Millions of People Around the World, Including Hawaii, Celebrated Amazing Women-Sheraton Moana Surfrider, One of Major Sponsors, Gave the Hawaii Women Big Boost

article top

On March 8, 2003, eight successful women shared their secrets to success at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. Nationally recognized, Amazing Woman Amazing World, was a day where millions of women from around the world gathered together in their respective cities for a day of inspiration. The annual event is designed to inspire women in taking practical, life-changing action by celebrating successful women in business, non-profit organizations, the military and the government. Habitat for Humanity was the non-profit selected this year for women to support throughout the upcoming year.

The Sheraton Moana Surfrider hosted this celebration in Honolulu, allowing women in Hawaii to attend at no charge and celebrate in their most elegant meeting room overlooking Waikiki Beach, in the Grand Salon. Hats off to the amazing contribution of Ernest Nishizaki, Executive V.P. and CEO of Kyo-ya Co. Ltd. along with the staff at The Sheraton Moana Surfrider who made this a first-class experience for everyone.


Women (and a few good men) from all walks of life were able to network, talk story, share resources and connect in a luxurious hotel setting, appropriately referred to as “The First Lady of Waikiki.” All who attended were inspired by the amazing line up of speakers who shared how they overcame enormous challenges or willingly made personal sacrifices in order to get to where they are today.

Billie Takaki, Miss Hawaii 2000, and current Managing Editor for Hawaii Woman magazine, spoke about the importance of mentorship for the next generation of young people.

Dr. Gelb, author, psychologist, attorney, and local “Dear Abby,” talked about ambition verses over-achievement. Comparing “The Road to Hana” to “The Road to Success,” Dr. Gelb appropriately made the success connection for those who are goal-oriented and not quite feeling satisfied as a result. Anyone who has ever taken the journey to Hana on the island of Maui knows if you don’t stop to enjoy your journey, you’ll miss the best experiences.

”’Coaching Tip:”’ You can succeed with integrity when you are doing what you love. Following your greatest passion allows you to feel successful each and every day. Don’t delay feeling happy because you haven’t reached your ultimate destination yet. Instead, allow yourself to feel successful every minute of the day from the moment you wake up. This will allow you to build incredible momentum toward your goals, and help you reach them much faster than you can imagine.

Kathy Tugman, former president of Tugman Steel and current general manager for Hawaii Glass Block, shared how she succeeded in a male-dominated industry as a result of steel-like courage and determination. Nicknamed “Steel Magnolia,” Kathy’s story was one that demonstrated how she succeeded because of the fact that she is a woman, not in spite of the fact. Kathy didn’t try and take on male characteristics; instead, she tapped into her personal strengths and developed strategies that effectively motivated her team to become as efficient as possible.

Dr. Lynda Jaques, licensed clinical psychologist and Chief of Research and Analysis at the U.S. Pacific Command, shared her amazing experience as she combined her education with her insight to get to one of the most important positions in the military. She reports to one of the most powerful men in the military, Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, who leads the largest of the unified commands covering more than 50 percent of the earth’s surface, and is responsible to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. Responsible for analyzing military war plans that Admiral Fargo gives her, Dr. Jaques serves as an incredible example and mentor for the younger women who participated in the celebration as to the world of possibilities that are open to women if they choose to pursue them.

”’Coaching Tip:”’ Know that you belong where you are. Then act, talk and walk that way. Don’t allow people to intimidate you, and they won’t. People will feed off the positive or negative energy you put out. The energy you put forth is based on your beliefs in who you are and what your capabilities are.

Overcoming “the need to please everyone,” (a common challenge for some women) Malia Zimmerman shared how she overcame this challenge herself, even losing her job at the time to prove it. Many women resonated with Malia’s story of how she did what she believed a good journalist should do, continuing to pursue unpopular stories when no one else dared to, regardless of what others thought or told her she should or should not do. Many people in the audience were also encouraged by the fact that Malia has subsequently become the co-founder of The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (the only non-profit political think-tank in Hawaii) and co-founder, with Jay McWilliams, of her own newspaper,

Julie Rose inspired all of us with the question, “What if we had never been born?” Bringing to our recollection the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” each person was asked to examine their life to appreciate the contribution we made in other people’s lives as the result of our life. WOW! Many reflected on this even after the event was over.

Special guest speaker, Lieutenant Jody Popp, from the United States Coast Guard, energized everyone as they listened to the sacrifices she and her team makes in order to protect our shores. Women in the audience began to understand that the military isn’t just an organization that fights wars, they also prevent them, along with many other ills that could enter our land if she wasn’t on the job, lifeguarding the vast ocean, and all of it’s activities that we often never see or hear about.

All of the women shared common themes as their secret to success.

Success is largely a matter of hanging on when others choose to let go.

Sometimes being successful means being unpopular.

Sometimes when you do your job correctly, you might win some enemies.

Sometimes success chooses you, and you need to decide if you’re up for the challenge.

Sometimes you need to make sacrifices in order to get to where you want to go.

Each one of these women made decisions that caused them to press on and never give up. The moment they did that, they chose to be successful. Consequently, each one of these highly successful women became 10 times more successful because of the obstacles they faced and chose to overcome. Instead of giving in, packing up and simply parroting what so many choose to repeat about being in business in Hawaii, they pressed on, became more determined, and discovered their purpose in life.

”’Coaching Tip for the week:”’ Men and women alike can learn from these amazing women, because they share a common theme that all entrepreneurs and business professionals face. Success doesn’t always come swiftly or easily, but it does come when we choose it each and every day. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of the sacrifices that must be made, success can be a reality each and every day as long as you define it correctly and learn to revel in the journey instead of the final destination. Knowing that even the struggles you face may be the catalyst for your success can help you appreciate problems, and maybe even welcome them when they come.

You can choose success today. Looking to others who’ve successfully gone before you is a good place to start. Model what they did to get to where they’ve gotten. Learn how you can avoid common pitfalls and mistakes from them.

To learn more about how you can get involved in this annual celebration, and see what other speakers of the day had to say, simply visit If you’d like to be a part of this event next year, on the second Saturday in March, either to be notified of the event ahead of time to secure a seat, or to help out as a volunteer, sponsor or speaker, contact Deborah Cole Micek, the producer of the event from RPM Success Group Inc. at: or 808 237 1008.

Many have asked how we were able to produce the event free of charge. Below is a list of a few good women and men who are truly Movers and Shakers as they helped make the event a huge success. Special Thanks go to the sponsors, volunteers and contributors of the celebration in Honolulu, who truly were “Make It Happen” people:

Hats off to the amazing contribution of Ernest Nishizaki, Executive V.P. and CEO of Kyo-ya Co. Ltd. along with the staff at The Sheraton Moana Surfrider who made this a first class experience for everyone.

Sen. Sam Slom, president of Small Business Hawaii, who acted fast in getting the announcement for the day’s celebration into his newsletter, and all the contributions to making the day a success, including the leis, pens, and most of all for pitching in and dropping off the boxes of 150 bags to the hotel the night before the event.

The “Mysterious Mel” who found a great picture of the hotel and loaded it into the newsletter.

Susie Sadur, from Small Business Hawaii and her dad, Bud Weisbrod, for helping out in so many ways, recognizing what needed to get done, and doing it.

Malia Zimmerman, president and editor of Hawaii Reporter Inc., for covering this event, story and celebration, as well as agreeing to speak to the group and inspire everyone with her incredible story of determination to do what’s right — no matter what.

Jay McWilliams, vice president of marketing and sales for the public records’ division at Hawaii Reporter Inc., for quickly making company note pads, helping with the goodie bags for all 150 attendees, and for donating a beautiful ceramic vase, made by her husband Bob, which was then given to an amazing participant.

John-Paul Micek for all the hours uploading the Web site with all the changes that were made daily, and for the amazing support on event day.

Heather Bresser, Virtual Assistant for RPM Success Group who put in tireless hours, coordinating the details and email announcements to all participants to ensure everyone received information and confirmation of their participation. The event ran smoothly as a result of the time Heather put in, as Deborah’s right hand woman. People even commented that they thought she was an autoresponder, due to her quick response rate to people who registered via email. Hats off to Heather, owner of Assistant For You!

Starr Wedemeyer, reporter from the Hawaii Woman magazine who recognized the importance of the celebration and gave so freely of her time to help make the day a success.

Kristine Ellis-Fujimoto, founder and editor for advertising in the Hawaii Woman magazine and coordinating nominations for an amazing business woman and honored mother.

Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff and her amazing husband, Tom, owners of the Center for Natural Healing in Kahala, who jumped in once she heard about the event and contributed the leis for all the speakers (including the producer who is most appreciative) and donated a free massage certificate for all the speakers, who so freely gave of their time and energy to the group.

Pat F. Fujisaki, vice president/sales manager of Service Printers Inc., who jumped right in the minute she heard about the event and volunteered to contribute note pads for all the participants to take notes on.

Lora Nakai, owner of Heaven on Earth, who donated several gift bags packed with luxurious spa products to amazing women in the audience to honor them as amazing women and thank them for coming.

Julie Rose, founder of Roselight Interior Garden, for the presence of the lovely Zen fountain, for speaking and for donating the gorgeous lucky bamboo to another amazing woman who won the drawing.

Dick Rowland, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, for sharing his office space, and coordinating drop-offs for items to go into the goodie bags.

And most of all, to the volunteers who helped with registration and overall satisfaction of participants on the day of the event, which allowed the producer to focus on weaving the event together. These include, Diane Sandlin, CPA, and health coach, Kathleen Reece, relationship coach for RPM Success Group, Nicki Keohohou and Graceanne Keohohou-Lee, from, and Jeanette Forma, from ABWA, for getting the 150 bags from the Running Room, which made it possible to raise money for the Habitat for Humanity, and Cherylle Morrow, from HWBC, for running around to get some last minute tasks done, and to Beverly Cabrera, executive director from HWBC for helping to get the word out.

And all the amazing women who got the word out, allowing us to fill the room to capacity without spending a dime in advertising.

Marsh Engle is the founder of the day, and author of Amazing Woman Amazing World, and Amazing Woman Amazing Firefighters. Information about events held around the world can be found on her website at:

Please consider Habitat For Humanity as an organization worth your time and efforts. To make a donation or volunteer your time and expertise to the Habitat For Humanity, where they’re busy building at least 20 homes for families who need adequate housing on Oahu this year, please contact Ann Marie Beck at or (808) 485-2355.

”’Deborah Cole Micek, producer of the conference event on Honolulu, is a business results coach, life strategist and the CEO of RPM Success Group. Reach her at:”’ ”’or (888) 334-8151.”’