September 2016 OWL Newsletter
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September Newsletter

Volume 30, Issue 5

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” 

– Helen Keller

Sept. 12 Luncheon

Debbi Eleneki

Battalion Chief,
Honolulu Fire Department

Battalion Chief Debbie Eleneki - Making a Career of Firsts

Battalion Chief Debbi Eleneki is a 29-year member of the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD).  She currently is assigned to Battalion 1, 3rd Platoon, which is located at the Central Fire Station in downtown Honolulu.  Chief Eleneki manages over 60 uniformed personnel who staff 12 companies from Makiki to Kalihi.
In 1987, Chief Eleneki became the first female fire fighter in the HFD’s 137-year history.  Her career firsts continued as she became the first female to earn the rank of Fire Captain in 2005 and the first female Chief Officer in 2015.  She is also the program manager of the HFD’s All-Hazards Incident Management Team and is helping to develop the City and County of Honolulu’s All-Hazards Incident Management Team.
Chief Eleneki attributes her successes in life to respecting others, doing the right thing, and keeping things simple.  She is well-organized and an efficient task manager, which allows her to take on more responsibilities than normal.
Chief Eleneki graduated from the Kamehameha Schools in1985 and attended Southern Oregon State College and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she majored in Business Administration and Architecture, respectively.
She comes from a family of fire fighters, including her father and four brothers, who have 180 cumulative years of fire fighting experience. 
In addition to her duties at the HFD, she is married to Alika Eleneki and together they have two children, Ka’aha, who is 18 years old and attends Colorado Mesa University, and Makana, who is 15 years old and attends Kamehameha Schools Kapalama.

September 12 Meeting
Pacific Club
1451 Queen Emma St.

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

RSVP due by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 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 Kate Braden again invites all new members and interested current members to join her before the meeting at 11:00 a.m. for an informal meet and greet, as well as short discussion of the mission of OWL.  

Please don't miss this great opportunity to learn more about OWL and get answers to any questions you may have about our organization.


President's Message
Kate Braden


Aloha OWL Members,

Some of you are sending the kids off to school and some are squeezing in a last minute vacation.  My sons are over 35 and one is getting used to not being a professor with a school schedule but rather a Dean with a 9-5 schedule  like any other office job.  The other works for a computer company doing high level chemical modeling for scientists.  His company is based in Budapest and he works out of anywhere in the world.  Different lives, different points of view.  As I ease into full retirement, I also feel a change of perspective. 

The way I see OWL and leadership now is less business focused and more community focused.  I see that as well as lead in our work positions there are avenues to lead promoting service to the community ; and that there are many levels of community.  In our OWL community of Women Leaders we have lots of ways to promote our causes and support each other.

Make sure to mark your calendar for this year’s Pau Hana on September 28, 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  Bring a friend who might be interested in OWL or just come network and get to know each other better.  Our next speaker on September 12 at the Pacific Club will be Captain Debbie Eleniki from the Honolulu Fire Department.  I will be available at 11am before the meeting to meet with new members or any who want to know more about OWL.

Our Program Chairs are working hard for a great program for the Annual Meeting in November at the Halekulani.  That’s when the new board for 2017 will be voted upon and awards will be given.  Nominations are open NOW for your suggestions for the OWL Leader of the Year.  Look for the shortened forms online and at the September meeting or just email me with the nominees name, contact phone, company name, address and email.  Also send your information as the selection committee will call you later for details.  Nominations will be closed at 5pm September 16.

And last but not least, don’t forget the Wahine Forum on October 27th!  OWL will have a booth again this year.  You my go to this link to register:

Looking forward to seeing you at all the events,


What We Heard
July 11

Virginia M. Pressler, MD, MBA, FACS
Director of Health,
State of Hawaii Department of Health

by Pam Harms

Dr. Virginia Pressler, an accomplished leader, physician, and volunteer in our community, provided a very informative discussion on the current Zika virus outbreak.  As the State of Hawaii Director of Health, Dr. Pressler is leading Hawaii's efforts to protect Hawaii from this mosquito-borne disease.  

Dr Pressler explained several ways in which we can all "Fite the Bite," the name of Hawaii's current campaign.  We can eliminate mosquito breading areas at home by getting rid of standing water, fixing leaky faucets and hoses, and repairing our screens and windows.  Additionally, we can prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellents while traveling, wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks, and avoiding areas with mosquitoes, such as shady, damp locations and standing water.

During her talk, Dr. Pressler also provided her insights on women as leaders and mentors.  She explained how she has navigated the often demanding jobs of a physician and now State Director of Health, while at the same time raising her two children.  She is truly an inspiration to all who were present at our July luncheon.

For additional resources, contact numbers, and information on how to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, visit

Now Accepting Nominations

We are now accepting nominations for the 2016 OWL Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year. In keeping with OWL's original purpose of bringing together the public and private sectors, we would like to present awardees in both the public and private sector.

Criteria to be honored include excellent leadership in one’s profession, in community service, and as a role model for other women. The OWL Woman of the Year should be an OWL member in good standing for the calendar year in which the award is given.

You can submit your nomination at our September luncheon or download the nomination form
and email to President Kate Braden at by Friday, September 16, 2016.

Mona Choy-Bedow, OWL 2015 Outstanding Woman of the Year, Private Sector
OWL Pau Hana
SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

It's time for our annual get together.  Members and guests are welcome to come and enjoy an evening with your OWL sisters, meet new friends, and have a chance to win fabulous door prizes! Wednesday, September 28, 2016,  5:30-7:30 pm.
                        Outrigger Canoe Club
                        2909 Kalakaua Ave.
                        Honolulu, HI 96815

Heavy pupus and no-host cocktails.

Cost: $35 if paid by Sept. 15th and $40 thereafter.  

Make your check payable to OWL Hawaii and mail to:
OWL (516 Kawaihae St #E Honolulu, HI 96825) by Sept. 15th.  

If you would like to make a donation for our Pau Hana door prizes, please email Cynthia at  


Wahine Forum

Thursday, October 27, Hilton Hawaiian Village

Plan to attend Hawai‘i Business Magazine’s annual conference promoting leadership and career development for women. OWL will be partnering once again, by hosting a booth at this event.  

Please mark your calendars and visit to register for the conference. 

Mark your Calendar - Annual Meeting


November 7, 2016 at 11:30 am

Halekulani Hotel
Renew Your 2017 OWL Membership

Early and Save
Annual dues for Jan. through Dec. 2017 are $260.  Early bird rate is $250 if paid by Nov. 11.  Dues cover the cost of six luncheons including the Annual Meeting luncheon and bi-monthly newsletters. Luncheons and other membership benefits are non-transferable.

Membership luncheons are generally held on the second Monday of January, March, May, July, September and  1st Monday in November from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Meetings are usually held at the Pacific Club, but locations will be confirmed prior to the meeting.  

Link to renewal form                                Link to New Member Application Form
Member Achievements

JULIE INOUYE is the new Associate Director of Development and Alumni Engagement for the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). Her focus is to develop and build relationships with JABSOM's alumni and other supporters through enhanced networking and ongoing communications. Julie will lead the planning for RECONNECT, the all-class reunion, the internal giving program and student calling campaign.  Her goal is to increase engagement, enhance JABSOM's reputation and ranking, and develop a culture of philanthropic support.

PAM HARMS is the new International Law Attorney for US Army Pacific, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.  Pam's position includes providing legal advice to the commanding general and staff on US international agreements and treaties, command intelligence oversight and cyber security issues, as well as fiscal law matters associated with mission operations.  Pam recently returned from Vietnam and Malaysia, where she represented the command in negotiations regarding certain military issues.

WENDY SHEWALTER has been promoted to CEO with Contract Furnishers of Hawaii Inc., dba Office Pavilion.  She is responsible for creating long-term strategic planning and new-business development. She also guides the company's management team growth and corporate culture.   Wendy joined Office Pavilion in 1988 and previously was account executive, and vice president of sales and accounting.

OWL Mission Statement

The mission of OWL is to develop a network of contacts among women in decision- making positions to promote effectiveness on the job and professional advancement.

The goals and objectives of OWL shall be to establish a network of contacts between the public and private sectors; to establish a professional and interpersonal support system for women professionals; to offer informational opportunities for women in management; to provide career-related ideas and information; and to share job and career advancement opportunities.


We love to hear from you!  Because we know your time is valuable, you may send OWL President Kate Braden your announcement for her to read along with her welcome message.  You are also invited to bring your announcement brochures and flyers to our meeting to place on a table reserved for this purpose.  Please email your news to Kate Braden 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 Pam Harms 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!

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Organization of Women Leaders Hawaii · 516 Kawaihae St. #E · Honolulu, HI 96825 · USA

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