Power Players

They offer a roadmap to get more women to the top

(page 3 of 3)

     " I don’t think there is any question that [the glass ceiling] still exists.
     And, particularly, at about age 35, because that’s when women want
     to have families and, oftentimes, they take themselves voluntarily
     off of progression.” —Constance Lau

Inouye: Don’t stay in a dead-end job too long. Don’t be without a job, but don’t stay too long either just because it’s giving you a paycheck.

Enay: What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Lau: Probably going into a job that I knew nothing about. To develop their young talent, corporations like ours often move people to jobs they have no background in, but we believe in their leadership and management skills, and we believe they can learn a new area. That can be very scary, but that’s your opportunity to prove yourself, so you have to be willing to do those things. I think women tend to want to do that less than guys.

Bronster: You need to step outside your comfort zone. When you said you took a job that you didn’t know anything about; I did that once, too. (Laughter.) When Governor Cayetano asked me to be attorney general, I was literally reading the Constitution to see what that job entails. I definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone, but it was a great opportunity.

Lau: People wouldn’t have asked you if they didn’t have confidence that you could get the job done.

    "One thing that is critical in any leader is being an effective
    communicator, whether you’re dealing with bureaucrats or
    antidevelopment groups or children or engineers or financiers.
    You can’t take your stock speech with all audiences. Also,
    listen well and respond creatively to people’s concerns. Some
    people say, “I’m not good at speaking in public.” No one’s
    born being able to speak up – it’s a skill that’s learned over
    time and with practice.”  —Kathryn Inouye

Liang: I was in a company for 15 years. I was in the No. 2 spot, but I was ready to be a president and I have my own vision on how I want to do things. So I moved to Hawaii with my family, and it was fairly risky, and there’s nobody here that I knew. It was the top job in a market that was challenging and at the same time I was new to the company. You have to take those risks if you want that top job.

Pacarro: A lot of young people think there’s a class that provides you with a curriculum for every job. But you don’t get a manual. (Laughter.) Those that hired you recognize that your life is your entire experience toward that job. You have to learn it on the job. OJT is what the world is about.

Lau: And even if you are in a job, the world is changing constantly and great leaders have to be able to adapt.



This is an abbreviation of a 90-minute discussion. Read the full transcript at hawaiibusiness.com/forums to learn:

• Which boards can advance your career;
• How to find mentors;
• What to teach girls to help them succeed as adults;
• Personal challenges that threatened these leaders’ careers.

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