How did your education at Chaminade University of Honolulu contribute to your professional success?
My college education provided me with the leadership and management skills necessary to manage personnel and to make strategic decisions. I also learned effective communication and interpersonal skills that have enabled me to communicate clearly with my team members, superiors and other agencies. But most of all, since I had taken a “break” from school in 1995, resuming in 2001 to attain my degree in 2003 while being a member of the Honolulu Fire Department, my commitment to education instilled a mindset of continuous learning throughout my career.
Can you recall a specific moment or experience during your time that had a significant impact on you, either academically or socially?
In 2001, having served three years in the Honolulu Fire Department, something “clicked” inside of me that drove me to want to finish my college degree, basically finishing something that I had started back in 1992. It was at this moment when I had decided to fully commit myself to completing my college education. Though I was a C-average student at best in high school, I am proud to have graduated from Chaminade University with Magna cum Laude honors. I only wish I had applied this same drive while I was in high school.
How did your Chaminade education shape your perspective and personal growth?
My education shaped my perspective and personal growth in several ways. First, I learned a lot about self-discipline and time management. The demands of academics, especially in an accelerated program, required effective time management and self-discipline. I had to learn how to balance competing priorities, meeting deadlines and managing workload, while also effectively serving as a member of the Honolulu Fire Department. There was continuous learning, training and working as a team to accomplish daily goals, from mitigating emergency incidents to regular station duties and team tasks. Second, I learned a lot about adaptability, which involved reacting to new information, methodologies and technologies. This adaptability was crucial in helping me to navigate different situations and remain open to continuous learning and growth. Finally, I can honestly walk the walk when telling my children that they need to go to college to better themselves and their future.
How have you continued to invest in your professional development since graduating?
Since graduating from college, my mindset in the Honolulu Fire Department evolved from just getting by and doing what was required or necessary, to seeking professional development opportunities, always improving myself so that I was an asset to the Department. This meant taking additional courses and training throughout my career and putting myself in uncomfortable situations to better myself professionally and personally.
How has your education influenced your personal goals and achievements?
Being able to attain my college degree has positively affected me in so many ways. Knowing that I could attain my degree while working a full-time job shaped me into the person that I am today. The drive I had back then to decide to return to school and finish my degree is the same drive I have today— to help my team in any capacity to make our Department better than it was, which ultimately means a better and safer place for the community that we serve.