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January Newsletter

Volume 29, Issue 1

January 12 Luncheon

Kelly King

Vice President and Chief Communications Officer,
Pacific Biodiesel Technologies
Co-founder and Chair, Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance

Leaning in, on and towards the future!  

Kelly King will discuss how, beginning in her mid-twenties, her determination to make a better world for her children helped her evolve from a young wife and mother into a state elected official and eventually vice president of America’s first, and arguably most sustainable, biodiesel company.


Kelly King is the Vice President of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, LLC, having co-founded the renewable energy company with her husband Robert King in 1996.  Well known as an industry pioneer, Pacific Biodiesel was created to alleviate the disposal of waste cooking oil at Maui’s landfill and became the first commercial biodiesel company in the U.S.  As director of Marketing & Communications, Kelly has helped sell and/or develop 13 biodiesel plants built by Pacific Biodiesel in the U.S. and Japan, and the company’s community-based biodiesel model has become a standard for the sustainable renewable fuel industry.
In 2006, together with Daryl Hannah and Willie and Annie Nelson, Kelly co-founded the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, a national non-profit organization that is developing a certification process for sustainable biodiesel practices.  In
Hawai‘i Kelly has been active as a board member on many local non-profits and served as an elected member of the Hawai‘i State Board of Education, representing Maui County from 1994-98.  She currently serves as a board member of the following organizations:

  • Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (Chair)
  • Hawai‘i Renewable Energy Alliance
  • Hawai‘i Energy Policy Forum
  • UHMC Sustainable Sciences Mgmt Advisory Council

Kelly’s current agriculture-related projects with Pacific Biodiesel include overseeing a Congressional appropriation project in collaboration with the U.S. Army to test military-based biodiesel fuel crops in Hawai‘i as well as an SBIR grant project to develop a value-added by-product that holds great promise as a solution to the taro farmers’ soil amendment and apple snail problems. 

January 12 MEETING 

Pacific Club

1451 Queen Emma St.

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

RSVP due by noon on Wednesday, January 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
"2015 - Celebrating Women's Courage"

Happy New Year! Thank you for this tremendous opportunity to serve as your 2015 OWL President. As we welcome the New Year, I would like to acknowledge some of the success we had in 2014. We heard from inspirational speakers, such as Denise Albano and Patti Chang of Feed the Hungry; Susan Murray and Dr. Van Dyken of The Queen’s Medical Center – West Oahu Hospital; and Beth Whitehead of American Savings Bank. We also came together for two fantastic Pau Hana events, at the Oahu Country Club and Outrigger Canoe Club. I also want to sincerely thank Kathy Perkins and the 2014 OWL Board Members for their dedication to OWL’s mission of perpetuating a “network of contacts among women in decision-making positions to promote effectiveness on the job, and professional advancement.”

This is an exciting time for OWL, as we introduce a new theme for the organization, “Celebrating Women’s Courage”.  Someone asked me, “What do you mean by celebrating women’s courage?”  I have to admit it wasn’t an easy answer, but here’s what I explained. Each year OWL brings accomplished and dynamic speakers to our luncheons, and they give us an introduction to their leadership style, while sharing some of their most personal and career challenges as a female leader.  One of my goals for 2015 is to encourage personal development for OWL members by featuring successful women who have demonstrated their own COURAGE to achieve success.   

Your 2015 OWL Board Members and I look forward to serving you this year. We are excited to bring you new speakers and events planned for the year. One new event is a post luncheon “Small Group”, an informal get-together a few weeks after each luncheon. This will serve as an opportunity to discuss the previous speakers presentation and topic, while in a environment that promotes interaction and engagement. A benefit for all OWL members is not only access to these phenomenal women speakers, but it’s a great place to share our stories, challenges, and successes, and network with one another. You are all invited to attend and we will provide more details as they become available.

Thank you all for supporting OWL and let’s make 2015, a memorable year. Cheers!


What We Heard
November 10


Beth Whitehead
Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer
American Savings Bank

by Kate Braden

A wonderful question and answer session with Beth Whitehead, American Savings Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer since 2008.  The session was moderated by Barbra Pleadwell, who (confidentially) let us know that Beth happens to be Barbra’s husband’s boss.  Beth serves on the YWCA and the YMCA boards as well as on the board of the Hawai‘i Opera Theatre.

A list of questions was compiled and Barbra asked the following and got the following intriguing responses:
  • How did a Mississippi girl end up in Honolulu and what attracted her to come to Hawai‘i and take a position at ASB? 
    She got a call from a headhunter and thought it was a friend pulling a joke, so she hung up on the headhunter.  She actually grew up in Arkansas, and was in a law firm in Memphis then to a great job in Washington DC.  Attraction to
    Hawai‘i is a no brainer but finding out about the hidden company under Hawaiian Electric was a bit more challenging.
  • Being from the South, what differences or similarities do you see in Hawai‘i’s young women compared to young women in the South?
    Similar presence of strong women in both – her she learned the word “Tita”; who in the South are known as “Magnolias”.  Also both Southern and Local women share love through food.
  • How do you describe your leadership syle?
    She felt the best description would be “quirky”; a fun, slightly irreverent style.  At the end of the day to mostly have results and get things done.  But just as important would be for all to know “no one can pick on my chickens”.
  • What are you still working on in your career?
    It is important to her to be continuously learning, and creates opportunities to learn for her team through the Learning and Development Department at the Bank.  She continues works on her own perceived lack of patience.
  • What do you recommend women do in order to reach the executive level in organizations?
    She felt that you should make sure that’s what you want to do, as you need to love your job.  Then believe you can do it.  The key is to make sure you have women mentors and role models.
  • If you could speak with your younger self what advice would you give and why?
    When she went to college, she was the first in my family and only one of two from her small hometown to go to college, she was on a scholarship and worried about keeping it – she developed a fear of failure which she didn’t take challenging courses.  She would tell herself to not be afraid to fail; it’s better to try and fail – that’s how you learn.
  • What is the biggest challenge for the younger generation entering the workforce today?
    Mostly, narrowing down the choices available.
  • What differences have you made at ASB since joining that would better enable them to get ahead?
    The biggest challenge is to take a bank that has been good for 80 years and move it to great – a high performing bank and a high percent feeling it’s a good place to work to become one of the “Best Places to Work”.  Key was to create an “Employees Council” and then a Wellness Program.  ASB has been a “Best Places to Work” awardee for the past five years.
  • What was the most difficult business decision you’ve made in your career?
    She felt giving up being a lawyer with a great salary (but she hated it) to taking a paycut to go work at a bank in Memphis because she felt it was a great company.  Through that job in the legal department she learned the acquisitions process and when she left Memphis she was making far more than she would have staying in the law field!
  • What’s are the top three things on your bucket list?
    To spend more time with her grandmother
    She would love to go on an African safari
    And as a new golfer, would love to make a hole-in-one.
There was more charming conversation and many lessons learned.  See, I met my goal for the day – learn at least one new thing every day.  I think Beth and I would get along.

(L to R) Julie Inouye (OWL president 2015), Valerie Schmidt (2014 OWL Outstanding Woman Leader, Private Sector), Pam Harms (2014 OWL Outstanding Woman Leader, Public Sector), Kathy Perkins (OWL president 2014), Beth Whitehead, ASB executive vp & chief administrative officer (Nov. guest speaker)
Meet the 2015 OWL Board
JULIE INOUYE – 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 two year old son, Zane and has been married to her husband, Marc for 5 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. 

KATE BRADEN – President-elect

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.
JULIE ARIGO – Director at Large

Julie Arigo is General Manager of the Waikiki Parc Hotel.  Prior to the Waikiki Parc, she worked for the Sheraton and Westin hotels.  In 2013 Julie served as the 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 also president of the board of Soroptimist International Honolulu, 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 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.  

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. 

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.
KATHLEEN PERKINS – Treasurer and Immediate Past President

Kathy recently retired from St. Andrew's Schools, where she served as Director of Institutional Advancement and Alumnae Relations for the past four years.  Previously she held executive positions with Central Pacific Bank, Bank of Hawai‘i and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i. Kathy is looking forward to spending time with family and assisting in the care of her parents.
DORI PALCOVICH – Recording Secretary

Dori has been an Economic Development Specialist with the State’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism for the past 14 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. 
KRISTI BATES – Communications Secretary

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.
JUDY BISHOP – Director at Large

Judy Bishop has been serving as the founder and president of Bishop & Company, a recruiting and temporary staffing firm, since 2006. Prior to this time she was the Manager of CTA Staffing (formerly Select Staffing) in Honolulu for several years, and previously she served in several executive roles in the staffing industry in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore,  and the US mainland for over 20 years.
INA CHANG – Director at Large

Ina Chang is president of Aloha Data, a database management company founded by her husband Dmitry in 2001.  Under her leadership, she and her team have made Aloha Data the leading industry expert on
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).
JEN 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.
PAM HARMS - Director at Large
Pam Harms is the Director of the Veterans Law Clinic at the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law.  The clinic educates law students on issues facing our veterans, and provides needed legal assistance to our low-income veterans through partnership with the VA.  Pam also works part-time at the Scott Suzuki Law Firm practicing elder law and disability law. 
Pam served over 24 years on active duty as an Army lawyer.  She retired in 2012 as a Colonel as Senior Attorney for U.S. Army Pacific, managing Army legal support in the Asia-Pacific Region.  She deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005-2006 as Senior Attorney for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), supervising a staff providing legal advice including international law and law of war.  Pam also served as a military prosecutor during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.  Pam has two daughters, Devan, who is completing her Ph.D. in Bioethics, and Darian, who is pursuing a Master’s in Fine Arts.  She is married to Grover Harms, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves.
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.
VALERIE SCHMIDT – Director at Large

Valerie Schmidt, CFP®, ChFC®, CFS is a Financial Advisor and President of Schmidt, Shimokawa & Associates A financial advisory practice of 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. 
Member Achievement

Christine Lanning, president, Integrated Security Technologies Inc., was recently featured in Security System News, a national publication for women in security.  In an industry dominated by men, this is a wonderful recognition!  Congratulations!

2015 Membership Renewal and Upcoming Luncheon Meeting Dates

January 12 - Pacific Club

March 9 - Pacific Club

May 11 - Pacific Club

July 13 - Pacific Club

September 14 - Pacific Club

November 2 - Halekulani Hotel
Annual dues for Jan. through Dec. 2015 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 Julie Inouye will be reading the member announcements along with her welcome message.  Please email your news to Julie 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!