Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

The Faith of Leadership Shares Useful Insights from Hawai‘i’s Leaders

February 27th, 2015
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As a well-respected executive at some of Hawai‘i’s top companies, Robbie Alm has had plenty of opportunity to observe and document the best practices of great leaders. From the story of the “Live Aloha” program—which he helped launch—to instructive anecdotes of humility and integrity in business, he now shares what he has learned in a new book, The Faith of Leadership: Insights from Hawai‘i’s Leaders released by Watermark Publishing.

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Currently president of the Collaborative Leaders Network, a problem-solving initiative of The Omidyar Group, Alm offers a thoughtful—and useful—study of just what makes an effective leader. Engaging and straightforward, The Faith of Leadership is a distillation of Alm’s eight keys to great leadership: listening, humility, working with resistance to change, remembering whose change we are talking about, walking the talk and integrity, making certain we always hear independent voices, understanding how others see the world and, finally, the faith that underlies leadership.

Alm views himself as both a student and practitioner of leadership. During more than three decades spent with the Hawai‘i State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, First Hawaiian Bank and the Hawaiian Electric Company, he has come to see that leadership boils down to three basic fundamentals: “First, work as hard or harder than anyone else. Second, live right in your relationships with others. And finally, remember that for all our planning and working and living right, some of it seems to come down to pure luck.”

Robbie Alm. Courtesy: Watermark Publishing

Robbie Alm. Courtesy: Watermark Publishing

Real-life lessons and key examples from local companies and individuals provide a simple foundation for Alm’s discussion of the qualities of excellent leadership. “With Robbie, it’s not about understanding systems or complicated layers of this or that,” observes PBS Hawai‘i’s Leslie Wilcox. “It’s just, ‘What’s the right thing to do here, and how do we do it?’”

Alm puts it another way. “This is not a cookbook on leadership,” he says. “There really is no such thing.” Rather, The Faith of Leadership offers a series of guideposts for mapping a life path to becoming a good leader. Excellence in leadership, Alm believes, is less about wealth and power and more about positivity and serving as a good model.

The faith of leadership lies in setting a course that will accomplish what is right—and accepting the challenge of working on a problem that may not be solved in the near future. “I’ve always found it important to believe that while I may not be there to see it, things I do will ultimately make a difference,” he says.

Robbie Alm is a University of Hawai‘i and University of Iowa College of Law graduate with degrees in political science and administrative law. Following a ten-year stint at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Alm ran the Financial Management Group of First Hawaiian Bank and worked in senior management at the Hawaiian Electric Company from 2001 to 2013, finally as the utility’s Executive Vice President.

A book signing with Alm will be held on Saturday, February 28 at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana, from 1 PM to 2 PM. A portion of the day’s sales will benefit PBS Hawai‘i.

The Faith of Leadership: Insights from Hawai‘i’s Leaders (ISBN 978-1-935690-62-7), priced at $15.95, is available at bookstores, other retail outlets and online booksellers, and can be ordered direct from the publisher at www.bookshawaii.net. Contact Watermark Publishing, 1000 Bishop St., Suite 806, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-7766; toll-free (866) 900-BOOK; fax (808) 521-3461; sales@bookshawaii.net.

More on this

February 25th, 2015
By



I should really listen before I speak. Recently, I faux-offended my coworker Jai Cunningham because I was only half-listening to his question and commentary to me, and I misheard him.

There was an email thread circulating, and Jai came over to my desk to ask me for clarification. Important part of the set up: I was clearly listening to my phone messages because I pointed to the speaker and said, "Hang on a minute."

He started talking to Ron Mizutani while he was waiting, and I overheard Jai saying something about "...more on this..." I hung up the phone and chimed in, "Yeah, I know."

Jai, offended.

Jai, offended.

He and Ron stopped in their conversation and looked at me in shock. "Did you just agree with Jai that he's a moron?" gasped Ron.

"Dude! She didn't even let me finish the sentence!" huffed Jai.

"What are you talking about?" I said, confused.

Apparently, Jai said, "I know I'm a moron about these things..." but as I said earlier, I heard he needed to know "more on this."

I apologized and corrected myself, to which they say they didn't believe me. "Right, good save," they said in their most patronizing tone. Hey, how did this go from offending one guy to apologizing to two guys?

I want you to know that the other week on the morning show when I was chatting up Jai in his live shot, I did mention how exceedingly brilliant he is; for example, he skipped two grades and graduated from high school at age 16! I weakly protested this in my defense but was strongly overridden by snorts of derision and pseudo-hurt.

So I don't know if Jai's talking to me this week. Stay tuned. I'll have moron this.

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Hosting "Hawaii Matters" radio show on Ohana Broadcast

January 9th, 2015
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I've just started a new role as a radio show host for Ohana Broadcast Company. "Hawaii Matters" addresses topics and issues affecting our community. The 30-minute radio show airs on Sundays from 6:30 am to 7:00 am on all Ohana Broadcast Company radio stations931 Da Pa’ina (KQMQ-FM), 947 KUMU (KUMU-FM), 1027 Da Bomb (KDDB-FM) and ALT 1059 (KPOI-FM). 

In the studio with DJ Michael T. and assistant Grant

In the studio with DJ Michael T. and assistant Grant

Each radio show will address a single topic or issue, and features a question-and-answer format interview with a local expert in the field. It's not a new show, but I took over as the host at the turn of 2015.

After my first show. We don't have an ON AIR sign at the TV station!

After my first show.

Previous topics and issues have included disaster preparedness by American Red Cross, Hawaii Chapter; early detection of diabetes and living with diabetes by American Diabetes Assocation; ebola education by Kaiser Permanente; and interviews with the 2014 gubernatorial candidates.

With Amina Peterson of Life Foundation - my first guest.

With Amina Peterson of Life Foundation - my first guest.

I'm excited to work with the good people at Ohana Broadcast, including Vice President & General Manager Terry Gillingham and Marketing Director Christine Yasuma. I've found everyone welcoming and hospitable, and look forward to getting to know them all better!

Ohana Broadcast Group

Ohana Broadcast Company

What is most attractive to me, though, is the chance to delve deeper into a news topic. On the news, I get two minutes to interview a morning show guest. If I file a report for the late news, the average story time is 75 seconds.

Just as I get warmed up, it's time to wrap. I always feel there's so much more to the story that can and should be told - information that people can benefit from. It's a privilege to be the conduit for information that can help shape or affect people's lives.

Plus, I've long loved news radio - NPR and PRI are my favorites - so to do something of a "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" kind of a show tickles me.

I tape Hawaii Matters in my off-hours from KHON; this doesn't affect my job at the TV station - a job near and dear to my heart. I'm honored to have this expanded reach and hope you'll listen in on the weekends!

Disney Pixar's animated short Lava

December 31st, 2014
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LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook. L - R: Anderson Le (HIFF Director of Programming), Kuana Torres Kahele (musician/voice actor), Napua Greig (musician/voice actor) Andrea Warren (producer), James Ford Murphy (director).

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook. L - R: Anderson Le (HIFF Director of Programming), Kuana Torres Kahele (musician/voice actor), Napua Greig (musician/voice actor) Andrea Warren (producer), James Ford Murphy (director).

From the creative minds of the Disney-Pixar studios comes another animated film, this one a short, seven-minute movie called Lava. Released this year, it is a musical directed by James Ford Mur­phy and pro­duced by Andrea War­ren.

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook.

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook.

While the film premiered at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in June, it also screened for Hawaii audiences in November. Nationwide, it will be theatrically released with Pixar's Inside Out on June 19, 2015.

The short is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. It's taken this team two and a half years to make.

Murphy wrote the song and plays the ukulele, while Hawaii musician Kuana Torres Kahele sings as well as stars as Uku, the lonely volcano searching for his true love. Musician Napua Greig voices Lele, another volcano and Uku's love interest.

 

Me with Warren and Murphy

Me with Warren and Murphy

I had a chance to meet Murphy and Warren while they were in the Islands for the screening, and asked Murphy what inspired him to write this. He told me he's always liked Hawaii since he first set foot here 25 years ago for his honeymoon, and has always had a goal for himself to write stories about what he loves.

Murphy performing his song.

Murphy performing his song.

Murphy comes over about once a year and enjoys "the beauty and culture of the Islands. I love learning about the Islands," he said, and explains that it all feds into his research for this film.

Twelve years ago, he heard Israel Kamakawiwoo`le's rendition of Over the Rainbow and was inspired to include that in a film. Three years ago, he bought a ukulele in Hilo while vacationing on Hawaii Island and learned to play it just so he could play the film's soundtrack. "It wasn't so hard. I've played guitar my whole life," he said.

I had the pleasure of hearing him play and sing the theme song; he has a wonderful voice!

"I love playing my ukulele. It is intoxicating. It makes me happy," he continued, weaving in a reference to ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro's comment that if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a happier place.

When we met, the Hawaii Island lava flow was creeping into Pahoa, threatening homes and making international headlines. Would he and Murphy like to try to see the lava, since it's the namesake for their film? They laughed and said there wasn't enough time on this trip, but they have enjoyed seeing the volcano before, and would like to again someday.

Lava, as Murphy describes it, as a story about "the power and patience of love."

Would they ever expand it past seven minutes? "No, I think it's a perfect gem just the way it is. A little love story with charm and beauty that will leave you with an emotional impact."

Look for it in theaters next June. You'll lava it.

Fashion Week

December 15th, 2014
By



Honolulu's first ever Fashion Week came and went, and it was an exciting showcase of top local designers. What talent we have in these Islands!

Honolulu Fashion Week

Honolulu Fashion Week

My daughter recently expressed interest in becoming a fashion designer, and has tried to sketch dresses for Disney princesses before. To encourage any budding skills, I offered to take her to one of the events.

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We went to a Saturday fashion show and were invited to look backstage as well. Olivia loved it! The lights, the loud music, the energy, the excitement - she said it was the highlight of her day. I love that she loved it!

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It's fun to people-watch before the event. I saw all kinds of local and even international celebrities, some friends, and struck up an engaging conversation with the woman sitting next to me.

With my friend Jen

With my friend Jen

My colleague and counterpart Grace Lee

My colleague and counterpart Grace Lee

We met a tailor backstage, and Olivia is now asking me to buy her sewing lessons. I actually would like to learn to sew as well - maybe a mother-daughter hobby?

Hawaiian Airlines' exhibit at the fashion show.

Hawaiian Airlines' exhibit at the fashion show.

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