CLASS OF 2004 TESTIMONIALS

Lynn Araki-Regan,
Being a part of the Pacific Century Fellows Program has been a truly enlightening experience.  Through the roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the public and private sectors, I have gained many insights and a much broader understanding of and appreciation for Hawai`i's business, educational and governmental communities. The Program has offered us with the opportunity to learn and grow, to connect with each other and with the world around us to become more effective leaders and community servants in our great state of Hawai`i.

Sylvia Hussey,
The Pacific Century Fellows Program provided a wealth of opportunities.  The opportunity to:  a) associate with and learn along side a wonderful cross section of classmates and leaders; b) learn first hand about strategic and pressing issues from Hawaii’s sector leaders and from a variety of political, social and business perspectives; d) admire, appreciate and take pride in Hawaii’s military presence, force and heart; e) affirm the “special-ness” of Hawaii and the value of being na keiki o ka aina; and f) recommit to making a difference in my small way and corner of Hawaii.

Frank Morley,
Being a Pacific Century Fellow was an extremely enriching experience.  As a career Naval Officer, it allowed me the opportunity to understand the challenges and motivations that exist within numerous other areas of our society – state and local government, private business, agriculture, education, finance, and many others.  As someone new to the beautiful state of Hawaii, the program exposed me to the varied and wonderful cultures of the islands and filled me with the “Spirit of Aloha”.  But most importantly, as a human being, Pacific Century Fellows enriched my life simply by the sincere and life long friendships developed with the other Fellows.

Katherine Perkuchin
I cannot think of a better way to become familiar with the diverse issues facing Hawaii and it's people.  My PCF experience was mothing short of fantastic.  Fast-paced, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally challenging, the program is an ideal training ground for aspiring young leaders and entrepreneurs.

Kaulana Park,
An emerging leadership training program designed to expose young leaders with a greater awareness and sensitivity of the communities and headline businesses in Hawaii.  A 'once-in-a-life time experience' and mirrored after the White House Fellows Program, the greater value is the development of long term relationships with fellow classmates. Destined for a nine-month tour of various Hawaii organizations, the experience was truly 'mind blowing' and well worth the investment!

Ryan Takaki
If you are a proven leader within our community, and have a sincere desire to stay involved and do even more, this is the right program for you.

Jacy Youn
I truly can’t say enough about how invaluable my time in the Pacific Century Fellows program was. Everything that we did – from our naval carrier and submarine embarks to our two neighbor island trips – was educational, inspiring and memorable. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to hear firsthand, from the state’s powerbrokers and people of influence, their mana’o on the issues that impact our community, our people and our unique island state. PCF also tapped into my desire to be an active community servant, and opened many doors for me in that arena. In that way, the program far exceeded my expectations. I feel honored and privileged to have been a part of the 2004 class of fellows, alongside a diverse group of leaders who are, and will remain, an integral part of Hawaii’s future.

Curt Ruotola
Basking in the beauty--and awe-struck by the mana--of Waipio Valley, listening to taro farmer Morgan Toledo pour his heart out about the challenges of continuing vital traditions, taking off my shoes because I wanted nothing between my bare feet and the land, and wading into the field to plant taro with the farmer I just met and already admired.  I took a few minutes to sit alone, soak in the surroundings, and think (advice received that morning from Hawaii Mayor Harry Kim).  Watching the clouds ease over the mountains, two openings formed in uncanny symmetry, one on each side of the back of the valley, as if this place was communicating to me through blue sky eyes.  All of that was but one of numerous memorable and transformational experiences PCF afforded me. PCF enlightened me on Hawaii issues much more than ten years of inquisitive residence. More than ever, I know I am in a special place, and I shared this program with 30 impressive people who wish to give back to Hawaii.

Mark Nishiyama
The P.C.F. experience provided a unique opportunity to explore how great leaders are created. I learned that each and every individual has the potential to be an outstanding leader in our community. An extreme passion for life, whether it is teaching, managing, directing, selling, or coaching combined with an extraordinary commitment to family, friends, and the members of your community along with a genuine caring attitude and respect for others are key ingredients in the formation of a successful leader. The friendships made and experiences shared during our time as Pacific Century Fellows will be cherished for a lifetime.

Scott Simon
The Pacific Century Fellows Program represents a turning point in my development as a working professional and community servant.  The rare opportunities provided to us as Fellows transformed my interest in how Hawai`i operates into firsthand experience.  Our hike in Mt. Ka`ala was truly special to me because I ordinarily would not spend a day on an excursion like that, nor have special access or expert guidance as we did, but I came away experiencing and appreciating the `aina like never before.  Perhaps most importantly, thanks to the PCF Program, I have gained treasured friendships with an entire class of diversely talented leaders.

Kika Bukoski
Pacific Century Fellows gave me a unique opportunity to  interact with like-minded young individuals genuinely concerned with the world we live in. It gave me an oppotunity to discuss issues surrounding our world and our island home, with the men and women directly involved in calling the shots and making things happen. I highly recommend this prestigious program to anyone who aspires to achieve. Kika G. Bukoski- Pacific Century Fellows-2004.

Christine Kondo
Few experiences have made such a definitive impact on my life than the Pacific Century Fellows program.  Exceeding my expectations personally and professionally, PCF helped me to gain greater clarity and perspective regarding key issues facing Hawaii; embrace the need to be involved and give back to our community; and find the strength, courage and confidence in myself to take on new challenges and strive for greater goals. The places we visited; the sights only few are fortunate enough to see; the opportunity to meet more than 100 of Hawaii's most respected leaders to hear their insight and advice; and the relationships we built with intelligent, ambitious, and passionate peers, made PCF the most valuable, worthwhile, and extraordinary program I have ever experienced.  I highly recommend this program to anyone, and commend it for its contributions to fostering young, strong leaders in this State.

Bettina Menhert
The Pacific Century Fellows Program is the most comprehensive, in-depth way to learn about the current social and business issues that face our State. It has instilled a new level of appreciation for Hawaii and reinforced the desire and importance of giving back to the community. Personally, this program has been a great adventure with opportunities I would have never had the pleasure of experiencing otherwise. It has formed many friendships and truly has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life.

Kevin Matsuda
The thought provoking, in-depth discussions have not only broadened my perspective, but it also taught me a lot about our government, our military, and our community.  It has given me new meaning on leadership, communication, and management.

John Matsumoto
Pacific Century Fellows has provided me an excellent opportunity to understand the myriad of issues that confront Hawaii from the people that are involved in finding a solution.  Unique opportunities such as the nuclear submarine embark and the outer island trips were some of the best experiences of the program.  Unexpectedly, I am extremely grateful to the PCF program to have made lifelong friendships with not only professionals from such diverse fields but also classmates who I can now consider my friends.

Bryan Kam
It was an incredible experience to meet, see, touch and feel the issues in a way not typically available.  I was consistently humbled and inspired during each event by the depth and closeness of the exposure to real issues and real people.  I am grateful for this unique learning opportunity and hope to do it justice.

Luahiwa Namahoe
Striving for a successful balance of one's business and personal life is the goal of every communitarian. It permeates the psyche and soul, affecting each business decision, what activities to pursue, and conversations with our loved ones. Did I do enough today? Did I walk my talk? Are my choices a part of the solution? In Hawai'i, there is no finer program that addresses this than the Pacific Century Fellows. Via the study of our major industries and issues, it delves into the people who shape them, thereby offering that glimpse of those who give back, and how they do so. Become a Fellow and your respect for our beloved isles—as well as what it takes to keep Hawai’i in balance—will deepen anew.

Billy Kenoi
It was an experience that exceeded my every expectation. I was looking forward to meeting a couple of really cool people going into the program and I ended up with a few best friends - the trips, the workshops, the laughing and talking story, the once in a lifetime experiences - I could not thank Mufi, Trudi, and Charlyn enough for giving me this opportunity to be a part of the Pacific Century Fellows Class of 2004. I am proud to have been part of such a distinguished group of young leaders from Hawai'i.  I had no idea that the PCF program would have so many opportunities to learn from today's leaders and that at the same time I would get to become friends with tomorrow's decisionmakers.

Nobleza Magsanoc
The program was great.  The different topics we explored each month gave me a broader perspective and at the same time a deeper understanding of the issues facing our State from the individuals we met with as well as from my PCF classmates who are all true leaders in their profession.

Scott Higashi
The Pacific Century Fellows program is absolutely incredible.  We met with the most influential and powerful leaders of Hawaii, and had access to places that few ever get to see or experience.  And best of all, it was a lot of fun.  I made terrific friends, and connected with very successful professional colleagues who are great to be with.  The most powerful and memorable experience, however, was that I got to hear the voices of people who may not make the headlines in the paper, or may not be the lead story on the news.  I still hear the voice of a young police officer who loves his job and promised that he would fulfill his duty to us every day.  I hear the voice of a recovering ice addict who hugged each of us as if it was the most precious moment of his new life.  I hear the voice of a young woman who chose to be homeless with her children rather than be in an abusive household.  This program extended the boundaries of my beliefs, and set in motion a change within me that is as profound today as it was on our first day as Fellows. Thanks to this experience, I understand my responsibility to help make Hawaii an even better place to call home.

Lisa Ontai
It is difficult to sum up in a short paragraph what has been for all of us an incredible, thought provoking, enlightening and fulfilling nine month experience. At the heart of the Pacific Century Fellows program was an opportunity to hear from community and business leaders from a variety of fields, specialties and diverse backgrounds – all successfully conquering multiple challenges. Our monthly field trips were skillfully organized to take us from the front lines of an issue to the very top for a bird’s eye view of how our leaders are making decisions and strategizing that affect thousands of people’s lives, our community and whole industries.

There were many memorable moments throughout the year....

Memorable:  Going from the comfort of the Honolulu Police Department to standing in the middle of a cell block surrounded by hard core inmates at Halawa Correctional Facility and seeing first hand what our law enforcement officers, social workers and parole officers struggle with daily.

Memorable:   Sitting in pristine Waipio Valley on the Island of Hawaii listening with tears streaming down our faces as kalo farmer Morgon Toledo poured out his
heart to us about the enormous challenges he and others face in trying to cultivate kalo and keep a sacred tradition alive.

Memorable:   Stepping out of a helicopter onto Kahoolawe and actually seeing green vegetation and plants beginning to thrive on what was once a bombed out and barren island.

Memorable:  An overnight embark on the USS Stennis aircraft carrier while it was in the middle of the ocean, standing on the flight deck watching  F-14 Tomcats and F 18 Hornet jet fighter planes catapult off the deck and feeling so proud to be an American.

Priceless:  The incredible network of people I’ve had the honor to interact with -- especially my 2005 Pacific Century Fellows classmates.   Mahalo to Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Trudi Saito, Charlyn Dote and all of our wonderful presenters for giving our class the priceless gift of knowledge to become more impactful leaders in our community.