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Matthew B. James, MA, DCH

Matthew B. James, MA, PhD, President

Matthew B. James is one of the most highly-sought after trainers and educators in the world today. He is the president of The Empowerment Partnership, the leader in Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnosis education.

Matt is a living example of the power of The Empower Your Life teachings. Matt began his studies at an early age, by learning teachings such as meditation and siddha yoga. As a young boy he studied with great teachers such as Baba Muktananda and Uncle George Na`ope (one of the most highly respected authorities on Hawaiian hula and chants, and was honored with the "Living Golden Treasure" designation). In the 80s, he studied with Tony Robbins and was invited by Richard Bandler, the legendary co-founder of NLP, and Wyatt Woodsmall, also a pioneer in the NLP field, to continue his education. Matt was chosen as one of Bandler's select-few students, eventually becoming certified as an NLP Master Trainer (a level that takes most people years to achieve, if at all).

Having been there in the early years when NLP was just getting off the ground, Matt was well prepared for his future. Now, decades later, he has more than proven himself in his own right as a teacher and educator. He is renowned for his insight and his intuitive gifts for awakening the hearts and minds of his students. His unique upbringing has enabled him to take the best of the best in NLP, Huna, Hypnosis, and Time Empowerment Techniques and develop a proven system of effective, instantaneous, long lasting change.

Through his role as President of Kona University and President and Master Trainer of its training and seminar division, The Empowerment Partnership (formerly Advanced Neuro Dynamics), Matt is personally responsible for bringing thousands of students closer to fulfilling their dreams. Each year he teaches the life-altering techniques of Hypnosis, NLP, Time Empowerment, and the ancient Shamanistic Hawaiian spiritual system of Huna throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Matt is certainly making his life a living demonstration of the extraordinary power of this wisdom. Along the way, he has picked up several university degrees, including an MA in Organizational Management and a PhD in Health (Integrative) Psychology.

Matt continues to be a student of the ancient Hawaiian ways, studying with Etua Lopes, a top student of Uncle George Na`ope. Etua continues to provide Matt support in sharing these teachings with students from all over the world.


Soomi James, VP of Development

Soomi James, VP of Development

Soomi began managing at the age of 18 and quickly found that it was her natural talent. After 6 years of managing high-end boutiques, she came to work for Advanced Neuro Dynamics and Kona University. Soomi rapidly rose to the position of VP and since 1999 has been in charge of the overall operations of Advanced Neuro Dynamics, which is now The Empowerment Partnership.

After coming to work for Kona University, Soomi attended various NLP and Huna trainings and is currently a Certified Master Practitioner of NLP, MER® and Hypnosis. She is also dedicated to Huna and attends the Huna trainings twice a year.

When she is not traveling or assisting, you can find Soomi at home in Kailua-Kona, HI enjoying time with her family.


Masako Omine, Senior Enrollment Advisor

Masako Omine, Director of Enrollment

Masako's extensive experience in customer service allows her to develop a rapport with her clientele, enabling her to provide specialized services specific to the individuals needs and desires.

Her previous position as an Operations Coordinator with an international franchising firm required her to develop skills at negotiating, problem solving, and multi-tasking. This allowed her to better handle relations between customers and contractors.

Masako's current role as Director of Enrollment allows her to use her experience and forte in knowing her customers, to best help students and prospective students with their training and seminar needs.

Since joining The Empowerment Partnership™, Masako has attended their NLP trainings, and is now a Certified Master Practitioner of NLP, MER® and Hypnosis. The skills that she's obtained have helped her to better assist students with their needs.


Vicky Bonilla, Director of Finance

Vicky Bonilla, Director of Finance

Vicky Bonilla has experienced the accounting world from all different perspectives. Working her way from Accounting Clerk to Director of Accounting has required lots of hard work, and dedication. The breadth and depth that Vicky has experienced has enabled her to play her role here at Kona University to perfection. She is able to see the big picture development of the company as well as manage the day to day with her strong attention to detail.

Vicky became a Certified Public Accountant in the Philippines and earned her B.S in Business Administration from Philippine Christian University.

What most know is that Accounting runs in the Bonilla family. Vicky works alongside her husband Alex and their 7 yr old son Zander expressed that he wants to be just like mom and dad when he grows up.


Cortney Dixon, Logistics Coordinator

Cortney Dixon, Logistics Coordinator

Cortney began her career as a Massage Therapist in 2000 and shortly thereafter was given the position of Spa Director assisting in the Design, Opening, and Management of the Spa and Wellness Center Staff at two resort properties in Park City, Utah. She was introduced to NLP in 2006 and since then has completed Practitioner, Master Practitioner, 4 levels of Huna and is a Certified Trainer of NLP.

Her passion and love of NLP led her to become a member of the Empowerment Partnership in 2012 as the Logistics Coordinator. She assists our team in creating an empowering training experience for all of our students.

When she is not traveling she is usually home in Colorado enjoying time with her two dogs.


A'ala Peterson, Enrollment Advisor

A'ala Peterson, Enrollment Advisor

A'ala comes from one of the worlds most recognized leading hospitality chains known today. With her welcoming and personable personality, A'ala is no stranger to the world of customer service and sales. Her role in the Enrollment Department allows her to utilize the knowledge and skills developed by years of experience providing clients from all over the world with exceptional and tailored customer service.

Since joining The Empowerment Partnership A'ala has become a Practitioner of NLP, MER® and Hypnosis.


Mahealani “Nani” Anakalea, Records Office

Mahealani 'Nani' Anakalea, Records Office

Working her way into a Director of Human Resources position for a major retail chain with only a few years of managerial experience has opened many career advancement opportunities for Nani. While in Human Resources she took special interest in the training and development of staff, she saw it as a personal goal to help others flourish professionally.

Nani continues her personal goal in the records office here at The Empowerment Partnership and Kona University by providing guidance to our students in all degree programs from enrollment to graduation. Her strong organizational skills ensure the integrity, confidentiality and security of all academic records.


Vivialyn Cawagas, Human Resources Administrative Assistant

Vivialyn Cawagas, Human Resources Administrative Assistant

Vivialyn's career in the Human Resources Division began 10 years ago with an internationally recognized lodging corporation. She is an asset to the everyday operations of the organization, providing essential support to our staff nationwide, while ensuring that the company's professional guidelines are maintained and adhered to. Vivialyn is charged with keeping up to date with new developments in federal or state laws that govern the workplace.

In her free time, Vivialyn spends time with her son, on long walks and going to the park.


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