A Trustee’s Call to Listen Carefully, Seeking Knowledge and Understanding…


Leina‘ala Ahu Isa, Ph.D., Trustee, At-Large

A Trustee’s call is to strengthen and build specific gifted skills. Listening and Referring are two such skills.

Listening skills are key when working with beneficiaries of the trust. Good listening comes when listeners are interested in what the speaker has to say, and when they create room for the speaker to share honestly and fully.

Photo: Kia‘i Lanakila Manguil and Trustee Lei Ahu Isa
Kia‘i Lanakila Manguil and Trustee Lei Ahu Isa – Photo:

Good listening does not come naturally to everyone, but it is critical. When a person is heard, he or she feels valued and able to share. It is important when listening to another’s story to keep the conversation confidential, unless someone’s well-being is threatened. Trustees must understand confidentiality and the importance it plays in building relationships. At times, the Trustees can work with their beneficiaries and find the resources they need, resources beyond what the Trustees can offer. This is where Referral becomes important.

Trustees should be authentic in their relationships with others. They share appropriately from their experiences. They listen carefully, seeking knowledge and each Trustee is different and brings various gifts and skills to his/her position. But among these, it does not include pontificating but more of servant leadership. Being a very unique position as it is an elected one, they are placed here to have OHA help families that are facing difficulties… some are homeless, some are caregivers, and many are lonely. Listening and responding by Referring with compassion is a major part of servant leadership.

Queen Liliuokalani’s reign can be a lesson to each of us. She did not know her future… and advocates, “We never know how much time we have, so let us do the best we can each day of our lives, and love and listen to our people passionately.”

Aloha Au Iā Oe!
A hui hou until September,
Trustee Leina’ala Ahu Isa