Belong: Creating a Supportive Culture

Connecting with employees on a human level, one-to-one, can help them uncover their strengths.
Uha Connect Support Culture 11.02.22
Photo: courtesy of UHA Health Insurance

The Work Well Summit began with a panel discussion featuring distinguished guests Trini Kaopuiki Clark, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Hawaii; Del Mochizuki, Vice President of Finance and Human Resources at UHA; and Rebecca Sandvig, Organizational Effectiveness Coordinator at Hawai‘i Pacific Health. The discussion was led by Raquel Kelly Hicks, a Gallup Strength Coach and Chief Human Resources Officer of Punahou School.


Panel Discussion
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Photo: courtesy of UHA Health Insurance

Hicks kicked off the discussion by talking about a new era of psychology that focuses on the positive, rather than on people’s weaknesses. “Focusing on strengths and what people do really well is the path to connection and belonging,” said Hicks, “and when you have that culture of connection and belonging, everything good cascades from that, right? That’s the basis of great leadership. And when you have great leaders, you have a high performing culture where people are engaged.”


Show Team Members Respect

Clark spoke about her experiences as CEO and how you can improve organizational health and morale in a relatively short amount of time. “If you show your team members respect; if you focus on the things that they’re doing right, it lifts them up and they feel good,” said Clark, “if leadership lives by that, everyone observes and watches and follows, and that positivity really is contagious.”


Encourage Core Strengths

Sandvig talked about how her company’s focus on encouraging employees’ core strengths has been woven into the culture of their organization. “Instead of performance evaluations, we’ve moved towards having quarterly conversations,” said Sandvig, “so [employees] get to know what they are doing good and how they can partner with one another to find those complementary strengths as well.”


Invest in Tools to Help your Organization Grow

Mochizuki spoke about UHA’s recent adoption of CliftonStrengths by Gallup, an assessment tool designed to identify a person’s top five strengths. “I think that what CliftonStrengths does is it tells our associates that they’re not just a number; it tells them that we care about what makes them unique,” said Mochizuki, “it tells them that we care about putting them in the best position to maximize their potential to grow and succeed.”

Hicks closed the panel discussion by thanking the three leaders for their work in support of their employees, but also in service to the broader community. “Having this emphasis on what’s positive and what people are good at is good for everybody,” said Hicks, “I hope, like me, you’ve learned a lot from these three wonderful leaders about what we can do in our own organizations to build strengths-based teams and strengths-based leaders all in service for a greater good.”


Keynote Presentation

Photo: courtesy of UHA Health Insurance

Following the panel discussion, a keynote presentation was given by Ryan Wolf, Wellbeing Lead from the renowned consulting firm, Gallup. Since 2006, Gallup has conducted a World Poll where they interview residents from more than 150 countries to better understand what it takes to create a thriving and engaging life. Wolf reported that Hawaii is often at the top or near the top of the list in Gallup’s Wellbeing Index Score.

Gallup’s research has shown that understanding and utilizing one’s unique strengths is highly correlated with feelings of happiness and living a fulfilling life. “Opportunities are not spread equally, but talent is something that all of us are born with,” said Wolf, “so it’s up to us as leaders within our organization to spread that word, to give our constituents the opportunity to talk about their strengths, to discover what they are, to listen to what they are.”

Connecting with employees on a human level, one-to-one, can help them uncover their strengths. “Ask them, what do you do at work with ease, excellence and enjoyment?” said Wolf, “what do you do at work that gives you energy? Those are your clues to their strengths.”


Eager to learn more?

Contact the workplace wellness team at or visit our Connecting the Dots platform at to read curated articles and get needed tools and other resources that educate and inspire.

Watch the panel and keynote video recordings here.



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