I was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii and graduated from Waiakea High School.
After graduation I travelled internationally as a Polynesian dancer with Island Breeze Ministries. Experiencing different cultures expanded my worldview and taught me to see things from another perspective.
In Hawaiian, this is called Makawalu. It literally means 8-eyes, like that of a spider. Makawalu, or the ability to see things from a different perspective cultivates empathy and at the core of leading with emotional intelligence. It is also the basis for problem solving and engaging in design thinking. This is the foundation of my leadership practice.
When I returned to Hawaii in my mid-20’s, I entered the workforce and over the next 16 years I completed an Associates Degree in Information Technology, a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, Sociology and Hawaiian Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership. I am currently enrolled in Gonzaga University’s Doctoral Program of Leadership Studies.
One of my favorite quotes says, “Good leaders organize and align people around what the team needs to do. Great leaders motivate and inspire people with why they’re doing it. That’s purpose. And that’s the key to achieving something truly transformational.”
When I was promoted to a leadership position, I thought I would be a great leader - after all, I was a high performing employee and I was really good at my job. But as I settled into my office, there was no 3-ring binder with directions on how to be a great leader who inspires and motivates employees. There was no manual on how to address organizational dysfunction, build creative and imaginative capacity to solve complex systemic issues, enhance collaboration and dialogue that results in high performing teams, address poor communication, or develop a culture of gratitude and recognition. The learning curve was steep and I was poorly equipped. As a result, my team suffered. Morale was down and exit interviews cited things like poor communication and not feeling recognized or valued.
I decided to do better for my team by studying and practicing leadership principles, and within a year, I received the following feedback.
“I just wanted to thank you for all your support and encouragement. You are a powerhouse woman and you have done amazing things. I truly appreciate the time you take to really listen and get to know those you work with. I always feel truly understood and at ease after speaking with you.”
“I’ve learned so much from you. Mostly by seeing how you work. Thank you!”
“You bring respect, compassion, integrity, spirituality, and excellence to our agency. Mahalo.”
“You have brought many great changes to the organization. The morale of staff and the process of helping our clients has dramatically improved. Thank you so much for what you do.”
“Change is not easy but you’ve been able to open our eyes to see the possibilities of it all. Thanks a million.”
“Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to personally check in with me to see how it was going. Really appreciated you hearing me out.”
“Thank you for inspiring me to become a better leader through your mentorship and support.”
“Just want to say how much I appreciate everything you do and for allowing me to succeed and reach for the stars.”
In the past year I’ve taught workshops for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Hawaii Community College, HGEA, Ku’ikahi Mediation and the Exchange Club of Hilo where I shared hands-on activities that facilitate experiential learning of leadership practices and principles.
You wake up and can’t wait to get to work. The company you work for is a place where highly talented people, like you, want to be. Communication flows because everyone understands that information and knowledge truly is power and both are shared freely. Everyone in the company understands their role and the impact their work has in the bigger picture.
Your company is a place where employees feel safe, supported, valued, and recognized, and leadership invests in their most precious resource - the human resource - by often presenting employees with opportunities for personal growth.
On a scale of 1-10, if that company is a 10 - where is your company today?
I can help you get to 10.