Community & Economy

Learn about efforts to revitalize and transform the local economy from around the Hawaiian Islands:

  • Retraining workers for in-demand jobs
  • Diverse development efforts on the Neighbor Islands
  • Community-based projects


Watch the replay:


Featured Panelists:

Jeffrey Shonka, President & CEO, First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Ltd. (FICOH). 

Jeffrey Shonka has more than 25 years of accounting, financial and operational experience for multi-line insurers. Prior to joining FICOH, he worked at Amwest Insurance Group, Inc., a property and casualty insurer in Calabasas, Calif., for 13 years. While with Amwest, he served as a senior financial analyst and corporate controller before eventually being named chief operating officer and president. In addition to the many contributions he has made to FICOH as chief financial officer, Shonka has also played an important role in the local insurance community, including as current president of the Hawaii Insurers Council. Shonka graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1985 where he earned a bachelorís degree in accounting.

Leslie Wilkins, President & CEO, Maui Economic Development Board

Leslie Wilkins, started at MEDB in 1999. She was originally tasked to spearhead the MEDB Women in Technology Project, which addresses gender disparity in STEM education and workplaces. What began as a Maui County pilot project, seeded by the late Sen. Dan Inouye, has grown to programs and an original curriculum that have garnered national recognition. More than 40,000 participants benefit, on every island statewide, and the result is a homegrown workforce trained in computer-aided design, programming and coding, cybersecurity, graphic design and creative media, 3D printing, and clean energy. Wilkins became MEDB’s president and CEO in 2017. Wilkins background included commercial banking and consulting.

Toby Taniguchi, President & COO, KTA Super Stores

Toby Taniguchi became President & Chief Operating Officer in 2014, and has worked for KTA since 1996. He is actively involved in public service and non-profit organizations. He is the President/Chairman of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, and has also served as Chairman for the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, The Hawaii Island United Way, and Hawaii Employers Council. In addition to having served as the Capital Campaign Chairman of the Hawaii Japanese Center, he also sits on the Board of Directors for Parker Ranch, Waiakea High School Foundation and the Lyman House Museum. Toby is a Pacific Century Fellow (Class of 2003), and was recognized by Hawaii Business Magazine as a “20 for the next 20” (2010). He received a B.S. degree from the University of Portland, and a Certificate in Food Industry Management from the University of Southern California.

Diana Singh, Business Innovation Coordinator for the County of Kaua’i in the Office of Economic Development (OED). 

Last year Diana Singh and OED launched the Kauai Rise to Work program, which provided temporary jobs and health insurance to 280 displaced workers. Before joining the OED in 2019 Singh worked in the public and nonprofit sectors. This included working as a Consultant at the national nonprofit TNTP and as director of Analytics and Data Management for the New York City Department of Education. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College.

Tammi Chun, Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, UH Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges

Icollaboration with the UH baccalaureate institutions and other partnersChun leads statewide initiatives that enable more of Hawai‘i’s residents to achieve their educational and career goals. Chun has held key positions in Hawai‘i’s government and nonprofit sectors including assistant superintendent for the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance at the State of Hawaii Department of Education; vice president for programs at Hawaiʻi Community Foundation; policy analyst for the Office of the Governor; and executive director for Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education. Previously, she conducted policy research at the RAND Corporation and the University of Pennsylvania.  She earned an educational doctorate from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education; a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government; a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College; she is also a Moanalua High School graduate. Chun is an Aspen Presidential Fellow, chair of the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, a member of Aloha United Way’s Community Impact Council, and an Omidyar Fellow; she previously served as an inaugural board member of the Data Quality Campaign (D.C.) and the Aina Haina Elementary School Community Council. 



Thanks to our virtual venue sponsor HoMA, please feel free to download these complimentary Zoom backgrounds, featuring rooms and showcases from around the museum!


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