I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?
I want to leave a lasting positive legacy. The world is ephemeral, so having a measurable impact now and into the future in something everyone can aspire to.
Growing up, I had next to nothing. I lived in abject poverty with a family slammed by poverty, mental illness and a father dying from AIDS. It would be a shame not to take advantage of the successes I’ve been fortunate to attain and help others climb from the pit of despair. If I can help just one person realize they can change the course of their own life, I’d be thrilled.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? What lesson did you learn from them?
There was no one person in particular, but there were many people and organizations. Former chief meteorologist, Ray Boylan, inspired me to move to Hawaii and attend college here. Around the same time, the Boys Club was a great place my sister and I could go during the summer to get away from the negative influences of my neighborhood. My church, school, and family were almost always supportive. I definitely believe that avoiding much of the negative associations of the neighborhood where I grew up kept me moving in the right direction.
I haven’t been perfect, but I’d sought out positive influences the older I’ve gotten. Being deliberate about who you choose to influence you makes all the difference.
How do you push through your worst times?
I’m in a phase of my life where I can see how what I do influences others. I hope to lead by example. That means asking for help when I need it, doing things that must be done when I don’t want to, and allowing myself the permission to do what I know is best for me even when other people may believe otherwise. When everything is going wrong, being grateful for what I have and what I’ve overcome goes a long way. Imagining reaching others in the future is equally inspiring.