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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 2, 2007

YWCA salutes 30 years' honorees

Advertiser staff


11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday

Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom


538-7061, ext. 234



1977: Nora Kurosu, the first woman to rise through the ranks of a Hawai'i financial institution, became an executive at American Savings & Loan

1992: Connie Lau, president and chief executive officer of American Savings Bank

1993: Gladys Brandt, the first Native Hawaiian principal of the Kamehameha School for Girls

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For 30 years, the YWCA has honored women who have served as leaders in Hawai'i.

This year, the annual fundraising luncheon is going a different way. Instead of picking a few celebrated new honorees, organizers chose to look back at the past 124 award winners and focus on what they have done for the community.

About 50 past honorees will be in attendance.

Not only have the women made a difference, at least one honoree says being tapped by the YWCA for the celebration made a substantial change in her life as well.

"I never thought of myself as a leader," recalls 1999 honoree Maile Meyer, whose work with a hui of artists led to the creation of Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i. "As a result of that experience, I felt an obligation to be of service to the larger community. It put me in a different context."

While winning the honor imbued her with a sense of a larger responsibility, she also took advantage of her time in the spotlight to send out a message urging participants that year to look out on the horizon and consider their future, both for the community and the group.

"It was a transformational experience," Meyers said, adding that her daughter and late mother, both named Emma, were volunteers for the YWCA.