nonprofit

PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS
Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi

 

Opening Comments: Leslie Wilcox with Vera Zambonelli and Shirley Thompson, the producers of Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi

 

 

 

Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi

 

 

 

Closing Comments: Vera Zambonelli and Shirley Thompson

 

 

 

About the Film

 

Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi is an hour-long compilation of six locally produced short films that tells the stories of Hawaiʻi-based women filmmakers, taking them from behind the camera to out in front:

 

–CONNIE M. FLOREZ, Founder, Hula Girl Productions

 

HEATHER HAUNANI GIUGNI, Producer, Family Ingredients; Founder, ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi

 

–VICTORIA KEITH, Producer/camera operator, The Sand Island Story

 

CIARA LEINAʻALA LACY, Writer/producer/director, Out of State

 

–ANNE MISAWA, Director/cinematographer/producer; Associate Professor, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa – Academy for Creative Media

 

JEANNETTE PAULSON HERENIKO, Founding Director, Hawaiʻi International Film Festival

 

The six short films recount each woman’s creative philosophies, challenges and triumphs in contributing to Hawaiʻi’s film industry.

 

The shorts are produced by Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, a nonprofit organization with a mission to redress gender inequity in the film industry. The organization’s executive director, Vera Zambonelli, directed the short film on Paulson Hereniko.

 

Hawaiʻi-based Women Filmmakers

 

REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAIʻI - Hawaiʻi-based women filmmakers: Top row l-r: Connie M. Florez, Heather Haunani Giugni, Victoria Keith. Bottom row l-r: Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy, Anne Misawa, Jeanette Paulson Hereniko.
Top row l-r: Connie M. Florez, Heather Haunani Giugni, Victoria Keith.
Bottom row l-r: Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy, Anne Misawa, Jeanette Paulson Hereniko.

 

“In Hawaiʻi, we have a strong history of women behind the camera, including Native Hawaiians and women of color,” Zambonelli said. “Most of them have never told their stories before, and their accomplishments are great. We need to research, record and disseminate this knowledge to counter the ways that academic and cultural histories regularly neglect women’s authorship and work in film and in the arts in general.”

 

The series was also a training opportunity for young graduates of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking’s educational programs. A team of veteran filmmakers guided the graduates along the production of the six short films. “We envisioned the series as an intergenerational project, where we put our active women filmmakers to work, documenting the stories of veterans of the field, while mentoring and training the next generation of Hawaiʻi women filmmakers,” Zambonelli said.

 

Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi producer Shirley Thompson sums up the importance of showcasing the stories of these and other women filmmakers. “[They] aren’t getting the same opportunities as men, in terms of hiring, pay, access to financing and access to gatekeepers,” she said. “Film is a powerful medium that shapes our very society. If we exclude women from writing those stories, or deciding which stories get told, we are excluding women’s voices from shaping our society and our future.”

 

 

 

REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAIʻI

Cover story by Liberty Peralta, PBS Hawaiʻi

 

REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAIʻI: On the cover, clockwise from top left: Connie Flores, Heather Haunani Giugni, Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, Ciara Leina‘ala Lacy, Victoria Keith and Anne Misawa

 

Since the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017, a spotlight on gender inequity in the historically male-dominated film industry has been shining brighter than ever. In April, PBS Hawaiʻi shines a local spotlight on our Islands’ own women filmmakers with a month-long presentation of their stories.

 

The presentation is anchored by the statewide broadcast premiere of PBS Hawaiʻi Presents: Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi on Thursday, April 30 at 9:00 pm. The hour-long compilation of six locally produced short films tells the stories of these Hawaiʻi-based filmmakers, taking them from behind the camera to out in front:

REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAIʻI Begins Thursday, April 30 at 9:00 pm. This presentation is sponsored by Waimea Valley, Hawaiian Airlines, DUNKIN' and PASHA HAWAII
CONNIE M. FLOREZ
Founder, Hula Girl Productions

 

HEATHER HAUNANI GIUGNI
Producer, Family Ingredients
Founder, ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni
Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi

 

VICTORIA KEITH
Producer/camera operator, The Sand Island Story

 

CIARA LEINA‘ALA LACY
Writer/producer/director, Out of State

 

ANNE MISAWA
Director/cinematographer/producer
Associate Professor, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa-
Academy for Creative Media

 

JEANNETTE PAULSON HERENIKO
Founding Director, Hawaiʻi International Film Festival

The six short films recount each woman’s creative philosophies, challenges and triumphs in contributing to Hawaiʻi’s film industry.

 

The shorts are produced by Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, a nonprofit organization with a mission to redress gender inequity in the film industry. The organization’s executive director, Vera Zambonelli, directed the short film on Paulson Hereniko.

 

Anne Misawa, Jeanette Paulson Hereniko and Connie M. Florez

 

“In Hawaiʻi, we have a strong history of women behind the camera, including Native Hawaiians and women of color,” Zambonelli said. “Most of them have never told their stories before, and their accomplishments are great. We need to research, record and disseminate this knowledge to counter the ways that academic and cultural histories regularly neglect women’s authorship and work in film and in the arts in general.”

 

The series was also a training opportunity for young graduates of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking’s educational programs. A team of veteran filmmakers guided the graduates along the production of the six short films. “We envisioned the series as an intergenerational project, where we put our active women filmmakers to work, documenting the stories of veterans of the field, while mentoring and training the next generation of Hawaiʻi women filmmakers,” Zambonelli said.

 

Victoria Keith, Hether Haunani Giugni and Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy

 

Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi producer Shirley Thompson sums up the importance of showcasing the stories of these and other women filmmakers. “[They] aren’t getting the same opportunities as men, in terms of hiring, pay, access to financing and access to gatekeepers,” she said. “Film is a powerful medium that shapes our very society. If we exclude women from writing those stories, or deciding which stories get told, we are excluding women’s voices from shaping our society and our future.”

 

As part of our month-long celebration of Hawaiʻi women filmmakers, PBS Hawaiʻi will air these encore presentations:

 

PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS

Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall
Directed and produced by Marlene Booth
Thursday, April 2, 9:00 pm


LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX

Heather Haunani Giugni
Tuesday, April 7, 7:30 pm


PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS

Under a Jarvis Moon
Co-directed and co-produced by Heather Haunani Giugni
Thursday, April 9, 9:00 pm


LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX

Ciara Leina‘ala Lacy
Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 pm


PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS

Out of State
Directed and co-produced by Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy
Thursday, April 16, 9:00 pm


PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS

Strange Land: My Mother’s War Bride Story
Directed by Stephanie Castillo
Thursday, April 23, 9:00 pm


LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX

Jeannette Paulson Hereniko
Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm


 

 

 

LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX
Paula Kerger

 

As the longest-serving President and CEO of PBS national, Paula Kerger oversees media content that’s distributed to more than 330 public television stations. Growing up in rural Maryland, Kerger had dreams of becoming a veterinarian, but in adulthood, found her calling in the nonprofit sector. In addition to reflecting on her childhood and career, Kerger shares her thoughts on leadership, finding your path in life, and navigating an ever-changing media landscape.

 

This program will be rebroadcast on Sunday, Mar. 29, at 4:00 pm and 11:30 pm.

 

Paula Kerger Audio

 

Download the Transcript

 

Transcript

   

The greatest opportunities in life are when you take the risk. And I always say it’s, you know, akin to jumping out of an airplane. I’ve never done that by the way. But, you know, you don’t have to jump out of an airplane. You know, you can live a very happy life without doing that. But if you want the exhilaration of an experience, then you’ve got to be willing to lean forward and let go.

   

She’s the President and CEO of the national Public Broadcasting Service, PBS. Meet Paula Kerger, visiting from Virginia, next on Long Story Short.

   

One-on-one engaging conversations with some of Hawaiʻi’s most intriguing people. Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox.

   

Aloha mai kākou, I’m Leslie Wilcox. My guest is a fellow President and Chief Executive Officer in public television – on a much larger scale. Paula Kerger heads the Public Broadcasting Service, PBS. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the national nonprofit media organization provides wide-ranging, high-quality programming for more than 330 locally owned public television stations, including PBS Hawai‘i. During Kerger’s tenure, PBS has markedly grown its audience and brought to American homes the blockbuster television series Downton Abbey on MASTERPIECE, The Vietnam War film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and the educational children’s series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Kerger has headed PBS since 2006, making her the longest-serving CEO in the organization’s history. Before her grown-up ventures in public-service fundraising and educational media, Kerger spent her childhood in a country town outside Baltimore, Maryland. There, a special family member taught her a thing or two about responsibility and serving others.

   

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was a kid. I loved being outside. I loved animals. So actually, my first idea was that I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved, you know, working with animals. We had dogs and cats. I had a horse when I was little.

   

How old were you when you had a horse? And that’s every – I mean this is a stereotype, but many, many girls dream of having a horse.

   

I think most girls dream of having a horse. And, you know, the thing was, my aunt had horses and I was very close with her. She and I are only about twelve years apart. So she in many ways was more like a sister to me. And, you know, so I rode from the time I was little. I have pictures of me probably, you know, a year or two sort of propped up on the horse behind her. And so every year, like for Christmas Horse was my Christmas list. That was actually all I asked for. And so I think I was like eleven or twelve, twelve maybe when I got the horse and I got the horse at that age because my parents felt that I was old enough that I would be responsible for taking care of it. And it was I think that, you know, I’m not suggesting every parent go out and buy their child a horse. And we lived in the country. I kept the horse at home. But every morning before I went to school, I had to carry heavy water buckets down to the barn and feed the horse, put the horse out, you know, bring it back at night, brush it and take care of it. And I think that kind of responsibility, I mean, you can do this with goldfish as well.

   

But I think, you know, whatever it is, I think that there’s something about having that kind of responsibility, particularly when you’re young. The other thing about horses that are interesting is that they’re really large animals. And there is – I think that especially for girls, it’s empowering. Girls develop deep bonds with their horses. I certainly did with mine. And both the freedom of being able to ride and, you know, to have this relationship with an animal that you’re not controlling in the same way that I think sometimes you might be tempted to try to control other things in your life. You develop mutual respect. And that’s what I think is also was really important in my relationship with my horse.

   

Did you name your horse?

   

My horse came with the name and his name was Raven. This was before the football team. But he was… he was really wonderful.

   

Can you see how that discipline and that relationship translated to your later life?

   

Yeah. I mean, I think I’m a highly responsible person. And I think part of that is you learn those lessons early when you have the responsibility of a horse or a dog or an animal or I mean, I don’t mean to put children in the same bucket, but when you have the responsibility for someone or something else, that has to come before you. And so, there were many afternoons that I would want to do something with my friends or maybe just stay inside and read or whatever. But when someone is counting on you or something is counting on you, that has to come first. And I think that’s a really important lesson to learn at a young age. That sense of something larger than me.

   

One of the biggest human influences in Paula Kerger’s life was her grandfather, who lived next door to her childhood home in rural Maryland. His diverse interests and skills set the stage for what would come much later for Kerger.

   

Grandfather was a professor. And so he was a scientist, but he was also a great artist. And I think that those two pieces of him really influenced me a lot.

   

Right brain, left brain.

   

Yeah, exactly. He really helped kindle my interest in science. He was a physics professor. And so he did a lot of work in microwave technology. In fact, he started the public radio station in Baltimore. And so I think my path into public media was perhaps destined because of his influence. But he also was involved with the local theater, and he was involved in all the tech work. But he was a great storyteller. Some of my greatest memories when I was a kid was sitting with him and he would just spin these amazing stories about make-believe stories about animals in the woods and all these other kind of things. And it’s just, I think it was probably one of the most fundamental formational things for me is growing up with someone that had that great creativity that shared that with.

   

I’m sure grandparents who hear this will be very pleased.

   

Yeah.

   

And your parents, what were they like?

   

My mother worked out of the home and my father was an engineer. And so, he also was very science-based. He was more of an authoritarian type. He went to the Citadel, which is the West Point of the South, for those that don’t know what that is.

   

Hardcore discipline.

   

Very hardcore discipline. And so I think that’s also where my grandparents actually then came in.

   

They were the refuge.

   

As I think is often with kids. You know, the parents are the ones that set all the rules and the grandparents are ones that bend them a little bit. But I grew up in a house where music was really important. We had a lot of Broadway show albums and we listened to music a lot and we were very engaged in the community. Both of my parents were very big volunteers. And so from the time that I was little, I was involved in everything from going door to door to raise money for the heart fund, to – my father was a football coach. And so, you know, I would – probably the most mortifying thing I ever did when I was a kid is when practice was canceled because of the weather, he would give me a list of all the boys to call to tell them they didn’t have to show up for practice. And most of them were about my age. And it was just mortifying to have to go through and call everybody at home and say, you know, to come to practice, goodbye.

   

That’s funny. Now, speaking of the make-believe stories your grandfather told, the schools you attended in that rural area also sound like a make-believe land.

   

I know.

   

Featherbed Lane Elementary?

   

I went to Featherbed Lane Elementary. It’s like, where did you go to school? I went to Featherbed Lane Elementary. And then Johnnycake Junior High.

   

Johnnycakes? Where does that name come from? Johnnycake Junior High.

   

Johnnycakes oh, or something – this all goes back actually to the – in the case of Featherbed Lane, I think that’s probably more Revolutionary War. But Civil War, you know, and Johnnycakes were something that were made that actually soldiers carried in their packs. And I think that, you know, people find them so unusual. But I think it’s a reminder that that part of the country, Maryland is one of the original colonies, has a very different history than Hawai‘i. And so I think part of even the names of those schools are reflective of a different culture.

   

And what was high school?

   

High school was a normal named high school.

   

Okay.

   

So I went to Randallstown High School, and Randallstown was the adjacent town. So that’s like a regular school name.

   

After high school, Paula Kerger’s love of science and animals inspired her to work toward becoming a veterinarian. But things didn’t quite pan out the way she wanted.

   

Veterinarian school, at least now – it’s harder to get into than med school.

   

Well, that is what happened when I entered college because I realized as I was applying to college that how difficult it was gonna be uhh, to become a veterinarian. So when I applied to college, I actually applied for pre-med. And I have an uncle that’s a pediatrician and I have a great, I think she must be a great aunt, who was a very early doctor. So I also had a little bit of that in my family and I thought, okay, I may not be able to get into veterinary school, but maybe I can get into medical school. I mean, how weird does that sound?

   

But anyway, so I started pre-med and I really loved it until I hit organic chemistry, which I failed. And I, you know, it’s the great leveler I’ve come to find out.

   

That’s so true. How many people have said that?

   

Yeah, organic chemistry. And then suddenly I was in an existential discussion in my head about my future. And I decided that I would take a lot of humanities classes because I was really interested. I loved from the time I was little, I’ve loved to read. And in fact, one of my earliest memories was getting my library card and my town was small. We didn’t even have a library. We had the bookmobile. And I remember going to the bookmobile. And you had to be able to sign your name to get a library card and practicing and practicing –

   

Ohh..

   

– so I could get my library card and then the whole world opened. And so I’ve always loved to read. So I took a lot of literature classes. I took some comparative religion classes and so forth. And it was, you know, it was just great. But then I thought, I’m going to live in my parents’ house for the rest of my life because there’s no jobs I’m preparing myself for. So, I went into business school and I’d been working. I started working when I was 16. My first job was at McDonald’s. And I’d worked through college and I’d worked for a group of banks. And I didn’t really think I wanted to work in finance. But I knew that if I had a business degree – I was really interested in marketing. And I thought, you know, maybe there’s some path and there’s some way. Graduated from school with my business degree, not a clue what I was going to do with my life. And I tell kids this all the time because I think a lot of kids think that you need to have your life planned out. And I was, you know, I had this now-checkered college career. All of my really difficult science courses at all colleges, electives. I had this, you know, I’d taken other classes that I think ultimately it’s funny, when I back up and look at my college life, I actually have a pretty well-rounded, you know, generalist degree based on all the things I did. But I started looking for a job. And at the time in the want ads and I mostly was looking for marketing jobs and I went on some pretty terrible interviews. And one day, I stumbled on an ad in the newspaper for a job working for UNICEF in Baltimore, which is where I’d grown up. And I went and interviewed for the job, was completely unqualified for a job. It was running their office in Baltimore. But the guy who interviewed me called me back and he said, you know, you’re not qualified for this job, but would you be interested in coming to Washington and working for UNICEF in our office there? And I took that job and it was just an amazing moment because I never realized you could work in the nonprofit sector. I thought that’s just something you did. I thought that you volunteered and you did these things to pay back. But it just never – I’d never really put the pieces together. There were actually people in those organizations that actually managed them and did the work.

   

Paula Kerger’s nonprofit career would take her to New York City, where she’d always dreamed of living. After working in fundraising at several nonprofit organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera House, she received a challenging and life-changing job offer – to head fundraising at the New York City flagship PBS station, WNET. At the time, the station was going through financial woes.

   

They had started a big capital campaign. Our station in New York had had a lot of difficulties. They’d gone through a couple layoffs. And I thought, you know, this is gonna be a very difficult job and, you know, all the other jobs I had interviewed, I knew for sure that I was going to be successful in it. And this one, I wasn’t quite sure. They’d had all these financial issues and it wasn’t- I wasn’t really clear that it was gonna be successful. But I think oftentimes the greatest opportunities in life are when you take the risk. And I always say it’s, you know, akin to jumping out of an airplane. I’ve never done that by the way. But, you know, you don’t have to jump out of an airplane. You know, you can live a very happy life without doing that. But if you want the exhilaration of an experience, then you’ve got to be willing to lean forward and let go. And you don’t get there by yourself. A lot of people help you. And I imagine that it has to be the most amazing experience. And you don’t have to ever do it again, by the way. But, you know, it also can change your life. And so for me, it was that job. You know, I took the job and it was really difficult. But it changed my life. I did that work for a few years. We raised a significant amount of money for the station. And then I was starting to think about, oh, I wonder what I might do next? And the then-president said, would you be interested in becoming our station manager? That was the second really risky decision for me because suddenly I was gonna be the boss of people that had been my colleagues. And that’s the hardest, I think, career change when you move into a role where suddenly you’re in a different relationship with people that had been peers. And it was really hard, but it was again, coming into public television was hugely important. That probably was the pivotal move because it was from that position that I actually got the call to come to PBS.

   

Now, there are very few people who run national organizations, especially those with a lot of constituencies. I mean, you have 330 or so public media stations that are members of PBS.

   

Yeah.

   

And then of course, there are politics and there are filmmakers. I mean, it’s daunting. I mean, I can just imagine people saying I could do this part of it, but not that, not this and not all at the same time.

   

It’s complicated. And I always say, you know, if you want a lesson in humility, run a federated organization, because that’s how we’re structured. I think a lot of people don’t understand PBS.

   

Essentially it’s a co-op.

   

Yes, it’s like a co-op we’re a- we’re a federated system. So every station is individual, locally owned, locally operated, locally governed.

   

And many fiercely local.

   

Fiercely local, fiercely independent. And the stations themselves, as you know, formed PBS as an opportunity to bring together the resources and create scale across the entire country to invest in programing and content that would enrich all.

   

So essentially they’re the bosses, but you lead them.

   

Right.

   

That’s unwieldy.

   

So a lot of responsibility, not absolute authority.

   

I mean the mission makes a big difference. But there are a lot of differences in how our 330 stations operate.

   

Right, and as people travel around the country and see different stations, you see that not every public television station is exactly the same, which is what makes it, I think, such an unbelievably important and rich organization because we are absolutely anchored at the local level. And I think of this station in particular, you do so much great work-

   

Thank you.

   

–that really talks about this community and the people that are here. And you’re able to do that because you’re from here. And the people that are in the station live here and are committed to making this community as vibrant and important as all the people that live here expect it to be. And that’s what our best public television stations do.

   

Your job right now is pretty much managing change – change in many aspects of the organization as you look at the country and media platforms and what people are interested in, how they communicate.

   

Yeah. We are right now in an extraordinary sea change in media as there’s so much change in the way that people are consuming content. And for those of our stations who have been very happy being just broadcast stations to be pushed to understand that, yes, people will watch programing on their television station, but they’ll also stream and they’ll also be able to acquire content in multiple ways.

   

The whole concept of broadcasting has vastly expanded.

   

It has been completely stretched. And so, to get people to agree that the world has changed and that we’re going to work together is complicated. And you can only do it if you build trust. And that’s why the job — I’ve been in the job 14 years, to be honest, because it has evolved so much. When I first took this job, Apple had announced that they were going to sell episodes of Desperate Housewives for $1.99. And you think about that now and it’s like, oh!

   

That’s just you know, that seems so long ago.

   

It seems so long ago.

   

No Facebook; Netflix was sending you discs in the mail. I mean, the world was completely different. And the fact that it continues to change to me makes this really exciting. And to encourage this whole generation of younger people that are coming into public media to really think widely about what we can be is really exciting.

   

PBS National President and CEO Paula Kerger says that being the head of an organization, especially one that reaches across the country and requires extensive travel, can be lonely. But she has support from a key person in her life.

   

You can’t be a leader and make everyone happy all the time. I mean, that’s the — and again, I talked to young people who are thinking about their careers or actually as I’ve mentored people that are making career decisions. You have to be really honest about what it means to be leader. It’s lonely at times because you- you are very much aware that the buck stops with you. You also need to make the right decisions for the organization. And sometimes those are very hard decisions, particularly when it relates to other people. But you also need to be compassionate. You need to listen really carefully. I think you need to be able to make decisions. I see leaders fumble because they can’t, you know, they need more information, more information. You’re never going to perfect information, but you need to be able to move with deliberate haste and be able to work with your team in charting a direction and provide that leadership.

   

What does it look like to be this national leader with all these constituencies and- and a personal life and you’ve got external stakeholders, you’ve got so many people within the system.

   

Look, I was a first time CEO when I took this job and I looked to people that I trusted, as I have through my entire career. Actually I still do even 14 years into this job, you would think, I know what I’m doing. I do think I know what I’m doing. But we’re always coming into circumstances in our lives that are new and different and challenging. And so I think what has made the biggest difference for me and I think has really also contributed to the richness of my life is that I look to people that I trust that I can talk to. My husband is one. He’s been my biggest proponent. Oftentimes when I’ve looked at jobs and haven’t been sure that —

   

Is he in education or media?

   

Well, he is a — he’s a writer, but- and he worked for Norman Lear years ago. But his advice is really more about me personally. And, you know, I think that many of us and I think unfortunately more women have a tendency to do this, is we hold ourselves back. We wait for someone to tap our shoulder and say, here, we want you to take this opportunity. Or we will tell you all the reasons why we’re probably not the right person.

   

As you did in that job interview.

   

Well I’ve done it at multiple interviews. Let me tell you maybe why I’m not the right person and not recognizing that no one interviews for a job that’s perfect in every way. And he is a, he has been a great supporter of mine, in part because of the way he was brought up. His father died when he was 5 and was left with six kids and her husband, it was a traditional family, didn’t let her work, and suddenly she had six kids and no money. And he tells a story which, you know, again, this is in our lifetime, Leslie. She worked overnights, so she’d be home to put the kids on the bus to go to school. She wanted to get a credit card and she went to the bank and they asked if she had an uncle or brother that could come and co-sign ’cause she was a woman and she was at the bank with her 10 year old son, and the bank officer said, I have an idea. My 10 year old husband cosigned a credit card so she could get her first credit card. He’s had that credit card ever since.

   

He signed as a 10 year old?

   

As a 10 year old.

   

They allowed him to?

   

Because he was a boy.

   

Ohh.

   

And so I think that, you know, when- and so when you come up like in that kind of story and you watch your mother really struggling to put food on the table and to keep the family together, it changes you. And he has been my biggest advocate because he looks at me and he looks at what I’ve accomplished in my life and knows that I don’t always get, even to this day, the benefit. I can’t tell you how many events I go to, and people say, oh let me introduce you to the president of PBS, and they shake my husband’s hand. Still to this day –

   

To this day.

   

– you and I both know this. And so I think that we’re blessed in our life. We have people that are our “yes.” And he has very much been my “yes.” So that’s probably the most personal story I can tell you.

   

And you’re always traveling or you’re often traveling. You have long work hours, but that still works for you. A longtime marriage.

   

Longtime marriage.

   

With your high school sweetheart.

   

With my high school sweetheart. And, you know, it’s like I prioritize my life. And even as much as I love my job, my husband does come first. And I think that, you know, again, I think about life is all balance. I believe that, you know, you have your professional life, which is important, but it is not your entire life. I think you have your personal life and your personal relationships, friendships, family. That is very important and that has to be cultivated. And it doesn’t just happen. I see a lot of people that get into trouble because they just assume family will always be there. You know, you have to nurture that relationship. Your physical self, I think is really important, and your community self what you give back. But I think that you don’t always have it in the equal balance. But I think all of those pieces are what makes a whole person. And when I finally leave this world, I want to feel like I’ve made this world a little better. Which was the- the “a-ha” moment when I got my very first job and I realized I could earn a paycheck and actually feel like I’ve done something that made a difference. And that’s really the core of me.

   

Paula Kerger, President and CEO of the national PBS, is gamely navigating changes of many kinds in the media industry—including technology and media formats, generational preferences, increasing polarization of opinions, and funding sources. She wants young people who are trying to chart out the rest of their lives to know that there’s no such thing as a straight-and-narrow life path. Life, she says, is truly a journey. In her words, “why would you close any doors?” Mahalo to Paula Kerger, visiting Hawai‘i from the East Coast, for sharing her story with us. And mahalo to you for joining us. For PBS Hawai‘i and Long Story Short, I’m Leslie Wilcox. Aloha nui.

   

So I was in umm, International House. I got a call one day umm, from a headhunter asking if I’d be interested in working at the Metropolitan Opera. Now, I love music. Didn’t really know a lot about opera, but I’ve always wanted to work in the arts and almost talked myself out of the job, you know, because when I went to the interview, I said, you know, I don’t really know anything about opera and I’m not sure I’m the best person for you to hire. This is not the way you should conduct an interview.

   

And how old are you at this point?

   

Oh, I was 30, I guess.

   

Okay.

   

And the guy that was interviewing me who was the head of development at the Met said, “Do you like music? Do you like opera?” And I said yes. I said, “I just don’t know as much as I’m sure other people that could be interviewing for this job.” And he said, “We don’t want fans at the stage door. We want people that are really serious and that really are interested in this work.” If one had asked when I was a kid, “What would I have thought my career path?” Working at the Metropolitan Opera? Of course not. I mean, that was just crazy.

   

For audio and written transcripts of all episodes of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox visit PBSHawaii.org. To download podcasts of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox go to the apple iTunes store or visit PBSHawaii.org.

   

 

[END]

   

 

 

Another “Highest Possible” Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator!

Another “Highest Possible” Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator!

CEO Message

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO

I sometimes feel like Forrest Gump when I open my office mail. It’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

 

Look inside and there may be notice of a snag in funding, a delay in expected tech equipment, or a demand for the retraction of a statement made on a television program not even carried by this station.

 

The other day, opening the mail was all joy – like finding a dark chocolate truffle, my favorite. Among the notes, viewer P.F. hand-wrote: “You have the best television programming in Hawaiʻi … Keep up the excellent work!” Viewer G.H. wrote, “You rocked my world with that NOVA special!”

 

And the sweetest chocolate of all in the mailbag: a formal letter from the head of the data-driven national nonprofit analyst Charity Navigator, informing us that we’d once again attained the best overall score possible – four out of four stars.

Charity Navigator: Four Star Charity Rating

“Only 32% of the charities
we evaluate have
received at least 2
consecutive 4-star
evaluations, indicating
that PBS Hawaiʻi
outperforms most other
charities in America.”

Michael Thatcher
President and CEO

The company’s President and CEO, Michael Thatcher, let us know that the company had assessed our financial health as strong. And we scored a perfect 100% rating in accountability and transparency.

 

Great news! It’s truly important to us to steward operations and funding, and to make forward-thinking, strategic decisions. I share the four-star news with you, because it is our wonderful donors and supporters who placed PBS Hawai‘i in this solid position. Thank you! We’re mindful that you voluntarily give to support our programming and services, and it fills the heart.

 

Our Board of Directors and Staff take nothing for granted. After all, each year brings to most nonprofit organizations headwinds of some kind – whether they be economic, programmatic, legal or political.

 

As PBS Hawai‘i greets the new year, we savor this moment in time, and feel profoundly grateful for our fellow Islanders and others who uphold us, as we uphold our non-profit, non-partisan mission.

 

And it’s a mission that’s better than the biggest emporium of the finest chocolates.

 

It speaks to building community and a stronger democracy. With your backing, we convene diverse voices, and share learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches lives.

 

May your 2020 be full of health and happiness,

Leslie signature

 

 

 

The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague

The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague

 

THE WILD PONIES OF CHINCOTEAGUE follows the annual Chincoteague wild pony swim and auction, as well as one teenager’s journey to buy her first foal. The one-hour documentary begins with a legend. In the 17th century, a Spanish galleon crashed off the Virginia coast. In the hold was a band of ponies. The sinking ship fractured on the shoals, spilling the ponies into the Atlantic Ocean. The ponies swam for their lives and reached the barrier island of Assateague. Their descendants roam free on the island today. Ownership of the herd now belongs to the volunteer fire company on nearby Chincoteague Island. To keep the population in check, the firemen hold an annual auction and sell the foals. Buyers come from across the country and Canada for a chance to bid on a Chincoteague pony. Sabrina Dobbins, a teenager who has struggled with depression, is attending the auction this year to find a pony to help with her recovery. Her dream of owning one of the wild Chincoteague ponies is being realized by a local nonprofit that helps deserving children purchase an auction foal. With her hand held high, the auctioneer barks “Sold!” and, just like that, Sabrina happily becomes the proud owner of Blessing the pony.

 

 

 

Board Chair Jason Fujimoto Steps Down, But Not Away

 

CEO Message

 

Board Chair Jason Fujimoto Steps Down, But Not Away

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOBecause of time constraints in assuming a new business role, PBS Hawai‘i’s Board Chair Jason Fujimoto of Hawai‘i Island has elected to step down from our nonprofit’s chairmanship, while continuing to serve on our Board.

 

At age 38, Jason is the new President and CEO of Hilo-based HPM Building Supply, supporting residential building statewide. He’s the fifth-generation President of the family-founded, employee-owned business.

 

Jason will be succeeded as Board Chair July 1 by current Vice Chair Joanne Lo Grimes, an attorney and Co-Chair of the law firm Carlsmith Ball.

 

Before Jason turns over the reins, I want to honor him for his integrity, skills and steadfastness in supporting and governing this nonprofit through rapid evolution.

 

Board Chair Jason Fujimoto with Leslie WilcoxHe’s had two tours of duty, amounting to a decade of unpaid service, most of them on the Board Executive Committee, including three years as Chair. He joined the first time in 2008, just before the state felt the impact of the Great Recession. In succession came the big switch from analog to digital broadcast transmission; the television equivalent of a heart transplant – high-definition TV; expanded local programming; the birth of HIKI NŌ: The Nation’s First Statewide Student News Network; the rise of social media as a new platform for engagement and video programming; and the successful capital campaign to buy land and build a replacement multimedia home in Kalihi Kai.

 

Jason returned to the Board just after we moved into our new facility. He led the organization in adopting a new three-year strategic plan. In cloudy times for media enterprises and nonprofits, the plan is clear.

 

There’s a feeling we’re all on the same path and same page, in part because different perspectives and ideas can be argued and adopted safely and productively.

 

“As Chair, my style is to create the conditions that foster the greatest amount of collaboration and discussion, and support the CEO,” Jason said.

 

A former Wall Street analyst, Jason is a member of the Omidyar Forum of Fellows and the leadership group Hawai‘i Asia Pacific Association (HAPA).

 

“I really enjoy being with everyone on the PBS Hawai‘i Board. We have a lot to learn from each other,” he said.

 

For me personally, I’ve internalized much of the guidance Jason gave me, and I’m grateful for this lifelong gift.

 

Overall, Jason, thank you from the heart for continuing to strengthen and polish this community treasure that is PBS Hawai‘i.

 

Aloha Nui,

Leslie signature


 

The Evolution of HIKI NŌ

 

COVER STORY: The Evolution of HIKI NŌ by Robert Pennybacker - Director, Learning Initiatives, PBS Hawaiʻi

 

Students from O‘ahu’s Ka‘ala Elementary School in Wahiawā

Students from O‘ahu’s Ka‘ala Elementary School

 

Launching a New Season
Thursday, February 7, 7:30 pm

 

When HIKI NŌ premiered on February 28, 2011, the HIKI NŌ students from Ka‘ala Elementary School who grace the cover of this program guide were toddlers. The Maui Waena Intermediate School students who hosted that first episode are now seniors in college. If the students have matured over the eight years HIKI NŌ has been on the air, so has the program.

 

Eight years ago, a weekly half-hour show in which middle and high school students write, report, shoot and edit PBS-quality news features on topics that they selected was inconceivable. Before going on the air, the premise of HIKI NŌ (which means “Can Do” in the Hawaiian language) was based on the supposition that the same professional quality found in news stories already being created at Wai‘anae High School’s Searider media program could be duplicated in other schools across the islands. Nobody knew if this grand experiment would work.

 

Not only did it work – it flourished beyond expectations and spread to 90 public, charter, and private schools throughout state – including four elementary schools!

 

Clockwise from top left: Students from Maui’s Seabury Hall School, A student from O‘ahu’s Aliamanu Middle School with Pearl Harbor attack witness Jimmy Lee at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Students from Maui's Lahaina Intermediate School, Students from Kauaʻi's Kapaʻa Middle School

Clockwise from top left: Students from Maui’s Seabury Hall School, A student from O‘ahu’s  Aliamanu Middle School with Pearl Harbor attack witness Jimmy Lee at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Students from Maui’s Lahaina Intermediate School, Students from Kauaʻi’s Kapaʻa Middle School

 

HIKI NŌ has thrived because of its unique intersection of two distinct worlds: The education world and the real-life world of a public television station that must uphold the standards of its broadcast and online content.

 

The rigorous experience of refining their stories to meet PBS national standards has helped HIKI NŌ students to dominate national digital media competitions. At the Student Television Network’s 2018 Fall Challenge, Hawai‘i’s HIKI NŌ schools garnered 33% of the awards given out for that competition. Hawai‘i took home the most awards of any state (13), followed by California (10) and Florida (5).

 

After the launch of the program, teachers and others from the education world began to notice that the HIKI NŌ experience taught students much more than how to tell stories with pictures and sound. It helped them to develop the basic skills needed to survive in the new, global economy: critical thinking, creative problem solving, adaptability, collaboration, teamwork and entrepreneurialism. The recognition that these skills are essential to students’ success in college and beyond has led to dynamic partnerships between HIKI NŌ/PBS Hawai‘i and the state’s Early College and P-20 programs.

 

A core group of HIKI NŌ teachers informally known as Hawai‘i Creative Media proved to be the most effective trainers of other HIKI NŌ teachers and their students. Their importance to the process became so evident that they organized themselves as a nonprofit organization – the Hawai‘i Creative Media Foundation – whose mission is to provide students and teachers across the state with training in basic digital media skills.

 

The state’s CTE (Career Technology Education) program and the Department of Education have recognized the importance of this training and are making plans to fund the Hawai‘i Creative Media-led teacher/student workshops. Up until now these workshops have been paid for by PBS Hawai‘i. This shift toward the educational institutions funding the training of its teachers and students represents a sea change for HIKI NŌ. It acknowledges that the educators are equal partners in the HIKI NŌ process and brings into focus the distinct roles that the two worlds must play: Hawai‘i’s educators teach Hawai‘i’s students, while PBS Hawai‘i provides them with the real-world, professional experience, plus statewide (broadcast) and worldwide (online) platforms for their voices to be heard.

 

 

 

The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i

 

CEO Message

The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i
The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i: Pictured, from left: Norm Baker - Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer; Zi Jun - McKinley High School senior; Connie Mitchell - Institute for Human Services Executive Director; Nani Medeiros - single mother and nonprofit director

Pictured, from left: Norm Baker – Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer; Zi Jun – McKinley High School senior; Connie Mitchell – Institute for Human Services Executive Director; Nani Medeiros – single mother and nonprofit director

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOHow many times have you seen or heard something that makes you feel anxious about the future of Hawai‘i? And how many times have you shaken off the thought, as day-to-day life calls you back, with its challenges and pressures? You know that your passing thoughts will return. Your concerns persist.

 

Perhaps that’s one reason why the statewide viewership of Insights on PBS Hawai‘i has doubled in the last two years. For one hour, on Thursday evenings from 8 to 9 pm, we explore one of the quality-of-life issues that are tugging at all of us.

 

The power of the hour is the different perspectives presented. For example, on March 1, our subject was the Islands’ tens of thousands of “working poor.” The Aloha United Way had published a study showing that in 2015-2016, about a third of Hawai‘i’s working households struggled to make ends meet. (An additional 11 percent of Hawai‘i’s households were living in poverty.)

 

I was moved by Insights guest Nani Medeiros, matter-of-fact and thoughtful, as she spoke of being on the high end of the working-poor spectrum. The single mother of a young daughter runs a small nonprofit organization. Born and raised in Hawai‘i and of part-Hawaiian ancestry, Nani never expected to live anywhere else. However, she sees a changing Hawai‘i that she and her daughter may need to leave.

 

“We’re getting by just fine…but there’s never going to be any huge ‘getting ahead’ for us,” she said, “I’m almost 100 percent certain I’ll never be able to buy my own home. Saving for a [down payment] is completely out of grasp.” Last year, she said, her rent increased by $300 a month: “That’s huge.”

 

High school senior Zi Jun said that his immigrant parents live with the stress of debt, even though they work hard to support the family. For all they do to keep the family fed, clothed and housed, they derive precious little time to spend with Zi and his sister.

 

“I see my parents coming home every night, and they’re not happy,” he said.

 

Aloha United Way’s Chief Operating Officer Norm Baker and Connie Mitchell, who leads the Institute for Human Services, pointed out that there’s help available for homeless people who will accept it, but our society is missing a “preventative piece” to keep the working poor from falling into homelessness due to an illness or accident. A short-term subsidy could stabilize a highly vulnerable household and prevent society from incurring higher costs.

 

During Insights’ one hour of live television and live streaming, viewers gain reliable information, and they get an idea of what it’s like to live in someone else’s skin. Different perspectives can yield understanding. We believe a common understanding builds respect – which, in turn, can generate trust and positive action.

 

Insights is currently the second most-watched locally produced program on PBS Hawai‘i (after Nā Mele: Traditions in Hawaiian Song). According to market research, Insights draws men and women viewers in equal numbers and attracts viewers evenly from every household income level from $35,000 to $150,000.

 

Aloha nui,

 

Leslie signature

 

 

On March 8, Whole Foods Market will donate 5% of Hawai‘i net sales to PBS Hawai‘i

PBS Hawaii

For questions regarding this press release, contact:
Liberty Peralta
lperalta@pbshawaii.org
808.462.5030

 

Download this Press Release

 

Students from Waiakea High School in Hilo are among those from the 90 public, private and charter schools across the Islands in HIKI NŌ, PBS Hawai‘i’s flagship digital learning initiative, which will benefit from Whole Foods Market’s Community Giving Day.HONOLULU – Whole Foods Market Hawai‘i has selected PBS Hawai‘i as its statewide nonprofit partner for its upcoming Community Giving Day on Wednesday, March 8.

 

Pictured: Students from Waiakea High School in Hilo are among those from the 90 public, private and charter schools across the Islands in HIKI NŌ, PBS Hawai‘i’s flagship digital learning initiative, which will benefit from Whole Foods Market’s Community Giving Day.

 

That day, five percent of net sales from all three Whole Foods Market locations in Hawai‘i – Kahala and Kailua on O‘ahu, and Kahului on Maui – will go toward supporting PBS Hawai‘i’s mission of advancing learning and discovery through its video programming.

 

Whole Foods Market hosts Community Giving Days twice a year to benefit local nonprofits. These initiatives are part of the company’s core values and commitment to serving and supporting local and global communities.

 

“We are thrilled to partner with PBS Hawai‘i, as we have a shared interest in providing the highest quality products,” says Annalee England, Whole Foods Market Kahului Store Team Leader. “Whole Foods Market does so through our selection of the best natural, organic and locally sourced foods, and PBS Hawai‘i through their incomparable programming for the whole family.”

 

PBS Hawai‘i’s statewide digital learning initiative, HIKI NŌ, will benefit from the Community Giving Day. Through this program, PBS Hawai‘i offers free digital storytelling training for the program’s 90 participating public, private and charter schools across the Islands. The student video stories that result from this training are showcased online at pbshawaii.org, and on Thursday nights at 7:30 on PBS Hawai‘i.

 

Since its launch in 2011, HIKI NŌ has served more than 4,800 students. More than half of HIKI NŌ schools are Title I, the federal designation of schools with at least 40 percent of students coming from low-income families.

 

“With HIKI NŌ, PBS Hawai‘i is bridging serious educational and socioeconomic gaps,” says Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO. “This partnership with Whole Foods Market will help us with this important work in our island communities – some as near as those in PBS Hawai‘i’s own neighborhood of Kalihi, and as far and remote as South Point on Hawai‘i Island.”

 

Other programs produced locally by PBS Hawai‘i include the live, weekly community affairs program Insights on PBS Hawai‘i, the half-hour interview program Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox and the Hawaiian music series Na Mele.

 

As the Islands’ only member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service, PBS Hawai‘i carries flagship PBS programs, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Independent Lens, NOVA, Frontline and educational children’s programming on PBS KIDS.

 

PBS Hawai‘i is also one of a handful of PBS stations in the country to carry a live feed of English-language international news coverage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK World.

 


PBS Hawai‘i is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and Hawai‘i’s sole member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i to the world. pbshawaii.org | facebook.com/pbshawaii | @pbshawaii

 

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