forum

What’s it Going to Take?
Forums on Making Life Better in Hawaiʻi

What's it Going to Take? Forums on making life better in Hawaiʻi

After Data and Despair, What’s it Going to Take?

 

CEO Message

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO

Live television is known for surprises – and we certainly experienced stunning moments during the very first of our What’s it Going to Take? forums.

 

What we learned is that key data – compiled by Hawai‘i Community Foundation in its CHANGE Framework and emblazoned across the PBS Hawaiʻi screen – struck a very deep chord in many viewers. They viscerally reacted, seeing that their longtime personal silent struggle with Hawaiʻi’s affordability had officially crossed the line into a state crisis.

 

As emotional calls jammed our phone bank during the live telecast, staff members heard crying, yelling and swearing. Never before, in our decades of live television programming, had we heard this level of sustained viewer pain and angst.

 

The statistics seemed to crystallize for many Hawai‘i residents that they just can’t count on things getting better, especially in the area of affordable housing.

 

One of the sobbing viewers, who works as an administrative assistant, said she had just realized that “I’ve been the frog in the pot for 30 years, trying to maintain my life, as the water heated up. Now the water’s boiling and nobody in charge did anything for us frogs.”

 

Besides the stark data, that first live What’s it Going to Take? forum featured a remarkable gathering of top Hawai‘i business leaders from the Hawai‘i Executive Conference. Chair and business magnate Duane Kurisu brought them together to outline what execs have committed to do – step in, analyze and attack entrenched, complex issues. They plan to work collaboratively with government, unions and communities.

 

“…If we work side by
side, we’ll find a lot of our
answers a lot easier.”

Jack Wong
CEO, Kamehameha Schools

 

Left riser, from left: Colbert Matsumoto, Chairman, Tradewind Capital Group; Leslie Wilcox; Robert Nobriga, President, Island Holdings; Bob Harrison, Chairman and CEO, First Hawaiian Bank Center riser, from left: Micah Kāne, CEO and President, Hawai‘i Community Foundation; Duane Kurisu, aio Founder, Hawai‘i Executive Conference Chairman; Catherine Ngo, President and CEO, Central Pacific Bank; Jack Wong, CEO, Kamehameha Schools Right riser, from left: Ann Botticelli, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, Hawaiian Airlines; Rich Wacker, President and CEO, American Savings Bank; Elliott Mills, Vice President and General Manager, Aulani, Disney Resort and Spa

Left riser, from left:
Colbert Matsumoto, Chairman,
Tradewind Capital Group; Leslie
Wilcox; Robert Nobriga, President,
Island Holdings; Bob Harrison,
Chairman and CEO, First Hawaiian
Bank

Center riser, from left:
Micah Kāne, CEO and President,
Hawai‘i Community Foundation;
Duane Kurisu, aio Founder, Hawai‘i
Executive Conference Chairman;
Catherine Ngo, President and CEO,
Central Pacific Bank; Jack Wong,
CEO, Kamehameha Schools

Right riser, from left:
Ann Botticelli, Senior Vice President,
Communications and Public Affairs,
Hawaiian Airlines; Rich Wacker,
President and CEO, American Savings
Bank; Elliott Mills, Vice President and
General Manager, Aulani, Disney
Resort and Spa

 

I’m impressed that these executives appeared before the live cameras for two hours without the safety of scripts, canned speeches or handy public relations officers. In past years, this initiative of resolve from leaders with resources and influence might have been a rallying cry.

 

But seeing those deteriorating quality-of-life numbers had catalyzed residents’ already growing feelings of despair.

 

Callers weren’t much interested in talk about future relief. They asked urgently for bold measures NOW. This as the CEOs, familiar in business with complex issues and long-term planning, were training their efforts on serious, messy problems and medium and long-term solutions – not “band-aid fixes.”

 

It was a disconnect.

 

I believe that over the course of the forum, struggling citizens and earnest senior executives reached across the gulf that separated them and were hearing each other.

 

“I got a little hot under the collar but now I want to thank the business leaders for stepping up. Nobody’s making them do it,” a caller from West Oʻahu said.

 

“We are not okay with the status quo,” said Jack Wong, CEO of the Kamehameha Schools. “…If we work side by side, we’ll find a lot of our answers a lot easier.”

 

Said Micah Kāne, who heads the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation: “There needs to be a civic movement around this.”

 

This executive forum is available online on demand at www.pbshawaii.org/wigttforum

 

The quality of life data is available at www.changeforhawaii.org

 

So far, we’ve held the exec forum and three community-based forums. Our What’s it Going to Take? discussions continue next year, seeking needed change.

Leslie signature

 

 

 

What’s it Going to Take? Executive forum

What's it Going to Take? An executive forum on making life better in Hawaiʻi

 

What’s it Going to Take?

What’s it Going to Take? is an n ongoing community forum on making life better in Hawaiʻi. Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email, Twitter or live blogging. You may also email your questions ahead of time to insights@pbshawaii.org.

What’s it Going to Take?
An executive forum on making life better in Hawaiʻi

What's it Going to Take? - An executive forum on making life better in Hawaiʻi


Click the video above to watch What’s it Going to Take? on demand. Join host Leslie Wilcox for a live 2-hour conversation with top Hawaiʻi executives who bring detailed information and influence to help address deep-seated community problems. These executives are using detailed data* commissioned by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and combining their problem-solving experiences and influence to engage other sectors in a collaborative resolve to make life in Hawaiʻi better.

 

(Original airdate: Thursday, October 24, 2019)

 

Encore broadcasts of this program will air:
Sunday, October 27, 1 pm – 3 pm
Saturday, November 2, 8 pm – 10 pm

 

Hawaiʻi executives appearing on the program:

• Duane Kurisu, aio Founder, Hawaiʻi Executive Conference Chairman
• Catherine Ngo, President and CEO, Central Pacific Bank
• Bob Harrison, Chairman and CEO, First Hawaiian Bank
• Rich Wacker, President and CEO, American Savings Bank
• Micah Kāne, CEO and President, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
• Colbert Matsumoto, Chairman, Tradewind Capital Group
• Jack Wong, CEO, Kamehameha Schools
• Elliot Mills, Vice President and General Manager, Aulani, Disney Resort and Spa
• Robert Nobriga, President, Island Holdings
• Ann Botticelli, Senior Vice President Communications and Public Affairs, Hawaiian Airlines

 

Click the link to learn more about the Change Framework: ChangeforHawaii.org

 

What's it Going to Take statistics: • Almost half of Hawaiʻi residents are barely making ends meet. • 6 out of 10 jobs pay less than a living wage. • 3 out of 4 people earning low wages still need housing. Source: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation

 

 

 

More incumbents sitting out debates?

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I: The set of INSIGHTS

 

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiGeneral Managers of PBS stations across the country met last month for a strategy session, looking at what kind of programming is needed most in our country, and how to make the content more responsive and more interactive.

 

And in this election year of deep divisions and negativity, we compared notes on our television stations’ political debates and other forums. Longtime station managers remarked that they’d never seen so many local incumbents decline to appear with their challengers on live telecasts and live web streams.

 

“These incumbents have the money to create their own messages through advertising, and that’s what they’re doing instead,” said Tom Axtell, the head of Vegas PBS and a member of the PBS Board of Directors. Another GM noted that many candidates no longer feel obligated to appear alongside their competition because they can speak to the public through low-cost social media.

 

In Hawai‘i, we had our share of incumbents turning down participation in our weekly election forum on Insights on PBS Hawai‘i, noting scheduling conflicts. We know that candidates are busy, so we generally ask them early. And we realize that incumbents may not be terribly motivated to let their lesser-known competitors receive statewide air time.

 

In addition, incumbents from 34 Hawai‘i State House and Senate races faced no opposition from another major-party candidate.

 

We even had a challenger withdraw from a General Election forum. That was Honolulu Mayoral candidate and political veteran Charles Djou. His campaign contended that it had never committed to the forum. (Before the Primary Election, Djou did take part in our forum with incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell and former Mayor Peter Carlisle.)

 

The rebuffs by candidates in some major races had a silver lining, freeing up TV time for district races, especially outside Honolulu and beyond O‘ahu. Incumbents and challengers with different ideas sat down at the same table, engaging in some interesting, vigorous and respectful discussions.

 

Viewers could feel the fresh breeze of democracy. At its best, this civil discourse provided much-needed substance and helped voters make their choice at the polls.

 

As Communications Professor John Hart of Hawai‘i Pacific University commented in a Honolulu Civil Beat podcast with reporter Chad Blair last October 10: “I still believe [debates] are our best chance to see past the pseudo-events, the slick advertisements. When you hear someone talk for an hour, you get a sense of who they are.”

 

This public media organization wants to thank all of the election candidates who accepted our invitation to inform voters by answering viewer questions and taking part in civil discourse on Insights on PBS Hawai‘i.

 

A hui hou (until next time)…
Leslie signature