Talk Story: Ivory Lloyd

Ivory Lloyd has come home.

A world traveler since birth, Lloyd is now the Kauai district manager for Junior Achievement, Kauai District. This plants her roots firmly on Kauai where she said “I’m a Kauai girl, through and through!”

Tell us about yourself.

If you ask me, I’m a Kauai girl, through and through. I was actually born in Pago Pago, American Samoa, but brought to Kauai when I was just seven days old so, for as long as I can remember, Kauai has been my home.

My parents lived on Kauai before moving to American Samoa for a year, where they adopted me, then moved back to Kauai to raise me. My mom is a retired nurse from the St. Francis Dialysis where she worked for about 20 years, and my dad was an electrician in Puhi for years before passing away in 1992.

I grew up in Kalaheo, went to Kalaheo Elementary School and Kauai High School.

When I was a junior at Kauai High, I moved to Ecuador as a Rotary Exchange Student and studied in Ibarra, Ecuador, for a year before moving back home to graduate at Kauai High School with my Class of 2005.

Following graduation, I island-hopped between Maui, Oahu and Kauai, and then to Madrid, Spain, to complete my master’s degree before finally moving back to Kauai to settle down for good with the love of my life, Jeremy, whom I am now married to.

What is Junior Achievement?

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.

What do you like about it?

The beauty of the Junior Achievement approach is that not only does it provide important tools and materials to our students, but it brings model community members into the classroom as volunteers who deliver the program. The volunteers are really what brings the materials to life as they are able to provide students with real world experiences and provide new role models for students to look up to outside of their own families.

How long has JA been around?

Junior Achievement has been around for nearly 100 years, and in Hawaii, since 1957. Founded on the principles to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives, Junior Achievement has been on the islands of Oahu, the Big Island and Maui for the past 40-plus years.

Kauai, for the first time ever, became a part of the Junior Achievement of Hawaii family as an official district office in August of 2015.

Does your involvement with Junior Achievement fit in with your personal career or philosophical plans?

Most of my late teen and early 20 years were dedicated toward working with environmental organizations or nonprofit groups. To my parents and friends, I was a tree hugger, but in my eyes, I was an advocate for a sustainable future of Hawaii.

I was the president of Sustainable University of Hawaii at the UH Manoa campus, sat on the board of the Sustainability Association of Hawaii, and was starting an edible landscaping company while attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

During my studies, I was selected to attend a conference in Washington, D.C., called Powershift in 2008 with hundreds of other students from around the country to lobby for green jobs and clean energy at our nation’s Capitol. I graduated in 2010 from the University of Hawaii in Manoa with a degree in political science.

Following that experience, I was hired by the Blue Planet Foundation on Oahu, a locally based nonprofit organization with a mission to end the use of fossil fuels in Hawaii. I worked as their program coordinator until moving in 2013.

After working with a locally based nonprofit organization, Blue Planet Foundation, I received a $27,000 scholarship from the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay to study for my master’s degree abroad. I moved to Madrid, Spain, where I earned my international master’s in sustainable development and corporate responsibility.

How was it returning home?

I returned home with a new perspective on the sustainability movement in Hawaii. I wanted to be a part of something that worked with key stakeholders to move Hawaii toward a more sustainable future and saw opportunities everywhere I went.

I wanted more dialogue and education on both sides, and no longer saw issues as an “us vs. them” issue, but a “together, we can” issue. We live on an island, so whatever the issue we are dealing with, it needs to be addressed — together.

How did you become involved with Junior Achievement? When did the program start on Kauai?

I heard about Junior Achievement through the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay. I’m a member of that organization and during the fall of 2014, it seems like all I heard about at the meetings was Junior Achievement.

Two of our club members, Marion Paul and Chris Young (both of whom are currently on the Kauai Junior Achievement board), had started volunteering at Kapaa High School and had gotten a few of our Rotary club members to volunteer as well.

At the time, I was being contracted as a leadership facilitator for Leadership Kauai, also working at Kapaa High School and three months pregnant.

What did you think of JA on first impression?

As soon as I look a look at the Junior Achievement materials, I knew instantly that it needed to be in our schools, and saw a strong alignment with the leadership principles being taught by Leadership Kauai where it sets the students up with a strong foundation, understanding themselves, their values, and envisioning their future. Junior Achievement compliments this work and is able to bring those principles to life with hands-on activities and real world scenarios.

It was then that I knew I wanted to get involved with Junior Achievement.

How did it work out that you joined JA?

Six months later, Marion informed me that they wanted to make Kauai a Junior Achievement District Office and were looking for a district manager.

In August 2015, we officially became a district office and through the help of the Rotary Club of Kapaa, the Aloha Angels program, the Bank of Hawaii and the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach, I was named the Kauai district manager under the Junior Achievement of Hawaii.

Since then, we have completed 21 Personal Finance and Career Readiness programs at Kapaa High School, piloted an entrepreneurship program at Kanuikapono Public Charter School, and will start programs at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, the Kilauea Elementary School and the Waimea Canyon Middle School within the year.

What does Junior Achievement provide for youth?

I believe Junior Achievement provides the tools that our local youth need in order to be able to own their economic success while keeping Hawaiian values in mind. Our keiki know the issues that our communities face, but if they cannot take care of themselves, how can we expect them to take care of our island?

Junior Achievement provides the platform, tools, and network of community leaders to enable and empower our Kauai youth to be able to think globally and act locally as citizens of our world, and stewards of our aina.

Do you have hobbies, or things you like to do when not involved with Junior Achievement or working?

Whenever I’m not working, I’m spending time with my beautiful 10-month-old son Lennox Tama Toa Lloyd, and my husband Jeremy.

We love being in the ocean, biking, and volunteering together.

I am also the youth services chair, and on the board of the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay which keep me busier than I thought it would.

What’s next for Ivory Lloyd?

Where it will go from here, only God knows.

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