Building a New Girls' Network
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Blazing the Trail
In 1987, KGMB newscaster Linda Coble, Congresswoman Pat Saiki and about 20 others became the first women members of the Rotary Club of Honolulu. Coble says their admission signified that women were finally cracking the glass ceiling. Coble went on to become the first woman president of Rotary of Honolulu in 1994 and then the first female district governor in 2000.
“I’ve been fortunate to meet many wonderful people through my involvement in Rotary and during my career as a journalist,” she says. “If you’re aggressive or trying to weasel into a clique that you think will be beneficial in your career, it’s obvious. My advice to other women out there is to just be yourself and be professional.”
It helps to find an association that shares your ethical standards and goals, she says. “It means you don’t have to perform, so the networking comes naturally.”
Get on Board
Nonprofit boards are where many executives use their skills to help the community and build influential networks. For instance, the board for the Women’s Fund of Hawaii is a who’s who of wahine business leaders, including Dr. Tyrie Jenkins, a prominent eye-care physician; Gwen Pacarro, complex manager for Morgan Stanley; Chenoa Farnsworth, partner of Kolohala Ventures; Judy Bishop, president of Bishop & Co.; and Prudential’s Marivic Dar.
The organization also has an impressive list of “Honored Sisters,” which recognizes women who continue to be advocates for women and girls. They include Piia Aarma, founder of Pineapple Tweed; Gail Mukaihata Hannemann, CEO of Girl Scouts of Hawaii; and Louise Ing, partner of the law firm Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing.
“It’s quite extraordinary,” says Adria Estribou, executive director of the Women’s Fund. “What are six degrees of separation when you have 27 of the most powerful and well-connected women in the state passionate about your organization?”
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