Hawaiian business group to honor sisters
BY MAUREEN O'CONNELL
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce is honoring a pair of kūpuna sisters with its 'O'o award for their contributions to the Hawaiian community and local businesses.
Alice Flanders Guild, a pioneering businesswoman and longtime leader in efforts to restore and preserve 'Iolani Palace, and Mary Philpotts McGrath, an interior designer who has presided over the Hawaiian Historical Society and Washington Place Foundation, have deep family roots in the Islands.
Their great-grandmother, Kuaihelani Campbell, served as president of Hui Hawai'i Aloha 'Āina o na Wahine, a royalist group committed to caring for Hawai'i's people and natural resources. Grandmother Kamokilaikawai Campbell and mother Muriel Macfarlane Flanders continued the family's commitment to Queen Lili'uokalani's legacy, prompting the sisters to do the same.
"Both of them have been an inspiration with their works ... for different levels of our communities, from our keiki all the way to kūpuna," said Leilani Kupahu Marino, who serves as second vice president of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.
The award will be presented at a benefit dinner Saturday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Established 34 years ago, 'O'o awards have gone to more than 50 Native Hawaiian recipients, ranging from Monsignor Charles Kekumano to musicians Robert and Roland Cazimero.
"We call these people 'ali'i 'ō pu because they have carried on the legacy of our 'ali'i with generosity and humility," Marino said.
In the mid-1970s, Guild worked as advertising and promotion manager for Ala Moana Center, and was later appointed general manager for the 50-acre regional shopping center. During the early 1980s, she became a director of Central Pacific Bank (now Central Pacific Financial Corp.) and one of the first women to serve on the board of a major Hawai'i corporation.
Guild has maintained ties with The Friends of 'Iolani Palace for more than four decades, and retired as president in 2007. She was also a member of the Junior League of Honolulu research team, which provided documentation that serves as the basis for restoration, preservation and interpretation at the palace.
Philpotts McGrath is the co-author of "Hawai'i: a Sense of Place" and founder of Philpotts & Associates Inc., an interior design firm that "celebrates and perpetuates our Island heritage," according to chamber officials.
In 2006, the American Society of Interior Designers awarded Philpotts McGrath its Lifetime Achievement Award for her preservation efforts. Philpotts McGrath has also served as a commissioner of the State Foundation on Culture and The Arts.