Hawaii preserves the island in means of taking care of their people and those who wish to experience the true meaning of aloha. Over time, Hawaii eventually became the most desirable destination to visit, putting the hospitality and tourism as the leading industry on each of the islands. ClimbHI’s effort to promote jobs to local residents and our youth shows the support they continuously provide to our community, making it known that there are opportunities for advancement and that there many jobs available for me right here in Hawaii.

It was not until that day of the first L.E.I event on Maui that the world of the hotel industry sparked interest in me – from the motivational speakers to the back of the house tours. The are countless job opportunities waiting at our door! But I was only a 16-year-old student back then and anything I could remember after was nothing more than the exposure.

A year later I returned and the year after that; three years counting as a mentor, each year noticing more than I noticed before. Even after the struggle of getting used to being out of my comfort zone, I enjoyed the small personal conversations with the students, sneak peaks of the hallways and offices where I possibly could be working at someday and words of wisdom from the experts. I found my connection to the tourism industry through the L.E.I program and was more than satisfying.

When I thought things could not get any better, one last hoorah and I, along with my capstone class, eventually became one of the faces behind the program. I would be part of the LEI program again…but this time I would finish off with by helping plan the career fair, which neatly tied everything together. L.E.I has always been great at coming full circle, always never failing to prepare us for the real world. When we successfully executed the Career Fair portion of the event, it validated that ‘I am’ at the right place and in the right industry and I wouldn’t have known it if it wasn’t for the opportunity given. As I approach what will be the greatest milestone in my life thus far, I hope ClimbHI continues to inspire and educate aspiring leaders.

Tourism might be universal, but Hawaii is home of genuine hospitality and there are no better ambassadors of that than our own.

Sheralyn Soliven University of Hawaii, Maui College

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