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Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2012

20 emerging leaders in local businesses, nonprofits, government, education and law

(page 18 of 21)

Photo: Courtesy of Robert Nobriga


Executive VP and CFO, Hawaii National Bank

Robert Nobriga is not only a person who gets his numbers and financial strategies right, he’s constantly thinking of ways to give back to the community.

Originally, he didn’t plan to go into accounting. Nobriga started off as an engineering major at the University of Notre Dame, but switched to accounting when he thought that would give him the best chance to come back to Hawaii.

“The economy was terrible,” he says. “I majored in something that would allow me to easily come home. That was one thing I strived for: doing whatever I could to create the opportunity of diversifying the industry base in Hawaii.”

Nobriga’s big opportunity was when he was made CFO at the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. He helped the school survive a financial crisis and made it more self-sufficient. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he says.

At Hawaii National Bank, Nobriga is helping implement a comprehensive performance management system that he says will help the company meet its financial priorities and further satisfy customers. He says the best part of his job is working with customers. “It’s interesting to see the broad views of different industries in Hawaii and looking at the requests for loans,” he says.

He also serves on the board of The Queen’s Health Systems and on the audit committee at his alma mater, Kamehameha Schools. In both those roles he works closely with Eric Yeaman, CEO of Hawaiian Telcom.

“Rob struck me as a really strong, confident leader and he is extremely financially bright and savvy,” Yeaman says. “He was able to communicate his ideas and concerns in a real professional and nonthreatening way that I thought allowed people to receive and act upon it. He’s become a good friend of mine.”

“I want to continue to spend a significant amount of time in the community to try to make this a better place,” Nobriga says. “I really enjoy the time I spend giving back to those two organizations.”

But he also says he makes it a priority to spend quality time with his wife and two daughters.

— JM

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