The NMG Team

Get to know us better

Jason Cutinella

founder + ceo

Jason Cutinella is Founder and CEO of Nella Media Group (now known as NMG Network). After launching his career at McCann Erickson Worldwide as a media buyer for the Sony Pictures account and then transitioning to working on the client side of Sony Music International in New York City, Jason relocated to Hawai‘i in 2004 to pursue a master’s degree in communications from Hawaii Pacific University.

With a vision to transform the way that content is created and distributed in Hawai‘i and beyond, Jason founded NMG in 2009 in order to connect travelers and sophisticated urbanites to authentic experiences. To expand from print into digital content and reach new markets, Jason spearheaded the acquisition of Visitor Video Inc., Hawai‘i’s leading visitor industry video distribution company, to create NMG Network and enrich the company’s diverse storytelling capabilities.

In addition to his role leading NMG, Jason has served as Fundraising Chair of the Executive Board of Directors for the American Advertising Federation (AAF Hawaii) and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Honolulu International Film Festival (HIFF), ‘Ohina Short Film Festival, and serves on the American Heart Association fundraising committee.

Following his passions for entrepreneurship and building transformative brands, Jason also co-founded consumer wellness startup O2TODAY, designer of the world’s first total protection air pollution and travel mask, with the goal of helping millions breathe better and live longer. In his spare time, Jason focuses on building his DJK wine business with his childhood friends.

When Jason is not driving his business pursuits, he can be found rooting for the US National team at World Cup outings with friends, searching to find the best park bench to relax, catching his thoughts and dreaming big! And exploring his newfound love for snowboarding!

@jcut

My words to live by:

Stay humble and always move forward...
Remember where you started….

My Jam:

Joe Bock

Partner / Chief Relationship Officer

Joe is a Partner and the Chief Relationship Officer of NMG Network. His primary responsibility is driving senior client relationships and growth strategies as well as managing all legal and contractual activity. He is also responsible for managing the company’s Honolulu headquarters. Joe works with the team on a daily basis in establishing, assessing, and maintaining key accounts that have helped NMG become one of today’s fastest growing travel media companies. Joe’s background is in executive management, marketing, sales, and legal counsel in the airline, travel and hospitality industries. He is a director of Hawai‘i Publishers Association, Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival, and Hawai‘i LGBT Legacy Foundation and received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and juris doctorate from University of Houston.

@joebock

My Jam:

Ara Feducia

creative director

With eighteen years of experience promoting and curating design, music, and art in Hawai‘i, Ara brings a deft style as the creative director of Nella Media Group. Between deadlines, she periodically serves as a design and typography lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and can often be found volunteering for local non-profit groups who support Hawai‘i’s arts and culture community.  

Gary Payne

vp accounts receivable

As a lifelong entrepreneur, Gary has experience in all aspects of building, developing, and managing corporations. His career began with running an IT department for an investment firm. Within three years, he was responsible for its nationwide print and television advertising campaigns. Gary’s first company was acquired by an international firm, which then provided capital funding in order to conduct technical and market-share acquisitions. As the vice president of business development, Gary was responsible for introducing new technologies to the corporation and customer base. 

Gary is passionate about creating opportunities for others. Seeing those he mentors succeed in the business world brings him great personal satisfaction.

My Jam:

Mike Wiley

vp sales

Mike brings to Nella Media Group approximately 20 years of sales management experience and a detailed understanding of how to drive incremental revenue through sales programs and customer support. Mike is responsible for developing company sales strategies and products while leading the sales team through the company’s continued growth.

Mike has been with Nella Media Group since 2014. Prior to that he served as director of major and national accounts for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, where he was responsible for leading personal and team sales for online and print publications. He is a past president of the Honolulu Executive Association, and has served on many boards including: Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, Sales and Marketing Executives – Honolulu, American Advertising Federation and Honolulu Executives Association.

Marc Graser

VP Global Content

Marc Graser helps brands become storytellers. After spending nearly two decades covering all aspects of the entertainment and marketing industries in senior editing and writing roles at leading industry publications Variety and Advertising Age.

Moving from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, Marc became the first Editorial Director for Marriott International, where he developed multi-channel content strategies for the company’s 30 hotel brands and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty and partnership teams. In the role, he launched Marriott Traveler, making it the hotel industry’s most popular online travel magazine, and a new revenue stream for the world’s largest hotel company.

More recently, he assembled and managed the creative team that produces the print and digital magazines, social and influencer strategy, as well as Aston Martin partnership content, for Hilton’s luxury hotel brands Waldorf Astoria and Conrad.

In addition to connecting brands with entertainment opportunities through his brand consultancy, Content Inspired, Marc launched Travel Inspired to curate great travel storytelling. The site became one of the fastest-growing new travel sites in 2019. His articles have also appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Toronto Sun, Miami Herald, Arizona Republic, Albuquerque Journal and Fade In magazine.

Passionate about film, TV, travel, design, hotels, cars and airlines, Marc doesn’t have children but he probably should. He has visited all 12 Disney theme parks around the world. Twice. Marc’s also attended 10 WrestleManias, 17 Comic-Cons in San Diego, and piloted the Fujifilm blimp.

Marc is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He grew up in Germany as an Army Brat and now lives in D.C., with his husband, Dale, and dog, Whiskey.

 

Matthew Dekneef

editorial director

Matthew is the managing editor at Nella Media Group, working with writers and photographers on local, national, and international stories for print and digital. Born and raised on Oʻahu, he graduated from Chapman University in Orange County, California where he later worked in both the editorial and creative departments for entertainment news and trade sites in Los Angeles. He’s served as the deputy editor for Hawaii Magazine, the associate editor for the Honolulu Weekly, and has been a regular contributor to FLUX Hawaii covering arts, design, and culture. He lives in Honolulu.

@mattdknf

My Jam:

Francine Beppu (別府七緒子)

network strategy director

Francine brings her unique skills back home to Hawai‘i with over 13 years of combined experience in developing new business and growth strategies for international corporations as well as start-ups in the entertainment, media, and technology industries. After earning a double major in marketing and international business at NYU Stern, she began her career at Sony Electronics and was involved in marketing the successful launch of seven luxury consumer electronics products under the exclusive Sony QUALIA line. During her time at Viacom’s MTV Networks, she was part of the team responsible for launching the first LGBT cable network, LOGO, growing viewership from zero to over 30M in the first year.

Currently the network strategy director of Nella Media Group, Francine is passionate about new technologies, out-of-the-box thinking, and creating new channels to enhance the way entertainment is consumed. Prior to joining NMG, she led digital campaign and corporate strategies with KHON2, Hawai‘i’s FOX and CW Networks. Francine is a member of the Honolulu Pride planning committee, and previously an e-council member of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship to Kids (NFTE) in Los Angeles, and served on the board of the International Inspirational Women Awards.

Phil LeRoy

national sales director

A transplant to the Aloha State from the city of brotherly of love, Phil’s initial reason to relocate to Hawai’i was to receive his master’s degree in communications from Hawai’i Pacific University. Phil’s professional media career began on the beaches of New Jersey for the state’s free surf magazine wearing the hats of editor and business development. From there, he would shake the neoprene confines of his wetsuit for the boardshorts of Hawai’i and go on to work in sales and marketing in hospitality, digital media, and broadcast television as business development and sales management.

Phil joins NMG Network as the national sales director where he is committed to delivering best-in-class strategies for NMG’s national partnerships to reach their target audiences in key markets.

In addition to his role at NMG Network, Phil sits (and sometimes stands) on the board for American Marketing Association as well as Make-a-Wish Young Leaders. In his free time, you can find Phil reading everything from Tony Robbins to Haruki Murakami, kooking it on waves, riding his ‘73 Honda CB450, and traveling the world.

Gerard Elmore

lead producer

Gerard is an Emmy® Award nominated writer, editor, producer, and director who has a range of experience varying from television production, film and TV commercials. As a commercial director, he has directed a number of award-winning spots for clients such as Wet N Wild, Hilton, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Erik’s Deli, and Mr. Pickles. Winning multiple Regional ADDY Awards (“Peles”) and a national Gold ADDY award, music videos he directed have gained national attention and have aired on CMT, FUSE TV, and other outlets. As a producer, he helped coordinate popular Discovery channel specials for Shark Week. In addition, he directed a nationally distributed feature film titled ALL FOR MELISSA. His feature length comedy concert film, the Na Ali’i of Comedy starring Augie T, Andy Bumatai, Mel Cabang, Frank Delima, and Ed Kaahea was a success theatrically in Hawai`i and on pay-per-view.

In addition, Gerard is a lecturer at the Academy for Creative Media, Mānoa and West Oahu. He also serves as the Executive Director for the `Ohina Short Film Showcase, ohina.org, that is designed to help local filmmakers promote and screen their films in Hawai`i.

Chelsea Tsuchida

key accounts & marketing manager

Humbled by her travels abroad and inspired with a renewed appreciation of Hawai‘i, Chelsea returned to her island home after graduating with degrees in communication studies and English literature from the University of Puget Sound. Prior to joining NMG in 2015, Chelsea worked in editorial and sales positions at Hawaii Bride & Groom Wedding Style and Element Media, Inc. Integrating her experience in media, event coordination, and public relations, Chelsea is responsible for business development, managing local and national accounts, and supporting NMG’s marketing and event efforts. 

Chelsea currently serves on the board for the Hawai‘i Chapter of the American Marketing Association as well as the advisory councils for Women in Lodging & Tourism and Hospitality’s Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, both a part of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association. She also volunteers as a scholarship ambassador for the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. 

Helen Chang

marketing & advertising executive

After four years studying advertising at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, Helen returned home to Hawaii to pursue a career in the media industry. Prior to joining Nella Media Group in 2018, Helen worked at The Honolulu Star-Advertiser where she specialized in print and digital advertising for restaurants and a variety of other clients.

Helen currently serves as the communications co-chair for Ad 2 Honolulu, is a member of American Marketing Association, and volunteers her time as a speech and debate coach at her alma mater, McKinley High School. Her passion for public speaking ignites a firm belief that words matter and empowering your voice is the first step in telling a story.

@hlnchng

My Jam:

John Hook

senior photographer

Combining the spirit of Aloha, a unique artistic eye, and the joy of play, John is a fun-tographer from Oahu, Hawai‘i. As the senior photographer at NMG, John creates some of the most beautiful content Nella Media Group produces, whether it is stunning fashion shoots or breathtaking Hawai‘i scenery.

When John isn’t capturing the spectacular views across the islands, he takes special delight in wedding photography. He strives to capture those in-between moments that shouldn’t be missed. And the free wedding cake doesn’t hurt either. 

@john_hook

My Jam:

Skye Yonamine

designer

After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in design and photography at Northern Arizona University, Skye returned home to pursue his career in the creative field. Eager to expand his knowledge about the world of design, he began a design internship with NMG and now works as a designer. His creative spirit also takes shape in the form of underwater photography.

Anna Harmon

National Editor

Combining an eye for detail and a passion for the written word, Anna Harmon is National Editor at NMG. She is based remotely in Phoenix, Arizona. Anna has been with the company in some capacity since 2010, when she began freelance copy editing and writing for FLUX Hawaii. Since then, she has written about such topics as the O‘ahu slaughterhouse, fiber animals on Hawai‘i Island, and what it’s like to be a Honolulu flower girl, for NMG magazines. Today, she line and copy edits nearly every story published in the company’s magazines, and oversees Suite, its new in-room magazine for Kimpton Portland.

Anna graduated from Colorado College with a degree in English, and kicked off her professional life at a nonprofit in Honolulu. She later shifted gears and worked as a marketing director in Los Angeles before returning to Hawai‘i and NMG. Somewhere in between, she also lived out of a 1978 Toyota Chinook in the U.S. West.

@a_nnnn_a

My Jam:

Rae Sojot

senior editor

Having grown up in a local military family and living in Hawaiʻi, Colorado, Germany, North Carolina, and Tahiti, Rae developed a passion for telling the stories of people and their unique cultures. After graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in Psychology, Rae returned home to where stints in grant writing and marketing allowed her to employ her perennial love: the written word. Her passion for writing led her to Nella Media Group in 2016, where today she serves as senior editor.

@raesojot

My Jam:

Lauren McNally

managing editor

Always hungry for a good story, Lauren left her hometown of Honolulu to study art, film, and creative writing, making her way through California, Europe, and New York City before returning to the islands to write for Element Media, where she served as managing editor prior to joining NMG. While there, she covered business, startups, travel, and the environment, kindling a fire for sustainability and landing her on the board of the nonprofit Society for Conservation Biology Hawai‘i Chapter. Much of her free time is spent devouring podcasts and waxing philosophical into the wee hours about culture, society, and consciousness.

Shaneika Aguilar

filmmaker

For as long as Shaneika can remember, she’s always had a love affair with filmmaking. From the moment she picked up a camera for the first time to capture her family for a middle school project, she realized she was onto something special. Watching their smiles spread across their faces as they relived their silly home videos was the perfect precursor to her career today. Through years of high school courses and life experiences, the pull to capture life’s moments was never far away. She has always loved collaborating with people and have always loved telling stories through a visual piece, which is why she chose to earn her BA at the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The lessons she’s learned and experiences she’s gained from the film and digital cinema program helped to reaffirm her purpose as a storyteller. And as she did for her family who still reminisces over that family video she shot 12 years ago, she looks forward to creating more – all with a burning passion for cinematography and storytelling.

Shannon Fujimoto

creative services manager

Passionate about media and self-proclaimed “highly engaged consumer,” Shannon loves all things advertising, design, and marketing creativity related. She brings over 10 years of media and advertising experience to NMG Network.

Shannon began her media career in radio as a traffic coordinator at Clear Channel Hawaii after graduating from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She later whetted her curiosity for the publishing world at PacificBasin Communications working as an account coordinator for titles including HONOLULU Magazine, Honolulu Family, Honolulu Shops, Lei Chic Daily eNewsletter, Mana Magazine, and Whalers Village Magazine.

Shannon spent the next five years at one of Hawaii’s largest, full-service advertising agencies, Anthology Marketing Group, honing her media skills through buying and planning digital and traditional media from local, national, and international channels for a range of clients. Most recently, she explored the health care sector as a marketing coordinator with The Queen’s Health Systems.

After realizing she had major FOMO, Shannon returned to her true professional love of media, joining the cast creatives at NMG Network. When she’s not working, Shannon seeks entertainment in documentaries, indie movies, live music, art, and design in all forms.

Kaitlyn Ledzian

Art & Production Manager

Originally from New York, Kaitlyn acquired a degree in visual presentation and exhibition design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. During her years of study, she took her first trip to explore Hawaii, fell in love and immediately knew it was the place she wanted to call home. Prior to making the move to the Islands, she spent 10 years in design and production while working for a range of industries in New York, most recently as creative services manager for Diesel North America. Since Kaitlyn moved to Honolulu, she has worked with local clients including Honolulu Biennial Foundation, Hawaii Theatre, Na Mea Hawaii, WATG and many more.

As art & production manager at NMG, Kaitlyn establishes and maintaining the production schedules, while working closely with the entire creative team to design and shepherd publications to production while assuring the quality of all art and graphics.

Kaitlyn has a passion for design and travel, and during her free time you can find her enjoying nature by taking a hike, chilling on the beach, or doing yoga.

@kaitledz

My Jam:

Jackie Tu

Sales Assistant

On the surface, Jackie is a digital native that has always had an interest in understanding how media could enrich a person’s life. As a first generation Vietnamese-American, Jackie learned to integrate her natural skills in art, culture, communication and coordination when language alone was not a reliable medium.

Her many passions have led her to NMG, where she contributes her innovative and creative attributes to the company. She now assists the team with advertising growth, market research, sales in video, digital, and print.

Jackie earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in advertising and neuroscience and with a minor in graphic design. When not at work, she enjoys writing poetry, painting, eating ramen, spending time with her family and friends, and exploring all that Hawai’i has to offer.

Courtney Miyashiro

operations administrator

Although relatively new to the media industry, Courtney has enjoyed learning the NMG ropes and pushing beyond her comfort zone. After graduating from University of Hawai‘i with a major in Asian studies, she spent an amazing year in Korea teaching English and traveling through East Asia before returning home and developing her skills in operations management.

On the weekends, you can find Courtney performing taiko with Ryugen Taiko, watching K-Dramas, and loving her canine sister Zoe.

Aja Toscano

creative producer

Beginning her story with NMG as an editorial intern and digital content coordinator, Aja has grown with the company as it continues to expand. Now as the creative producer, she collaborates with the team to take a concept and makes it a reality. From generating ideas to seeing a project through to the final production, whether it’s video, fashion editorial or event. Passionate about the community, fashion, art, and the islands that raised her, Aja curates content and creates activations that take the NMG story and vision further. 

@ajamaile

My Jam:

Eunica Escalante

associate editor

Having always been drawn to the glossy pages of magazines, Eunica knew from an early age that she wanted to be a magazine journalist. A natural curiosity for the intersection of art and culture imbues everything she writes. Her passion for the written word has driven her to pursue journalism at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. 

Fresh to the media industry, she first joined NMG as an editorial intern in 2017. After transitioning to an editorial assistant she covers an expanse of local artists and culture for the company’s various publications. In between deadlines and projects, she is also working on a bachelor’s of arts degree in Filipino language and literature.

Samantha Hook

photo editor

Working behind the scenes as a photo editor / retoucher, Hook specializes in putting the final touches on images while paying close attention to quality and detail. Works range from weddings and commercial to print.  Being born and raised on Oahu, she finds inspiration easily here at home in Hawai‘i, but is equally inspired by film photography and travel. When she’s not at work, you can find her in or near the ocean. 

Naz Kawakami

creative assistant

Nazareth Kawakami is currently enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and will soon begin pursuit of a master’s degree in English literature. He assumed the role of creative assistant with NMG following an editorial internship in 2017. In his time away from the office, Naz enjoys art, film, and darkroom printing. He likes long walks on the beach and the eternal suffering of 80s synth pop. 

Taylor Kondo

Fashion Marketing Coordinator