Thelma Kehaulani Kam
Director of Cultural Services
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Waikiki
July Kahiau Award Recipient
THELMA "KEHAULANI" KAM began her long and celebrated hospitality career at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel on June 4, 1971, the day the hotel opened. Ever since, Kam has made the most of each day, sharing the spirit of the Hawaiian Islands with guests, mentoring fellow employees, and seizing opportunities for professional and personal growth.
Kam started as a mail and information clerk at the Sheraton Waikiki. She thrived there, working her way up to desk clerk, guest service agent, and then supervisor. During that time she continually earned recognition for her leadership qualities, outstanding service and caring demeanor.
Kam’s contributions and hard work have been significant. In 2006 she received the Outstanding Manager of the Year award from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Na Poʻe Paʻahana (hardworking people) award from the Hawaiʻi Hotel & Lodging Association. In 2013 she was honored with the Aloha United Way (AUW) Spirit of Community Award for being the best individual coordinator for the year 2012, raising more than $150,000 to help Hawai`i’s community and in 2015 was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Women Who Mean Business Awards in the Businesswoman of the Year for-profit category by Pacific Business News.
For the past 45 years Kam has welcomed guests and staff with kindness, forming strong relationships at all levels within the hotel. She has become a perfect liaison between employees and management. As the leader of employee councils for all four Sheraton Hotels in Waikiki, she was the voice for many employees and has garnered support from the general managers for many employee issues.
A person with integrity, enthusiasm and compassion, Kam shares her knowledge of Hawaii’s culture freely. She creates authentic, lasting memories for guests and gives back to the community by involving herself and the employees in many events. Kam embodies the true essence of aloha – giving openly from the heart without expecting anything in return.
Today she continues her exceptional performance – unconditionally sharing the aloha spirit. She is a recognized leader and a gracious ambassador for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Waikiki. In her own words, “It's not good enough to just come into work and do your job. You have to get involved with your community, get involved in education, and share your knowledge. You have to help others reach their potential.” Kam lives by this quote: “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life”
Deborah Keith Castillo
11/26/2021 09:28:42 pm
Thelma was my Front Desk Supervisor at Sheraton Waikiki Hotel from 1975-1978.I left to become a Flight Attendant for Continental Airlines!Thelma was the real deal! Loved her compassion, her kindness and her jokes were the best!I was in Waikiki in 2010 and found out she was working at the Moana Hotel,unable to connect with her at that time! Haven't been back to Oahu since then!
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