A Trustee’s Calling:


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

To listen carefully, to seek knowledge, to understand their constitutional mandate, and to take action to build those relationships that will help them accomplish the mission.

I remember in late September of 2015, the OHA Board of Trustees had just approved the Ad Hoc Committee on Maunakea. It was our call to now maximize the mission through motivation. As our Warrior Brother, Ku Ching, described it: “I think I see some incremental changes in certain individual trustees and some evolution overall… into OHA getting more interested and playing a more active role on Maunakea issues.”

Our caring and hard-working Trustees have a fiduciary duty to maximize our Trust funds. Our “mission” – our purpose – is to provide funds and to grow them into perpetuity so our generations to come will not go without, and to better their lives by starting with our Mana I Mauli Ola Strategic Plan 2020-2035 at www.oha.org/strategicplan.

Our Trustees will spend time in deliberation, intentional listening, and making decisions that will move OHA forward in its overall mission of carrying out our fiduciary duties.

Choices can be driven from the inside, or from the out. The impetus to action can arise extrinsically, from sources outside an individual, to gain a reward or avoid a punishment, or it can arise from within (intrinsically), related to authentic needs or as a reaction to imposed control. An attempt to impose control may work for a time, but later backfires when the reward or punishment is no longer supplied. We must acquire the knowledge and understanding so we can build good relationships. No man is an island. We are all in this canoe together!

Edward Deci, a humanistic psychologist whose work is quoted in Kohn, makes a strong case that self-determination trumps control when teachers, parents or managers are trying to promote responsible decision-making. The most authentic power driving choices, he believes, arises when you understand your needs and act in ways that serve those needs. Find details in his book, Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation. (Penguin Books, 1996)

As a former professor, I want to share with you what I tell my students: Some of you will find my class materials and topics more difficult than others. Indeed, some of you will struggle. But know this: it is my job to support your struggle; and every one of you will exit my class more knowledgeable about the content, better able to navigate it, and a more competent navigator of academics in general, than when you first walked in that door.

And I leave you with one of my favorites: “Hardly anything important happens that doesn’t have to do with relationships…It’s getting to know people, being interested in them. Life is built on genuine relationships, where trust and integrity are without question. When that is there, there are no limits!”—G.T. Buck, president of Davis and Elkins College.

Mālama pono, stay safe, a hui hou,

Trustee Leinaʻala Ahu Isa