Ka Wai Ola

Aloha mai kākou,

The OHA Board of Trustees were recently briefed by our administration on the launch of our strategic planning process that is in its beginning stages. OHA will be embarking on the very important effort to develop a 10-year strategic plan over the next year. This is a critical endeavor for OHA as we adjust our vision to guide our work for the next decade. This vision must be centered on our mission to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians. I believe this new vision must also be dedicated to developing a new brand of leadership in OHA and in our communities throughout Hawai’i.

For example, OHA has invested resources heavily in the area of education over the past few decades and it has had profound impacts in the delivery of Hawaiian education. Maika‘i! Now, it is time to invest in the fruit born of those educational programs. There is now a generation of young professionals out there in the world that have been educated with amazing cultural foundations, we must work to create opportunities for them at them at the next stage in their lives. It is critical that we invest in developing a new generation of leaders to tackle some of the most difficult problems faced by any generation in recent memory.

The current strategic plan was developed almost 10 years ago. While many of the main priorities such as health, housing, education and culture have not changed, I believe the way in which we achieve our objectives must be adjusted. We must double down on our effort to empower our beneficiaries, community members and rising leaders to be at the forefront in the achievement of far-reaching and impactful objectives.

The strategic plan will guide how OHA develops policy, advocates and invests resources for the next decade. I am committed to ensuring that this plan and the policies that derive from it are about people. While trustees must closely monitor our assets, we must remember that our policy-making is also about people. How do we empower and uplift people? This includes supporting strong and capable leaders as well as those most in need.

We have a broad mandate to serve our beneficiaries, thus our strategic plan will cover a broad spectrum. However, we will have to work hand-in-hand with our community to ensure that we prioritize measurable objectives within that broad scope. This will require lots of leg work, lots of information gathering and lots of listening.

The first step, the development of the plan itself, will require significant community input. The development stages will include community outreach components and I look forward to hearing from our beneficiaries on how they believe OHA can do better and achieve more.

Coincidentally, we are also in the midst of an election season in which I have heard a number of specific ideas on how OHA can deliver results in given areas. Ideas like strategic partnerships with DHHL and other housing agencies, leveraging of funds with other organizations to provide specific vocational training, and increasing development of small business opportunities in specific industries. But we cannot do this without the support of our community, we will need to work hard to engage our community at every level of this process and I look forward to that.

I am especially hopeful that this process will provide an opportunity for OHA to build working relationships with beneficiaries and communities throughout Hawai‘i. That said, please remember to vote on November 6th!