Sharon Narimatsu, who worked for City Hall and Shirleyanne Chew, then with Hawaiian Telephone Company, met at a reception and found they had common concerns as professional women. Inspired by this chance meeting, the two agreed that women in government and business careers needed a forum to network.
At their invitation, 15 women leaders from government and business gathered at the Amfac Tower on June 27, 1984, to brainstorm about such an organization, which they strongly agreed was important. They decided the group would provide a network among decision-makers in the public and private sectors, and be a forum for them to share ideas, information, and support. They agreed it would be neither political nor fund-raising in nature.
Thus, their chance meeting gave birth to the Organization of Women Leaders, a networking group that shares information and offers support among professional women in the community. On August 3, 1984, officers were elected. The first membership directory listed 56 women.
1985 Sharon Narimatsu 1986 Shirleyanne Chew
1987 Barbara Marumoto 1988 Linda “Fritz” McKenzie
1989 Suzanne Peterson 1990 Ramona Mullahey
1991 Faith Evans 1992 Gitta Covey
1993 Pauline Namuo 1994 Joyce Ingram-Chinn
1995 Carol Costa 1996 Stephanie Saito
1997 Jeanette Takamura 1998 Claire Cooper
1999 Sharon Narimatsu 2000 Karen Nakamura
2001 Peggy Hong 2002 Kelly Walsh
2003 Pearl Imada-Iboshi 2004 Michelle Kakazu
2005 Janice Nielsen 2006 Barbra Pleadwell
2007 Shelley Wilson 2008 Linda Dias
2009 Pamela Martin 2010 Linda Nakamura
2011 Mimi Beams 2012 Stacia Murray
2013 Tracie Young 2014 Kathleen Perkins
2015 Julie Inouye 2016 Kate Braden
2017 Julie Arigo 2018 Valerie Schmidt
Meet our Board
What an inspirational speaker we had for our OWL May luncheon! Sunshine Topping, former Vice President for Human Resources and Cultural Officer, Hawaiian Telecom, truly fits into this year’s OWL theme of Leading by Example. Sunshine’s stellar career coupled with her willingness to make life’s difficult choices, makes her a leader to admire.
The month of July is, of course, when American’s celebrate Independence Day. Upon signing the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject, or subordinate, to the British monarch and were now united, free, and independent states.
In July 1848, 82 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, some 240 men and women gathered in upstate New York for a meeting convened to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women. One hundred of the delegates–68 women and 32 men–signed a Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence, declaring that women, like men, were citizens with an “inalienable right to the elective franchise.” The Seneca Falls Convention marked the beginning of the campaign for woman suffrage.
It took another 72 years before the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1920. It states, “That the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In those 72 years and facing strong opposition, it was women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone, who never gave up the fight for women’s right to vote. This included opposition to women’s involvement in public affairs and against the idea of women speaking to audiences of both men and women. Activities that we as women take for granted today, but were fought for by the brave women who truly did lead other women, and men, by their example.