Maja Smiling

A New Step

We are proud and humbled to share the news that Executive Director Maja Grajski is stepping down in September after months of planning for the leadership change with the Mill’s Board of Directors and staff. An executive search committee of board and staff members is established and Maja will help with the transition as well. She has accepted the position of Associate Director of Philanthropy for The Trust for Public Land in its Honolulu office and is excited to bridge the sectors of Arts & Culture and Natural Environment to provide public access to open spaces for community wellbeing.

Maja’s Work at The Mill

Over the past four years, Maja successfully led the Mill through economic challenges on a regional and global scale, including the 2018 volcanic eruptions and the pandemic; launched a new strategic plan to build capacity for internal infrastructure, community engagement and partnerships; developed the staff’s skills and expertise, including the introduction of Curator and Donor Relations Manager staff positions; established the Exhibition Program as a vehicle for the exploration of individual and collective identity of Hawaiʻi’s diverse cultures and complex histories; and formed the Site Plan Committee of Board, staff and community volunteers dedicated to the preservation of the Mill’s historic main building and development of a master campus plan.

Under Maja’s leadership, the Mill received a Hawaiʻi Community Foundation CHANGE and numerous other grants and continues to identify new methods for measuring impact, including the strength of our partnerships with cultural groups like Wodde Jippel Club of Kona through the Mill’s thriving Fibers program. In the past year, we have welcomed six new Board members committed to a purpose-driven model calling for sustained vigilance in assessing community needs to inform institutional priorities.

Looking Ahead

As Board President, Natasha Ala, Director of Programs & Resource Development for the Hawaiʻi Island Community Health Center brings 20+ years of experience in fundraising, community engagement and data-driven decision-making to support the Mill’s commitment to being more accessible in addressing systemic needs in West Hawaiʻi. We look forward to introducing you to each of our new Board members through the Mill’s new website and blog in the months ahead.

As a place of convergence, the Mill is shaped by our community, the support of the Board of Directors, our many members and supporters, and the Mill’s loyal and hard-working staff and volunteers, who make all of it possible. Communities need arts and culture more than ever and the Mill is this region’s primary resource. The staff and Board are united in the adoption of a decentralized model of community service; that is, we welcome opportunities to learn from and to teach our community, opening the door to deeper levels of engagement. The Mill is ready for this next chapter and we invite you to join our efforts in continuing the Mill’s current momentum.

Me ka mahalo piha

Maja Grajski,
Executive Director

Natasha Ala,
President, Board of Directors