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Serving without an agenda

Marynel Valenzuela has her hands in almost everything fun, motivating and beneficial to Kauai.

Through her life, she’s gone from humble beginnings, through growing pains, and to now being a community mogul, founder of Kauai Fashion Weekend, owner of the small business Inkspot, and newly appointed executive-at-large for the Kauai Chamber of Commerce.

With the help of others, she says there’s nothing she can’t do.

Valenzuela credits her family, friends, fashion teams and community-support groups that are always there when she has an idea.

Known for her love of fashion, she founded the Kauai Fashion Weekend, which has been running for nearly eight years. Her inspiration was to involve the youth and to make it fun and lively. She said she believes everyone is beautiful and deserves a night of dressing up and living in the moment.

“On top of our main designer and partner Sha Ali Ahmad of Ahmad Couture, we will be featuring new, international designers and their work,” said Valenzuela.

Valenzuela believes in helping out the community, not having a motive or agenda and being a team player.

She is often asked to join community organizations and collaborate with other community-minded folks.

Valenzuela was a board member for the Filipino Chamber of Commerce for 12 years while serving as a board member for Kauai Hospice, and is now switching gears to serve on the Kauai Chamber of Commerce. It’s a change she said she’s looking forward to, but she’ll be available to help out the Filipino chamber when possible.

Valenzuela says she is always learning and always creating new ways to spice up life on Kauai, and joining the Filipino Chamber of Commerce more than a decade ago was a way to do that.

She said: “It just happened. The uncles and aunties asked me to join, so I thought I was not going to be pressured into anything. I came with no agenda and ready to learn.”

From living the life in the Philippines with maids and shopping sprees, to living the plantation life on Kauai, life has brought many changes for Valenzuela. She says she never really understood how lucky she was until she came to Kauai and saw how hard her father worked.

“I use to complain with my sisters when we moved to Kauai. But after finding out my dad would work hard and send us money to the Philippines to live the way we did, I felt terrible. To this day I am trying to find a way to take care of my parents,” said Valenzuela.

Just like her father, Valenzuela is a hard worker, running her printing business — Inkspot Printing — for 16 years. Family, business and her community are all-important to her.

Now she is ready to serve the Kauai Chamber of Commerce on their executive team. Executive-at-large is her new title as a board member. She say’s she’ll be doing what she loves and helping small business owners like herself network, mingle and create ways to give back to their community.

On her free time, she loves to travel and eat. She says she feels blessed to have a great husband because he always cooks for her and spontaneous friends.

Those spontaneous friends also enjoy last-minute travel, usually island-hopping.

“With good budgeting, of course, my friends and I find great prices and then just travel without even planning it. We would go to Oahu for a day. So much fun,” said Valenzuela.

Valenzuela said on those sprees, she loves to shop for shoes. In her one shopping adventure she could buy eight pairs of shoes at one time. While laughing, she said not to tell her husband.

Jokes aside, Valenzuela is ready to serve her community, and is always planning for the next project.

She dropped a few hints on the next project, which will be youth-focused, but kept further details under wraps.

Valenzuela did say that she’s looking forward to further inspiring Kauai’s youth and is looking forward to staying involved with the March grand opening of the Philippine Cultural Center in Puhi.


Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or
Source: The Garden Island

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