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
The OWL ladies and guests enjoyed another great speaker at our March meeting, Noriko Namiki, CEO of the Oahu YWCA. The work performed by Noriko and her team at the YWCA to empower women in our community is truly inspirational. Noriko also hosted our OWL luncheon at the YWCA, and attendees had nothing but rave reviews about Noriko, the venue, and the food!
As we all know, May is Mother’s Day. A time to honor not only our own mothers, but all mothers. The official U.S. Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis. Following her mother’s death in 1905, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers make every day for their children.
We have many mothers among our OWL members who we honor on Mother’s Day. As we all know, being a working mother isn’t easy. For myself, raising two daughters while working long hours in the U.S. Army, sometimes spending months away from them, was certainly stressful. A recent study found that the women most surprised by the difficulties of motherhood were those women with college degrees, those who had babies later, those who had working mothers, and those who had assumed they would have careers. Even though highly educated mothers were less likely to quit working, they were more likely to say that being a parent was harder than they had expected.
As leaders who may be juggling work and motherhood, and/or managing working mothers, we should strive to be sensitive to issues faced by our working mothers. Although we may have different interpretations of what “work-life balance” means to us, we need to support and assist all women in the workplace in deciding what that means to them, and then help them attain it!