2016 OWL January Newsletter
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January Newsletter

Volume 30, Issue 1

 “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” 

~  Oprah Winfrey

January 11 Luncheon

Helen Wai

Helen N. Wai, LLC

Secrets to Conserving Energy, What Most People Don’t Know

Helen will speak about her work with Hawaii Energy, educating non-profit organizations, churches, clubs, businesses and community associations across the Hawaiian Islands on energy savings.  She will also preview her Sharing the Aloha workshop, providing education on what each of us can do to reduce our electricity bills at home and work in order to contribute to reducing Hawaii's dependence on imported fuels.  

Helen is a Native Hawaiian and lifelong resident of Nanakuli, Hawaii. Reared in a hard-working and entrepreneurial-minded environment, Helen became a self-made business owner and consultant of Helen N. Wai LLC in 2001. Since then, she has been assisting communities and organizations in the areas of financial literacy, homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention and case management. Measurable results, such as increased awareness of credit and money management to obtaining and retaining homeownership, are just a few of the advantages that thousands of participants have gained and achieved throughout Helen’s career.

In September 2011, Helen’s reputation for effective communication skills, strong island relationships and her willingness to serve the hard to reach island communities led her to the doorstep of Hawaii Energy. Her desire to learn about saving electricity came about because she could share the knowledge with local families. In four years, Helen has facilitated 438 workshops, attended community events and served almost 12,000 participants on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Lanai and Molokai on behalf of Hawaii Energy.

January 11 MEETING 

Pacific Club

1451 Queen Emma St.

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

RSVP due by noon on Wednesday, January 6 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
        2016 - "Mentoring"

Aloha and Happy New Year!  I am honored to serve as the Organization of Women Leaders’ 2016 President.  Julie Inouye and her Board successfully led us through 2015 to support OWL’s mission of perpetuating a “network of contacts among women in decision-making positions to promote effectiveness on the job, and professional advancement.”  We thank her and the 2015 Board.

We had a wonderful year that through our speakers Celebrated Women’s Courage.  We listened to Kelly King, Vice President & Chief Communications Officer from Pacific Biodiesel Technologies; Jessica Munoz, President of Hoʻōla Nā Pua; Crissy Gayagas, Chief Relationship Officer from DAWSON; Medea Chesney-Lind, Ph.D. from Women’s Studies at University of Hawaii at Manoa; Laura Beeman, UH Women’s Basketball Coach; and finally Kerrie Urosevich, PhD and Maya Sotoero-Ng, PhD from Ceeds of Peace.  All fascinating, inspirational Women talking to us not only on important topics but demonstrating specific instances of Women’s Courage.  We supported the Women’s Forum and The Women’s Legislative Breakfast.  We once again had a wonderful pau hana networking event.

The 2016 Board and I are excited to continue the idea of a year-long theme that winds its way through our various speakers from different areas of business and current topics to highlight “Mentoring”, a topic very important to women who wish to be leaders.  Mentoring within a discussion of other issues can be as simple as who was my mentor to how to be a mentor or as complicated as how to get a mentor and how to best utilize a mentor. As stated by the rich and famous:  "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." -- Bill Gates.

The 2016 OWL Board and I look forward to sharing with you inspirational speakers, opportunities to hear Women Leaders, and diverse learning opportunities. Let me know if you’d like to get more involved with OWL or have suggestions for speakers or events.  See you at the Pacific Club January 11th!



What We Heard
November 7


Dr. Maya Soetero-Ng & 
Dr. Kerrie Urosevich

Ceeds of Peace

by Kristi Bates

Dr. Maya Soetero-Ng credits her mother for nurturing in her a strong sense of curiosity, and for teaching her that courage is one among many skills that women can use to practice peace building.  In a partnership with Dr. Kerrie Urosevich, they founded the Ceeds of Peace program, dedicated to building peace through teaching leadership skills to children, families, schools and communities. 
When discussing the components essential to peace building, Maya and Kerrie noticed all of the words started with the letter “c.” Words like courage, commitment, community, conflict resolution, critical thinking, compassion and collaboration.  That led to the name “Ceeds of Peace.”  They use these words to guide their teaching, and share ways that anyone can weave peace-building skills into their daily lives.  
Below are additional nuggets from the presentation:
  • peace building is action-oriented
  • leadership must be seen as everyday
  • everyone can be a leader
  • children learn exponentially more from those that model peace-building behavior
  • when a teacher created a safe space, students felt empowered to use critical thinking, compassion, and community to solve a problem
  • creating a safe place in a home or workplace is in our power
  • peace-building takes practice
  • we need to transform the way we think about peace-building
  • engaging in shared problem-solving doesn’t always mean being the one to find the solution, sometimes just listening is better
  • peace is about many things
  • “Go forth, model and teach”
(L to R) Kristi Bates (OWL Director at Large), Dr. Liz Elliott (OWL Director at Large), Dr.  Maya Soetero-Ng (guest speaker), Kathy Perkins (OWL Director at Large), Dr. Kerrie Urosevich (guest speaker), and Jen Grems (OWL Director at Large)
OWL 2015 Outstanding Woman
of the Year Award 

Mona Choy-Beddow

Congratulations to the OWL 2015 Outstanding Woman of the Year, Mona Choy-Bedow.  Mona has worked in the banking industry for twenty-five years.  She has served as Vice President and Regional Manager of HomeStreet Bank, overseeing three retail banking branches.  

Mona presently serves as the Treasurer of the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership Advisory Board of the YWCA, is the Secretary of Family Programs  Hawaii, and the President-Elect of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.  In addition to being a member of OWL, Mona is a member of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and is on the Executive Board of Hawaii First.  In April 2013, Mona was one of Fifteen Women nominated by Pacific Business News to be honored at its 15th annual "Women Who Mean Business" under the "For-Profit Business Woman of the Year" category.

OWL Member Achievement
Congratulations to our OWL 2015 Outstanding Woman of the Year, Mona Choy-Bedow, who has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, HomeStreet Bank. 
Meet the 2015 OWL Board
KATE BRADEN – President

Kate is CEO, Principal Broker and Co-Woman-owner of Hawai'i Real Estate Online. Prior to her 10 years in real estate, she was Vice President and Treasurer of the Harold KL Castle Foundation, managing the largest grant-making foundation based in Hawai'i.  Her expertise in computers, implementation of new PC based systems, and accounting management was the basis for positions with various industries during her career.

After her successful career in real estate, Kate plans to sell her company to her partner and retire at the end of 2016.

JULIE ARIGO – President-elect

Julie Arigo is General Manager of the Waikiki Parc Hotel.  Prior to the Waikiki Parc, she worked for the Sheraton and Westin hotels.  Julie is the founder and current Chairperson for the Women in Lodging & Tourism Association and sits on the board of the Hawaii Society of Business Professionals.  Julie served as the 2013-2014 Chairperson of the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association and presides on the board of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Travel Industry Management School's Travel Advisory Council. She was past president of the board of Soroptimist International Honolulu and currently sits on their Board, serves on the board of Organization of Women Leaders (OWL), and is a member of the National Association of Professional Women. Her recent accolades include the 2015 Travel Industry Management  Alumni Hall of Honor Award, OWL’s Woman Leader of the Year 2013, selection by Hotel Management Magazine’s Nov. 2013 issue as one of the “Top 25 General Managers to Watch”, and on the cover of Pacific Edge Magazine’s Oct. - Dec. 2013 issue titled “Leading Ladies of Hospitality” which recognized top executives from Oahu’s hotel industry.   Julie is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in Business Administration with an emphasis in Travel Industry Management.  
JULIE INOUYE – Immediate Past President

 Julie works as a Financial Advisor for First Hawaiian Bank’s Private Wealth Management. She has been in the Financial Services Industry for the past 15 years. She attended Mid-Pacific Institute and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a finance degree. Julie has a three year old son, Zane, and a new daughter, Ella and has been married to her husband, Marc for 6 years.  When Julie is not working or taking care of her family, she enjoys traveling, reading short articles and exploring new restaurants and hiking new trails. Julie has been part of OWL since 2011 and has served as the Programs Chair for two years.  

Libby Lee-Hobbs has held various leadership positions within the airline industry in Texas and Hawai‘i.  As the Manager of Cargo Sales & Operations, she has oversight of multiple cargo locations. In addition to cargo operations she is also responsible for sales and revenue within the Hawai‘i region for American Airlines Cargo.  In 2011, she was named ‘Air Cargo Person of the Year’ by the Air Cargo Association of Hawai‘i for her support and contributions to the Hawai‘i Air Cargo community.  Born and raised in Hawai‘i, she holds a B.S from the University of Hawai‘i and is proud mom to her treasure...son, Slater Kamanaokanakanui.


Valerie Schmidt, CFP®, ChFC®, CFS is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.  She received the 2014 OWL Business Woman of the Year Award in the For Profit Sector and was a Finalist for the 2014 Pacific Business News Business Woman of the Year.  She has been in the financial industry for the past 18 years, is married and has one son.  Valerie also is President of The Bella Project.  This nonprofit organization provides prom dresses to girls who can’t afford to go to prom, are critically ill, special needs or lost their father/brother while serving our country.
INA CHANG - Co-VP Programs

Ina Chang is the president of Aloha Data, a database management company co-founded with her husband Dmitry in 2001.  Under her leadership, she and her team have made Aloha Data the leading industry expert on
document scanning and electronic records management in Hawai‘i. She introduced eDiscovery to Hawai‘i, helping law firms review litigation documents more efficiently and cost effectively, and offers law firms continuing education credits in the field of eDiscovery.

Ina is wife, mother of three, and CEO all rolled up into one intelligent, capable, woman who believes that it is very important to give back to the community that supports her business. In addition to her involvement in many professional organizations, she is a trained interpreter, having interpreted in the courtroom, and performed Chinese simultaneous interpretation in the New Hope Church.  Born and raised in Taiwan, she was educated at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (she holds two degrees, one in Journalism/Public Relations, the other in German).

ANANDA CHOU – Treasurer

Ananda Chou has been strengthening communities in Hawaii for the past 10 years with the YMCA of Honolulu. She currently serves as Executive Director for the Atherton YMCA Branch, where she has the opportunity to make a difference every day.
Her work focuses on inspiring and empowering young adults from all backgrounds to become cause-driven leaders in the community. From mentoring student leaders, to providing service learning experiences, to inspiring underprivileged high school students to go to college, the Atherton YMCA provides resources and opportunities for students to grow and thrive as individuals and connect college to a successful career.   Ananda served on the board for the Kailua Chamber of Commerce for the past 3 years, and has served on the board for the Honolulu Professionals Foundation.  

DORI PALCOVICH – Recording Secretary

Dori has been an Economic Development Specialist with the State’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism for the past 15 years.  Prior to working at the State, Dori’s first career of 20 years was in banking where she worked as a bank examiner, commercial lender and loan review analyst.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and master’s in Business, both from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and a juris doctor degree from Concord Law School in California.  Dori enjoys exercising, has competed in 3 Honolulu marathons, needlepoint, rug hooking, and reading. 
PAM HARMS – Corresponding Secretary

Pam Harms is the International Law Attorney-Advisor for the US Army, Pacific, where she provides advice to the command on international treaties and agreements, intelligence oversight, cyber security issues, and fiscal law matters associated with military operations.  Pam served over 24 years on active duty as an Army lawyer, retiring in 2012 as a Colonel.  She deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom as Senior Attorney for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and served as a military prosecutor during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.  Pam was the 2014 OWL Woman of the Year, Public Sector, and serves on the board of the Huakailani School for Girls.  She has two daughters, Devan, who is a Professor of Bioethics at Michigan State University Medical School, and Darian, Artist in Residence, Malaspina Printmakers, Vancouver, BC.
KRISTI BATES – Director at Large

Kristi Bates is Director of Individual Giving at ‘Iolani School.  Prior to this position, she served as Director and Associate Director of Development at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation for six years.  In that time she worked primarily at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, the John A. Burns School of Medicine, and the College of Engineering.  She also spent 15 years as a flight attendant at United Airlines, and was owner/operator of a small business.  She holds a BA in Communications and a MA in Human Resource Management from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
DR. ELIZABETH ELLIOT – Director at Large

Dr. Liz is in her fifth year of practice as a Primary Care Naturopathic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist and has recently opened a private practice in Hawai‘i Kai. She specializes in treating women's health using a variety of tools including bioidentical hormones. She also commonly treats acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain, chronic health conditions, cancer, and mental/emotional imbalances. She has certification through the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in supportive cancer care, and advanced training in a particularly effective acupuncture style meant to support stress reduction, increase joy and happiness, and support patients through big life changes. She loves her work dearly, and because of the unique and comprehensive model of medicine that she practices, is proud to be called the "doctor that I've always been looking for" for a large number of her patients.
LISA GIBSON - Director at Large
Lisa H. Gibson is the President of Rising Tide Economics, a Hawaii-based economic development firm which focuses on assisting communities and regions create customized regional economic growth strategies with a focus on economic clusters of opportunity.   Working in partnership with Collaborative Economics of San Mateo, California, Rising Tide Economics uses data sources and innovative methodologies to assist public and private community leaders understand complex trends and to set the stage to turn ideas into action.  She is the founder and past president of the Hawaii Science & Technology Council and is the former Chief Operating Officer of Enterprise Honolulu.  She has over 35 years experience in fund development as well as community and leadership development with several Hawaii organizations.
JENNIFER GREMS – Director at Large

Jennifer Grems is the Director of Upper School at St. Andrew’s Priory. Prior to accepting this position, Jennifer was an award-winning teacher and coach, and high school dean. Jennifer is passionate about education and is an instructional leader who helped launch St. Andrew’s Priory’s signature program, Priory in the City. She and her husband recently moved from Makakilo to Honolulu and have been enjoying city life ever since.

STACIA MURRAY – Director at Large

Stacia Murray is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial and has been in her current position since 1999. She holds the following designations for financial planning which include: CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), and CFP® (Certified Financial Planner practitioner). As a financial advisor, she helps clients with retirement planning strategies, saving for education, risk management, estate planning strategies, and investment management. She was born and raised in Honolulu. She attended St. Andrew’s Priory from 7th to 12th grade, and then continued on to receive her degree in Finance from the University of Portland, Oregon. After graduating from college, she lived and worked in Tsukuba, Japan teaching English prior to the start of her financial career.


KATHLEEN PERKINS - Director At Large

Kathy Perkins most recent passion is education.  She shares and educates on the benefits of incorporating doTERRA essential oils in everyday living; and also returned to St. Andrew's Priory School as the school’s Priory in the City Career Coach.  
She has 30 years of experience in the financial and business industries, working for Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank and The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii in senior executive positions. She also was the Priory’s Director of Institutional Advancement and Alumnae Relations for four years.
Kathy has served on the boards of Coalition for a Drug Free Hawaii, Rotary Club of Pearlridge, Women in Business Committee, Junior League of Honolulu and Organization of Women Leaders; and served as President of the Junior League of Honolulu and the Organization of Women Leaders.  
Kathy is married to David and together they have one daughter, Sarah Kalei, a recent graduate of Marist College.  Kathy enjoys traveling, reading, crafting and spending time with her parents.


2015 Membership Renewal and Upcoming Luncheon Meeting Dates

January 11 - Pacific Club

March 14 - Pacific Club

May 9 - Pacific Club

July 11 - Pacific Club

September 12 - Pacific Club

November 7 - Halekulani Hotel
Annual dues for Jan. through Dec. 2016 is $260.

Membership luncheons are generally held on the second Monday of January, March, May, July, September and 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:  

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, OWL President Kate Braden will be reading the member announcements along with her welcome message. Please email your news to Kate 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!