As Hawaiians continue to tackle social and economic issues that challenge the lāhui, one question keeps rising to the top: Who will be the leaders of tomorrow?
At a recent Hawaii Business magazine leadership conference, Kamehameha Schools and like-minded voices elevated the conversation by asking, “How can Hawai‘i nurture the next generation of leaders to have a strong vision for what Hawai‘i can be, from a Hawaiian cultural perspective?”
KS marketing strategist Chad Takatsugi was among the young leaders at the conference. He and others brainstormed an idea that would engage the community in the conversation. Using the hashtag #kanakaleader, they posted the Facebook question: “Who are our next-generation kanaka leaders?”
The first post by Kamehameha Schools recognized former KS Director of Natural and Cultural Resources Ulalia Woodside, now executive director of the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i. It praised the Punahou graduate for inspiring those around her to see the long-term sustainable benefits of mālama ‘āina.
“Kamehameha Schools believes that cultivating a strong Native Hawaiian identity in its learners can build confidence and resiliency that will give them a competitive edge to be successful local and global leaders,” said Takatsugi.
“This social media collaboration was intended to be the catalyst for an ongoing conversation on ‘ōiwi leadership. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the next generation of kanaka leaders who are poised to do great things for our Native Hawaiian people.”
In just five days, the initial #kanakaleader post was shared over 20 times reaching nearly 13,000 Facebook followers. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, ‘Ōiwi TV, and Native Hawaiian education developer Kanaeokana joined the conversation by posting their own leadership examples, and soon social media users were sharing their own #kanakaleader stories.
This celebration of kanaka leadership is growing every day. Visit the Kamehameha Schools Facebook page to read more about the influential leaders and join the #kanakaleader conversation by following the guidelines on this page!