Hawai‘i’s Got Pride: Spotlight on Francine Naoko Beppu

The VP of Integrated Marketing at NMG Network says “it’s stressful to not share who you are when you’re at work.”

Bright lights, big city, after visiting New York City in grade school, Francine Naoko Beppu was mesmerized.

“I loved that energy and the lights, the musicals, the shows,” says Beppu, who was born and raised in Nu‘uanu. “Hawai‘i is such a beautiful place and we are so blessed to live here, but I really wanted to live in a big city,” she says.

She got her wish, attending NYU’s Stern School of Business, then living in New York and working at Sony Electronics. At Viacom, she helped launch Logo, the first LGBTQ+ cable channel.

After returning to O‘ahu in 2007, she was a digital strategy consultant, including for KHON. Today, the music and tech enthusiast is VP of integrated marketing at NMG Network, which has video content such as Lei TV, a guide to Hawai‘i for the LGBTQ+ traveler; custom, in-room travel channels for many hotels; and multiple publications, including Hana Hou! and Flux.

Her media finesse comes naturally. “My mom was an actor and a singer in Japan in the 1960s,” she says, “and I’m a big TV and movie buff.”

But growing up, she says, “I was never out and never comfortable in my own skin.” Then, “for a few years into my career, I wasn’t out. It affects you. It’s stressful to not share who you are when you’re at work. I see a trend in larger companies having a DI program,” she says, referring to diversity and inclusion programs. “I think there’s been progress in understanding the complexities, and happy employees make better workers.”

Beppu lives in Kaka‘ako and has a girlfriend, Annah. In her spare time, she says, she loves dancing and live music – “all sorts of music, any genre of music!” She’s also discovered the meditative qualities of fishing and enjoys casting a line.

Some of her most meaningful contributions, she says, are tied to her longtime volunteer work at the Hawai‘i LGBT Legacy Foundation; she currently serves on its advisory board.

“The Honolulu Pride Parade became the largest parade in the state in 2019, pre-Covid, and it’s been growing exponentially. Our work was important especially during Covid, when people were losing their jobs and feeling very isolated. Hawai‘i is small but we all help each other. Pride is a prime example. People from all backgrounds, we all come together to celebrate the community.”



Categories: Pride