Who We Are

Kira DiIonno

Co-founder

Born and raised in Hawaii, Kira is passionate about sharing the amazing business stories in her home state. Known for her strong work ethic and team-first attitude, Kira does not see herself simply as a hired contractor, but more as an extension of her client’s team.

Kira has spent seven years representing clients in the food & beverage, retail, startup, and travel & tourism sectors. Current and past clients have included the Four Seasons Resort Oahu, the Oahu Visitors Bureau, Ala Moana Center, The Modern Honolulu, Brick Fire Tavern, Noa Botanicals, and Sultan Ventures, to name a few.

In addition, she spent two years at Hawaii Business Magazine leading and executing the publication’s 15+ seminars, galas, and conferences. Today, on behalf of the publication, Kira continues to plan and execute the state’s largest professional development conferences - the Leadership Conference and the Wahine Forum. A few of her proudest moments include securing history-making U.S. astronaut Captain Scott Kelly as the keynote speaker at the 5th Annual Leadership Conference in 2018 and achieving record-breaking attendance at the Wahine Forum for three years in a row.

In 2014, Kira was the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Hawaii Hokupaa Award recipient, recognizing a young PR professional that has demonstrated exceptional leadership. Additionally, she has received a number of PRSA Koa Anvil and Hammer awards for the work she has undertaken on behalf of her clients.

Alongside her husband and a small but mighty group of individuals, Kira organizes Festa Italiana, Hawaii’s first and only Italian street festival. In 2019, the 3rd annual Festa Italiana welcomed 9,500+ locals and visitors to the streets of Kakaako to celebrate “where ciao meets aloha” through food, music, and art.

In her spare time, Kira is an assistant coach for the Kamehameha Schools Girls Cross Country team. She also volunteers for CreativeMornings Honolulu, an organization dedicated to connecting and celebrating Hawaii’s talented creative community through free monthly talk story events.

Kira is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration in marketing from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Zach DiIonno

Co-founder

Zach offers business strategy consulting services for clients ranging from entrepreneurs, start-up companies, non-profits, to small-to-mid-sized businesses in the following areas:
‍Email:

  • General corporate matters;

  • Entity choice and formation, governance issues, stock and asset sales;

  • Negotiating and drafting all types of commercial contracts such as services; employment, confidentiality, loans, licensing, distribution, non-disclosure, and non-competition;

  • Intellectual property including trademark and copyright protection and licensing

  • Event curation, planning, and production;

  • Business management for day-to-day operations;

  • Strategic business long-term planning.

Zach enjoys working with his clients at the "ideation" stage when they're considering starting a new company, offering out-of-the-box insights on business strategy and planning. He identifies and eliminates potential hazards before they crop up, and helps to steer his clients' passion, expertise, and resources down the most advantageous path to achieve their goals.

Zach has a Bachelor’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University, a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Juris Doctor with a Native Hawaiian Law Certificate from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii. He served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Richard W. Pollack at the Supreme Court of Hawaii, before working as an associate attorney at one of the state’s largest corporate business litigation firms. Zach is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaii.

In 2007, Zach moved from New Jersey to Hawaii to teach middle school special education inclusion teacher at Ilima Intermediate in Ewa Beach through Teach For America. His experience inspired him to become one of the founding members of the DreamHouse Ewa Beach charter school, the first-ever approved charter school in Ewa Beach that serves students in grades 6-12. Zach served for six years as the President of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit DreamHouse, Inc., the nonprofit that directly supports DreamHouse Ewa Beach.

Zach continues to be active in his community. He is the founder and Executive Director of Festa Italiana, the first and only Italian street festival in Hawaii. He is the Managing Director for the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group, a coalition of veteran watermen and big-save surfers led by Brian Keaulana, Kohl Christensen, Danilo Couto, and Pat Chong Tim that offers ocean safety training summits in Hawaii, the mainland U.S., and locations all over the world. Zach frequently leads business law seminars in collaboration with local businesses and institutions such as Impact Hub Honolulu, XLR8HI, Treehouse Hawaii, and University of Hawaii—West Oahu. He enjoys surfing, travel, playing guitar, and reading.

Mission

Taking Care of Our Community.

At Candela Strategy Group, we believe that small and mid-size businesses are the engine of Hawaii's economy. But these businesses are more than just statistics. They are people – our friends, aunties and uncles, and neighbors.

As we enter a new decade that is certain to bring revolutionary changes to the workplace, businesses will increasingly utilize technology, cloud computing, and teleworking to raise productivity while reducing overhead costs. Many small businesses are already ditching the traditional office in favor of co-working spaces that offer reduced rent as well as a collaborative environments conducive to creative problem solving and innovation. It is only natural in this environment that businesses are also re-evaluating traditional professional services and demanding that these firms provide an alternative model that complements today's business climate. They want professional services that are comprehensive, affordable, and aligned with their business objectives. They want individuals that are trustworthy and understand their business. We’ve heard too many stories of our friends and neighbors finding themselves without help or guidance at the most vulnerable stages of their business. No one should be priced out of the advice they need, when they need it.

That is why at Candela, we’re breaking the mold and making it our mission to provide the highest quality services using a progressive billable model that adapts to the business’s needs, not the other way around. Taking care of our small business community means taking care of our ‘ohana. It means our restaurateurs, medical professionals, non-profits, artists, and entrepreneurs always have a place to go. When we do this, we can ensure the success of our island home. Together, we can thrive.

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