Our mission is to develop a network of contacts among women in decision-making positions to promote effectiveness on the job, and professional advancement.

 
 

Since 1984...

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.

 

 


Past Presidents

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

Pam Harms   President   U.S. Army

Pam Harms
President

U.S. Army

Laura M. Lott   President Elect   Kaiser Permanente

Laura M. Lott
President Elect

Kaiser Permanente

Valerie Schmidt   Immediate Past President   Ameriprise Financial Services

Valerie Schmidt
Immediate Past President

Ameriprise Financial Services

 
Kristi Bates   VP Membership   'Iolani School

Kristi Bates
VP Membership

'Iolani School

Mimi Beams VP Membership   Community Advocate

Mimi Beams VP Membership

Community Advocate

Renee Green   VP Programs   University of Phoenix

Renee Green
VP Programs

University of Phoenix

Belinda Lau VP Programs   Hawaii Tech Support

Belinda Lau VP Programs

Hawaii Tech Support

Ananda Chou   Treasurer   YMCA of Honolulu

Ananda Chou
Treasurer

YMCA of Honolulu

Holly Hayashi                 Recording Secretary   Servco

Holly Hayashi Recording Secretary

Servco

Lisa Ma   Communications Secretary   Xerox Corporation

Lisa Ma
Communications Secretary

Xerox Corporation

Cheryl Cross                   Director at Large   Booz Allen Hamilton

Cheryl Cross Director at Large

Booz Allen Hamilton

Julie Arigo   Director at Large   Waikiki Parc Hotel

Julie Arigo
Director at Large

Waikiki Parc Hotel

Joni Marcello   Director at Large   Meadow Gold Dairies

Joni Marcello
Director at Large

Meadow Gold Dairies

Cecilia Fong Director at Large   YWCA Oahu

Cecilia Fong Director at Large

YWCA Oahu

Jennifer Grems   Director at Large   Mid-Pacific Institute

Jennifer Grems
Director at Large

Mid-Pacific Institute

President's Message

Pamela Harms President, Organization of Women Leaders

We are off to a great start in 2019!  Therese Dickerson, a Senior Vice President at Bank of Hawaii, began our 2019 OWL luncheons with an in-depth look at organizational development and how we can use this model to better our workplaces.  Working to make our organizations operate at peak performance is an important prong in our efforts to Lead by Example.

Because OWL will hold its March meeting at the YWCA O‘ahu, and our guest speaker will be its CEO, Noriko Namiki, I have chosen this month to highlight the terrific women leaders, named and unnamed, who have made the YWCA O‘ahu what it is today.  In 1900, Mrs. B.F. Dillingham founded the YWCA O‘ahu for Honolulu’s working women to build friendships, develop shared values, and learn skills that promote community engagement.  In 1904, Mrs. E.W. Jordan became the first President, with membership growing to 128 ladies.  Queen Lili‘uokalani became a member of YWCA O‘ahu in 1914, the same year the first Business Women's Club was established. In 1919, the Atherton Family donated the Fernhurst Building to YWCA O‘ahu as a tribute to their daughter Kate and her deep interest in the welfare of girls. Another woman, Julia Morgan, designed the Fernhurst facility and the current Richards Street building, which was named Laniākea, meaning “open skies.”  Julia Morgan is still considered one of American’s most prestigious female architects.

By the 1970s, YWCA O‘ahu was involved in legislative issues on equal rights, the treatment of juveniles, environmental protection and programs for immigrants.  Throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s, and into the ‘2000s, the ladies of the YWCA have established highly successful programs, including the Homebase program, which provides housing and supportive services to assist women regain stability as they move toward independent living and permanent housing, the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership which promotes the economic and leadership advancement of women throughout their careers, and the state’s first and only community-based work furlough program.

The women who have worked with the YWCA O‘ahu since its establishment in 1900 have made a difference in the lives of thousands of women.  This spirit of giving and willingness to assist women truly embodies the example we should emulate.  While many of us do not work in the non-profit field, we can do our part by helping other women attain their goals – whether in the workplace or through volunteering. Such efforts set the example of a good leader who cares about helping others meet their potential.