The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership Announces Cohort 4 Members

The Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance, the only program in Hawai‘i designed to enable mid-career women to advance their management and leadership skills, has named 20 participants to its fourth cohort, starting on August 16.

“We’re so pleased to announce our upcoming cohort of future Mink Leaders,” said Terri Funakoshi, Director of the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership. “The program has grown tremendously thanks to our many wonderful supporters who have embraced our efforts to help women grow, both professionally and personally.”

The following women have been selected for the 2019-2020 Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance:

·         Danielle Bass (State Sustainability Coordinator, Office of Planning, State of Hawaii)

·         Shauna Cabel (Human Resources-Organizational Development, Bank of Hawaii)

·         Kristina Cook (Community Development Specialist, Microsoft)

·         Patti Cristobal (VP & Region Manager-West Oahu Region, Central Pacific Bank)

·         Michelle Devol (Director, Membership Administration & Quoting Service, Kaiser Permanente)

·         Lauren Esposo (Client Services Manager, UHA Health Insurance)

·         Teresa “Teri” Fabry (Senior Project Manager, Island Insurance Company)

·         Julia Fink (Director of Operations, Ho’ola Na Pua)

·         Rachel Fukumoto (Energy Advantage Program Lead, Hawaii Energy-Leidos)

·         Nina Horioka (Associate Director of Development, UH Foundation-Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii)

·         Kelsey Ige (Creative Director, Hawaii Business Magazine)

·         Karin Kimura (Principal Environmental Scientist-Air Quality & Noise Dept., Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.)

·         Christina Klemme (Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, Grace Pacific LLC)

·         Donna Mendes (AVP Personal Banking Officer and Sales Manager, First Hawaiian Bank)

·         Courtney Ro (Owner, Professional Business Concepts)

·         Katrina Sabido (Manager-Deposit and Loan Products, American Savings Bank)

·         Kaohinani Schipa Chow (President & CEO, Buck Roofing Company, Inc.)

·         Victoria Suarez (Business Impact Manager, ENGIE Services U.S., Inc.)

·         Elyse Takashige (Project Architect, WhiteSpace Architects)

·         Kara Warsh (Associate, Morgan Stanley)

To date, 56 Mink Leaders from diverse fields and industries, including banking, healthcare, technology, law, education, small business and nonprofit, have graduated the program. This year’s group of Mink Leaders is eager to take part in learning more about topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Design Thinking, Principles of Negotiation, and Strategic Planning. Participants will benefit from valuable expertise offered throughout the program by prominent women leaders and facilitators. The curriculum also includes a community project that allows the cohort to contribute to YWCA O‘ahu’s mission of empowering women.

“Kaiser Permanente is proud to support the work of the Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance,” said Jean Melnikoff, vice president of Human Resources Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “Providing training develops leadership and business acumen for the women selected and creates economic opportunity for our entire community.”

The Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance began in September 2016 and is a 10-month program designed for emerging women leaders who are committed to personal growth, professional impact, and community change. This program further develops management and leadership skills in an effort to increase the representation of women executives in Hawai‘i. Through almost 100 hours of facilitated sessions, the cohort will have the opportunity to engage directly with established business professionals and build alliances with fellow Mink Leaders. Participants are chosen through a competitive application process and are required to attend 16 out of the 19 program sessions in order to graduate in May 2020. The program is offered by the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership, a department of YWCA O‘ahu.

The program was named in honor of the late Patsy T. Mink, who was both the first Asian-American woman and the first woman from Hawai‘i to serve in the U.S. Congress. She was renowned for her commitment to proactive leadership and women’s advocacy.


For more information about the Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance, visit

Small Business Saturday Hawaii

Small Business Saturday Hawaii

Small Business Saturday Hawaii

Proclamation in Recognition of Small Business Saturday Hawaii WHEREAS, small business owners give our island home a sense of community, and contribute to our local economy in many ways; and WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii supports the efforts of local small businesses and recognizes the critical role they play in our community; and WHEREAS, Small Business Saturday is a nationwide campaign to cultivate business for small merchants on the Saturday after Thanksgiving; and WHEREAS, the U.S Small Business Administration, Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership, Hawaii Small Business Development Center, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Pacific have joined together to create Shop Small Hawaii; and WHERE AS, Shop Small Hawaii provides business resources and tools to small business owners in Hawaii through educational workshops, promotions & special events in collaboration with community partners; and WHEREAS, we encourage citizens to support Shop Small Hawaii and small merchants on Small Business Saturday as a way to boost the local economy and strengthen our small business community; and THEREFORE I, DAVID Y. IGE, Governor, and I, DOUGLAS S. CHIN, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawai’i, proclaim “Small Business Saturday” in Hawai’i

Central Pacific Bank signs on as $10,000 signature sponsor of #SHOPSMALLHAWAII

Susan Utsugi & Terri Funakoshi

The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership announced that Central Pacific Bank has signed on as a signature sponsor of #SHOPSMALLHAWAII with a check of $10,000. Susan Utsugi, CPB senior vice president and director of business banking (left), presents Terri Funakoshi, MCBL director, with the check. 

November 21, 2018

Darlene Dela Cruz Marketing & Communications Coordinator

On the web:

Central Pacific Bank signs on as $10,000 signature sponsor of #SHOPSMALLHAWAII


Honolulu, HI – Central Pacific Bank (CPB), in line with its strong commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs and small business development, has signed on as the signature sponsor for the #SHOPSMALLHAWAII initiative.

On November 7, 2018, CPB’s Senior Vice President and Director of Business Banking, Susan Utsugi, presented a $10,000 sponsorship check to The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL), a program of YWCA O‘ahu. MCBL has been spearheading the #SHOPSMALLHAWAII campaign, collaborating with community partners, Island vendors, and the U.S. Small Business Administration to spark a vibrant year-round celebration of entrepreneurial impact.

 "Central Pacific Bank is proud to be the signature sponsor of #SHOPSMALLHAWAII,” said Susan Utsugi. “We have consistently been among the top Small Business Administration loan lenders in Hawai‘i and are committed to helping provide resources and tools for local entrepreneurs to grow their small businesses."

 #SHOPSMALLHAWAII is a growing local hub of business experts and seasoned entrepreneurs offering business resources, tools, educational workshops, special events and promotions. MCBL, known for its signature “Launch My Business” program, is continuously working to expand #SHOPSMALLHAWAII to draw attention to the unique needs and inspiring success stories in the world of small business.

 “Our goal is to bring attention to the importance of our family, friends and neighbors who are small business owners,” said Terri Funakoshi, director of MCBL. “These hardworking individuals give our island home a sense of community, and contribute to our local economy in many ways.”

 The “Small Business Shopping Season” kicked off in September with a #SHOPSMALLHAWAII pau hana launch party hosted by MCBL. Hawai‘i Governor David Ige signed a proclamation in October declaring “Women in Small Business Month” in the state. The governor also signed a proclamation officially marking Nov. 24, 2018 as “Small Business Saturday” in Hawai‘i.

 According to the U.S Small Business Administration, there were 126,000 small businesses in operation in Hawai‘i in 2017. These small businesses employed 267,796 people, or 51.6 percent of Hawaii’s employees. Local entrepreneurs have started businesses in diverse fields such as food, fashion, agriculture, technology, art and contracting.

 Several upcoming #SHOPSMALLHAWAII events invite the public to show their support for small business shopping:

 On Nov. 2, Mana Up, a local small business accelerator, hosted a showcase of products and presentations from its second cohort of budding entrepreneurs. The event was at T Galleria by Duty Free Shops in Waikiki.

  On Nov. 24, a huge Small Business Saturday celebration is slated to take over Salt in Kakaako. The event, a partnership with Honolulu Night Market, has a dynamic lineup of food vendors, pop-up retailers, entertainment and activities. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend.

   On Nov. 23, 24, and 25, Shop Small Hawaii will be supporting Neighborhood Champion No’eau Designers at Ka Makana Ali‘i Mall with exclusive #ShopSmallHawaii giveaways and canvas totes filled with goodies!

  On Dec. 2, the “Shop Small ‘Make It!’ Hawai‘i” event at Ka Makana Ali‘i Shopping Center in Kapolei brings together a dynamic collaboration by MCBL, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Native Hawaiian Arts & Culture Expo, LLC. Shop Small “Make It!” Hawai‘i features a local craft fair, Hawaiian entertainment, cultural workshops, an art gallery and a special homage to Hawaiian royalty.

·         #ShopSmallHawaii will continue to host workshops and events throughout 2019.


YWCA O‘ahu Receives $25,000 Grant to Support Women’s Entrepreneurship

Darlene Dela Cruz Marketing & Communications Coordinator

YWCA O‘ahu Receives $25,000 Grant to Support Women’s Entrepreneurship

 HONOLULU, NOV. 15, 2018 - YWCA O‘ahu has received a $25,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, to help women overcome barriers in starting, growing, and sustaining businesses while investing in educational tools that will increase the knowledge and confidence of women entrepreneurs. As part of YWCA USA’s Women’s Empowerment 3600 (WE 3600) program, these much-needed funds aim to expand women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment services for more than 4,000 women on in Hawai‘i.

 “Women-owned businesses is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy,” said Terri Funakoshi, director of the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership at YWCA O‘ahu.

 “YWCA O‘ahu houses the only Women’s Business Center (WBC) in the state of Hawai‘i, through the Coca-Cola grant we will be able to increase our outreach and provide educational tools and resources to insure success for generations of women entrepreneurs and leaders in Hawai‘i,” Funakoshi added.

 YWCA O‘ahu was selected for the grant because of its ongoing commitment to supporting women’s entrepreneurship and business development. Nationally, YWCA has a proven track record in this type of programming and believes that by exposing women to formal programs that blend education, employment, and entrepreneurship, women will be better positioned to foster independent sources of revenue, generate wealth, and create jobs all while creating economic development in their communities.

 Nationally, YWCA’s WE 3600 is designed to:

 1.    Increase the capacity of 16 existing YWCA entrepreneurship programs to identify and support more women entrepreneurs;

2.    Create a scalable entrepreneurship curriculum and module based on best practices that incorporate wrap-around economic development services designed to create jobs, as well as increase the number of women and minority-owned businesses; and

3.    Position YWCA as a key national entrepreneurial advocate and resource that assists with the incubation of new businesses while meeting the needs of existing entrepreneurial women.

 YWCA O‘ahu is excited to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation to increase women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship.


A dynamic new partnership by The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership and the O‘ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council

farmers proclamation.JPG

October 17, 2018

Darlene Dela Cruz Marketing & Communications Coordinator

 Helping women farmers flourish:
A dynamic new partnership by The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership and the O‘ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council


Honolulu, HI – Three “Women Farmers Workshops” produced this month by the O‘ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council (Oʻahu RC&D) are planting the seeds for local women farmers to achieve their goals in the ever-growing field of agri-business.

The Women Farmers Workshops are the first fruits borne from a budding partnership between Oʻahu RC&D and The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL) at YWCA O‘ahu. The partnership aims to provide the best of both organizations’ expertise in the areas of agriculture and business to support women farmers interested in entrepreneurship.

 “More and more women are taking lead roles in agricultural production and management decisions” reported Jean Brokish, executive director of Oʻahu RC&D. “I believe that women farmers and ranchers are a key component to increasing food production and building healthy communities and we hope to build a network that supports our women farmers.”  

The inaugural Women Farmers Workshop was held on O‘ahu on Oct. 12 at Kahuku Farms. A second workshop was hosted by Big Island Bees on Hawai‘i Island on Oct. 16. Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm on Maui is the site of the third workshop scheduled on Oct. 19, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

 Oʻahu RC&D utilizes farmer-to-farming learning and the recently held workshops provided opportunities to go behind the scenes of some well-known farms that are managed by women.  The workshops featured real-life experiences of Kylie Matsuda-Lum of Kahuku Farms (Oʻahu), Whendi Grad of Big Island Bees (Hawaii Island) and Sarah Adams of Aliʻi Kula Lavender (Maui).  

 MCBL and O‘ahu RC&D are developing future projects, events and other ways to reach out to local women farmers. The workshops are launching pads to broadening awareness about the challenges and needs that women farmers face in agri-business.

MCBL, as the only Women’s Business Center in Hawai‘i, is a trusted local resource for business counseling, business planning and expansion, access to capital and leadership development. O‘ahu RC&D is available to aid farmers in areas such as agritourism, value-added enterprise and networking in the farming community.

 The impact of women-owned businesses was recently underscored by Governor David Ige, who signed a proclamation declaring October as “Women in Small Business Month” in Hawai‘i.

 According to the proclamation, there are an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. The number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent between 1997 and 2017, and now account for 39 percent of all U.S. firms. These businesses employ nearly 9 million people.

 The most recently available (2012) agriculture census data for Hawaii indicates that women comprise more than 35% of the total number of Hawaii farm operators; and women are the principal operator on more than 1/4 of Hawaii’s farms.  The majority of women-run farms are less than 9 acres in size, but together women farmers manage 130,954 acres and generate $45 million in revenue.