By Shannon Edie
King David Kalākaua was an innovator and a strong advocate for the revival of cultural practices like hula.
Born on Nov. 16, 1836, he began his reign in February of 1874. He was an inventor who held several patents and practiced law at a young age. He was the first monarch of any kingdom to circumnavigate the globe. The king was also known for his efforts to unify the Pacific into a single Polynesian or Pacific Kingdom.
Inspired by the example set by King Kalākaua, the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce looks toward a thriving community of businesses and professionals in Hawaiʻi grounded in both culture and innovation. Although COVID-19 has been devastating in so many ways, it has also presented our organization with an opportunity to pause, reflect and chart a course that we hope will be impactful and ultimately lead to success – for our members, for our lāhui, and for Hawaiʻi as a whole.
During this time, we have adopted a new mission statement that better identifies the groups we serve and how: we are updating our systems and utilizing technology to improve our organizational efficiency; we are focused on increasing our member benefits; and we are working to finalize a strategic plan which will guide us over the next few years.
Over the past eight months, I have truly been inspired by what I have seen from the Native Hawaiian community across all generations – compassion and empathy, providing kōkua to those in need, creativity and innovation, collaboration, leadership, and perseverance. If this is any indication of what lies ahead, then I believe our future is bright.
With that said, recovery from the widespread effects of COVID-19 will likely be a long and challenging process and as we work to rebuild our communities and economy, we will need all “feet in the loʻi” in order to make any meaningful progress.
As a chamber of commerce, we recognize the kuleana and role we have to play and feel that this is our time. While we look forward to the day we can meet in-person again, that day is still unknown and so in the interim, we are excited to use technology to connect, educate, provide resources and otherwise provide value to our members.
Therefore, I encourage you to connect with our chamber or your local Native Hawaiian Chamber and help us to expand both our network and yours as well!
Shannon Edie is the outgoing president of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce (NHCC). She is co-founder and president of Holomua Consulting Group, a Native Hawaiian, woman-owned firm that assists small businesses interested in federal contracting The mission of the NHCC is to mālama Native Hawaiians in business and commerce through leadership relationships and connections to economic resources and opportunities. Follow us @nhccoahu and join us at www.nativehawaiianchamberofcommerce.org