Rick Mishima was honored as Outstanding Member of the Year at the General Membership Gathering on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 at the Pomaikai Ballrooms in Dole Cannery.
When Rick Mishima joined the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJCC) in late 2016, he didn’t know what he was signing up for at the time. “I was told, ‘you’re going to be a member [of the HJCC],’ and I wasn’t sure what that meant or what the HJCC specifically was at the time,” he reflected.
Once he started actively participating in events as a volunteer, including the Samurai Classic Golf Tournament, Chopsticks & Wine, and Commitment to Excellence: Art Exhibition, then as part of event steering committees, Rick said he found the experiences enjoyable while learning more about the HJCC. In particular, he said having his company and family’s support during his transition from non-member to active HJCC member was important.
“Not only am I able to take some time during the work week to fulfill my various roles in the Chamber because I have a supportive boss and work environment at Finance Factors, I’m also able to get my family involved. For example, I was able to have my wife help me at the recent Shinnen Enkai, and we were able to bring the kids to the Earth Day cleaning activities the HJCC volunteered at as part of the Laulima Committee,” Rick mentioned. He co-chaired the 2019 Shinnen Enkai – New Year’s Celebration –with Ina Chang and is currently the chair of the Laulima Committee. The Laulima Committee fields non-profits looking for manpower help, and provides community service through the HJCC and its members.
Rick said his biggest takeaway from his two years so far was being a part of the inaugural Hawaii-Hiroshima Emerging Young Business Leaders Programin 2017-2018, a leadership program aimed at bringing together Hawaii and Hiroshima through week-long activities and seminars held both in Honolulu and Hiroshima. Not only was he able to have new experiences and create new relationships both at home and in Hiroshima, he said those relationships have continued until today.
His advice to new members?
Just get involved. The HJCC provides a variety of opportunities, and they have something out there for everyone. For me, the HJCC provides networking and business relationships of course, but it also keeps me sharp in my communication and coordination skills. Even if you think, “oh, I’ve done that before,” the opportunity to keep yourself sharp outside of work and build relationships with the other members is valuable. Event Committees and Standing Committees are always looking to welcome new members into their groups, and the best part is you can commit to only what you feel you’re able to commit.
Comments have been edited for clarity.