I used to wonder at a young age, “what is my purpose here on earth?” As the saying goes "a purposeful life is a life worth living". A person’s purpose usually has to do with sharing a unique gift that we are often born with or acquire naturally: something we enjoy and feel good at doing. When we use our talent to make a difference it becomes our purpose.
I realize now that I’ve been living my purpose all along. My purpose is connecting with people while being authentic, sharing the best version of myself with the world. I enjoy learning about people especially when they are real. I find their stories fascinating. It makes me want to know them more.
Feeling the best version of ourselves does not always come easy. There are days we have our highs, when we feel on top through love and accomplishments; and there are days when we have our lows, when we find ourselves in the trenches and must find a way to dig ourselves out. Factor change into the equation, charting new territory. Change can be uncomfortable for many people. It’s a time when we learn the most about ourselves. I’m sure we can recall turning points in our lives when we had to make that single decision, that leap of faith which determined the outcome of the path we're currently on. It's during these defining moments that we turn a new leaf. Having the will to power through change is first met with insecurity until we become so good at what we do that we can share our insight learned with others. We can make a difference in other people's lives.
Steve Jobs once said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward; so, you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever”. This quote resonates with me. When I look back, I see how it led me to where I am today. Most importantly, where the the dots fall in our journey is how the stories are made.
Connecting the dots…
Many moons ago (1999), I entered the glass doors of the Gianni Versace Boutique in Ala Moana Center for a job interview scheduled with the Store Manager. I had never thought about visiting the store prior because I was intimidated by the grandeur and the fact I couldn't afford anything offered in their product line. The boutique was luxurious with bold white columns, Italian mosaic marbled floors custom designed with the Medusa insignia, a beautiful staircase, and visual displays showcasing their Runway Couture collections. Fresh out of college with zero retail experience, the hiring manager said “I’m going to take a chance and hire you. You’ll be my guinea pig. You’re the only one who doesn’t speak Japanese or have any retail experience; let’s see if we can mold you into something special”.
Working at Gianni Versace was the first job that laid the groundwork with my experience in sales and working with upscale clientele. Some days, I had only a few chances to achieve my sales goals... (that was the number of people I had the chance to help on slow store traffic days) Each person mattered toward accomplishing my sales target. I quickly learned to“never judge a book by its cover” meaning never discount a customer based on looks in becoming a potential client. With this thought in mind, I quickly built my client book by providing the same level of service to all customers I assisted. As a result I established many genuine relations. It never felt like work as I enjoyed catching up on life with my clients.
It was at Versace, I met Donald Eovino who became one of my clients. Whenever he visited the boutique, he shared about his Real Estate projects he had currently going on at the time. After Versace, I ran into Donald a couple times and we'd always exchange a greeting of aloha.
Fast forward approx 18 years since my days at Versace, Donald and I reconnected on Facebook. I was a General Manager at Burberry at the time. A company that changed my life. Burberry was continuously evolving as a Brand and I was along for the ride. I was proud to be a part of a company that was recognized as the first Digital Luxury Brand thanks to then CEO Angela Ahrendts. Many of the leaders I reported directly to went on to head other Luxury Brands. I was inspired by their humility, level of professionalism, intelligence and communication. Their positive attributes advanced my leadership capabilities. As great as it was to be a part of a company I have such fond memories of; an inner voice nagged the thought of considering Real Estate. Since I was immersed at Burberry, I dismissed the thought.
One day in 2019, a random thought popped into my head to reach out to Donald on Facebook and ask if I could pick his brains about his journey in Real Estate. So, I did. He was gracious to meet me at the Outrigger Canoe Club and the true storyteller that he is, provided insight of how he discovered his passion for Development.
March 2020, the Pandemic happened. The State of Hawaii issued a lockdown. I had to entirely shut down Burberry's business operations for almost 3 weeks. Notwithstanding the lockdown, we managed to exceed our yearly sales goal over our prior year’s performance. Looking forward times seemed uncertain. The measures enforced for CDC compliancy and actionable steps to protect the store from potential vandalism were unprecedented. The lockdown of the Pandemic provided time to reassess my thoughts about Real Estate. I expressed my seriousness with Don to pursue Real Estate. He became my go to mentor and gateway to entering the Real Estate industry. Like a fire hose of information, Don exposed me to on the field experience, and taught me the nuts and bolts about Real Estate.
May 2021 I met Steven Connell at a birthday event Donald hosted. Steven revealed he is in the business of investment and has dedicated most of his life to studying the stock market. I asked if he knew about semiconductors and proceeded to call out a list of tickers I knew off the top of my head. Steve responded, “Yes, my knowledge is specialized in semiconductors; in fact, I've visited many of the factories that you named and firsthand observed their operations”. This conversation jumpstarted our partnership of trust and friendship.
December 2021, Steven shared an observation; there are many Real Estate Agents who are transactional and noticed an opportunity of turning one time connections into durable relationships. Shortly after, an idea came to mind to create a scalable networking site that will attract people seeking our services and also serve as a platform of opportunity to put people in touch with professionals we know and trust. I presented the idea to Steven and he stated the importance of having a lender added to our partnership. Our site will serve as a synergistic one stop shop which a client can seek any or all of our services (Wealth Management, Real Estate, and Financing). Harrison George from CMG Financial first came to mind. (CMG Financial is a lending company with the capacity to finance sizable loans where local banks can’t) Steve spoke fondly about Harrison and accidentally butt dialed his number! Although it was Christmas Eve, Harrison returned our call within 5 min. Steve pitched the idea and Harrison was on board; thus Hawaii New Alliances was born.
Erik Kabik, a friend I consider family, was the first person I thought would be fantastic for website photography. He is a sought out photographer hired by a range of celebrities for special events and also does work for well known business establishments in Hawaii. He is a good guy with a great heart and an eye for for shooting still photography. Erik will contribute his signature photography to our site. Chad Allenbaugh, Steve's good friend founded Global Ocean Club and Hawaii Yachts; two reputable yacht chartering businesses caters to celebrities and high end clientele. For those wanting to experience the dream on water, Chad's companies are the source to contact.
May 2022, I stumbled upon Hawaii LUX Homes of eXp Realty, known as a digital savvy brokerage during a luncheon held by Sherine Duncan. I learned about the eXp formula that optimizes technology to enhance the Real Estate experience in a more efficient manner. Given my background at Burberry when Angela Ahrendts pioneered the use of digital technology to bolster high-end customer experience, I was curious and I wanted to learn more about their organization. Sherine, a top performer and highly regarded in the Hawaii Real Estate industry welcomed me on to her team. She taught me invaluable tips of the trade and best practices with a luxury filter. Her patient and caring demeanor continues to inspire me. She has been a breadth of knowledge and remains a liaison for years to come.
January 2023, after having crossed paths on multiple occasions with CEO and Top-level Principal Broker Sachi Braden, the stars aligned with an extended opportunity to join her notable and prestigious firm Sachi Hawaii Pacific Century Properties. Looking back, it all made sense. The dots connecting in my Real Estate journey so far has led me to Sachi Hawaii, a full serviced brokerage offering Investment, Sales, Property Management, and Concierge services. A firm synonymous with Luxury due to its longstanding and commendable reputation with their network of International, US Mainland and local clientele. With the blessings of Don Eovino & Sherine Duncan who continue to offer their support and collaboration; I am grateful to be aligned with the best.
“The more Technologically advanced our society becomes, the more we need to go back to the basic fundamentals of human communication” ~Angela Ahrendts
My Labor of Love to this website is dedicated to:
(These people are my Beacons of Light)
Don Eovino for being a guiding light and having my back every step of the way.
Gianfranco Fina for empowering me and believing in my potential. I will never forget.
My parents and sister Julie for always being there for me through thick and thin.
My unforgettable past Retail Teams who worked hard and persevered to achieve results.
Sherine Duncan for her continuing friendship and support.
Sachi Braden, Moe & Ayako for welcoming me on to Sachi Hawaii
Last but not least Steven Connell and Harrison George for supporting this idea from the get go
so this site can come to life. Love you both for that.