Program seeks emerging leaders from all sectors of community

LIHU‘E — A brand new program is betting on the talent of Hawai‘i’s emerging leaders to collectively take the islands into the future.

“The program is a new leadership development initiative we just launched a couple weeks ago, and right now we are recruiting for the first class,” said Kalei Stern, Omidyar Fellows program director. “It’s for emerging leaders here in the state.”

The program is being offered by Omidyar Fellows through a grant provided to the Hawai‘i Leadership Forum by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. It is designed to provide tools and network for emerging leaders to be in a “prime position” to learn and achieve their dreams for their careers and for Hawai‘i.

“We want to see good representation from Kaua‘i” said Darcie Yukimura, philanthropic services officer at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “We have great leaders and emerging leaders here. We would love to give them a boost for the sake of the island and our community.”

Hawai‘i Leadership Forum is recruiting 12 to 15 leaders for the Omidyar Fellows program. The program will hand-pick fellows from throughout the state in various sectors of the community, and will work with them for 15 months, preparing each one to lead Hawai‘i into the future, Stern said.

The program was launched May 14, and in about two weeks there were more than 50 residents statewide and about six or seven on Kaua‘i intending to apply, according to Stern, who was on the Garden Isle Friday, making her way through several meetings.

Those picked for the program will receive monthly trips to O‘ahu,with all expenses paid, to attend monthly classes. They will also be offered one-on-one monthly coaching sessions, reading materials, and conversation with leaders.

Altogether, the fellows will dedicate about 16 hours per month during the course of the 15-month long program, according to Stern. Sometime during the program, the fellows will take a two-month break from the regular monthly meetings to develop their own community projects off-island.

“Depending on what career you have or industry you are in, you can kind of taylor a very unique learning experience off-island,” Stern said.

The program is seeking people statewide with at least five years of experience in management from different fields, including government, union, nonprofit and for-profit.

“So, really it is across the board, all different sectors, and islands,” Stern said, adding that she was on Kaua‘i to try to recruit people here. “We want to just throw the net open as wide as possible, and definitely invite people from Kaua‘i to apply for it. We are looking at statewide representation across all sectors.”

Those interested in applying have to file an intent to apply by June 15. The application package is due June 30. Interviews will be conducted Aug. 27 and 28, and on Sept. 1 the fellows will be named.

Visit for more information and to apply.

Stern said the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, a grant-making and philanthropic nonprofit organization, was established in 1916. It manages $511 million dollars in assets, according to its website. The foundation also has 600 funds, including 180 scholarship funds, and it has awarded $43 million in grants, including $4.2 million in scholarships.

Hawai‘i Leadership Forum is a lot younger. It was launched in March, and the Omidyar Fellows is its first project, Stern said. The forum’s next projects will likely include be a speaker series and a links resources, she said.

• Léo Azambuja can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or


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