In this October 23, 2013 edition:
Building a Better Business Environment
Hawaii Stands to Gain from U.S. Marine Corps Realignment
Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders
Aloha Chamber Members:
Congratulations to Pacific Business News and Merrill Lynch for a successful BizWomen mentoring event, which attracted more than 250 attendees and 20 mentors! It was an honor to participate as a mentor along with board members, Dr. Ginny Pressler of Hawaii Pacific Health, and Signe Godfrey of Olsten Staffing and Professional Services, and many of our members.
Last month, I announced that we will be working on initiatives that will strive to enhance Hawaii’s position as a global hub, emphasizing its geographical position to major international markets as a way to expand export opportunities for the business community, attract conferences and meetings, and draw investments to our state.
Last week, we met with Counsul General Toyoei Shigeeda and the Chief Executive Director of the Japan External Trade Organization to discuss business opportunities between Japan and Hawaii. They expressed interest in working closer with the Chamber. We also met for the first time with State Department Foreign Policy Advisors to senior leadership with the U.S. Pacific Command, Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Army Pacific and Special Operations Command Pacific to discuss Hawaii’s potential in facilitating growth in Asia-Pacific commerce and trade. This is the beginning of many more meetings and discussions with various stakeholders from government, businesses, associations and other stakeholders on a local, national and international level, to ensure that we fulfill our vision.
Also, next week, the Chamber leads a delegation to Washington, D.C. to attend the inaugural SelectUSA Investment Summit. SelectUSA was created at the federal level to showcase the United States as the world’s premier business location. The summit provides an opportunity to connect with foreign and domestic investors, senior administration officials, state and local officials, and businesses from around the world. Our mission will be to promote Hawaii as a place to do and conduct business. We also plan to meet with Hawaii’s congressional delegation and senior executives with the National Association of Manufacturing (see NAM Chamber profile).
Prior to heading to D.C., I’ll be making a stop in Chicago to attend a Common Core State Standards conference. The Chamber was invited to be a part of the Hawaii delegation to represent the business community. Other attendees include a representative from the Department of Education and He’e, a statewide coalition committed to identifing opportunities to improve public education in Hawaii. Common Core State Standards’ mission is to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.
I look forward to providing a report to you from our nation’s Capitol. Have a great week!
Laulima & mahalo,
President & CEO
Get Involved: Join a Chamber Committee
Building a better business environment is critical for the long-term economic success of Hawaii. The Chamber is dedicated to improving Hawaii’s business climate by making sure the "Voice of Business" is heard with our policymakers.
The Chamber’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee represents the interests of small businesses within legislative and regulatory matters, and works to provide opportunities for the establishment, growth and development of small businesses. Working with the committee, the Chamber also provides small business incentives, workshops and training opportunities, as well as procurement.
One committee initiative is the development of a business dashboard to measure Hawaii’s overall business climate. Available for our members, the dashboard will serve as a way to keep apprised of Hawaii’s current economic trends and business policies in an easy to read ‘snapshot.' We are working to introduce this tool by the beginning of 2014.
Our five policy committees are also diligently working to finalize strategy for the upcoming 2014 legislative session. These committees work to serve our members interests and needs, and welcome your input and participation on issues which have real impact on Hawaii’s welfare and economy. Some of the issues we will push for will include enhancing the quality of life for Hawaii’s citizens, engaging in initiatives to help diversify and grow the economy, job creation and retention, supporting Hawaii’s education system and facilitation of Hawaii as a strong competitor in the global economic arena.
For more information about committee initiatives and to voice your ideas, please contact Pono Chong. For more information regarding the Chamber's policy committees, please click here.
Hawaii Stands to Gain from Marine Corps Realignment
The Military Affairs Council (MAC) is closely tracking changes in Japan’s national defense strategy with the security concerns that include North Korea’s continued development of a nuclear ballistic missile capability and China’s military actions in claiming territorial rights to Senkaku Islands in the North China Sea.
On October 3, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, accompanied by U.S. Pacific Command commander Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, met with Japan’s foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo. This meeting reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to further enhance the resilience of the U.S.-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. A joint statement was issued addressing steps to be taken toward a more robust alliance and greater shared responsibilities focusing on bi-lateral security and defense cooperation, regional engagement and U.S. force realignment in Japan.
The realigning of U.S. forces in Japan could have a positive impact on Hawaii. The original plan to relocate 9,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been revised and now requires that the U.S. relocate 4,000 Marines to Guam and the balance to other locations, to include Hawaii. The Headquarters for Marine Forces Pacific is working on plans to rotate upwards of 2,500 Marines annually through the Australian Army base in Darwin and base upwards of 2,700 Marines in Hawaii.
The proposal to relocate Marines to Hawaii is strongly supported by the state. However, the final decision rests with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, currently in the process of completing land and environmental impact studies. In November, the MAC will be meeting with Rear Admiral Bret Muilenburg, Commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command – Pacific, and SES Craig Whelden, Executive Director to the Commander, Marine Force Pacific, for an update of the Marine Corps’ plan.
If approved, it will mean that Hawaii will be home to 2,700 Marines and their families. Such an increase in Marine presence would be a welcomed boost to Hawaii’s economy, especially for our small businesses and job opportunities for residents.
Video: Japan welcomes U.S. decision to withdraw 9,000 marines from Okinawa
Get Involved in the Chamber's Young Professional’s Mentorship Program
Our Young Professionals (YP) Program is dedicated to enriching our local community by uniting and cultivating young professionals, ages 21-39, by providing a variety of networking and professional development opportunities. By participating, our young business leaders have the opportunity to exchange ideas, grow professionally and share common interests while getting an insider’s view of Hawaii’s dynamic business scene. Our YP’s are comprised of a group of dedicated and talented individuals who are motivated to enhance their skill sets and knowledge base of the corporate environment.
The group recently participated in a Conflict Resolution workshop with Dr. Kalei Inn of Kalei Inn and Associates, with subjects including defining conflict, understanding why conflicts arise, how to appropriately diffuse situations and understanding generational differences. The next workshop in November will cover personal negotiation styles.
With the YP membership nearing 200 after just two years since launching, and continuing to grow in number, we are always seeking new mentors and executive leadership to help our program thrive. The six-month mentorship program provides a platform for each of our YPs to partner with a business leader who will provide feedback and guidance to achieve specific professional goals. Initial meetings are first coordinated to ensure the partnership is indeed a good fit and, if so, monthly or bi-monthly meetings are held to track progress towards the YP’s professional development goals.
Over the past few years, the Chamber has been fortunate to match a number of our YPs with executives, including Rick Blangiardi, General Manager, Hawaii News Now; Dennis Francis, President and Publisher, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Cara Goodrich, Vice President, Aston Hotels and Resorts; and David Livingston, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial, with all parties reporting great satisfaction and success with the partnership. Mentorship is not only rewarding, but also provides a great opportunity to give back to the community and help foster our next generation of business leaders.
To learn more about the Chamber’s YP Program, please visit their site, and stay apprised of YP news by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter. To learn more about becoming mentor, click here.