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SmallBiz Editor's Choice Awards 2014

Each year, Hawaii Business honors outstanding small businesses in five categories. Here are 2014’s winners.

(page 3 of 5)

Best Women-Owned Business

All Island Case Management Corp.

President, CEO and Co-owner: Elsa Talavera
Nominator: Angeline Shiroma, First Hawaiian Bank

Elsa Talavera, seated third from left and on opposite page, poses with part of her team at All Island Case Management.

Photo: Courtesy of All Island Case Management Corp.

Elsa Talavera has a knack for achieving what she sets her mind to. Born and raised in the Philippines, she says, “When I was there, I used to think, ‘I’d love to go to America.’ ” In 1980, following her grandparents’ lead, she made a life-changing decision to immigrate to Hawaii.

She worked as a registered nurse on Oahu for several years before she accomplished her next dream: owning her own business. But it was no small feat.

Elsa Talavera
President, CEO and Co-owner

Photo: Courtesy of All Island Case Management Corp.

“When you’re in the Philippines, it’s a very hard life,” she says. “People are educated, but there are no jobs. You can’t be choosy. Leaving a job that was very secure and all of a sudden you take on this role. … I didn’t even know if I was going to make it.”  

Despite her fears, she took the leap. In 2003, she started Talavera Case Management, an agency that manages, monitors and assesses the health care of elderly patients while in a state-licensed residential facility. It gave patients who need intermediate-level care an affordable alternative to nursing homes.  

She admits it wasn’t easy. “I was the janitor, the secretary. I did it all by myself with a social worker,” she laughs. After seven years, she was busy and burnt out, so in 2010 she partnered with Charmen Valdez (VP of operations) and Evangeline Abellada (clinical VP). The company was renamed All Island Case Management Corp. and it took off. From a staff of two in 2003, it has expanded to 10 administrative workers, three registered nurses on Maui, two on Kauai, two on Hawaii Island and about 10 on Oahu. The company also doubled its clientele from 300 a few years ago to 600 today.

Much of its success is due to Talavera’s dedication, says Angeline Shiroma, assistant VP at First Hawaiian Bank’s Waikiki Branch. “It’s hard to juggle a family and manage a successful business,” Shiroma says. “It takes time and energy away from her family to help other people. But Elsa’s so dedicated to her job. She really wants to help somebody.”

Being the president and CEO of her company requires Talavera to be available 24/7. But for her, taking care of the whole person and being good to them are not just in her job description, it’s who she is. When asked how she does it all, she says, “It’s because, at the end of the day, I look at what did I do today? Did I help somebody?”

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