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May Newsletter

Volume 28, Issue 3
"I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do,
I was for it regardless of the possible outcome."  -  Golda Meir   

May 12 OWL Luncheon

Chenoa Farnsworth 
Managing Director of Blue Startups

Halekulani Hotel
(Ballroom 2) at 11:30 am

Creating Startup Paradise:  
How to Grow Hawai
i's Innovation Economy


Chenoa Farnsworth has more than 15 years experience in business strategy and venture investing. She is the managing director of Blue Startups, Hawai‘i’s only venture accelerator.  Farnsworth also manages the Hawaii Angels investment network.  She is the founder of Hi Impact – an impact investment and social entrepreneurship organization launched in 2010. In 2006, she co-founded Kolohala Ventures, a Hawai‘i-based venture capital firm that invested $50 million into Hawai‘i-based technology start-ups. Prior to that she provided strategy development and business planning consultation for start-up companies and high-growth businesses through her company Farnsworth Consulting. She has held positions in health policy and legislative affairs in Hawai‘i and Washington D.C. Farnsworth has served as chair of the Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i, director of the Hawaii Women’s Business Center and judge and coach for the University of Hawai‘i business plan competition. Farnsworth earned a BA in political science from the U.C. Santa Cruz and an executive MBA from the University of Hawai‘i.



11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Valet or self-park at Waikiki Parc Hotel
RSVP due by noon on Wednesday, May 7 at
Check payable to OWL for $45 for each guest.
℅ Cynthia Takenaka
516 Kawaihae St. #E
Honolulu, HI 96825-1240

Phone:  808-394-3451 | Fax: 808-395-4417 | website:
President's Message

by Kathy Perkins

Spring is a wonderful time of year with the anticipation of flowers blooming! As I am writing my message I am looking at the backyard garden my husband lovingly tends every afternoon. I especially love seeing the purple agapanthus blooms… tall, proud and joyous.
The flowers remind me of the nominees and finalists of the Pacific Business News Women Who Mean Business event, which was held on April 17th at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists in the for-profit and non-profit categories, as well as the Women to Watch category…you all should stand tall, be proud of and celebrate the work you do and your commitment to your organization or company! Congratulations to two OWL members who were finalists in this year’s event - Ina Chang, President of Aloha Data Systems and OWL Board member; and Valerie Schmidt, Financial Advisor-Ameriprise Financial. What an honor to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious award!
April was another busy month for your OWL board. In addition to the WWMB event, OWL also participated in Pacific Business News Mentor Monday held on April 7th at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.  Judy Bishop, President of Bishop and Company and OWL board member, was one of 25 mentors who gave sage advice to over 200 attendees.
I was honored to speak at a Women’s History Month event held on April 24th at the Diamond Head Lighthouse, hosted by Rear Admiral Cari Thomas. It was an intimate affair with about 30 men and women in attendance. Julie Inouye, OWL President Elect, and I enjoyed meeting wonderful men and women serving our country and other distinguished guests. RADM Thomas was the speaker at our November 2013 annual luncheon and several attendees told me that the admiral had a great time at the luncheon and holds OWL in high admiration.
April 24th was also National Take your Daughter/Son to Work Day.  I hope you did that and shared with your children what it is you do, and do well. I am sure it will inspire them to kulia I ka nuu (strive for the highest) and be ‘just like mom’!

The month of May in Hawai‘i is very special. May 1st is Lei Day; also May 5th is Boy’s Day, a Japanese tradition and of course we cannot forget May 11th, Mother’s Day. For me, May is also filled with personal celebrations, my parent’s wedding anniversary (63 years - lots of love in that relationship!), my daughter’s birthday (she’ll be 21 this year-I can’t believe it!) and I, too celebrate a birthday (58 years and proud of all my grey hairs!).  
And for OWL, we have two events for the month. Our upcoming luncheon on May 12th is once again at the beautiful Halekulani Hotel. Ms. Chenoa Farnsworth, Managing Director of Blue Startups, will be our guest speaker.  Our Spring Pau Hana will be on May 28th at Oahu Country Club. One of OWL's goals is to increase communication and understanding between the public and private sectors, which we accomplish through networking at meetings and social functions. I am hoping you take advantage of this new opportunity to network and meet the other members of OWL.
See you at the luncheon and the Spring Pau Hana. Please bring a friend!

What We Heard, March 10

Denise Albano and Patti Chang
Feed the Hunger Foundation

by Julie Inouye

Denise Albano and Patti Chang brought a new level of consciousness to our membership on March 10th at the Halekulani Hotel. They gave us insight into the global and local issues surrounding hunger, poverty and the struggle that women around the world face in starting their own businesses. Denise and Patti told us their story of WHY they do what they do and how it feels to be part of a movement that has lifted the lives of countless women out of hopelessness into success. It was a humbling presentation that included videos, stories and encouragement to give back to our community, both big and small.
Denise Albano spoke first and told us that her work is a “not a job, but a privilege”. We were shown video of the women Denise and Patti work with every day. The video captured feelings of gratitude and accomplishment from women in Liberia, El Salvador and the Big Island, just to name a few. Denise and Patti through Feed the Hunger Foundation have helped countless women overcome obstacles that most of us can only dream about.
Denise brought her mother to the luncheon and shared with us how both her mother and grandmother taught her how to lead. 

Her mother, who has led her own successful career, taught Denise “how” to be a good leader and her grandmother, 
 who also played an active role in Denise’s upbringing, taught her what it “feels” like to lead. Two very important role models in Denise’s life.Patti gave the group some insight into the statistics behind global poverty and the mission behind the Feed the Hungry Foundation. Patti told us of the challenges with taking the road less traveled and how they rely on their core values to steer them and their organization.
Patti also shared with us the business aspects of their non-profit. Why they chose to work with private investors rather than the public so they would not be tied to the red-tape and “strings” of public funding. Patti told us a lot of their decisions on whom to work with are based on an “eye to eye” basis. Clearly, the woman’s intuition is part of their model. Interestingly, the default rate on their loans globally is 1/10 of one percent and domestically the default rate is three percent. The women who receive their loans have a strong desire to pay the money back. They know and understand if they do not pay back the loan, the next woman in need will not get a chance to make her dreams come true. 
Patti Chang and Denise Albano
with OWL members
Patti Chang, Kathy Perkins,
Denise Albano
Meet Our Newest OWL Members
Wendy Chang is the Director of Fund Development at the YWCA of O’ahu, where she is responsible for developing a long-term, sustainable fundraising strategy for the agency.  She has recently begun offering bi-monthly YWConnect mission tours at the historic YWCA Laniakea building on Richards Street as a way of showcasing the programs, services, and facilities that the YWCA offers within our community.  Wendy also coordinates the annual LeaderLuncheon in June and manages giving campaigns and donor relations. In addition to fund development, she oversees marketing and public relations, health and wellness, and member service operations.

Wendy holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawai
i at Manoa and has previously worked in early childhood assessment and research.

Her favorite role, however, is that of mom to her two sons, Nicholas and Noah, and on her free time enjoys spending quality time with her family.
Laura Noda is the owner of Reusables For Life, a local producer and wholesaler of reusable fabric bags and accessories.  While working for an environmental organization in 2011, Laura decided that it was time to take action to help the environment.  Laura launched Reusables For Life (RFL), developing a product line of fabric bags that responded to the growing trend of replacing plastic bags at the supermarket with reusable grocery bags.  RFL advocates a lifestyle that conserves resources by using eco-friendly reusable bags and products in our daily lives instead of single use plastic and paper goods.  RFL products are being sold at supermarkets and gift shops on Oahu and the Big Island, including KTA Superstores, Down to Earth, Big Island Delights, and Bishop Museum Shop Pacifica.
Laura Noda has over 30 years of experience in marketing, small business consulting, and business management in Honolulu, Vancouver, Chicago, and Tokyo.  Laura graduated with a B.Ed. from the University of
Hawaii at Manoa, an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan.
When taking a break from being an entrepreneur, Laura enjoys traveling, reading, theater performances and concerts, dining out, playing the piano, gardening, and walking.  She and her husband Lonny Carlile have two children:  Jonathan, 22, who works at a fine dining restaurant in Vancouver, Canada, and Melanie, 18, who will attend Boston University in the fall. 

Contact:; 808-349-7743. 
Member Achievements

Congratulations to Ina Chang, President of Aloha Data Systems and Valerie Schmidt, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial who were both finalists in Pacific Business News Women Who Mean Business event held on April 17.

Photo: Ina Chang (L), Valerie Schmidt (R)

OWL Observations - What I Now Know 

by Mimi Beams

"This is an easy lesson and a hard lesson; "embrace change!"  I have watched change come into many a company.  It can come in the form of a new boss, a change in owner, new protocol, shift in staffing and of course, a change in how "things are done".

When I was sales manager at KSSK, the FCC, (Federal Communications Commission) increased the allowable number of radio stations a single owner could have in any market.  Quickly owners bought up competitors and we were sharing offices with our fiercest competitors.  It was an amazing experience.  It was a fundamental shift in how we did business on many levels.  Many critical management skills were required to succeed.  Some did, and some did not.  It hung on the ability to accept and embrace change.

So!  Here's the news. 

Change can be hard and change is constant."
OWL Member Mimi Beams is an executive at Inkinen & Associates.

OWL Observations highlights OWL members' experiences in the workplace.  We have diverse membership and each of us has a variety of experience gained from our careers.  We should share these experiences and observations with each other.  

If you would like to contribute an observation, please send your submission (150 words or less) and photo to Communication Secretary, Kristi Bates at 
OWL Book Community
Come join the fun and fellowship over cocktails and the sunset. 
You may even catch the Friday night fireworks!

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village.  

Friday, June 27, 2014
5:00 p.m. till sunset

Hawaii Yacht Club
1739 Ala Moana Blvd.
RSVP to Pamela Martin at

OWL at Women's History Month Event 
April 24

On April 24th, Kathy Perkins, President and Julie Inouye, President Elect were guests of RADM Cari Thomas at the Diamond Head Lighthouse. Perkins and three other women were featured speakers at the event. Ms. Lori Lum, Girl Scouts of America Hawaii Board Chair spoke on Character; Dr. Saira Yamin, Associate Professor, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies spoke on Courage and Perkins spoke on Commitment.  Dr. Meda Chesney-Lind, Chair of the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa was the keynote speaker.

Photo at left:  Julie Inouye and Kathy Perkins
Below:  Julie Inouye, RADM Cari Thomas, Kathy Perkins
Pacific Business News 

Biz Women Mentor Monday  - April 7

Bob Chalet , PBN Publisher, and Judy Bishop, OWL member and mentor

A Mentor's Perspective…
by Judy Bishop

On Monday, April 7th, several hundred women attended PBN’s 2nd annual BizWomen Mentoring Monday at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.

I was one of the many women mentors offering up our many years of wisdom to a large crowd of ‘’mentees’’ eager to gain valuable advice from Honolulu’s many successful women!
It was a great, fun, and informative morning with mentors and mentees alike learning from one another. The event is like a combination of musical chairs and speed dating, allowing mentees to sit with several mentors of their choice and have the opportunity to ask them just about anything for 15 minutes—then the mentees move to another table with another mentor of her choice.
This year’s event allowed more time with each mentor, and went very smoothly and enjoyably. The food was excellent and the networking was fabulous!
Mark your calendars for this event next year. Mentors were from all walks of life and all were successful and generous with their experiences and counsel. As a mentor, I , too, learned and grew professionally  from the experience- and I had a lot of fun and met some amazing women!!
A Mentee's Perspective…
by Myra Brandt

The BIZWOMEN MENTORING session was once again superb from the broadcast
 interview with Lori Greiner, successful inventor & entrepreneur to the well-organized "speed mentoring" program - broken up into 15-minute segments of Q&A with the mentors in all categories.  

It was mentioned that one
 advantage women have is their ability to "bounce things off each other" and with the breadth of talent and intelligence pool in that room I am reminded how fortunate we are to have such deep resources and so grateful for the sharing.   Encouraged to not be afraid of what others ask of you, take risks, use your natural talents and instincts...and be kind, I leave with new ideas, relevant and useful information and renewed enthusiasm.

Amazing professional women mentors and wonderful networking opportunity...
Farm to Table Seminar - Feb. 27
by Julie Arigo
On February 27, I attended the 'Women and Farm to Table' seminar at the Hawaii Prince Hotel sponsored by OWL.  How thrilling to see so many women, from diverse backgrounds, taking the lead on sustainability and making a positive contribution to our community.

A young woman, Kukui Maunakea Forth, manager of Ma'o Farms taught us the importance of farming here in Hawai‘i. Claire Sullivan, purchasing and public affairs coordinator of Whole Foods, opened our eyes to the incredible potential Hawai‘i has to grow more of our own foods here locally - greatly impacting our state's economy.  Chef Amy Ferguson, founding member of Hawaii Regional Chefs, taught us the importance of supporting locally grown products.

Here are some stunning facts:
  • Did you know that we import 85% of the food we consume here in our state!
  • Retailers such as Whole Foods can't fill the demand for locally grown produce because we don't have enough farmers yet so much rich land to make this possible!
Most heartwarming was Ms. Forth's personal journey as she rose, from an underprivileged community in Waianae, to become a successful young woman enriched by the education she achieved as a local farmer, and making a positive difference in her community.

Hearing these women made me much more appreciative of our hardworking farmers and much more cognizant of buying local. Glad OWL sponsored this event!

Spring Pau Hana
We had so much fun at last fall's pau hana, members asked for a HANA HOU!  
Come join us for great pupus, a fabulous view, and awesome lucky draw prizes,
in the wonderful company of your OWL sisters.

Wednesday, May 28
5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Oahu Country Club, Makai Grille
150 Country Club Road
Honolulu, HI 96813

Business attire
Cost: $35 per person, prepaid in advance
RSVP: Tuesday, May 20

Check payable to OWL;     c/o Cynthia Takenaka
                                                516 Kawaihae St. #E

                                                Honolulu, HI 96825-1240

If you would like to donate a lucky draw prize, please contact Kathy Perkins at  or 595-7132 or 351-4321.

We love to hear from you!  Because we know your time is valuable, OWL President Kathy Perkins will be reading the member announcements along with her welcome message.  Please email your news to Kathy at

You may also share your achievements or any newsworthy items with your OWL sisters through our newsletter.  Email your news along with a photo to Kristi Bates at  


As a courtesy to our speakers, guests and OWL members, please keep side conversations to a minimum during the speaker presentation.

Mahalo!  Ahui Hou Kākou!
Copyright © 2014 Organization of Women Leaders. All rights reserved.
Website: | Phone: 808-394-3451 | Fax: 808-395-4417
Mail to:  516 Kawaihae St. #E, Honolulu, HI 96825-1240

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