April 2021 Chairman’s message
Aloha mai kākou
I want to first give my sincere thanks and gratitude to Sheryl Matsuoka and her team for all they do for us. I cannot tell you how many untold hours they spend on our behalf. They have been so effective in everything they do for the HRA. Thank you, Sheryl and Team.
We recently marked the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown in Hawaii. Like so many others, I find myself reflecting on what we’ve lost, what we’ve learned, and what remains for us to do ahead.
For all of us the days were long and dark for much of last year. And yet, in the face of our industry’s greatest crisis, I witnessed the remarkable resiliency of Hawaii’s owners and operators. I know how difficult it was for all of us to adapt to new procedures and navigate an ever-changing landscape of restrictions, and I’m grateful for the trust you put in our association to help lead you through them. I, and our Executive Team remain inspired by your commitment to your guests, employees and community.
I’m also incredibly proud of what we accomplished as an association. The list is long of all that has been done.
I recently heard Giff Nielsen Former NFL Quarterback relate the following.
In 1978, I stood on a football field in a stadium packed with 65,000 fans. In front of me were several very large opponents who looked like they wanted to take my head off. It was my first game as a starting quarterback in the National Football League, and we were playing the reigning Super Bowl champions. To be honest, I questioned whether I was good enough to be on the field. I dropped back to throw my first pass, and as I released the ball, I was hit harder than I’d ever been hit before. At that moment, lying under a pile of those massive athletes, I wondered what I was doing there. I had a decision to make. Would I let my doubts overtake me, or would I find courage and strength to get up and to carry on?
I didn’t realize at the time how this experience would prepare me for future opportunities. I needed to learn that I could be strong and courageous in the face of difficult situations.
I appreciate this. We have all been hit by Covid and were hit harder than we have ever been hit before. Many of us have also wondered, what am I doing here? We cannot let our doubts overtake us. We are so close, and you have worked so hard, now is not the time to quit. Together we will find the courage to get up, stay up and carry on. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we feel the momentum building.
So where do we go from here? While we made unprecedented progress this year, our work continues, and our mission has never been more important. The HRA is committed to leading and driving change during this extraordinary time.
Thanks for your hard work and support, the association is well positioned to continue helping our members weather the challenges that remain ahead.
Mahalo Nui Loa