Generational Mentoring Kick-off Mixer
Friday evening marked the official start of our 2018-2019 Generational Mentoring Program. I was pleased to see all 15 student participants in attendance accompanied by their faculty advisors from our four partner educational institutions – Brigham Young University Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and University of Hawaii West Oahu.
Our Generational Mentoring Program provides students pursuing Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in tourism or hospitality industry management, the opportunity to have one-on-one personalized leadership and career development coaching from a seasoned leader in the industry.
During our Kick-off Mixer, we unveiled the pairings for this year’s class and gave all the attendees an opportunity to bond as a group. Over the next six months, mentees and mentors alike will learn and grow through a special curriculum developed by HLTA and Here and Now Consulting Founder, Art Sarkissian and we will also add some new exciting activities this year. The program will conclude on April 25th with a commencement luncheon, where I look forward to hearing the lessons that have been shared.
HIP: General Election Edition
Mahalo to everyone who joined us Monday evening at Blue Note Hawaii for our Hospitality Industry Pau Hana (HIP). This year, I have made it a priority of our association to host politically-themed mixers for our members and endorsed candidates. Prior to the Primary Election we held our first political HIP at Lucky Strike Social Honolulu, and followed up with another successful event at the Blue Note Hawai‘i for our endorsed candidates running in the General Election.
As a recap, candidates were required to submit tourism-based questionnaires which were thoroughly vetted by representatives from HLTA’s county chapters, the Endorsement Committee, and the Board of Directors. This comprehensive process was implemented to ensure that the candidate’s agendas aligned with our organization’s key pillars and that they would advocate for our industry concerns.
I would like to send a big shout out to the candidates that traveled near and far to join us that night. Mahalo to Lieutenant Governor Candidate, Senator Josh Green, who was accompanied by Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, for demonstrating his commitment to the industry as he took time out of his own fundraiser to be with us. A warm mahalo to incumbents Rep. Tom Brower, Rep. Sam Kong, Rep. Takashi Ohno, and Rep. Richard Onishi for attending. I would also like to acknowledge newly-elected Representative Scot Matayoshi, Maui mayoral candidate Mike Victorino, State candidates Kurt Fevella, Sharon Moriwaki, and Val Okimoto, and Honolulu City Council candidate Kelly Kitashima for taking time to mix and mingle with our members.
Mahalo to our partners: HLTA Board Member Barbara Campbell, VP of Retail Leasing & Property Management of Outrigger Hotel and Resorts, Martha Seroogy and her team at Blue Note Hawaii, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Duke’s Waikiki for your support of this event. The venue and entertainment were fantastic, the food was superb, and the company was delightful.
Don’t forget that Election Day is on November 6th - please go out and vote!
Queen Kapiolani Grand Opening Party
Tuesday evening, Waikiki saw the resurgence of a nostalgic property as the brand new Queen Kapiolani Hotel Waikiki Beach was unveiled. It was my genuine pleasure to attend the Grand Opening Party which featured the hotel’s new event space, food from DECK bar & grille, and a stellar aerial acrobat performance. We have been eagerly anticipating this opening since last summer’s closure and it is indeed a complete and beautiful transformation. I would like to congratulate General Manager Jeff Perkins and Kokua Hospitality on the stunning boutique hotel. We look forward to holding future events in your wonderful setting.
2018 Harvest Ag Festival
This past Sunday, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association helped sponsor again the Family and Friends of Agriculture’s 5th Annual Kaua‘i Harvest Ag Festival out at Waimea Canyon Park. I joined our friends on the Garden Island for a day filled with ono food, games and rides for the keiki, and the proverbial pumpkin giveaway, where over 1,500 pumpkins were handed out to families and Kaua‘i’s youth. Every year, this special event brings together the Kaua‘i community in large fashion, to support the non-profit organizations on the west side of the island. This year, we had a special treat as I put in a request to longtime friend Kelly Boy Delima and his talented family group Kapena, to come out and headline the festival. After a few songs, a couple malasadas, and a shoyu chicken plate, I helped close out another wonderful harvest festival with Kapena in a special rendition of Hawai‘i Aloha Oe.
I would like to send a special shout out to HLTA Board Member Stephanie Iona of Corteva Agrosciences, as she is the heart and soul of this event. Congratulations on another successful Harvest Ag Festival.
HLTA Talks Story with Mayoral Candidates
(Above) HLTA and MHLA host Maui mayoral candidate Michael Victorino for a "lunch & learn"
(Below) HLTA and its Kauai Chapter, host Kauai mayoral candidate Councilmember Derek Kawakami at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.
This week, HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara joined me in convening “ lunch and learn “meetings on both Maui and Kaua‘i to talk story with our endorsed mayoral candidates for each respective county. On Maui, we organized a joint partnership with the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association to host mayoral candidate Michael Victorino at the Kahili restaurant, for a session that was both educational and collaborative, with leaders from Maui’s visitor industry.
Likewise on Kaua‘i, we partnered with the HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter to host mayoral candidate Councilmember Derek Kawakami at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club with members of the Kaua‘i Chapter Board. At both meetings, we shared state and county perspectives for what we as an industry hope to accomplish legislatively in the coming years. With a mere 11 days left till the General Election, we continue to advocate on behalf of our endorsed candidates and encourage you to support the friends of our industry as well.
Ka 'Ikena Holiday Fundraiser
Please join us at our 7th annual Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception on Thursday, November 15th at Kapiolani Community College. Students enrolled in the KCC Culinary Program host the event in the Ka ‘Ikena Dining Room on campus and are given the opportunity to showcase their talents to all of us . Funds raised through ticket sales help benefit the school’s Culinary Program and allows HLTA to award a $1,000 scholarship to a well deserving student pursuing a career in culinary arts every year. As you all know, one of HLTA’s three key pillars is education, and I’d like to encourage all of you to attend this special fundraiser to help create more opportunities for our youth.
To register for the Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception, please click HERE.
aio Media Hawai'i Lodging and Tourism Awards
Today is the last day to submit nominations for the 2nd annual aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards. If there is an organization, event, or leader in our community that you feel should be recognized for their contributions to tourism, I highly encourage you to please make a submission for the following six categories: accommodations, food & beverage, events, activities, and leadership in the industry.
Nominations can be made at www.hawaiimagazine.com/hlta
Stay tuned as we release more details on the aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards taking place on March 1, 2019 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
GMM Recap - and a Special Announcement for May 29 & 30, 2019
At HLTA, we take great pride in encouraging our millennials and young professionals to become more engaged in our industry. It is in that spirit that I empowered our HYPE Committee to host a well - attended educational seminar, entitled “EQ & IQ: The Rise of Workplace-Valued Emotional Intelligence,” on Thursday evening to coincide with our 191st General Membership Meeting. Moderator Joe Bock and panelists Cynthia Yamasaki, Anisah Ahakuelo, and Corey Campbell did an exceptional job helping our attendees gain a deeper understanding of the importance of emotional intelligence and how it translates to career development.
Friday saw our official programming commence with our sponsor showcase, which gave our allied and hotel members an opportunity to combine business and breakfast. Sponsors from across the islands, as well as California, Chicago, and Minnesota all spent the morning displaying their products and services which led to future business and tremendous networking opportunities!
After our official HLTA Board Meeting was a “Lunch and Learn,” session featuring HLTA endorsed candidates and a Hawaiian cultural panel. I was pleased to see Maui mayoral candidate Mike Victorino, House Tourism Chair Representative Richard Onishi, Honolulu City Council Budget Committee Chair Trevor Ozawa, and Senate District 12 candidate Sharon Moriwaki speak for a few minutes about their support for tourism. Subsequent to our political speakers, our guests had the privilege to hear from a trio of distinguished Kumu Hula - Robert Cazimero, Vicky Holt Takamine, and Michael Pili Pang about the increasingly significant role and prominence that Hawaiian culture plays in our industry.
Moreover, we were incredibly fortunate to see the halau of the three kumu hula come together later that night in a special show created just for our Friday evening reception , according to Pili Pang. It was a wonderful experience full of storytelling, wonderful live music, hula and fellowship- all of this led by the extremely talented Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning artist Robert Cazimero.
Day two kicked off with our HLTA GMM General Session, where we extended a big mahalo to HLTA Chairperson Gregg Nelson of the Napili Kai Beach Resort for his leadership in 2017-18 and officially welcomed our new 2018-19 HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara of the Waikiki Resort Hotel.
During the morning events, I brought back our “member role call” that we used as a way for our attendees to share a little bit about themselves and to get to know each other a little better. Our membership also got a glimpse of what our island chapters accomplished over the course of 2018, through our chapter reports.
Following the introductory program, I gave my annual State of the Industry Address, where I recapped the key issues and accomplishments of our organization through 2018 and gave insights on our upcoming endeavors for 2019 and beyond. I always look forward to this aspect of our GMM.
I also capitalized on the moment and unveiled some BIG news. I announced HLTA’s partnership with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Hawaii Restaurant Association to present the inaugural Hawaii Hotel, Restaurant & Travel Show which will take place on May 29th & 30th of next year.
This will showcase the very best in Hawaii’s hospitality industry and feature educational seminars, live demonstrations, interactive attractions and the latest trends in technology. We have been working diligently to put this formidable partnership together and it will be a wonderful new addition to our lineup of activities in 2019!
During Saturday’s Lunch & Learn, attendees heard directly from Governor David Ige as he addressed industry concerns and outlined the top priorities in his administration from increasing affordable housing, to reducing homelessness, and finally the implementation of an airports corporation to enhance our visitors’ experience from the moment they arrive in our islands.
I would also like to give a special mahalo to one of our key industry leaders and HLTA Board Member, Jerry Gibson, Area Vice President of Hilton/Turtle Bay for a dynamic speech on the future forecast of Tourism. He offered a list of challenges that must be addressed if our industry is to remain No Ka Oi - very timely and thought-provoking.
Our three-day event concluded with a beautiful outdoor reception on the Four Season’s Ocean Lawn and featured a special buffet prepared by Executive Chef Richard Polhemus and live entertainment by SOULZ. I’d like to thank Senator Josh Green who flew in from Hawai’i island to address and join us, as well as our other endorsed first- time candidates Kelly Kitashima and Val Okimoto for taking the time to be there. On behalf of HLTA, thank you to everyone who attended this year’s GMM, one of the most successful ones during my tenure and it would not have been so without the participation of our members and incredibly generous sponsors.
I would be remiss If I didn’t acknowledge another new feature of our GMM that occurred over the weekend. Our fabulous spadea spread which was always part of the USA Today edition in years past for the first time this year was included in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Saturday October 12 paper (and if you would like additional copies, please call Ashley Yonamine of my staff).
Mahalo to Star Advertiser’s President and Publisher Dennis Francis for recognizing the important work that HLTA does in the community!
Ka 'Ikena Holiday Fundraiser
Please join us at our 7th annual Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception on Thursday, November 15th at Kapiolani Community College. Students enrolled in the KCC Culinary Program host the event in the Ka ‘Ikena Dining Room on campus and are given the opportunity to showcase their talents to all of you. Funds raised through ticket sales help benefit the school’s Culinary Program and allows HLTA to award a $1,000 scholarship to a well deserving student pursuing a career in culinary arts every year. I’d like to encourage all of you to attend this special fundraiser supported by our Oahu Chapter to help create more opportunities for our aspiring Culinary students.
To register for the Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception, please click HERE.
Ritz-Carlton Residence Waikiki Opens Its Doors to Its Second Tower
This past Monday, the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach held a blessing ceremony to officially open the doors to their long-awaited Diamond Head Tower, bringing to completion what was a three and a half year project. The 245-residence tower is a welcome addition to Waikiki’s inventory, and I, for one, am excited to break in the facilities as HLTA will be holding our upcoming Board of Directors meeting at the second tower’s event space on November 15. I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Irongate, the Ritz-Carlton, Marriott International, and to HLTA Board member and General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach Doug Chang, and his team, for this momentous milestone. We wish you continued success in all your future endeavors.
191st General Membership Meeting Begins Today
We are eagerly anticipating your arrival at the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina this weekend for our 191st General Membership Meeting.
We have a full agenda with a wide range of content awaiting upon your check-in later today or tomorrow.
During our Friday “Lunch and Learn” segment, I am looking forward to hearing from HLTA-endorsed candidates Maui Mayoral Candidate Mike Victorino and Representative Richard Onishi, Chair of the House Committee on Tourism. We will also hear from Honolulu City and County Council Budget Chair Trevor Ozawa, and newcomer Sharon Moriwaki, who albeit is no stranger to the Capitol, and is running for the 12th Senatorial District seat encompassing the areas between Waikiki and Kakaako.
This plenary session will also host a special Hawaiian culture panel, featuring Kumu Hula Robert Cazimero, Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang, and Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine who will be speaking about the increasing importance of bothunderstanding and conveying the deep significance of the Hawaiian culture. One of Hawai'i's greatest strengths is the spirit of aloha, a unique quality that has been enriched through our islands’ history and people, and one of the best ways we can serve our guests is to illustrate, educate, and exemplify that during their time here.
The Friday Lunch and Learn, is but one of the many events we will be holding this weekend during our annual meeting. As we kick off our 191st GMM today with our golf scramble and HYPE Emotional Intelligence networking seminar, I would like to welcome you all to the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina. See you soon!
HIP: General Election Edition, Monday 10/22
Please do not forget to register for our upcoming Hospitality Industry Pau Hana (HIP): General Election Edition on Monday, October 22nd at Blue Note Hawaii for an opportunity to mix and mingle with Senator Josh Green, who is runing for Lieutenant Governor, and other industry champions. If you have not yet done so, you may register here. Endorsed candidates and members alike enjoyed a wonderful evening for our Primary Election mixer held at Lucky Strike Social Honolulu in August, and as a result of the rave reviews, we are back again by popular demand. I hope that you can join us: you will not want to miss this chance to chat with your potential future policy makers about key issues face-to-face.
Generational Mentoring Kick-Off Next Friday, 10/19
Looking ahead to next week, I am eager to commence our Generational Mentoring Program, Class of 2019. This program, which Art Sarkissian (Here and Now Consulting) and I conceptualized back in 2016, is intended to give 15 of the best and brightest students in tourism-based degree programs from Brigham Young University - Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and University of Hawaii West Oahu a unique chance to develop a one-on-one relationship with a hotel General Manager. We have had two successful classes already, and I am anxious to begin our new class next Friday, the 19th, where our general manager mentors will meet their "paired" student mentees. Stay tuned for more updates on their journey, which will culminate in a graduation luncheon in April 2019.
Ho'ola Na Pua
This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending Ho’ola Na Pua’s annual Pearl Gala at the beautiful Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. Ho’ola Na Pua, formally established in 2013, has been on a mission to support female victims of sex trafficking, and helping them on a path to restoration and healing. President and Co-Founder, Jessica Munoz, and her team have been hard at work on the educational, mentoring, and advocacy fronts, while seeking appropriate funding for their grand project Pearl Haven. Her nonprofit has been an ongoing grant recipient of our Visitor Industry Charity Walk funding, and an adopted cause of HLTA’s Women in Lodging & Tourism committee. This year, Jessica is also part of the current class of Pacific Century Fellows (many of whom were there that evening), which brings together some of the brightest, and most talented young professionals in Hawai‘i. We have all borne witness to her organization’s undeniable progress as they broke ground this year on Pearl Haven, which will be Hawai‘i’s first long-term licensed residential treatment campus for girls ages 11-17 who have been victims of sexual abuse and/or trafficking. Congratulations to Jessica and her board for a wonderful event, and I wish them continued success as they set their eyes on Pearl Haven’sopening in 2019. For more information on Ho’ola Na Pua, or to donate to their cause, visit their website here.
On an additional note, I ran into the Four Seasons General Manager, Charlie Parker, that night, and expressed the incredible impression I had of the delectable food and luxurious ambiance provided by his property. I let him know that we look forward to a Hana Hou performance at our upcoming General Membership Meeting taking place out there next week.
HYPE Hypes Emotional Intelligence Panel as HLTA Ramps Up for Upcoming General Membership Meeting
As our General Membership Meeting rapidly approaches, we look forward to seeing many of our members gathered together. Thursday will kick off our pre-meeting activities, with an HLTA members-exclusive Golf Scramble and an Emotional Intelligence panel presented by our HYPE (Hospitality Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs) Committee. Panelists Cynthia Yamasaki, Anisah Ahakuelo, and Corey Campbell will be joined by Moderator Joe Bock to discuss the roles that “EQ” and “IQ” play in the workplace. This networking opportunity feature a cocktail hour following the educational seminar, which will be held at the ‘AMA ‘AMA patio, overlooking Ko Olina’s Lagoon. All in all, a great excuse to head out a little earlier and enjoy an evening at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa.
If you’re interested in registering for this seminar, or registering to join us for any of our upcoming GMM events, please click here.
Cybersecurity with the Hospitality IT Council
Tuesday afternoon, our HLTA Hospitality IT Council (HITC) hosted a gourmet buffet and educational seminar in partnership with Hawaiian Telcom at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. It was a fabulous venue, accompanied by a waterfall view as attendees enjoyed delicious food and engaged in spirited conversation. HITC Chair Ty Tynan and the IT Council board members did a wonderful job facilitating a cybersecurity symposium which catered to the issues and topics pertinent to our hospitality industry.
Guest speaker Carlos Villalba, Vice President of Terra Verde, provided insight on strategies to stay ahead of threats jeopardizing our networking systems. With over two decades of experience under his belt, Villalba bridged the gap between past and present concerns, as well as gave his recommendations on best practices. This luncheon illustrated real-world examples and lessons learned to further emphasize the importance of network protection. The event concluded with a Q&A and the exchange of business cards between attendees, marking the third successful gathering for our IT Council. A big mahalo to everyone who made it out, and we look forward to seeing you at the next event.
2nd annual aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards
Nominations for the 2nd annual aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards are still open. If you haven’t already done so, please make your nominations for the following six categories: accommodations, food & beverage, events, activities, agritourism, and leadership in the industry.
HLTA prides itself on recognizing the individuals, businesses, and organizations that help our industry thrive. Therefore, in partnership with aio Media, HLTA is proud to offer this additional avenue to recognize the exceptional leaders and their invaluable contributions to tourism. Nominations are open to the public and can be made at www.hawaiimagazine.com/hlta from now until Tuesday, October 16th.
After the submission period, a blue-ribbon selection committee will then review all nominees and vote on the finalists in each category. Mark your calendars as winners will be recognized at the aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards on March 1, 2019. Stay tuned as we release further event details and information on ticket/table sales.
Get HIP with HLTA! Meet the Candidates: General Election Edition
Please join us on Monday, October 22nd between 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, at Blue Note Hawaii for our Political HIP, and talk story with HLTA-endorsed candidates for the General Election. We have partnered with members, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and Blue Note Hawaii, to bring this event to you as an opportunity to mix and mingle with champions. HIP is always a fun way to meet fellow HLTA members, representing the different sectors of our economy and community. We are proud to offer this ever-popular event to our membership as a chance to network and build relationships. We look forward to seeing you on October 22nd. For more information or to register, click here.
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