Career Crawl Connects High School Students with Industry Leaders

Three dozen Island Pacific Academy high school students spent the day teamed up with industry leaders and professionals during a “Career Crawl” in downtown Honolulu organized by members of the Pacific Century Fellows Program.  Our students were able to ask questions and find mentors in a variety of fields including engineering, hospitality, government and legal services, construction, education, non-profits, energy, restaurants, banking, and marketing.

IPA students Caitlin Kucic (’16), Alexander Kawelo (’17), Shania Bravo (’18), and John Gillette (’17) were excited to meet their tour guides for the Career Crawl.  Sophomores Juliette Peacock and Zachary Tocher are seen in the background with their guide.

More than a few students probably felt uncomfortable or a little uncertain walking in high heels or dress shoes (professional business attire was a dress requirement), but the exciting opportunity to meet with an architect, real estate professional, orthodontist, and technology specialist in one day far outweighed any wardrobe discomforts. Other students were able to meet with business leaders in the film production industry, assets management services with Kamehameha Schools, public utilities field with Hawaiian Electric Company, and hotel management.

Ina Ching (in black), President of technology firm Aloha Data, advised students to work hard, be diverse, multi-faceted, and open to learning more than just one industry. 

Sophomore Juliette Peacock’s group visited with Alex Fergus (Fergus & Company) and learned about the commercial real estate industry, with Ina Ching at Aloha Data (see photo above), and visited the offices of Architects Unlimited Hawaii. “I didn’t expect the inside of the architect company to be such an open space,” she shared.  “Instead of little cubicles or small offices there was open space and people we being creative and collaborative with one another.”

IPA’s Alexander Kawelo and Caitlin Kucic listen as Alex Fergus (to right of the monitor) of Fergus & Company explains some of the intricacies of the commercial real estate market with the students during the Career Crawl.  

Members of The Pacific Century Fellows (PCF) see the Career Crawl day as a way to give back to the community by sharing their experiences and expertise with students as they continue on their educational journeys through high school and college. PCF members opened their offices and were guides/hosts to the students who they led in small groups on walking tours of downtown businesses. Our IPA students, as well as another thirty-plus ‘Iolani KA’I Program students, were able to make real-life industry connections with their PCF tour guides and business hosts.

IPA’s Jake Lundstrom (’18) and Alexandra Murphy (’16) spent time with Stephanie Hsu, an architect with Group 70.  Hsu showed students an example of a commercial set of plans, a “manual” of how to build a building.  

Senior Alexandra Murphy’s group met with Grelyn Rosario, a McDonald’s franchise owner.  “I never would have thought of doing that, being a franchise owner.  This person worked at a McDonald’s in high school and then after college wanted to go to law school.  When that didn’t work out, he ended up getting the McDonald’s franchise in the first Walmart to be built on Maui.  Now he has three McDonald’s.”

Kody Yoffee (’18), who toured in the same group with Murphy, was also impressed.  “You always have something to fall back on,” he said. “For a while I was thinking ‘I’ll be a fireman’ but now I’m thinking ‘I want to be a Marine.’  Meeting this person showed me that your career paths and ideas about what you want to do may change, but you’ll always find a way, something you are good at that you can do and succeed.”

After the business tours, the students were treated to a special tour of Hawaii Pacific University’s downtown campus. It was a great opportunity to extend the conversation from business to education.

Mufi and Augie with students
IPA students Andrew Merriman (’17), John Gillette and Alexander Kawelo pose with Pacific Century Fellow Program founder Mufi Hanneman and the Career Crawl event keynote speaker Augie Tulba.

IPA’s Dean of College Counseling, Kori Shlachter, lauded today’s event. “The Career Crawl was a great opportunity for our students to see the connections between college and the real world and how everything fits together.”

More about The Pacific Century Fellows and its Program from their website:

Founded and chaired by Mufi Hannemann, the Pacific Century Fellow Program began in 1997 with the “objective to develop leaders with a greater awareness and sensitivity to the people and institutions of Hawaii.” Each cohort of Fellows “brings together “Hawaii’s most promising individuals from all walks of life, fields and professions. They’ll gain a broader view of civic duty through direct contact with senior community, social and government leaders. The program encourages the development of long-term relationships between leaders young and old, united in their commitment to find creative solutions to the challenges facing the state.”