By Myles Shibata, Event Chair
This year’s Inauguration celebration and program reinforced HJCC new tag line, “Creating Opportunities”………..Fostering Friendships * Connecting B2B * Malama ka’aina and included a special surprise performance never seen before to the tune of “Soulful Strut”, more on this a little later.
Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce Inauguration is an auspicious event that kicks off our new fiscal year, acknowledges Past Chair of the Board, introduces our new Chair and finally recognizes a well deserved family business with the Generational Award.
This year’s Luncheon Gala was an early sell out with approximately 500 attendees, HJCC Members and nonmembers from the business community filling the Sheraton Ballroom and with HJCC Board members welcoming and hosting the attendees.
We were honored to welcome Governor Ige, First Lady Dawn Amano, Japan Consul General Misawa and his wife Yoko, our Keynote speaker Duane Kurisu other government, community and business leaders, our Quad Chamber leadership and HJCC members, friends, guests and family members.
Past Chair Dave Erdman
Thanked everyone for joining us to celebrate our successes together as we look toward the future. He expressed what an honor it has been in chairing the HJCC an organization with such great history and accomplishments and steadfast leadership. He went further to share how his experience as Chair resonated with his own personal values and passion for cross cultural understanding as a means to creating a thriving business community.
Dave expressed appreciation to previous Chair Tyler Tokioka and other key advisors, HJCC President Wayne Ishihara and staff, along with the entire HJCC Board and standing committee chairs for a terrific transformative year.
Chair Brian Nishida
HJCC “Creating Opportunities”
Began by reflecting upon HJCC’s storied beginnings, that began on March 12, 1900, when 37 Japanese merchants responded to the crisis of the great Chinatown fire that devastated homes and businesses and left over 6000 people in great despair. Motivated by the spirit of “tanomoshi” or the collective good and pride in their community, the merchants formed the predecessor of the Chamber. These businessmen made a difference.
Fast forward to 2017, Brian expressed the need to honor our 117 year old legacy and roots in helping to better the community and he will use this to advance the four year Strategic Plan with full support of the HJCC Board of Directors.
His inspiration and hope is to infuse an awareness, knowledge and practice of the triple bottom line principals into our Chamber activities which will be guided in “Creating Opportunities” by three pillars. Fostering Friendships * Connecting B2B * Malama ka aina
Brian expressed thanks to Past Chair Dave Erdman for his tireless efforts and support in his transition. Thanked family and friends, in the spirit of “okage sama de” thanked his parents Satoru and Gertrude for being present. Offered compliments to the Inaugural event planning committee for an exceptional job.
Duane Kurisu – Keynote speaker – “Soulful Strut”
Putting Soul Into Your Business—Duane explains how he guides his companies
Back in the day, if someone had told you, you had “soul “that was one of the highest compliments you could receive. That meant that you had something in you that was moving, emotionally and spiritually, and revealed the depth and breath of your character, says Duane.
That quality should also be seen in business, however building a soulful business does not happen over night. It’s tougher for publicly traded companies who are evaluated on specific financial measures, but it starts with being a soulful person yourself. That it’s looking at your employees, because a business can’t have soul without a soulful team.
Business’s needs to invest in their employees and they will help lead your business to success. Duane provided several examples in a couple of businesses that he owns where this has been proven true. He also related it to his days of growing up in a Hawaii Island plantation town where everyone’s health and well being was important and people pulled together for the collective good.
As for his companies, they are constantly working on being soulful. Constantly working on that. What he is most proud of is the accomplishments of his employees not only at work but also with their families and with their community. “I think we have quite a few soulful people and I’m really proud of them”
Marian Harada Enterprises, Ltd
We Cater Good Food, We Cater to You
Established in 1956 and is a family owned and operated business, providing food and beverage service to residents and visitors with “home style cooking and cordial service”. For over 60 years they have been guided and strived to operate under the late Marian Harada’s motto ”We Cater Good Food, We Cater to You”. In 1982 her nephew James Harada took over to run the business.
Scott Harada, son of James, addressed the attendees, expressing the families surprise and their deepest appreciation on receiving such a prestigious award from the HJCC. He shared that the business takes a lot of time and attention, but for being blessed with outstanding staff and employees and a supporting family.
Event Chair ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Creating Opportunities….Soulful Strut…. HJCC Preeminent Membership Organization….. Auspicious Luncheon Gala…. 19th Annual Inaugural & Generational Awards Gathering!!
First of all THANK YOU to all HJCC members and attendees who came together in support of HJCC, our Generational Awardee and our KEYNOTE. Mahalo to the 30 plus Imperial Table sponsors and 4 VVIP Table hosts!
A HUGE THANK YOU to the entire planning committee:
Calvin Matsushima/ Cathy Tong/ Clayton Hill/ David Yamashita/ Derek Kaneshiro/ Kevin Ching / Kristi Inkinen Yanagihara/ Patti Fukada/ Steven Teruya / staff Mina Sakai
Key recognition to Wayne Ishihara President HJCC and his entire staff who advised and assisted the committee and fulfilled key roles during the event.
Thank you to Mark Ibara HJCC Board member and President of Edward Enterprises, Inc. for his incredible creativity with the varied elements of the invitations and program and generosity in donating the table favors in partnership with Erin Uehara owner of Choco le’a, LLC
Mahalo to the Sheraton Waikiki for their steadfast efforts to help deliver a Gala like experience to set the tone befitting of an Inauguration.
Shout-Out and Much Obliged to Cathy Tong – HJCC member who single handily designed and constructed the Splendid and Beautiful lighted centerpieces for our Imperial and VIP tables, which helped to set a distinctive atmosphere as the Ballroom lights were dimmed. Lucky attendees were able to take them home!
Kudos to Jill Kuramoto HJCC Member who gracefully managed to keep the flow of the program and introductions on pace and with such professional acumen.
Cheers to Kristi Inkinen Yanagihara HJCC Board Member who flawlessly lead the attendees with the traditional TEJIME, to bring the occasion to a lively close!
The event concluded exactly at 1pm.