Clayton Hill was honored as the Kuroko Award winner at the General Membership Gathering on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 at the Pomaikai Ballrooms in Dole Cannery. The Kuroko, lit. ‘black child,’ helps in the background of kabuki performances wearing all black as to not be seen. This award is given by the HJCC staff to the person(s) they feel have contributed to the Chamber ‘behind the scenes’ in an exemplary way.
Clayton Hill said he wanted to get his employees at Prudential Financial Services involved when he initially joined the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce in 2006. Now, as Programming and Community Affairs Committee (PCAC) Chair and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Clayton is highly involved throughout the year in the HJCC’s various events and initiatives.
Clayton remembered an actively involved member telling him, “he’ll be fulfilled, but won’t realize it until later.” Reflecting on his journey as a member, he recalls being a cast member in the Shoko Shiranami Gonin Otoko in 2014’s Shinnen Enkai was one of the most personally rewarding experiences, and appreciates his role in the Laulima Committee due to the direct involvement with the community. This includes the most recent Blood Drive for the Blood Bank of Hawaii, cleaning the Ala Wai Watershed and Pearl Highlands Elementary as part of Earth Day, and helping in the restoration and repainting of the USS Arizona Memorial.
Despite labeling himself as “not a social butterfly,” Clayton said he enjoys meeting people in the HJCC face-to-face and the sense of community he feels. “If you ask for help, help is given,” he emphasized as he lauded the HJCC’s membership. In addition to business advice, he said being able to consult with members outside of his field about events, personal happenings, challenges, etc. in a professional capacity is a huge benefit in retrospect. He also attributes his willingness to learn and curiosity in life as one of the main reasons he still feels able to consult with and learn from other HJCC members.
Clayton is also excited about the HJCC’s future, citing a good plan for business development and how to pass the torch to the next generation, as well as addressing current and foreseeable problems with solutions early. His advice to new members? “Come to HJCC programming and get involved in the business side of things, such as learning about policy, tax, and legislative movements.”
Congratulations, and on behalf of the staff and every attendee who has gone to a PCAC organized event, thank you for all you have done for the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce!