Welcome to Season 2 of The Hawaii Business Podcast! Listen to engaging and inspirational conversations with Hawai‘i’s influential business, community and cultural leaders.
Host Unyong Nakata of Nakata Advisory engages each guest in a warm and lively conversation about their career path, business advice, and plans for the future. Hear from the people who are shaping Hawaiʻi today.
This podcast is presented by Servco Pacific.
Hawaii Business Magazine covers the big issues impacting our island home and is a respected multichannel resource for local leaders and managers in businesses, nonprofits and government – and for you.
S2E13, Kaimana Brummel, Seabury Hall & Maui Community Organizer
Kaimana Brummel has long been a bridge builder, but in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires, that role took on a new life as she helped connect organizations and displaced residents with life-sustaining resources.
Brummel has also been working with the People’s Fund of Maui, a fund started by Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that provides direct support to impacted Lahaina and Kula residents. Winfrey and Johnson together contributed $10 million. Brummel is part of a group of community members helping to convey what residents need.
Brummel is the director of advancement at Seabury Hall, her alma mater where she helps students, alumni, parents and staff connect with the greater community and vice versa. Her community focus stems from being part of the first ‘Aha Pūnana Leo cohort on Maui.
“So then we had friends who were from Ke‘anae, so we could go to Ke‘anae and be immersed in ‘āina there. We had friends who were hula practitioners, so then we could join hālau. We had friends who were experts in botany, and, you know, it became our community, they became our neighbors.”
S2E13, Mary Fastenau, Anthology Marketing Group, a Finn Partners Company
Mary Fastenau, senior partner at Anthology Marketing Group, fondly recalls the Internet’s early digital marketing potential and the growth of what is now the state’s largest integrated marketing and communications agency.
“It’s the beauty of what’s going on in digital, even today, is that … you can test, you can look and you can make sure that your hypothesis, even if they’re very well researched, that they are actually relating to real people,” she says.
Starr Siegle became Anthology Marketing Group in 2007. Today, the agency is part of Finn Partners, a global marketing and communications firm, and represents clients like Hawai‘i Pacific Health, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Telcom and ‘Iolani School.
S2E12, Bella Hughes, Better Sour & Hawaiʻi FoundHer
The Shaka Tea co-founder Bella Hughes shares her career journey and how the lessons she’s learned have helped shaped her into the leader she is today.
Bella Hughes is an angel investor who invests in female entrepreneurs to help address the sexism that women commonly face when looking for financial backers.
Women, she says, only receive about 1.9% of all invested capital. “I think when you empower women and minorities, they tend to give back tenfold and we can then create that abundance, we can create that change,” she says.
One of Hughes’ goals is to help support more female entrepreneurs, such as through Hawai‘i FoundHer, the company she co-founded with leadership consultant Gloria Lau. The company provides a six-month accelerator program for Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian wāhine business owners.
S2E11, Livingston "Jack" Wong, Kamehameha Schools
Jack Wong, CEO of Kamehameha Schools, shares his background, how he manages such a big responsibility and the trust’s priorities.
Wong served as a senior counsel for Kamehameha Schools in 1997. He became CEO in 2014 when former CEO Dee Jay Mailer stepped down.
The charitable trust serves over 7,000 students at its K-12 campuses and preschools, manages 363,000 acres of land, and employs about 3,000 people. As a leader, he says most of his job is getting staff members excited about their work and helping them do their best.
One of Kamehameha Schools’ priorities is to shift to a mindset rooted in the importance of culture. Its E Ola! values of ‘ike kūpuna, aloha ‘āina, and mālama and kuleana are used as a framework to integrate a Native Hawaiian identity into its work. The aim is for students to learn and live those values.
“You have to be able to see that through your culture, you will be academically successful – understanding who you are as a Native Hawaiian, understanding your ‘āina, understanding your ancestors, your culture, and being proud of who you are, your identity,” he says.
S2E10, Ray Vara, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health
Ray Vara, the president and CEO of Hawai‘i Pacific Health shares the health care system’s commitment to create a healthier Hawai‘i. And like his organization, he’s in it for the long haul.
Health care in the United States is broken and the way to fix it is to look upstream at the issues that underpin poverty, says Ray Vara, president and CEO of Hawai‘i Pacific Health.
That means addressing things like early childhood development, K-12 education, affordable housing, homelessness and food insecurity.
“Poverty is the greatest enemy of health, and that is why we as an organization and I personally worked so closely with the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation,” he says. “Because whether it’s the CHANGE initiative or what we call the social determinants of health, they’re completely aligned in terms of addressing those things that threaten the long-term health of our community.”
S2E9, Bob Harrison, First Hawaiian Bank
In this episode Bob Harrison reflects on his 27-year career with First Hawaiian Bank.
He says his career is fulfilling thanks to his employees and colleagues, about 20 to 25 of whom celebrate their 40th, 45th or 50th work anniversaries each year.
“You just have this cadre of people who’ve been with the bank a long time,” he says. “They love the customers, they love each other. All the work’s got to get done. And you just never forget the people. It’s not about the jobs I had...”
As a leader, he’s emphasized giving back to the community. The First Hawaiian Bank Distinguished Professorship of Banking Endowment at UH’s Shidler College of Business was created in 2013 to invest in the next generation of bankers. And to mark its 160th anniversary, First Hawaiian donated $160,000 to Bishop Museum.
The bank plans to roll out upgraded online and mobile offerings this year, spurred by the pandemic, which taught the bank that customers want to interact with it in different ways, Harrison says.
Unyong does a fantastic job, great questions, conversations and topics. Guests are from all areas of local influence. Keep up the great content