Mufi's Message, 6.29.18
Kauai Chamber of Commerce General Membership Meeting (GMM) Exploring the world of STEM!
This past Tuesday, the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association joined the Family and Friends of Agriculture and the Hawaii State Science Olympiad in sponsoring the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s second quarter GMM at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Spa. This is the third year in a row that HLTA has engaged with the Kauai Chamber in supporting their membership meetings. The Star Wars-themed event focused in on the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and recognized talented science scholars from across the state. I was joined by HLTA Kauai Chapter Chair Jim Braman, and Chapter Vice-Chair Paul Toner - who was hosting the event at his property. During my address to the attendees, I highlighted the significance of STEM in our educational institutions and the important role that it plays in our visitor industry. I addressed the common misperception held by some that tourism is simply just a “service industry” which makes it unappealing to the millennial generation. The visitor industry, in fact touches nearly all facets of our economy, especially in the field of STEM; this is evident through HLTA’s embrace of committees such as our Engineer’s Advisory Council, HYPE, and Hospitality I.T. Council. I also took a moment to recognize one of my guests that evening, Laura Richards, General Manager of the Hanalei Colony Resort, whose property became a community hub during the Kauai floods recovery.
A little bit of background on Laura and her property - the Hanalei Colony Resort, located northwest of Wainiha Bay, was forced to shut down operations til September, due to the heavy damage that was caused to the North Shore of Kauai. Laura and her team, however, stepped up to the plate and became a beacon of light for their community by housing disaster relief teams and doubling up as a distribution center for food and medical services. Additionally, Laura opened her doors to the Hanalei Elementary, middle, and high schools to hold satellite classes for their students until the end of the semester. At the Kauai Chamber dinner, HLTA awarded gift certificates to the six teachers who exemplified the best of what it means to be an educator. The gifts were presented by Kauai Chapter hoteliers Jim Braman, Paul Toner, and Laura Richards to the Kauai District Superintendent, Bill Arakaki.
Kauai Marriott Resort – 5 years of interns
Prior to the Kauai Chamber of Commerce dinner on Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet with Paul Toner and his Director of Human Resources, Chuck Brady, for a very special occasion. Sitting in the room with us were ten remarkable students, from the high school and collegiate levels, who are all currently interning at the Kauai Marriott Resort. The students span five different graduating classes and all have one thing in common; they are either attending, or are a product of, Kauai High School. Also joining us for our afternoon meeting was Kauai High’s hospitality head, Charlene Navarro, who was the proud recipient of our 2018 Na Po’e Pa’ahana Educator of the Year award. I have pointed to her as a stellar example of what a hospitality educator looks like, and the proof in the poi is her students are securing internships (many of them recurring) at top-notch resorts. I would like to commend Charlene and the team at the Kauai Marriott Resort for their mentorship to these budding youth, and I would like to wish these interns the best in all their future endeavors…the sky is the limit.
Scholarships with the Pauahi Foundation
Providing education-related opportunities is something I hold near and dear to my heart. HLTA, in partnership with the Pauahi Foundation, has committed to grant financial opportunities to native Hawaiian students looking to pursue a career in the tourism Industry.
This year, the Pouhana Hokele Scholarship was awarded to two college students who exemplified outstanding contributions in their community and have an interest in working in Hospitality. This year’s scholarship recipients were honored at a dinner at Kamehameha- Kapalama School which was attended by Dean Nakasone, Bonnie Kiyabu of the Hyatt Regency and a proud Warrior alum, and yours truly. This year’s honorees are :
Camryn Chinen, Kamehameha Schools - Kapalama
For five years, Camryn was a Hawaiian language and history student. She is currently studying hospitality at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and plans to move back home in hopes of landing a job at Aulani Disney Resort & Spa in Ko ‘Olina. Camryn wants to share her knowledge of the Hawaiian Culture with visitors, and provide them with an authentic experience and begin her career in hotel management.
Lia Ikeda, Kamehameha Schools – Ka'anapali
Lia Ikeda always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Having grown up on a hotel property in Ka'anapali, she learned about the inner workings of a hotel from a very young age. She is a current student at the University of California Irvine and is determined to find a job in the marketing department of a hotel. Lia wants to take what she’s learned and apply her knowledge to connect with people through creative campaigns driven by data.
Damien Stack, Kamehameha Schools - Kea’au
As announced in a previous column, through this partnership with the Pauahi Foundation, we also award one high school senior the Don Ho Scholarship to a student pursuing post-secondary studies in art and music. This year’s Don Ho Scholarship recipient is Damien Stack from Kamehameha Schools-Kea’au on Hawaii Island.
Damien’s experience in composing music and performing in musical theatre productions, not only made him a qualified candidate, but his passion in the arts made him this year’s selected scholar. This fall, he plans to study Musical Arts/Musical Theatre at University of Portland to continue pursuing his dreams of becoming a performing artist and sharing his work with the world.
Bringing Locals Back to Waikiki
If you know me, you know how much I love music and have probably heard me say there needs to be more venues featuring local musicians to encourage more of our residents to frequent Waikiki. Back in the day, Waikiki used to be the spot for many locals to surf, swim, cruise, and go enjoy a local artist or band play at a small hidden venue or at a hip place along Kalakaua Avenue. Bringing back that concept is the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, and I couldn’t be more excited.
General Manager Lynette Eastman collaborated with Paulele Alcon, music promoter and local entrepreneur of Hawaii’s Finest Clothing to introduce a 4 Sunday summer concert series, “Revive the Live Pool Side” featuring Kapena, Poly Finest Fest Artists & Sammielz, Glenn Awong & Maoli and other guest artists. The intent is to take locals back to the Waikiki of yester-year, while simultaneously offering Surfjack guests a memorable experience right in the heart of the hotel.
This past Sunday was the second concert of the 4-part series. The next Revive the Live Pool Side concerts will be on July 29 & August 19. Kudos to the Surfjack for bringing visitors and locals together to enjoy and appreciate the musical talent from our islands.
Register to Vote
Now, more than ever, is the time to take action. Elections represent an opportunity to incite change. Registering to vote, and voting, is a fundamentally American democratic right and privilege and it would be a shame to squander it. I strongly encourage everyone to register to vote. The primary election is approaching rapidly, and the deadline to register to vote is in just two weeks.
Furthermore, take the time to research your potential representatives. Be an informed voter, and elect officials who will be strong advocates for our industry issues. You can register to vote online, and request absentee ballots as well.
Primary Election Registration Deadline: July 12th
Primary Election: August 11th
General Election Registration Deadline: October 8th
General Election: November 6th
Save the Date! HIP 8/1
Our upcoming Hospitality Industry Pau Hana is an event you’re not going to want to miss! This time we’re adding a new spin to our quarterly networking event. Mark your calendars for August 1 from 5pm to 7 pm at Lucky Strike at Ala Moana Shopping Center for our Political HIP: MEET THE CANDIDATES!
HLTA-endorsed candidates will be in attendance to meet and mingle with all of you. Please join us for an evening of networking, ono grinds, and complimentary bowling. Registration will be available on our website soon!
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