameha Schools’ Hawai‘i real estate portfolio. Alomar, who grew up in Hilo, has a strong background in Hawaiian culture and is an expert in land use, entitlements, infrastructure and community outreach — skills she will use to guide her work with Kamehameha Schools. In addition,
Lisa Ledesma
Lisa Ledesma is a top producer for December by Homebridge Financial Services in Hawai‘i. Ledesma has 35 years of mortgage industry experience. Prior to joining Homebridge, she worked at Bank of Hawai‘i for 13 years and
 Alomar is also a member of the American Planning Association’s Hawai‘i Chapter, Lambda Alpha International and the Urban Land Institute.
Wells Fargo for nearly 10 years. She received awards for top sales producer at both companies. Ledesma was raised in Hilo and currently lives on Kaua‘i.

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