1) Who has inspired you?
I have been fortunate to have many inspirational people in my life; family, educators, coaches, colleagues and friends. Primarily, though, my family is the source of profound inspiration for me.
Mom worked as a registered nurse and accomplished a great deal in her career. She was a very influential role model in my formative years. She instilled a great sense of responsibility for doing my part to contribute to the family in whatever capacity I could. She raised me to believe that there were no obstacles I couldn’t conquer; no adversities I couldn’t overcome. Through strong principles, hard work and a good heart, she inspired me to believe that I could achieve anything.
Dad inspired me to seek a balanced life with a strong focus on family, friends and community. As a native Hawaiian and Italian man, he was extremely jovial, warm and charismatic. Our family was his source of pride and success, as opposed to his profession, power or money. He opted out of a career in law to run his own concrete and masonry business, because he wanted the flexibility to spend as much time with us as possible. He was very present in our lives and coached many of our athletic teams.
As far as my inner toughness and grit, that inspiration comes directly from my three brothers. As any girl knows, growing up with boys can be tough. Those guys did more to mold me as a resilient competitor, problem solver and negotiator than anyone. From the challenges of negotiating with them over who gets the last brownie, horse-trading daily chores, competing with them for our parents’ attention or just physically keeping up with them, I love the fact that because of them, I grew up believing that I could accomplish anything they could.
2) Whom do you hope to inspire?
I hope I am a positive example to the people in my life. But primarily, my greatest hope is to inspire my two loving boys to live a life of love, passion and pursuits without fear of risk or failure.
3) What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is about empowering others to succeed and lead. I serve as a resource to support and empower the very capable and competent people who report to me. My job is to articulate the vision, mission and expectations clearly while making sure all the arrows are pointed in the right direction. I try to instill a sense of responsibility, trust, loyalty and pride in the entire team so that we enable decisions and action at all levels.
4) What is your favorite quote or motto?
“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
This quote inspires me to be brave in the face of new challenges and taking risks. Feeling safe is certainly nice, but you can’t accomplish much of anything without taking a risk and trusting yourself to prevail when confronted with new challenges and unknowns.
5) What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
From the time I was little, my mother advised me no matter what I choose to do for a living, to make sure I’m doing something I love. Work is a third of your day, and therefore, a third of your life. At various times, it will take you from your family, your friends, your sanity and your sleep. It's worth it because I'm passionate about what I do.
6) What’s the highlight of your career (so far)?
What I’m most proud of in my career is that I get to spend my time, energy and effort contributing to the quality of life of our citizens. I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most talented, dedicated and selfless public servants in doing so.
7) How have you changed over the course of your career?
I have learned to be more patient. Over time, I’ve come to recognize that practicing patience solves many problems. As opposed to acting hastily or pushing too hard to control an outcome, sometimes it's best to let things play out naturally.