Born and raised on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, I was fortunate to be surrounded by a multitude of positive, Native Hawaiian female role models. I was fortunate to attend one of the island’s most respected private schools due to the generosity of a Native Hawaiian princess, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who used her power and prestige to provide opportunities for underprivileged children. Stories of goddesses and Native Hawaiian female royalty, remembered for their passion, power and intellect, have been passed down through generations of Native Hawaiians. I continue to dance hula to honor my ancestors, perpetuate my culture and identity, and set an example for my children that they too should be proud of their Native Hawaiian heritage. These lessons, virtues and cultural pride, instilled in me from a young age, have molded me into the self-assured and determined woman I am today.
Since I moved to Washington D.C., I have witnessed an abundance of successful women, from those in politics and business, to others in sports and media. It has been great to see how women are being recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit and desire to thrive in their respective careers. Cushman & Wakefield is a company that highlights the strengths and talents of its female leaders and provides a platform, the Women’s Integrated Network (WIN), to create visibility for women. When our up-and-coming women leaders see others in positions of influence and leadership, they are inspired to aim higher.
I’m very thankful to have a great supervisor and mentor in Dianne Twinam, Managing Director of Asset Services in D.C., who has been a constant source of support to me. As someone who is comfortable in their own skin, I try to help others break out of societal norms and be who and what they want to be. Cushman & Wakefield’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and industry organizations such as CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women’s Network) are powerful vehicles to showcase the talents of women in commercial real estate and for us to empower each other.
Gender equality is not a women’s issue—it’s a business issue, because your company and culture must reflect society and your clients. While we’ve made strides, we still have a ways to go, especially with advocating for women who are more vulnerable and ostracized because of their status in life or those who are not exposed to positive influences, which is why visibility is so important. On this International Women’s Day and every day, let us constantly work together to build a more equitable world that values the unique contributions of each person, while fostering strong, confident women leaders who will pave the way for many generations to come.
Each for equal extends to those who are heard as well as those who don’t have a voice. Each for equal means being a servant leader and lifting each other up with confidence and knowledge. Each for equal is celebrating people’s uniqueness and creating an environment where our strength is as much in what we share as it is in our differences.