Creating opportunities. In January 2017, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. The discovery and development process that HJCC experienced in creating this document taught us that creating opportunities for members to participate, contribute and engage are essential to the relevance of the Chamber. A recent quote in Bloomberg Businessweek of successful Crafted Hospitality owner and celebrity Top Chef Tom Colicchio says it best; “If you don’t provide opportunities for people to grow, they leave.”
I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead this storied and venerable organization during its first full year of implementing the Strat Plan. We will be focused on three main pillars in starting the journey to build our membership base; two well established and one that is aspirational. These are Fostering Friendships, a bedrock of our organization. The second is Connecting B2B, an outcome that many of us have experienced from those friendships. The third is Mālama ka ‘āina, which is intended to remind us of the responsibility to take care of this place where we live, Hawaii. We hope that by infusing our activities with the principals and practices of environmental stewardship and of enhancing the community, we will refresh our appeal and relevance to members.
Creating opportunities since 1900. This symbolizes the mission created by the 37 merchants who founded this organization, and the legacy of all who followed that have made it successful. Similarly, as we sit on the doorstep to the 150th anniversary of the first organized arrival of Japanese to Hawaii, known as the Gannenmono, it seems appropriate to aspire and inspire toward building the future.
Toward this end, I’d like to briefly share how so many HJCC members have already been hard at work, creating the momentum of bringing the Strat Plan to life. Since success starts with great leadership, I’d like to recognize and thank outgoing Chair Dave Erdman for championing the planning process and for the many accomplishments during his term. His kokua in allowing me to get a running start is truly classy and greatly appreciated.
Similarly, thanks to the dedication and hard work of all the working committee chairs and their members, we have Programs of Work in place, months earlier than normal. In addition, two new committees are in place and another is gaining strong traction. These are the Communications Committee, under the outstanding leadership of Chair-elect Melanie Okazaki, that is developing messaging strategies; and an ad hoc sub-committee, under the wayfinding guidance of past-Chair Arnold Hirotsu, called the Prominent & Distinguished Members Committee which is designing a pathway to harness the wealth of experience of our members by creating a pool of invaluable talent. The Strategic Plan Steering Committee, under the steady stewardship of Myles Shibata, is seeking and coordinating the synergy of HJCC efforts while insuring continuity and achievement of the four-year Strat Plan. These are just a few examples of specific actions implemented to address goals within the Plan.
There is also a growing groundswell of other members who are stepping forward with well-thought out ideas and willingness to create new opportunities, anchored in the three pillars. The new ad hoc sub-committee format is allowing members to participate, contribute and engage with these efforts. I ask every HJCC member to willingly and openly welcome and accept any invitation to join in on our growing number of opportunities when you are approached. I also invite any member to approach me with your passionate interest.
This will be an exciting year for the HJCC. With the foundational guidance of the Strat Plan and the growing enthusiasm of member engagement, hopefully we can collectively make a difference in our community by creating opportunities to grow. Hopefully, this will raise the relevance of the Chamber and lead to more business people joining us to share in the experience.
I want to close by thanking you all for your active support and a wish that you have an engaging and valuable year with the HJCC.
Chair of the Board
Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce – 2017–2018
President & CEO
Step Stone Business Development