LIHUE — The Leadership Kauai Class of 2019 successfully completed their annual program and celebrated with a graduation luncheon at Hilton Kauai Garden Inn Wailua Bay earlier this month.
The gathering culminated the 10-month leadership journey that resulted in 23 diverse leaders for Kauai’s future, and increasing the alumni to 253, many of whom are in key leadership positions today.
A major component of the annual program is the community project give-back process. Projects are based on current island issues, created and implemented by the class.
This year the participants effectively carried out three projects for Kauai: building resilience in the community for suicide prevention; creating Community Ag Centers, an online resource for farmers; and hosting a signature fundraiser to support future leaders, Get Uncorked for Leadership Kauai.
Each project involved well over two dozen organizations.
“Congratulations on another year of super graduates,” said Fran Becker, executive director of the nonprofit Na Lei Wili AHEC, a Leadership Kauai alumni and former board member.
“I was really impressed with the projects. All three did outstanding work, and I had a hard time choosing which one had the greatest impact because they all touched on three different issues in the community.”
Since 2003, Leadership Kauai has been dedicated to ensuring a source of qualified and committed leaders ready to serve in the spirit of aloha. Over the past 15 years, 253 adult and 114 youth graduates have incorporated the leadership practices into their lives and work. With passion, integrity and inclusiveness, they completed 49 community projects touching and improving the lives of over 35 percent of island residents and visitors.
A global leader in conservation and horticulture and former president of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, speaker Chipper Wichman talked about his first collaborative community efforts to rebuild Hanalei School after Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
He encouraged the class to lead with adaptability, preparation — “make 400 times 400 fishing lines before you can go out to tackle that big fish” — and calmness in the face of adversity.
Graduate Yoshito L’Hote, president of the nonprofit Aina Ho‘okupu o Kilauea, says his biggest takeaway was the program’s ability to allow him to better understand how to be a leader.
“For Kauai to have a program that unites the island the way LK does, that is an incredible asset in maintaining and protecting the Kauai style,” L’Hote said.
”It has connected me with all the leaders of tomorrow from our island’s large employers, and allowed me to form everlasting bonds with my classmates and the alumni.”
Source: The Garden Island