The Country now as it’s first black female VP, Sherry Menor-McNamara- is Hawaii’s First female and Asian President at the Chamber of Commerce

Sherry Menor-McNamara is the youngest and first female President and CEO in the 170-year history of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, as well as the first Asian to serve as the leader of a State Chamber. Under her leadership, the Chamber won the 2018 ACCE State Chamber of the Year, and in 2019, won two national Council of State Chambers awards. She has lived in several major cities, including Tokyo, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and London. In those cities, she has worked for companies including Sony Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Estee Lauder Company, Field Group, Elton John Production and “60 Minutes” news magazine show.

Her government-related work includes positions with the Hawaii State Legislature, U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and the Executive Office of the United States President. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Board of Trustees of the JAIMS Foundation, Executive Committee and Board of Directors for Move Oahu Forward, and Advisory Council of the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. Nationally, she serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Council of State Chambers (COSC), the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE), as well as on the U.S. Chamber’s Committee of 100.

Show Notes

02:22 –  Sherry shares her amazing backstory

  •  Sherry’s mom was born and raised in Japan. Despite the language barrier, she was able to open up her travel business
  • Her mother provided her with values of grit and perseverance
  • Sherry’s early experiences shaped her into what she is today

12:51 How COVID-19 affected the Hawaiian economy

  • It will take 10 years to recover from COVID-19 because Hawaii is so reliant on tourism
  • Small and medium businesses are the most affected in Hawaii
  • Based on their survey, 60% of businesses can’t reopen until tourism reopens
  • Economic diversification will be the focus so that others in the hospitality industry can pivot to a different industry and build skillsets
  • They launched a website where people can retool and build skills for other high-paying jobs

19:25 Sherry shares the current demographics of Hawaii

  • There’s a decline in population in the past few years due to the high cost of living
  • Younger people are moving into the mainland to find better opportunities
  • It is critical to find collaborative efforts between the mainland and Hawaii

22:16 How climate change is affecting Hawaii

  • They have an aggressive clean energy goal by 2025
  • They are starting to ban plastics in Hawaii
  • There have been different projects that are in the works to preserve the beauty of Hawaii

26:58 – How Sherry got into yoga and became her place of solitude

  • Sherry started yoga back in 2007
  • Yoga helped her become calmer and focused during turbulent times
  • She incorporates other exercises to complement yoga
  • Sherry just started meditating and it is a game-changer

31:07 – Sherry’s group of women leaders

  • Sherry brought together a group of women who collaborate and support one another
  • It only started a month ago but it is productive in bringing solutions to problems


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