166th Annual Membership Luncheon – President & CEO's Remarks

29July2016 Chamber Luncheon-222To our members, thank you for your Grit. You deal with the trials and tribulations of running a business day in and day out, building a better business climate for the people of Hawaii. You clearly demonstrate true Grit. Our team wakes up every day knowing that we have an important responsibility – to advocate and support the growth of our members and the economy.    
Without Grit, we cannot Grow.
We recently partnered with the Hawaii Food Manufacturing Association to oversee the administration of HFMA, which came about because both organizations believed it was necessary to work together, in partnership with Innovate Hawaii, to Grow the manufacturing industry. Now, as a combined force, we are 1,400 members strong.
We have also been Growing and strengthening our relationship with the DOE and UH, collaborating to improve our educational system and preparing the talent pipeline for our future workforce.
In order to Grow as a state and accomplish our goals, we must have a clear, predictable process. Those investing in our state, must not be subject to political or special interest intrusions that stop projects midstream or jeopardize investments once the process has already started. While we need to be thoughtful and deliberate in our planning, we need to embrace new ideas and technologies that create positive change.
Our traditions and cultures define us, but we must not see every change as a threat to their existence. They are not static. They evolve as times and people change. They must not be used as a reason to halt or avoid beneficial developments that are in our long-term best interests.
With that said, we cannot stay silent. We must be actively engaged. We cannot let the social media firestorm, the anonymous blogger and the irrational disrupters or protestors intimidate us or undermine our efforts to do the right thing.  

Growth done with care and respect will be in the interest of the Greater Good. We may not all share the same position on these issues. Conflicting views are inevitable. But if we keep our focus on the long-term Greater Good, we can find ways to work collectively to overcome our differences and arrive at what’s best for the people of Hawaii. Working together with respect and humility will enable us to grow our economy and improve our quality of life.
So, Chamber ohana, let’s make the decision to move forward with GRIT, working to GROW our businesses – and the State of Hawaii – for the GREATER GOOD for generations to come.  
In the words of John Wayne, Mr. True Grit himself, “True Grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done.” Mahalo!

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