INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2023
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023
Bennet Group remains dedicated to establishing a diverse and inclusive workplace that empowers women to achieve their full potential. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the inspiring women on our team who provide unparalleled service to our clients and positively impact our community. Our fearless founder, Joan Bennet, inspires us all, and her leadership has played a significant role in the team’s professional and personal development.
We requested for the women on our team to reflect on their favorite project from the past year and to share the most valuable advice they have received from another female colleague. Discover more about our team and their interests below!
(President and CEO)
Most memorable projects from the past year: It’s impossible to choose as all our work is deeply meaningful and rewarding, but three top contenders would be: 1) Helping tell the Ward Village story, a dynamic community that’s redefined island living; 2) Assisting Highridge Costa fulfill its vision to build more affordable housing in the islands; 3) Getting to help BOH celebrate 125 years of innovation and service; this was especially significant as BOH was one of our first clients when I started the firm 26 years ago.
One lesson learned from a BG wahine: The remarkable women on our team – as well as our distinguished Bennet Group alumna – teach me daily about being tough. Eleanor Roosevelt said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” These young women are destined to be Hawai‘i’s future leaders and, believe me, I can vouch for their courage, strength, and toughness.
Favorite hobby: I love six-man Hawaiian canoe paddling, which I do with others and hiking, which I do alone. One provides the joys of working with a team (all kick-ass women in their 60s), and the other provides the strength I receive from solitude in nature.
(Executive Vice President)
Most memorable projects from the past year: Some of my favorite projects we worked on in the past year included supporting the Honolulu Board of REALTORS with its centennial celebration and Bank of Hawai‘i’s 125th anniversary Mahalo Moments social media campaign. Helping Trust for Public Land announce the preservation of significant natural and cultural resources was also memorable.
One lesson learned from a BG wahine: Trust your instincts. Celebrate successes. Seize opportunities.
Favorite hobby: Outside of work, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my nieces and dogs.
Most memorable projects from the past year: I find it impossible to pick just one because our work varies so greatly and is rewarding for such different reasons. Here are a few of my highlights:
- Welcoming kanaka and keiki o ka ʻāina leaders home: CEO Keolamaikalani Dean for King Lunalilo Trust and Dr. Taryne Imai, Program Director of Thoracic Surgery for Queen’s University Medical Group.
- Helping executives prepare to inspire audiences through presentations, especially Jay Ana of Young Brothers and, thanks to the vision and foresight of Suzanne Young, CEO Honolulu Board of REALTORS, Board President and President-Elect, Fran Villarmia-Kahawai and Fran Gendrano.
- Assisting The Waikoloa Foundation and Waikoloa Land Company secure county support for Kumu Hou which ensures the creation of nearly 400 new workforce housing rentals on the South Kohala Coast and establishes an endowment in perpetuity to protect natural resources, further cultivate ʻōiwi leadership and access to cultural activities for keiki and explore economic models for emerging industries that provide lasting impact and opportunity for kamaʻāina families throughout Hawaiʻi Island.
- Celebrating milestone achievements with Ward Village’s openings, groundbreakings and approvals of more than 2,000 new homes in urban Honolulu.
- Anything and everything we do with Kamehameha Schools: yesterday, today, tomorrow.
One lesson learned from a BG wahine: Catherine and Pono teach me every day, both individually and as a dynamic duo who demonstrate how thought partnership between women who respect one another helps us think bigger and broader about the impact of our work.
Favorite hobby: Spending time with my husband who makes anything ordinary absolutely extraordinary.
(Senior Art Director)
Most memorable projects from the past year: Favorite project this year: new identity for King Lunalilo Trust. In part because I loved the result, but also partly because the process was really fun for me all along the way! Starting with learning a lot about King Lunalilo and his legacy, then the process of getting really creative with logo exploration and finally, taking the input from the client and fine-tuning the design into something I was proud of and (I hope) the client was thrilled with!
One lesson learned from a BG wahine: I can’t think of something specific that I have learned from another woman on the team. Having worked with Tayte for so many years, I think I’ve learned how to have a more critical eye for my work, always asking myself “what purpose does this serve?” and “what can I cut?” because so often communicating ideas visually works best when there’s less said.
Favorite hobby: My favorite hobby is trail running. Although not as much right now, as I’m training for a Half Ironman!
Most memorable projects from the past year: Revitalizing King Lunalilo Trust with refreshed branding and graphics was one of my most fulfilling projects in 2022. The fact that the client and board members loved it was gratifying!
One lesson learned from BG wahine: Trust within our client teams and throughout an engagement is fundamental and robust. This foundation is created and fostered by our CEO Joan Bennet and through her trust we have the confidence to accomplish any task.
Favorite hobby: I can’t have just one! My favorite hobbies are ceramics, surfing, gardening, painting, hot barre and traveling to see art and visit family. Cooking with my husband Rick and hanging out with our two dogs.
Most memorable projects from the past year: Helping Trust for Public Land celebrate significant milestones as they work to protect thousands of acres of land across Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Kauaʻi and Oʻahu for future generations.
One lesson learned from BG wahine: Megan and Sitarani constantly exemplify what it means to be a leader, providing our clients with expert counsel and support and navigating challenging issues for the benefit of those we serve.
Favorite hobby: Flowing through yoga practice or spending time outdoors with my fiance and our dog, Hapa.
(Senior Account Manager)
Most memorable projects from the past year: I was honored to lead our Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander COVID-19 Collective Awareness and Prevention Campaign alongside Sita, Tayte and Jamie. Together, with a hui of 13 NHPI-serving organizations and many mana wahine, they took a cultural approach to behavioral change to stop the spread of coronavirus in Hawai‘i’s NHPI population by encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations. The primary campaign goal was to increase the NHPI vaccination rate by 3%. Through culturally tailored communications, they surpassed their campaign goal. By the end of the campaign, 22% of NHPI individuals had begun the vaccination process, an increase of five percentage points, according to State Department of Health data.
One lesson learned from a BG wahine: Sita has taught me innumerable lessons about empowering and lifting up those around me—whether those are the clients we’re honored to support or our incredible colleagues. I especially love her advice on building ownership and alignment on projects, so everyone understands their kuleana and how we will be successful together.
Favorite hobby: I love to spend my weekends diving or combing the shoreline for seashells. It’s so relaxing to search for a colorful shell in the sand or coral.
(Assistant Account Executive)
Most memorable projects from the past year: Commemorating Bank of Hawai‘i’s 125th anniversary with their Mahalo Moments campaign was an excellent opportunity to spotlight organizations shaping a thriving future in Hawai’i.
One lesson learned from a BG wahine: I’ve learned that communicating a vision to work toward and taking ownership of your role is critical to uplifting your colleagues and clients.
Favorite Hobbies: I enjoy staying active, whether at the gym or outdoors.