Not even a torrential downpour could dampen the moods of attendees who celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Since its inception, Gary Hogan has been committed to the idea of mentoring students in leadership and inculcating the entrepreneurial spirit. These are two qualities that were instilled in him by his late parents, Ed and Lynn Hogan, founders of Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays.
“We tried to establish a travel and tourism school in California, but it never took off,” Hogan recalls. “During that same time, my dad had become dear friends with Fr. Spitzer (then president of Gonzaga University), who helped establish the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at that university.”
Wanting to give back to the Hawaii community, Hogan thought of Chaminade because of its mission to educate for service, justice and peace, and to do so with an integral, quality education. He was also fond of the late, former Chaminade president Sue Wesselkamper.
“Sue liked the idea so I spoke to my mom and dad about the opportunity, and we all agreed that it would benefit the local community,” says Hogan, Chairman and CEO of Pleasant Travel Series. “This 20-year milestone is an achievement that we can all be proud of.”
Dr. Roy Panzarella certainly is. As the program director for the past two-and-a-half years, the one-time Lockheed Martin chief executive looks to strengthen the school’s partnerships with local businesses and its leaders and to bring in new ideas on how to problem-solve.
“Twenty-one is the legal age right, so we still have a minor we’re raising,” Panzarella quips. “We’re in the infancy, phase-one stage, and we’re going to take the crawl-before-you-run approach.”
Choosing to enroll in an entrepreneurial program bears a lot of factors. While rankings may be an important one, another should be what’s behind the ranking. Teaching methodology matters and so, too, does the experiential component to the entrepreneurial journey.
According to Panzarella, it’s critical to differentiate between starting a business and learning the skills of entrepreneurship as a springboard to success.
“Entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business, though it’s that, too,” he explains. “Entrepreneurship is about acquiring the skills of success, and we try to teach those skills in the context of entrepreneurship.”
With a diagram resembling a three-tiered wedding cake in hand, Panzarella points out the significance of each layer, starting with the base, which he refers to as the “direct” impact that the program has on its students. At this level, the engagement includes Wednesday Guest Lecture Series, internships, social media value and mentorship.
The second tier features the operational side of the program—the nuts-and-bolts structure of running an entrepreneurial curriculum. And the top layer involves the strategic component, which lays out the future transformation roadmap, the mission, the vision, the values and the people of Hogan.
Embedded in the larger Hogan program is the new Suzie Martin & Vaughn Vasconcellos Leadership Institute, named after Vaughn Vasconcellos, a former Chaminade Board of Regents Chair and a current member of the Board of Governors.
“Vaughn has agreed to return in the coming months as the first chair of the institute, during which he will lecture and host meetings and socials in an attempt to broaden the exposure of the institute, as well as Hogan and Chaminade,” Panzarella says. “The institute will also sponsor an entrepreneurial mission abroad in the next year or two.”
Poised to expand in the future, the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, now in concert with the Suzie Martin & Vaughn Vasconcellos Leadership Institute, will train and mentor tomorrow’s leaders and entrepreneurs. The education that students will receive will prepare them to lead with empathy, morality, compassion, and a drive to identify problems and create scalable solutions that can benefit individuals, communities and the globe.
“The goal is to develop a Minor in entrepreneurship and then a Major,” Panzarella asserts. “My dream is for the program to be recognized as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific,’ which will attract people from across the region.”
In partnership with American Savings Bank, the bi-annual Nonprofit Business Plan Competition (the next one will be held in 2024) has already appealed to a diverse group of entrepreneurs across the main Hawaiian islands, including Lawai‘a Naihe, executive director for this year’s first-place winner, Hoakeolapono Trades Academy and Institute on Kauai, and AALII Mentoring, a charitable business that was formed to help students from underrepresented populations to navigate, persist and succeed in higher education.
“We can’t lose perspective of what we set forth, which is to mentor future entrepreneurs in the Jesuit tradition,” Hogan says. “This has been the goal for the past two decades, and we just want to build on that momentum and continue to serve the community.”
Other positive community relationships involve Catholic Charities and the Institute for Human Services. Both have previously participated in the annual “Job Preparation Workshop” for homeless and near-homeless individuals. Hogan students, including previous participant and now an MBA candidate Savannah Lyn Delos Santos ’22, work alongside the participants to help construct their resumes, and to assist in improving their job interviewing skills.
“While most of society shuns them because they have nothing, they are just doing what they can to move forward and rise up,” Delos Santos says. “They made me realize how sometimes one chance is all someone needs to create a better life for both them and their families.”
By connecting entrepreneurial education with service and ethical leadership, students can build on their interests and abilities to create a positive difference in the community. The program offers extensive hands-on experience and networking opportunities with like-minded aspiring entrepreneurs and industry champions.
“From day one, we want students to understand leadership and entrepreneurship,” Hogan affirms. “We want to teach them good ethics and morals with an emphasis on long-term leadership.”
Asked what he expects during the next 20 years, Panzarella says he wants to build capacity and nurture more international partnerships. He also aims to have the program focus more on a practical than theoretical direction.
“Yes, business plans and a solid business foundation are important,” Panzarella says. “And we know that IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional intelligence) matter, but we need to know more about cultural intelligence. We want students to become better versions of themselves. We want them to walk away with the necessary tools in their toolbox or arrows in their quiver— whatever the metaphor may be—to succeed in their lives.”