Hawaii Society of Business Professionals

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June 15: Airbnb

Airbnb is an online marketplace for short-term vacation rentals, homestays, hotel rooms, apartments and hostels. Founded in 2008 as a technology start-up and headquartered in San Francisco, Airbnb recently completed a new round of funding totaling $1 billion. Listings of Hawaii rentals include cottages, guest houses, condominium apartments,studios, and individual rooms.

• What is Airbnb’s business model?
• How has Airbnb dealt with issues such as taxes, illegal rentals, problems with accommodations, and upset neighbors?
• What is the effect of nonhotel-staying tourists on Hawaii’s economy?
• How does the Trips app work, and what has been the response? What is its potential for changing the travel industry?
• What are Airbnb’s plans for the future? 

Matt Middlebrook leads Airbnb’s policy efforts in Hawaii and San Francisco, working with legislators at both the state and local level on issues affecting short-term rentals. Prior to joining Airbnb, he was the executive vice president of development for Caruso, one of the largest privately held real estate firms in the United States. He has also served professionally as a political and communications strategist with senior roles in both the public and private sector. Matt is from California and lives with his family in San Francisco, where Airbnb is based.

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May 18: Coral Reefs

HSBP17-413_MAY Coral Reefs EDITED.jpg

Coral reefs surround the Hawaiian Islands.  They are a habitat for food fish, protect the land from erosion, and draw tourists to Hawaii.

What is the importance of a healthy reef ecosystem? What are the changes in the oceans and how that will affect our economy, land values, and quality of life in Hawaii?  What can we do to protect Hawaii’s coral reefs?

In 2014, the coral reef in Kaneohe Bay was adversely affected after water temperatures rose and remained high for several weeks. Scientists and researchers are now monitoring the reefs in Kaneohe Bay and other Hawaiian waters.  They are also working to protect reefs from adverse conditions, which could become more frequent and severe, and finding ways to restore and build resiliency. 

Ruth Gates, Director and Researcher, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, has received multi-million dollar support for her world-class research into coral.  She is working to build a bank of coral stocks that are preconditioned to withstand the warmer and more acidic ocean conditions of the future. She received a B.S. with Honors in 1984, and a Ph.D. in 1990, both in Marine Biology from the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne, U.K. 


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Apr. 20: Business of Sports


Hawaii’s warm and sunny weather makes it an ideal location for amateur and professional sports events, especially during the cold winter months on the Mainland.

Is there potential to grow sports events as a component of Hawaii’s economy?  What do Mainland sports organizations look for in selecting a venue for their events?  How do “local” sports events market to a national and international audience?  What is the connection between sports events and tourism?

Dr. Jim Barahal is President/CEO of the Honolulu Marathon Association, a position he has held since 1987.  He founded The Hapalua - Hawaii's Half Marathon in 2012, and was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.  He is a physician and a founder of DOC Hawaii, which provides telemedicine for Hawaii residents and visitors.

Jodi Wilmott is General Manager for the World Surf League with a focus on Hawaii and Tahiti. She has worked on more than 200 major international professional surfing events, traveling to more than a dozen countries and working with private industry and local governments. Professional surfing and the global surf industry have been a constant throughout her life.


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Feb 16: Drinks & Dining in Downtown Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu is becoming a center for dining, socializing, and hospitality.  What are the current trends in the dining and cocktail business?  Why are entrepreneurs selecting downtown to open restaurants and cocktail bars, and what makes the location a good “fit” for these establishments?

Our two panelists are from some of the most popular places to eat and drink in downtown Honolulu: Lucky Belly, Livestock Tavern, The Tchin Tchin! Bar, and Bar Leather Apron. They will discuss the current concept for their businesses, the business strategy of locating in downtown Honolulu, local trends in the food and beverage industry, and offer their insights on the national and global scene.

Dusty Grable and Chef Jesse Cruz opened their first restaurant, Lucky Belly, in 2012, followed by Livestock Tavern in 2014, and The Tchin Tchin! Bar in 2016.  All are located in Chinatown.  He has worked for some of Hawaii’s most popular venues and also in San Francisco, where he had the opportunity to learn in a city that breathes food and beverage.  Dusty will speak about current trends in the restaurant business, and why his establishments have been so successful.

Justin Park is Bar Leather Apron’s head bartender and ambassador. Located in the Topa Financial Center, Bar Leather Apron is an intimate cocktail bar in downtown Honolulu.  Justin will speak about the recent rise in sophistication and popularity of high-end mixed drinks and cocktail establishments.  With over a decade of experience behind the bar, Justin sees the creation of the cocktail drink as merely one component of the entire bar experience—presentation, service and setting are equally as important as what is in the glass.  

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Jan. 19: Beyond Transportation: UBER

Eventbrite - Beyond Transportation: UBER  (HSBP luncheon)

Uber Technologies Inc. is a transportation network company (often referred to as a "ridesharing" company) that connects riders to drivers delivering a safe, reliable and affordable ride via the Uber mobile "app."  Uber, which was founded in 2009 is headquartered in San Francisco, California and currently offers service in over 70 countries and 400 cities worldwide.

Uber's success in Hawaii has raised many questions including: Do ridesharing companies help or hurt transportation centric development?  How does Rail and Hawaii's business environment affect the ridesharing business model?  What steps are being taken to ensure the safety of riders and drivers?  Are there concerns about recently reported financial losses at Uber?  What is the future of driverless cars?  These and more will be part of a lively discussion with Andrew Magana, Senior Manager for Uber Hawaii.


Andrew Magana is the Senior Manager for Uber in Hawaii. Andrew runs the local business which currently serves riders and drivers on Oahu and Maui. While at Uber, Andrew has led teams responsible for Southern CA operations and CA state regulatory compliance. Prior to Uber, Andrew worked as a VP at The Magellan Group a real estate development firm and as an US Navy officer deployed abroad. He is a graduate of Stanford Graduate School of Business and the US Naval Academy.

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Nov. 17: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) has made headlines recently with its search for a new CEO/Executive, the disclosure of the need for additional funding to complete the project to Ala Moana Center, the awarding of the bid for the Aloha Stadium to Middle Street segment to a new contractor, and more. What is the current status of HART and the Honolulu Rail Transit Project?  When is construction expected to start in downtown? How will additional funding be obtained?  What are the options for staying within budget?  What is the process and timeline for naming a new CEO/Executive Director?  

Bill Brennan, Director of Communications for HART, assists in the development of communication strategy, media relations, public information and public involvement for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. He was a television news executive producer, reporter and anchor for KHON Fox 2.

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Oct. 27: Kaka'ako




What’s the latest news on residential development in Kakaako? Is there room for Hawaii residents? How does rail transit fit in? How are developers able to successfully build affordable housing projects in Kakaako? What will it be like to live in a new urban community that combines homes, restaurants, entertainment and a neighborhood experience?

Hear from two developers about their projects.

Stanford Carr is the founder and president of Stanford Carr Development, LLC., where he oversees an extensive portfolio of projects ranging from master-planned communities to resort-style living and affordable housing. His Keahou-Lane mixed use residential project in Kakaako will integrate a
rail transit station into the project.

Todd Apo is Vice President of Community Development for The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village. Construction has started on Howard Hughes’ third mixed-use condominium tower in Kakaako, which will include the flagship store for Whole Foods Market.

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Luncheon: HPU President John Gotanda

Hawaii Pacific University’s new president, John Gotanda, returned to Hawaii after a distinguished legal, teaching and administrative career on the Mainland, and now leads the largest private university in the State of Hawaii. He took office on July 1 and will speak about his strategic vision for HPU, how HPU’s curriculum will help address the current talent shortage, and his expectations for the Aloha Tower and Windward campuses.


John Gotanda is a graduate of Roosevelt High School, the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (BBA, 1984) and the William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., 1987), where he was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Hawai‘i Law Review.  He is the former dean of the law school at Villanova University, where he had previously served as Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Faculty Research, and Director of the J.D./M.B.A. Program. He also served as a staff attorney with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, an associate attorney with Covington & Burling (Washington, D.C.), and as an associate attorney with Goodwin, Procter & Hoar (Boston). 

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Aug 26: Aloha Friday with the Killer B's

Aloha Friday with The Three B’s (Boylan, Borreca & Burris)
Political Commentary and Analysis

  • 11:30 Registration opens/Networking
  • 12:00 Doors open
  • 12:15 Program begins
  • 1:30 Program ends

Always popular, entertaining and discerning, the original Three B’s --  Dan Boylan, Richard Borreca and Jerry Burris -- are busy as bees preparing commentary and analysis on national, state and local elections.   Make a beeline to the Prince Hotel on Friday, August 26, to hear the latest buzz from our distinguished panel.

Dan Boylan is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Hawaii--West Oahu. He writes a column entitled "Mostly Politics" for MidWeek.  

Richard Borreca is the Capitol Bureau Chief and political columnist for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Jerry Burris is the former Editorial Page Editor for the Honolulu Advertiser, and currently a free-lance writer.

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Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon: Leadership with Catherine Ngo


Catherine Ngo is President and CEO of Central Pacific Bank, Hawaii’s fourth largest bank. She will share her perspective on leadership, core values and corporate culture. Catherine will also talk about her experience as Founding General Partner of Startup Capital Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in Silicon Valley and China. Catherine will discuss why having good mentors is such an important component to grow as a leader, whether that be a leader of a large corporation or a small startup.

Catherine has over 20 years of executive experience in the financial services and private equity industries. She joined CPB in 2010 as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer and was promoted to President and CEO in 2015. Prior to joining CPB, Catherine served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Silicon Valley Bank. She also served as Chief Operating Officer of Alliant Partners, an investment banking subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank, focused on sell-side mergers and acquisitions activities for technology companies.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, School of Law, Catherine started her career in private law practice, focusing on banking and securities law. Catherine is board trustee, treasurer and executive committee member of the University of Hawaii Foundation, and board director of Hawaii Gas Company. She is also a director on the boards of Central Pacific Bank and its publicly-traded holding company.

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Luncheon: Managing Healthy Companies - Insights from Hawaii Business Awardees

Mahalo Sponsor HAWAII USA FCU. 
Welcome partner HLTA.  

Why is having a “healthy” company important for businesses?

Our panelists will share their company’s philosophy and practice of running a "healthy" business, and the benefits to the staff and their company.

Each of their companies was recently awarded special recognition as “Healthiest Companies” by Hawaii Business magazine in conjunction with its list of 2016 Best Places to Work. They represent small, medium and large companies, and are from different business sectors

Coffman Engineers, Inc.
John Thielst, Vice President, Managing Principal, has more than 15 years of management and consulting experience. His commitment to creating a positive working environment for staff has been fundamental as he leads Coffman’s Honolulu office.

Atlas Insurance Agency
Vince Miyoi, Senior Vice President of Organizational Management, is responsible for Leadership Development, Talent Management, Employee Development & Relations, Succession Planning, Strategic Initiatives and Business Needs.

HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union
Jennifer Yamane, Senior Human Resources Business Partner, has been with HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union for over 22 years. She launched the L.I.V.E. wellness program in 2012 as “Employee wellness matters!”



Steve Petranik, Editor, Hawaii Business magazine, has thirty-five years of experience in news media. His goal is to focus the magazine's coverage on the big issues facing local businesses and the state economy, and being useful to the readers of Hawaii Business.


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Luncheon: International Market Place Reimagined with Michael Fenley

Mahalo to our sponsor, Team Clean, Inc. 
Welcome Event Partners, HRA & HLTA


A Waikiki icon for over 50 years, the International Market Place is undergoing a major revitalization.  Scheduled to open on August 25, 2016, the revitalized International Market Place will have approximately 75 retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, dining and entertainment.  What is the retail vision for the reimagined International Market Place? How will the International Market Place attract residents and visitors?  Will any of the original International Market Place be retained?

Developed by Taubman Centers, Inc. and CoastWood Capital in conjunction with Queen Emma Land Company, the International Market Place will directly support The Queen’s Medical Center, the state’s largest private, nonprofit hospital.

Michael Fenley was recently named General Manager of the International Market Place.  He is responsible for operations, retailer and community relations and marketing the center.  A long-time Taubman executive, Fenley brings more than 30 years of experience to his new position. 

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Luncheon: Economic Office Hour with Paul Brewbaker

Download Paul Brewbaker's slideshow. 

Paul H. Brewbaker, principal of TZ Economics and former Chief Economist for Bank of Hawaii, returns to share his economic analysis and predictions with HSBP’s members and guests.

This luncheon will include an interactive program with Paul fielding questions from the audience and answering them using his treasure trove of charts and graphs. Bring your questions about the economy in general, or specific questions on housing, tourism, construction, and more. All questions welcomed! Be prepared for a lively and informative program.

Paul is widely regarded for his 25 years of research and insights into Hawaii’s economy. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University. Paul also performed graduate work in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Luncheon: Farm to Table VII

Mahalo to our sponsor, Brue Bar, and to our partner organizations:  

This year’s Farm-to-Table program features the chef for Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots and its new fine-dining restaurant, the president of the largest roaster of Kona Coffee in the islands, and the owner of a local farm that produces organically-grown portabella mushrooms. Topics include the future of locally-grown products prepared for consumption by residents and visitors, the use of locally-sourced products in Hawaii’s restaurants, and the impact of locally-grown products on Hawaii’s economy. The new food and dining editor for HONOLULU Magazine, Catherine Toth Fox, will be the panel moderator.

Chef Jon Matsubara is culinary director/Executive Chef for all food and beverage at Bloomingdale’s Ala Moana. He was Chef de Cuisine for Japengo at Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Azure at Royal Hawaiian, Canoe House Restaurant at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, as well as Stage in the Honolulu Design Center. He is a graduate of The French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Dan Dinell is President of Hawaii Coffee Company, the largest roaster of Kona Coffee in the world and Hawaii’s leading supplier of coffee to hotels, restaurants, and retail stores.  Hawaii Coffee Company’s brands include LION Coffee, Royal Kona Coffee, Royal Hawaiian Coffee, and Hawaiian Islands Tea. 

Fung Yang owns Small Kine Farms in Waimanalo, which produces locally-grown portabella mushrooms, fertilized with organic waste obtained through his company Oahu Community Recycling.  Mr. Yang sells his mushrooms to gourmet restaurants, including Roy’s, Town Restaurant, Alan Wong’s, BLT Steak, and JJ Dolan’s.  They can also be found at Down to Earth, Whole Foods, and Hawaii’s Farmers Markets. 

Moderator Catherine Toth Fox is HONOLULU Magazine’s food and dining editor.  She has worked as a newspaper reporter in Hawaii for more than 10 years and freelanced -- in between teaching journalism, hitting the surf and eating everything in sight -- for national and local print and online publications since 1997.  She has been chronicling her adventures in her blog, The Cat Dish for nearly a decade.

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Luncheon: 2020 Vision with Jack Wong

2020 Vision: Kamehameha Schools' 5-year Strategic Plan

Livingston “Jack” Wong is Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools (KS) which was founded in 1887 by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The trust’s statewide educational system serves more than 48,000 Hawaiian learners annually through its three K-12 campuses, 30 preschools, and numerous community education and scholarship programs. Last year, KS spent more than $360 million on education.

In addition to overseeing the educational system, his kuleana includes strengthening the trust’s endowment currently valued at approximately $11 billion, and ensuring the wise stewardship of more than 363,000 acres of KS land in Hawaiʻi.

Prior to being named CEO in 2014, Jack served as an attorney for KS for 17 years, most recently as Vice President of Legal Services and General Counsel. 

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Luncheon: Entrepreneurship

  • Hawaii Prince

Hawaii is 12th* in the nation for the most startup activity. What is a startup company, and what is the basic entrepreneurial process of taking an idea, and planning, funding, and launching a new business? What is the Entrepreneur EcoSystem in Hawaii? How does the growth in available Venture Accelerators in Hawaii benefit startups, and how does this promote economic growth and diversification?

Chenoa Farnsworth is the managing director of Blue Startups, Hawai‘i’s only first venture accelerator. She also manages he Hawaii Angels investment network, and 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. 

Karl Fooks is President of Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), an agency of the state of Hawaii that partners with private sector investors to mobilize investment capital for the growth sectors of Hawaii’s economy. Formerly a managing director and head of Private Equity in Asia for J.P. Morgan & Co., Karl has extensive experience as an investment professional.

Dr. Alex Bergo is CTO/CIO & Co-founder of MeetingSift. He is a futurist with a research background in expert collaboration systems and Artificial Intelligence. He started MeetingSift to address the inherent problems in and around meetings. MeetingSift is an easy to use collaborative technology that helps meeting leaders plan and run more productive meetings, with higher participant engagement, better decision making and more consistent follow up.

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Boardroom: Cut Collective


Ever wonder about Andy South, one of the finalists on “Project Runway”?  One of the results of South’s success was to shine national and local focus on the Hawaii Fashion Industry.   And as a result, we have seen renewed energy and professionalism in the local design and couture industry. 

November’s Boardroom ventures into the field of couture and the fashion design industry.  With the help of Alison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi we will hear firsthand about the “Cut Collective”.  This is Hawaii’s fashion incubator which also functions as a factory hybrid dedicated to providing independent designers with the resources and skills to streamline their production process, transforming local manufacturing into the most innovative and affordable process, while providing a design-driven option for the local consumer.

Alison is the owner of Alison Izu Denim which focuses on clothing for petite women and is featured at Nordstrom and carried nationally at jeans.com

Summer has over 12 years of experience in retail and buying and is a contributing editor for HONOLULU magazine.  She has already launched her “Ten Tomorrow” line of ready-to-wear fashion.

Cut Collective also serves as consultants to up-and-coming Hawaii Designers.  HSBP members will have the opportunity to see not yet available fashion lines from designers you will hear about in months to come.


Cut Collective is funded by a venture capital grant from the Hawaii State Development Corporation and a grant from the US Department of Economic Development Administration.


Boardrooms are free and limited to HSBP dues-paying members only.  Registrations by nonmembers will be cancelled. Attendance at this Boardroom is limited to 20 HSBP members. 

As this is a members only event, invitations are sent directly to members.  To request an invitation please send an email info@hsbp.biz .

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Workshop: Six Sigma

  • IBM Building

Learn How to Improve Profitability In Your Business (for Members only)

Glenn Hamamura, Six Sigma expert

Glenn Hamamura,
Six Sigma expert

Business professionals who are committed to improving the profitability and performance of their company are invited to attend this 3-hour workshop that puts customer satisfaction at the core.

During this hands-on workshop you will work collaboratively in teams to:

  • Identify customer expectation and what keeps them coming back.

  • Learn the philosophy and method of creating a systematic approach to identifying and solving issues that stand in the way of customer satisfaction.

  • Create a system that will allow your business (big or small) to consistently deliver customer satisfaction and exceed customer expectation.


Six Sigma is a systems’ improvement process used by companies including the Pearl Harbor Shipyard, Amazon and 3M.  The process starts with defining customer expectation than creating a system to measure and improve how the customer receives the product or service. 

Usually $200 a session, this workshop, conducted by Six Sigma expert Glenn Hamamura, is offered at no charge as a benefit to the HSBP membership. There is a limited availability.

NOTE: Public parking is located across the street on the Mauka side of the building.

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Luncheon: Honolulu's Chinatown

  • Hawaii Prince Hotel, Mauna Kea Ballroom

Honolulu’s Chinatown – Past, Present and Future
sponsored by American Savings Bank

October 15 Chinatown2.png

Honolulu’s Chinatown is an energetic and dynamic community.  Home to the Hawaii Theater and monthly First Friday festivities, Chinatown is a distinctive blend of art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques, and merchants selling an array of products including fresh produce, seafood, herbs, leis and flowers, and household goods.

Our panel will share their perspectives on Honolulu’s Chinatown – it's history, how it compares to Chinatowns in other communities, and future development, including development in connection with Honolulu Rail Transit and the priorities from the recent Chinatown Action Summit.

Guy Kaulukukui is the newly appointed Director of the Department of Enterprise Services for the City and County of Honolulu.  He leads the operation of the City’s revenue generating activities including Blaisdell Center, Waikiki Shell, Honolulu Zoo, municipal golf courses and all of the city concessions.  He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Hawaii, an MBA from Hawaii Pacific University and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.

Andrew Y. K. Tang is a Senior Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planner with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting.  Born in Hong Kong and raised in Honolulu, Andrew studied in Chicago, and has worked all over the world contributing to innovative and challenging projects in the field of Architecture & Urban Design. Andrew has resided in Chinatown for the past 3 years and is an active community member.

Jeff Au’s great-grandfather (CQ Yee Hop) started one of the first markets in Chinatown, and his family still owns the building on the same property.  Although he does not have direct involvement in the family business, Honolulu’s Chinatown has been an important part of his history.  He has visited Chinatowns in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia.  In his “day job,” he is a co-founder and Managing Director of PACIFICAP, Hawaii's largest locally based venture capital investment firm.

Beth Whitehead is Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for American Savings Bank.  She oversees a wide range of functions including Human Resources, Learning and Development, Community Advancement, Corporate Communications, Corporate Real Estate and Facilities, Legal, Compliance, Corporate Security and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activities.


P.O. BOX 26181, HONOLULU HI 96825     INFO@HSBP.BIZ     808.537.2356