Hughes’ career spans the arts, nonprofit sector and entrepreneurship, bringing a decade of experience in CPG. Her most recent startup, Shaka Tea, a line of sustainably sourced herbal teas brewed with Hawai’i-grown māmaki, was acquired in 2022 by Irresistible Foods Group. She also co-founded Hawai’i Contemporary (formerly Honolulu Biennial), the premier contemporary art event in Hawai’i, along with co-founding Hawai’i FoundHer, the first accelerator program focused on AAPI and Native Hawaiian women entrepreneurs, presented by Purple Mai’a. An active mentor and advisor to CPG founders, she and her husband are angel investors through their fund Roya Capital, investing in early-stage CPG companies with women founders at the helm.
A frequent public speaker, moderator, and author, she’s been recognized by Pacific Business News as member of the 2018 ’40 Under 40,’ winners, was the Judges’ Choice CPG Winner at Foodbytes! by Rabobank in 2019, and won the 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year award by Hawai’i Venture Capital Association. Currently based in Austin, TX, she was born and raised in Honolulu, HI. Hughes earned her BA in art history from Boston University and MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.