The Hawaii Business Education Association (HBEA) recently hosted the 2016 Western Business Education Association (WBEA) conference on Oahu. Over 130 business educators from across the United States and Canada joined us to discuss topics relating business education.
As a member of the planning committee, I was pleased to be able to contribute by bringing some Big Island flavor to this conference. Our opening session keynote speaker was our very own Mayor Billy Kenoi. He gave a dynamic speech during which he shared his personal story of how despite a rocky educational start, he turned his life around in ways that ultimately led to him being elected as mayor of the Big Island of Hawaii. The conference attendees enjoyed hearing his touching and very personal story.
Our Saturday luncheon speaker, also from the Big Island, was KTA Executive Vice President, Derek Kurisu. Derek included props and door prizes in the form of apples, cookbooks, and various Mountain Apple brand goodies in his presentation. Derek’s energetic and engaging presentation peppered with lots of pidgin English was a hit with the crowd. He called up the attendees who had birthdays in February and had the entire room sing to them. Derek took a group selfie and even taped a short video that he will air on the March episode of Living In Paradise.
Emi Troeger, a retired business educator from Oahu designed this beautiful arrangement for the stage for us. Many of the conference attendees took a photo of and with the arrangement. Lots of lei were given out throughout the conference to the delight of the attendees who joined us from outside of the state.Big Island Candies donated 200 bags of Big Island Candies shortbread cookies for every single one of our attendees who loved the Big Island sweet treat. One of the conference attendees loved the chocolate-covered shortbread cookies so much, she made a special visit to the retail store to buy some to take home. She didn’t realize how far the hotel was and she walked from the Marriott at the far end of Waikiki to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. This was about a four-mile walk on a very sunny day. She did not realize that the walk was going to be so far and decided to take the trolley back to the hotel.
Another time the Big Island rocked this conference was during the WBEA Awards Dinner. Our very own Hawaii Community College business professor Bobby Yamane was recognized as the Postsecondary Business Educator of the Year. Yay, Bobby~thank you for your hard work and dedication to business education in Hawaii.Some of the off-site activities that a few attendees had time to attend included visits to Watanabe Floral and Kamaka Ukulele as well as an early morning walk in Waikiki. Another activity that was a hit with the visitors was a luau at Germaine’s.
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The theme of WBEA 2016 was Lokahi, United on the Journey to Success. It was an intense few days of learning and networking at WBEA 2016 with some Living Hilo Style included.