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 Home > Events Calendar > LeaderLuncheon > Academy > Honorees - Organizations

1988 - 2007

Past Organizational
LeaderLuncheon Honorees

These companies and organizations created a culture of supporting women's leadership that had a profound impact in Hawaii.

1988 - 1996

Rainbow Wahine Volleyball
American Trust Co. of Hawaii  
Hawaii Pacific College 
Hawaii Women Lawyers 
US Army Corps of Engineers
McDonald’s of Hawaii   
Kaiser Permanente 
Aston Hotels & Resorts   
Pioneer Federal Savings Bank
Alu Like    
Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing 


1997 - 2007

Kapiolani Medical Center
St. Andrew’s Priory   
Office Pavilion  
Sacred Hearts Academy  
Belt Collins    
Group 70 International Inc. 
American Savings Bank
KNDI 1270 Radio  
Kamehameha Schools  
Na Loio 
Boys & Girls Club
La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls



khnl 13 - 1988
(Now Fox Channel 8)

King Broadcasting Company, which owns KHNL, espouses a strong affirmative action policy.  According to former General Manager Rick Blangiardi, approximately 43% of the stations’ work force are women… occupying positions at all levels, and are encouraged to grow.  The founder and original owner, Mrs. Dorothy Bullitt, was cited as one of the top 10 women of the century.

KHNL has an extensive Family Assistance Program which includes a most progressive parental leave policy, which is for either parent, and provides two weeks paid parental leave for each one week of vacation used by the employee—up to six weeks combined leave.  KHNL also offers day care information and referral services… sick leave for care of ill dependents… substance abuse programs, marital counseling, and rehabilitative counseling.  The company will also subsidize employees to take courses even if they might be considered unrelated to their work.

Asked about KHNL’s record of community involvement, including philanthropic and advocacy efforts to improve our community environment, their nominator listed 15 different items, including an anti-smoking campaign aimed at elementary school kids, and a series for high school students which showcased their own plays about substance abuse, teen pregnancy, family violence, freedom and responsibility.  KHNL localized the McGruff campaign and won the 1987 Crime Prevention Award over 187 other stations in major cities.  KHNL has also promoted kid fitness, Easter Seals Safe Halloween and other campaigns.  Approximately 1,000 public service announcements are aired every month.

With the Hawaii State Bar Association, KHNL presented “AIDS and the Constitution.”  It also focused on local issues through a series of debates.  KHNL airs the annual telethon for Kapi‘olani Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

KHNL also committed substantial financial sponsorship to assist the University of Hawaii in winning their bid to host the NCAA Volleyball Regional Championship.  KHNL also traveled to Indianapolis at considerable expense less than one week later, only to bring the Wahine home as they challenged for and won the National Championship.

KHNL Channel 8

rainbow wahine volleyball team - 1988

The Ho‘olako Award was instituted by the YWCA of O‘ahu in 1987 at LeaderLuncheon X, honoring Hawaii’s outstanding women.  Ho‘olako means to enrich, to provide, to furnish, to equip, to supply.

Recipients of the Ho‘olako Award have not only enriched themselves but our community.  The women of the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Team exemplify young women who are representatives of Hawaii’s multi-racial mix; providing an example of achieving excellence for themselves and as a team; carrying their commitment of excellence to the level of national recognition.  They serve as representatives as
young women who will contribute to the workforce in the following decades.  Hopefully, as role models, they will provide and supply all women and girls with the spirit of Ho‘olako.  For this we are enriched.

The Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Team is a NCAA Division I Volleyball team for the University of Hawaii.  The team has won four national championships, and three NCAA Division 1 titles.  The team has produced numerous Olympians, national players of the year, all Americans and all-conference players.

Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Team

american trust co. of hawaii, inc. - 1988

American Trust Company of Hawaii was purchased by Hawaiian Trust which, in turn, was acquired by Bank of Hawaii in 1985.

In the traditionally male field of finance, American Trust was unique in demonstrating equal employment opportunities as proven in the following statistics: 40% of senior management and 64% of total employed were women.

Women proved themselves in a free and open competitive environment… superior performance by women and men both (is) rewarded with increased responsibility and job promotion.  Women have shown their ability to move upwards to more responsible and better paying jobs at least as well as men.

This philosophy of work place advancement came directly from top: former CEO, president and company founder Robert R. Midkiff.  Bob didn’t care if a person was a man or a woman, if he or she could get the job done, then hiring, advancement or promotion would follow.

This is the version of American Trust’s founding sent with its nomination papers: Bob Midkiff remembers how several akamai women he encouraged to set up a trust… came to him… to tell him that “We know a lot more about how to run our financial affairs that young whipper-snapper of a trust officer… what we need is a trust company that will handle our paperwork and give us the support to do what we want to do and already know how to do.”

From hearing this sort of conversation from intelligent, sophisticated women over and over, Bob Midkiff got the idea of launching a custodial trust company (not the usual full service trust firm) that would handle clients’ paperwork and give them the kind of support they needed to conduct their affairs as they wished.

American Trust consistently showed support for community service groups and their efforts for women’s advancement in the workplace, participating in employer-sponsored childcare issues working with People Attentive to Children; flextime, 4-month family leave policy; management training programs for women; and summer youth work programs.  American Trust also offered “family sick days,” enabling well employees to stay at home to care for an ill family member.

Bank of Hawaii

hawaii pacific college - 1989
(Now Hawaii Pacific University)

Hawaii Pacific College places many women of all ages in positions of leadership and responsibility.  The College has promoted the visibility of women to faculty and staff positions in academic administration, special programs on and off campus, athletics, finance and operations, and professorships.

The hiring policy of the college reflects its commitment to selection without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  Its
personnel policies highlight the intent of the college “to implement all appropriate civil rights legislation, and to make a good faith effort to ensure that no person shall, on
the basis of ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, color or physical or mental disability, be unlawfully subjected to discrimination under any program or activity offered under the control of Hawaii Pacific College.  It is the intent of the procedure to include sexual harassment as a prohibited aspect of sexual discrimination.”

Additionally, Hawaii Pacific College has a liberal maternity leave policy for its employees, and the spouses and minor children of eligible faculty and staff are also eligible for tuition waivers.  Thus many women who are heads of households have a fine opportunity to see that their children receive a college education.

Hawaii Pacific University is an independent, not-for-profit, coeducation, nonsectarian, career-oriented postsecondary institution founded in 1965.  HPU is the largest private university in the central Pacific, most noted for its diverse student body of almost 9,000 students, representing over 190 countries.  The school’s largest academic programs are in nursing and business administration.  HPU operates satellite campuses on O‘ahu’s U.S. military bases, and over 2,000 HPU students take courses at these facilities.

Hawaii Pacific University

hawaii women lawyers - 1989
(Now Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation)

Founded in 1976, Hawaii Women Lawyers’ initial purpose was to further the goals of women attorneys in Hawaii, including to improve the status of women attorneys by increasing their numbers in positions of authority and responsibility including, but not limited to, judicial, corporate and law positions; to promote advancement of all women; to promote educational, social and other activities for mutual enrichment and to maintain communications with other women’s organizations.

Hawaii Women Lawyers is visible in the legal community through its mentor program, its lobbying efforts at the legislature and its award luncheon; it is visible to the general community through its sponsorship or co-sponsorship of the domestic violence hotline, a video on pay equity and an annual communications workshop for professional women.  HWL authored a comprehensive women’s rights handbook, entitled “Our Rights, Our Lives: A Guide to Women’s Legal Rights in Hawaii.”  The publication of the book “is the fulfillment of one of the fundamental goals of Hawaii Women Lawyers and the Hawaii Women Lawyers Foundation: advancing the status of all women in our community.  The book sets out the law and legal rights in the areas of housing, education, employment, finances, social welfare, domestic relations, issues relating to children, control over women’s bodies, lesbian rights, the military, crimes against women, women in prison, and how to deal with the legal system.

Over the years, HWL’s mission has expanded to support issues of special concern to all women.  HWL has been active in such projects as the establishment of a hotline to provide legal advice to battered women, a biography project on the early women attorneys in Hawaii, the reproductive rights movement, and surveys of women lawyers in Hawaii.

Hawaii Women Lawyers established the Hawaii Women Lawyers Foundation in 1982.  Since its creation, the Foundation has promoted the development and dissemination of knowledge and understanding of the law.  The Foundation has financially sponsored the Women’s Legal Rights Guide and directories of women attorneys, and has awarded scholarship grants and emergency financial aid to women law students.

Hawaii Women Lawyers enriches the community through its commitment to advocacy efforts directed toward improving the lives of all women.

Hawaii Women's Legal Foundation

us army corps of engineers - 1990

The Pacific Ocean Division (POD) is a part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the world’s largest engineering and construction management organization.  Headquartered in Hawaii, POD oversees operations extending south to American Samoa and west across Polynesia and Micronesia to Japan, Korea and Thailand.  POD’s fundamental goals are (1) to ensure quality facilities for America’s service members, (2) to provide water resources development throughout the Pacific, and (3) to assist Pacific Islanders during floods, typhoons, and other disasters.

Committed to responsive and professional services to others, POD is also committed to its women employees by creating an environment in which they can fully use their talents.  While federal policies of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action provide standards to guide the Corps, POD continues to surpass the average expectations of the directives and goals concerning its female employees.

POD boasts 37.9% of its workforce is women.  Through programs such as the Upward Mobility Program and career intern program, women with high potential are assisted and encouraged to move from clerical/secretarial fields to technical, middle, and senior management levels, as well as into traditionally male-dominated occupations such as engineering, architecture, and the sciences.  POD’s flexible work schedules and a leave sharing program help employees meet daily family obligations.  There is also an outreach program at POD in which employees including female engineers, speak at intermediate and high schools across the state about the career opportunities and benefits of employment within the Federal Government.  Because POD’s concern for its employees is very evident in the workplace, this organization is a role model for others.

“In the Honolulu District, we have many women leaders and managers and they are instrumental to accomplishing the daily missions of the organization.  We feel that all organizations in Hawaii should be open and receptive to increasing their number of women leaders”  (Lt. Col. Charles H. Klinge)

US Army Corps of Engineers

mcdonald's restaurants of hawaii, inc. - 1991

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, Inc. is recognized for establishing practices of providing upward mobility opportunities for women and persons of color.  A long established commitment to Affirmative Action has resulted in more than half of corporate management positions being held by women.  More than half of the company-owned restaurants are managed by women, and three restaurant franchisees are women. 

The company provides opportunities for the identifications and change of attitudinal barriers which keep women and persons of color from being able to give full
attention to the Company and its mission.  With an educational program which addresses the issue of sexism, the company culture now fosters a sense of empowerment among women.  A strong sexual harassment policy is also in place.

To provide Hawaii’s culturally diverse management team more mobility when interacting in the national arena, a program is now underway which provides opportunities for managers to expand their awareness and skills, thus enabling them to broaden their sphere of influence within the larger company.

As president and managing director of McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, Inc.  Ms. Veronica Kaneko has provided leadership and a climate in which women could flourish.  Ms. Kaneko holds the highest ranking position within the company in the state.  Kaneko joined McDonald’s marketing department, and -- despite an initial unwillingness -- finally agreed to try her hand at operations. “[Upper management] kept asking me to go into operations, and I really didn’t want to, but I finally decided to give it a try.  Her predecessor, Donna Ribellia-Abreu, paved the way for Kaneko to move up through the ranks to head McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii.  Today she is at the helm of McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii Inc., a subsidiary of Illinois-based McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE:MCD). Under Kaneko’s watchful eye, McDonald’s Hawaii grossed $169 million in annual sales in 2001, earning the company the No. 33 spot on the Hawaii Business Top 250 list this year.

McDonald's Restaurants of Hawaii, Inc.

kaiser permanente - 1992

Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program has a long-standing tradition of affirmative action in the workplace.  In the Hawaii Region especially, women have achieved prominent status.  Janet Liang is the president and regional manager for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc.

To help meet the special needs faced by women in the organization, Kaiser Permanente offers formal and informal programs to advance careers and to safeguard an individual’s professional standing.  In 1991 Kaiser paid tuition reimbursement to
768 women.  An educational leave of up to two years is also available.  An informal mentoring program encourages women to seek out men or women in upper management for professional coaching.  Kaiser Permanente also allows employees
to expand their roles by taking on additional functions.  This typically results in an upward reclassification of an employee’s present position and, as it increases the employee’s experience, may lead to greater opportunities for promotion in the future.

A medical leave policy allows up to two years off with medical authorization.  This includes pregnancy, with return rights to the employee’s original position during the first year.  A personal leave of absence of up to six months is available for the care of a family member.  Flexible work schedules are offered whenever operationally feasible to accommodate personal, family, or educational needs.

As increasing numbers of women have entered the workforce, bringing with them their unique strengths and needs, Kaiser Permanente has emerged as an enlightened employer and a model for this community.

Kaiser Permanente

aston hotels & resorts - 1993
(Now ResortQuest Hawaii)

Aston Hotels & Resorts held the distinction of being the only major hotel chain in Hawaii with female General Managers in 1993.  In fact, taking into account hotels of all sizes throughout the entire state,
only nine had female General Managers, and six of them were at Aston properties.  Even by national and international comparisons, Aston’s percentage of women General Managers (24 percent) stood out as unusually high.

The company’s commitment to supporting women was manifested in all phases of its operations.  Their women managers regularly lectured at the University of Hawaii and served as mentors for various programs, including those at Jarrett Intermediate School and Aiea High School.  Aston’s General Managers were instructed to be sensitive to the needs of their female personnel, and company policies regarding promotions, training opportunities, and family leave are conducive to female advancement. 

In addition, Aston and its employees supported numerous charitable organizations, including the Girl Scouts, ASSETS School, Chaminade University, University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, Aloha United Way, The Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, Kapiolani Medical Center and the YWCA of O‘ahu.  The company made a special effort to support culture and the arts through the Honolulu Symphony, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Manoa Valley Theater, and Bishop Museum.  The generous spirit of Aston and its employees was also evident in their immediate response to Hurricane Iniki with supplies, beds, linens, and financial contributions.  On August 1, 2005, Aston Hotels & Resorts Hawaii entered a new era in its company history as it officially emerged as ResortQuest Hawaii.  For over 50 years, ResortQuest Hawaii - formerly Aston Hotels & Resorts - has been renowned for offering our guests the best possible accommodations at the best available rates. 

A journey that originally began back in 1998, Aston Hotels & Resorts along with 13 other lodging companies across North America joined to form ResortQuest International.  Today, ResortQuest is the world’s leading vacation rental property management brand with more than 20,000 resort condominium units and vacation homes in 52 premier resort destinations across the United States and Canada.

ResortQuest Hawaii locally manages 26 hotels and all-suite condominium resorts on Oahu (Waikiki and Honolulu), Maui (Kaanapali and Kihei), Kauai (Waimea, Poipu, Kapaa and Hanalei), and the Big Island of Hawaii (Kailua-Kona and Waikoloa).

With an assortment of hotels, condominium suites, villas and cottages, guests are able to select accommodations that fit their distinct lifestyles, tastes and budgets. Having more than 5,000 rooms and suites to choose from, ResortQuest Hawaii has just what visitors are looking for.  Each of their resorts is located on or near the beach, and offers an array of amenities that will enhance the comfort and convenience of a memorable Hawaii vacation.

We salute Aston Hotels & Resorts for breaking new ground for women in the hotel industry and working to create a better state for all of us.

ResortQuest Hawaii

pioneer federal savings bank - 1994
(Merged into First Hawaiian Bank)

Pioneer Federal Savings Bank (Pioneer) distinguished itself in the community through its broad representation of women employees throughout its operation.  This was evidenced by Lily K. Yao, former president and chief executive officer of Pioneer, the first female leader of a major financial institution in Hawaii.  Yao proved that anything was possible when she became president and chief executive officer of Pioneer Federal Savings Bank, 16 years after starting there as a bank teller.  When Pioneer Federal’s operations merged with First Hawaiian in 1997, Yao was appointed FHB vice chairwoman.

Equal opportunity and recognition based on individual performances paid off for women at Pioneer.  Women held 57 percent of the top positions at Pioneer.  Of all branch and operation managerial positions, 77 percent were held by women.  Career advancement opportunities at Pioneer were among the most progressive in the State.  Pioneer supports equal opportunity and reaches out to the community with affirmative action recruitment of applicants. 

Because 80 percent of its employees were women, Pioneer strove to find a balance between family and work.  In 1992 Pioneer responded to child care concerns and adopted a flexible spending benefit to assist with child care expenses and also formalized its family leave policy, providing additional support for working women.  Many Hawaii women broke through the ranks and emerged as leaders in a field predominated by men.

Pioneer’s employees were encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities.  As an institution, Pioneer donated materials, financial support and time to worthy causes including, but not limited to, the American Red Cross, Aloha United Way, Hawaii Special Olympics, and the Easter Seal Telethon.

Pioneer Federal Savings Bank stood tall in its commitment to the advancement of women in the workplace.

First Hawaiian Bank

alu like, inc. - 1995

"E alu like mai kākou, e nā`ōiwi o Hawai`i" "Let us work together natives of Hawai`i"

Alu Like is one of Hawaii’s largest private, multi-service, community-based non-profit agencies assisting Native Hawaiian women and men, ‘opio, makua
and kupuna, through 19 service projects in the areas of social development, education, employment and economic development. 

Tutu Mary Kawena Puku‘i named the organization ALU LIKE, which means, “striving together”.  Kupuna Wahine Edith Kanaka‘ole, in recognition of the challenging work to be done and the tugging, pushing and pulling that would need to take place to accomplish their goals gave them the motto, E alu like mai kakou, e na Oiwi o Hawaii (Let us work together, natives of Hawaii), to help us meet the tasks ahead.

In the first year of operation, the community confronted their staff with questions such as: different groups have surveyed us for many years with no feedback and no follow up after the initial collection of information.  What makes you so different?  Why should we trust you?  We‘ve never heard of you before this year?  Will we even see you again with follow up action on our information, or will you disappear like all the others?

Staff could only verbally assure our people that we would not disappear and to be patient and trust that we would follow up on their expressed needs.  Alu Like, Inc.’s staff rose to the challenge and insured that services and programs provided immediate tangible results to honor the trust and patience the community gave them.  Immediate and tangible results are still the measure we apply to all of our efforts on behalf of individuals and families.

Since then, Alu Like, Inc. has grown from a $125,000 statewide organization with one O‘ahu office and neighbor island staff operating out of their homes and cars, to a 20 million 20 office organization.  Over the past 30 years, Alu Like, Inc. has provided immediate and tangible results to more than 100,000 individuals across the State of Hawaii.  “We are different, not like the others, and will not disappear.”

The staff and Board at Alu Like, Inc. continue to work together with the community to remain relevant and cutting edge in the delivery of immediate and tangible results. I invite you to join us on our journey of “E Holomua”, and to work together to achieve a better tomorrow for our people.

Alu Like is cited for consistent service to Native Hawaiians and Hawaii since 1975 and demonstrating a clear commitment to the advancement of women in society and the workplace.  Alu Like’s history of service to the community is a true testament of their critical role in Hawai‘i for the last 31 years.  Alu Like has 238 employees and offices located throughout the state of Hawaii.

Alu Like, Inc.

alston hunt floyd & ing - 1996

Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing, Attorneys at Law, A Law Corporation, are honored for their outstanding record of support of women, children and family issues in the workplace; for
their commitment and support to the personal and professional development of women staff members; for their outstanding record of gender equity, particularly at senior management
levels; and for their support of our community through volunteerism, advocacy and philanthropy.  Today, Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing is the fifth largest law firm in the state and the largest Hawaii
law firm where women comprise 50% of the attorneys and nearly 50% of the owners. 

Rather than accommodating their firm’s unique gender balance, the firm wants the candidate
to pass the “wow test” when considering a potential associate.  Louise Ing, partner, says in
the end they seem to find women who suit the position the best.  And as a sign of internal support, the women associates have chosen the email “Pwr.”  There is also an unofficial mascot, a wooden alligator sculpture in high heels, affectionately named Lady Litigator. 

Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing members have served on the boards of Aloha United Way, the American Cancer Society, Halekipa Youth Services, Hawaii Advocates For Children and Youth; Hawaii Women Lawyers, Hawaii Community Foundation, Hawai‘i Kids At Work, Hawai‘i Lawyer’s Care, Hawai‘i Kids Count Advisory Board, and the Sex Abuse Treatment Center.

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing

kapi'olani medical center for women and children - 1997

“We believe that challenging ourselves to the best creates a vitality of spirit and purpose.  To
this end, we aim to make a difference in the life of each woman we serve by providing her with knowledge that will enable her to make informed decisions about her health.”

Kapi‘olani Medical Center has cared for Hawaii’s women for more than 110 years. Queen Kapi‘olani opened the Kapi‘olani Maternity Home in 1890 to improve birth outcomes for mothers and their babies.  The Queen endowed her legacy with the motto, ‘Kulia I Ka Nu‘u” or “Strive for the Highest,” a phrase that captures the organization’s mission as well today as it did more
than a century ago.  As the only women’s specialty facility in Hawaii, Kapi‘olani is well recognized as the state’s leader in women’s health.

Today, Kapi‘olani strives to improve and advocate for the health and well-being of Hawaii’s women and has greatly expanded its services to meet the needs of the 21st century woman.  Kapi‘olani recognizes that women’s health must be addressed as its own specialty.  The organization has invested millions over the past decade to build three beautiful, state-of-the-art women’s specialty centers designed by women, for women.

Kapi‘olani Medical Center has significantly contributed to our community’s understanding and knowledge of health issues specifically affecting women and families and was honored for its policies and initiatives that have enriched and empowered the professional and personal lives of its women employees.

Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children

st. andrew's priory school for girls - 1997

St. Andrew’s Priory School was founded by Queen Emma Kaleleonalani in 1867.  Queen Emma envisioned a school where Hawaiian girls would receive an education equivalent to the education that was traditionally offered only to boys.  Founded as a school for girls, the Priory remains dedicated to this legacy. 

Today, the Priory provides girls in grades K-12 a college preparatory education within
a Christian environment so that in any future community they will be self-confident, capable, participating members.  The Priory community represents a wide range of religious and ethnic backgrounds as well as socio-economic levels.  Over 13% of the Priory’s current enrollment is of part-Hawaiian ancestry.  St. Andrew’s Priory adheres to the Queen’s motto Kulia I ka nu‘u (“Strive for the highest”) in its mission to encourage girls to explore their interests, to develop a commitment to lifelong learning, and to continually widen their horizons. 

To that end, the Priory offers a challenging academic curriculum, nurturing teachers, active partnerships with parents, and involvement with the community to prepare girls for the pivotal and influential roles they will play as adult women – as individuals, leaders in their families, professionals and active community leaders.  Kathleen Carstensen is principal and 16 of the 19 executive administration are women, all providing great examples of female leaders.

Although the Priory today is a progressive college preparatory institution, it has retained its gentle ways and still reflects the proud heritage of the Hawaiian queen who had a dream.

St. Andrews Priory School For Girls 

office pavilion - 1998

Owned and operated by ceo Geraldine (Gerri) Hayes, Office Pavilion has provided office furnishings to many of Hawaii’s largest privately owned and public corporations, and
government installations located throughout Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.  Since founding
the company in 1986, Gerri has grown her Herman Miller dealership from $200,000 to
over $22 million in annual sales.  Office Pavilion offers a consistent commitment to
customer service and within the full-time staff of 46 employees, 21 are women and four
of the six management positions are filled with women.

Gerri has turned her company into one of the top woman-owned businesses in Hawaii.
While many businesses are downsizing, Office Pavilion keeps expanding.  Aside from maintaining operations in Hawaii, a satellite office has opened on Guam to handle growing business in the Pacific Rim.

Office Pavilion’s clients include Bank of Hawaii, Pacific Resources Inc., Hawaiian Electric Co. and Bank of America.  The company has adapted to economic downturns by adding new services in anticipation of clients’ needs.  Office Pavilion offers redesign and furniture refinishing and started a 24-hour repair service.  “People are not necessarily concerned with price, they’re more value-conscious, so they demand good services” Gerri says.

Showing the same concern for employees, Office Pavilion has consistently encouraged their advancement by sponsoring performance recognitions and awards, health and wellness programs, educational seminars and career
growth opportunities.

Office Pavillion

sacred hearts academy - 1999

Building on its 98-year history of providing quality Catholic education and a challenging curriculum for a student body of over 1,200 young women, Sacred Hearts Academy has transformed its campus into a dynamic and innovative setting which prepares its students for the real world.  Recognizing the uniqueness of each girl and developing her individual potential are at the heart
of its mission.

Under the guidance of the Principal Betty White who has worked at the Academy for 37 years,
the Sisters, administration, faculty, parents and community work collaboratively and consciously to encourage creativity and effort, empowering the Academy’s students and staff to think and do for themselves.  Many of Sacred Hearts’ 6,000 alumnae have distinguished themselves as advocates for women’s rights in the public and private sectors.

With 95% of its administrators and 90% of the teachers are women, Sacred Hearts Academy nurtures its staff through continuous professional development opportunities and values staff input into effective school policies, a vibrant curriculum and interesting and exciting extra-curricular activities.

While uniforms and Mass still provide a formal foundation for continuity and faith, the school fosters learning through real-life experiences, with a steady emphasis on technology, math and science as part of the daily life of its young women. 
Extra-curricular activities run from development, fabrication and racing of an electric car to volunteering support for Loliana Hale, a shelter for mothers and children in Kakaako.  As the school has transitioned in the last 25 years to predominantly lay staff, it has successfully maintained the founding Sisters’ mission by encouraging and teaching its employees and students to be the best they can be.

“Sacred Hearts is dedicated to the education of girls and essential to that purpose is the commitment to be a community that both reflects and values economic, ethnic and religious diversity, responds to a changing, dynamic world, and respects individual differences.”

Sacred Hearts Academy

belt collins - 2000

Belt Collins is an international design firm providing engineering, planning, landscape architecture and environmental consulting services.  Headquartered in Honolulu, Belt Collins also has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand,the Philippines and Guam, as well as in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Seattle, Washington.  Anne Mapes is the chairman and ceo of the flagship office, Belt Collins Hawaii, and the only female president of any locally based Hawaii design firm in a field traditionally dominated by men.  Of the company’s 95 Hawaii employees, a third of the management positions are held by women and almost half of the professional staff are women.

Belt Collins has a strong track record of providing equal employment opportunities for women and minorities.  It is sensitive to each employee’s family needs and has a liberal maternity leave policy which allows mothers to extend their time at home to bond with their newborns.  The company has built a private breastfeeding area, offers “flex-time” to accommodate personal and family schedules, and allows new mothers to work at home by staying connected to the office via e-mail and fax.

Belt Collins encourages the higher education and professional and personal development of employees by subsidizing tuition at all levels of employment, depending on years of service with the company.  This policy applies to seminars, professional degrees and licensure.

“Belt Collins strives to provide the highest level of service to clients.  We know of no better way than by encouraging staff to pursue their individual professional interest in support of the company’s focus.  Women in the firm may have different needs than those of their male counterparts, and we provide opportunities to both, so that they may contribute equally to the betterment of our communities through their work at Belt Collins.”

Belt Collins Hawaii

group 70 international inc. - 2001

Group 70 International is a Hawaii owned and operated design firm which provides creative
solutions in architecture, master planning, interior design and asset management throughout
the Pacific Rim.  The firm is constantly reinventing itself in light of changes in the economy, technology, and emerging markets, but its foundations are firmly grounded on Christian
principles of respect and generosity.  One of its stated goals is to be “the best place to work.”

Vice chairman Sheryl Seaman has been a principal of Group 70 since 1983 and was president
of the organization in 1991.  Group 70 has always been an Equal Opportunity workplace.  When Seaman became president, Group 70 International had 135 employees, representing 14
nationalities and speaking 22 languages.  At that time, 40% of the professional staff were women.  She instituted a family-friendly paid leave program that can be used not only for personal sick days, but to care for a family member, or to attend a child’s school function.  The firm has telecommuting programs for those with infants or other family needs.

In 1997 Linda Chung Miki, at age 32, became the youngest partner in the firm.  She is an excellent example of the opportunities available to motivated individuals regardless of age or gender.  Currently, Linda is utilizing the firm’s programs and policies for her own maternity leave.

Group 70’s work environment is open and accessible, with partners working in open stations along with staff.  Continuing education is encouraged, and mentoring programs contribute to professional growth.  Business and management training is assured to all associates through participation in the firm’s weekly management meetings.

“Group 70 International operates as a professional ohana offering challenges and opportunities, as well as support for all of our members, men and women alike.  We build consensus among us as a basis for management decisions, and we share our bounty with an open hand.”

Group 70 International Inc.

american savings bank - 2002

American Savings Bank has distinguished itself in the community by creating a work environment that nurtures employee growth and programs that help advance and empower women, minorities and the community at large.

At American Savings Bank, women play key roles all the way up the chain of command: women represent 51 percent of branch managers, 43 percent of middle managers, 45 percent of senior managers, and the president and chief executive officer is a woman, Constance H. Lau.  Such high representation of women in management is not a consequence of “positive discrimination” in favor of women, but rather because American Savings Bank seeks to help all employees reach their full potential.  Through flex time, transportation benefits, subsidies to increase technological literacy and the Executive Development Program, American Savings Bank has promoted the development of the entire employee workforce.

The bank has also developed lending programs that help disadvantaged segments of the community to rent or own homes, people with disabilities to acquire devices (e.g., roll-in showers, computers that read aloud), and small businesses to qualify for loans.  In addition, American Savings Bank has partnered with organizations that serve important community needs such as American Cancer Society, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, Kids Voting Hawaii, Hawaii Nature Center, YWCA of O‘ahu, and the Hawaii Women’s Business Center.

“To be a successful, high-performing team, you need individuals who share the same vision and passion.  You get there by nurturing personal and professional growth, supporting life-long learning, and demonstrating that you truly care about people.”

kndi 1270 am - the broadcast house of the pacific - 2002

KNDI 1270 is one of the last locally-owned radio stations in Hawai’i and for more than thirty years has been known for its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic format.  Airtime is allocated to programs in ten languages including Tagalog, Ilocano, Visayan, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese, Laotian, Vietnamese, Okinawan, Spanish and Polish.  KNDI’s cultural, community, and educational programming is an invaluable resource in the local Asian and Pacific communities especially to immigrants with limited English proficiency.

KNDI is committed to serving the needs of a diverse population; no other radio station in Hawaii has
its level of grassroots outreach.  Despite offers by many to purchase the station, owner and general manager, Leona Jona, has been resolute in wanting KNDI to continue as a station that provides valuable service to the various ethnic communities in Hawaii.  She often networks with social service agencies
by providing radio announcements and programs to support their work.  Topics covered include starting
a business, legal and immigration advice, health, agriculture, and family issues. 

Leona herself immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1956 as a political refugee.  Her commitment to multi-ethnic programming has roots in her own experience and she yearns to help others who “are trying to make a life in a different country.”

“I believe our world is very troubled largely because there is so little tolerance and understanding among ethnic and religious groups.  Our top priority must be to promote understanding -- to build bridges between different cultures and religions which will secure peace around the world -- and we must start in our own neighborhood.”

KNDI 1270 AM

kamehameha schools - 2003

120 years ago Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop spoke to a gathering   of young women in her home.  Her words still resonate with girls and women today, and exemplify the rich legacy of Kamehameha Schools and the contributions made to the community, since the organization was established over a century ago. 

“Young ladies, your life is before you -- it will be what you choose to make it.  Times will come when you will feel you are being pushed into the background.  Never allow this to happen -- stand always on your own foundation.  But you have to make that foundation.  There will come times when to make this stand will be difficult, especially to you of Hawaiian birth; but conquer you can -- if you will.”

Empowering staff at Kamehameha Schools, 46% of their executive management team are women, including ceo Dee Jay Mailer.  Women comprise two-thirds of their total workforce.

Princess Pauahi believed that education was the best way to equip her people to compete in a changing environment.  Kamehameha Schools’ mission is to “fulfill Pauahi’s desire to create education opportunities in perpetuity to improve the capability and well being of people of Hawaiian ancestry.”  The Schools strive to offer the highest level of education to our children and to create a positive message of what it means to be Hawaiian.  Kamehameha Schools has graduated about 20,500 young men and women—a worthy legacy of a visionary princess.

Tens of thousands of children of Hawaiian ancestry have received quality education and participated in outreach activities.  In addition to educational programs, Kamehameha Schools’ Ke Ali‘i Pauahi Foundation awards approximately $26 million in scholarships and financial aid to applicants every year. 

Kamehameha Schools established a Women in Leadership Committee, Na Lei Hulu o Kaiona, which seeks to develop the strengths of women and girls as leaders by providing role models and mentors, and by offering resources and support to enable women to expand their contributions to society, to the workplace, and to the families of Hawaii.  Kamehameha School role as a model for women’s leadership and empowerment derives from its benefactor.  She lived in a time when women did not receive education as she did, and did not control their fortunes and destiny.  Her will is progressive as she bequeathed monies to various women for “their sole and separate use free from the control of their husbands.”

“Through the education of young Hawaiians and the grounding in their native culture, Kamehameha Schools enhances the future of the community as a whole and preserves a once-endangered heritage.  In a sense, we are all beneficiaries of the Princess’ generosity and vision.”  -  Gladys K. Ainoa Brandt, Nominator.

Kamehameha Schools

nā loio - 2003

“If justice is available only to a few, then it’s not truly justice.”

Nā Loio - Immigrant Rights and Public Interest Legal Center is a non-profit organization providing immigration legal services and advocacy in the public interest with a particular emphasis on serving Hawaii’s low-income immigrants and their families.  Their pro bono efforts are focused on protecting the civil and legal rights of newly arrived and long-term resident immigrants.  Now in its 22nd year, Nā Loio offers immigrant legal services, community education, advocacy, and advice and referral to those who are among the poorest, most vulnerable members of our community.

Founded in 1983, Nā Loio which means “the lawyers” is the only agency of its kind in Hawaii providing free immigration legal services for indigent immigrants and their families.  Clients include abused, abandoned and neglected immigrant children, battered immigrant women, asylum seekers, disabled naturalization applicants, and individuals placed in removal proceedings with available legal remedies.  In 2000, Nā Loio was actively involved in securing passage of legislation to provide state-funded health care benefits for income-qualified immigrant children, and it continues to advocate for the full restoration of health care benefits for pregnant indigent immigrant women and other adults.  Currently, Nā Loio is also engaged in ensuring that all federally funded state services are language accessible for persons with limited English proficiency.

Nā Loio’s staff of four often stands up and voices unpopular opinions in the pursuit of civil justice for its constituents.  Led by ceo Pat McManaman, “the courage of this all-female team is especially admirable because they fight for the most vulnerable members of our community -- women and children, who came to this country with dreams of increased opportunity and hopes for freedom and safety.”

“Immigrants bring to America their hope for freedom, safety, and increased opportunity for their children.  At Nā Loio, we believe these are important values.  We work to ensure these values by protecting the civil and legal rights of immigrants and refugees.”

Nā Loio

boys & girls club of hawaii - 2004

“The Boys & Girls Club has given me the ability to be me,” says 2002 Youth of the Year Destinie Montero.  “To laugh, play, cry and express myself whether good or bad, but mostly to belong somewhere and to see doors to new beginnings.  The support I receive from staff and board members has made me feel very special -- something I never thought I could be to anyone.”

For the past 28 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii has provided a safe place for children to grow, learn and spend time with supportive caring adults.  It is a haven, a place of security where kids can develop the skills needed to set goals, develop self-esteem and avoid negative influences.  The “Clubhouses,” as these places are known, are in predominately low-income areas; 31% of members are from single parent homes, 36% are economically disadvantaged.

The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii provides opportunities to more than 12,000 youth, ages 7-17, in the after-school hours and summer months.  The more often a child attends a Club, the more impact the staff and programs have on his/her development.  Currently, 65% of members are at the Clubhouses more than three days each week.  The $10 annual dues enables children to spend time with positive role models and participate in programs to develop their individual skills and ambitions.  At present, there are six Clubhouses and four extensions (O‘ahu and Kauai) with a registered membership of over 6,000 youngsters.

The Boys Club of Honolulu, as it was known in the early years, always welcomed girls as members.  The name was changed in 1985 to reflect that girls were active participants and leaders in the organization.  In 1996, the Boys & Girls Club launched a Gender Equity Program, made possible by a grant from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, providing specialized programs and activities geared toward addressing the challenges faced by girls during adolescence.  In 2003, girls participated in activities like the Girls Basketball Holiday Tournament, a three-day tournament that promotes healthy competition and builds self-esteem, and the Girls Lego Robotics Camp, a four-day camp teamed with the University of Hawaii Engineering School to expose girls to math and technology fields using lego technology.

“Each child who walks through the doors of a Boys & Girls Club has one unique future.  It is our job to give each child a real sense of hope and opportunity, to create a relationship that will provide a positive influence for a lifetime.”

Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii

la pietra hawaii school for girls - 2004

La Pietra is O‘ahu’s only non-denominational, fully-accredited college preparatory school for girls, grades 6 through 12.  Opened as Hawaii School for Girls in 1964,
La Pietra has distinguished itself by offering challenging academic and co-curricular programs that foster curiosity, leadership, creativity, self-confidence, respect and service to others in an environment dedicated to girls’ highest and best aspirations.

The school teaches all students to go “beyond what they think they can do.”  From the technical genius to the budding artist, students are encouraged to pursue their interests and develop their unique talents.  An educational leader in technology, La Pietra has achieved a computer to student ratio of 1:1 and is the only high school in the state to offer a diploma with an emphasis in technology.  The school also promotes hands-on learning in diverse artistic fields.  The Guest Artist Program, for example, brings in accomplished professionals from across the country to share their skills and experience with students.

La Pietra’s student body of approximately 240 girls represents the rich ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Hawaii. La Pietra seeks responsible learners with a wide range of abilities and the potential for solid academic growth. The school maintains a strong commitment to need-based financial aid including full tuition grants to a limited number of girls. The faculty and staff are a diverse, committed group of women and men whose expertise, compassion and high expectations draw from each girl the very best she has to contribute in class and as a member of the school community.

KAHIAU is Hawaiian for the personal quality of selfless giving and generosity of spirit, without expectation of return or reward.  At La Pietra we seek to cultivate the spirit of KAHIAU as a way of life in our school community and to share this spirit with the greater community that is our world.

Parents, students and faculty work together on fundraising to support the financial aid program.  Students also participate in service projects, such as Special Guest Day, in which girls host 200 special-needs and challenged students at the Annual Children’s Fair.  La Pietra girls pair up with their charges, one-on-one, for a fun, special day at the fair.  Forty percent of
Interview with
2004 Honoree 
Nancy White (La Pietra) re Leadership

students receive financial aid.  La Pietra is a diverse community where growth and learning are equally cherished concepts. 

“We at La Pietra are humbled and gratified to receive this award.  The school’s mission is to prepare the girls to be lifelong learner’s, ethical and moral individuals, responsible and global citizens and self-confident women -- the leaders of tomorrow.  This Leadership Award confirms and inspires our mission.” 

La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls

Honorees 1977 - 1979
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