APRIL 7, 2018

Success Also Means Helping Others to Succeed

There are many roads that lead to success. Children born into wealth have an edge to succeed. People born from humble origins achieve upward mobility. Some say talent, luck, and being at the right place at the right time, all of these go a long way toward reaching career goals. Cultural upbringing might play a part -- Asians, Indians, Jews, Middle-Eastern Americans -- have all shown remarkable abilities to succeed. Education and skill are the tools to get ahead; but perhaps the main driver of success is hard work.

What is success, anyway? It could be based on a dollar figure or material accumulation. It could be creative achievement as when a lyricist or composer creates a masterpiece or a scientist makes a discovery. It could be living a balanced life, making enough to pay the bills and making time for a healthy lifestyle with family. It could be something more philosophical: that success is being able to go to sleep every night in peace, as the author Paulo Coelho once said. It could also be something less about the self and more about helping people closest to us fulfill their personal or career goals.

Todd Nacapuy, at just 41-years-old, have already lived a lifetime of success. He is the nation’s first Filipino to become Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a state, leading Hawaii’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS). He is an entrepreneur in the restaurant and cookie-making industries. Formerly, he was a major part of building an internet star-up called Cobweb, one of the first e-commerce businesses. He spent 11 years with Microsoft. Success has followed Nacapuy every step of his life.

But what’s impressive about this man of many talents is his work ethic. In his youth, he’s worked on the sugar plantation and as a stock boy at a grocery store. Today, he arduously heads a division with more than 182 employees that report directly to him and oversees an additional 800 employees.

“It’s gratifying for me to help my employees grow professionally. I’m in a position where I can help people move up the career ladder…In the end, I believe the whole community benefits because I am helping to keep local talent here in Hawaii while trying to grow a local IT workforce ecosystem,” said Nacapuy. He also mentioned, “I saw one of our entry-level employees grow professionally under our team’s guidance and earn a promotion, which trust him two steps up the career path,” a kind of career growth Nacapuy encourages among his workers.

One of his IT employees said of Nacapuy: “Todd really cares about making a difference, both in the tech space as well as in his employees’ careers. He encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone and take on projects and responsibilities that are geared toward bettering my career.”

 In other words, success is very much a part of helping others to be successful, too. The idea of paying it forward: helping others along the way, who can return the favor to help yet someone else, is one of the most respectable definitions of success.

Born and raised in the small plantation town Waialua, Nacapuy has come a long way.

The Filipino community already has many role models in medicine, business, education, law and government that successful Filipinos in these fields can no longer be considered pioneers. Nacapuy, as one of only a few Filipinos at the highest level of the technology industry locally, is a true pioneer in our community. Our community, our state, needs more leaders like Nacapuy -- hardworking, innovative, and nurturing. We wish him continued success at the ETS; and look forward to watching his long career. We hope our youth find inspiration in someone like Nacapuy who has accomplished so much by 40; and at the same time, is someone also very mindful of helping others reach their full potential. 

Spread the wealth of success. CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby David Green said it best, “You need an attitude of service. You're not just serving yourself. You help others to grow up and you grow with them.” This is the kind of attitude towards building success our youth can learn from.


Kudos to Djou for His Rebuke of Trump

Hawaii’s Republican party took a big hit to the gut by the announcement that its most prominent leader, former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, is leaving the GOP.

While some hardcore Republicans might see Djou’s departure as betrayal to the party; it’s conceivable that some conservatives see his decision completely understandable given the reason he cites.

Djou wrote in the Civil Beat, “Today after much consideration, I abandon my party because I am unwilling to abandon my principles. I can no longer stand with a Republican Party that is led by a man (President Donald Trump) I firmly believe is taking the party of Lincoln in a direction I fundamentally disagree with, and a party that is unwilling to stand up to him.

“Sadly today, too many Republicans either applaud Trump’s tirades or greet them with silent acceptance. This leads to an implicit ratification by the GOP of Trump’s undisciplined, uninformed, and unfocused leadership as a core part of the Republican Party. This is something I cannot accept and will not be a part of.”

All across the nation, Republicans have been criticized for not objecting to the President’s repeated flawed leadership and character. Off the record, some have expressed dismay; but for the most part, GOP party members have stayed silent often out of self-interest and self-preservation, especially in districts where Trump’s agenda is political gospel.

Djou’s decision to leave was considerably safer to do in a political climate like Hawaii. But it was a principled move well deserving of respect; nonetheless, and still should be commended. Some might say given Hawaii’s multiculturalism and diversity, it’s actually a greater burden to remain a Republican in this state under Trump than to abandon the party, as Djou had.

To some Republicans, Djou’s action could be looked upon as counterproductive. To them, there is a place for dissent within the GOP; and there ought to be more Republicans like Jeff Flake, John McCain and Bob Corker (Republican Trump critics) fighting within the party and fighting for the party’s soul and direction. If it weren’t for a few stalwart Republicans offering some resistance, the country could be at greater risk. In the case of the Mueller investigation, as an example, if it weren’t for Sen. Lindsay Graham (R) and others waving the threat of impeachment should the President fire Mueller, Trump perhaps would have already done so. If it weren’t for a few Republicans advising President Trump to remain in NAFTA for obvious trade benefits, he perhaps would have kept his campaign promise to leave it by now. Sometimes there is wisdom in advocating for change within any establishment than to simply leave it, which is perhaps why the U.S. remains largely a two-party political system.

At the very least, Djou’s bold exit should send a message to Hawaii’s GOP leadership that Trump’s brand of Republicanism is certainly not the path to go down if it has any chances of turning the state into a legitimate two-party system. A right-wing, racist, anti-immigrant agenda could work in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t resound in Hawaii where openness and respect for immigrant culture are valued. The best success Hawaii’s GOP has had was with moderate Republicans in the mold of former Governor Linda Lingle. Fielding that kind of candidate while distancing themselves from Trump Republicanism is the obvious optimal direction for Hawaii’s GOP.

In the next few years, Americans will continue to witness the civil war within the GOP between Trumpers and traditional conservatives. Recently, Trump has blunted that war slightly and had won favor with traditional conservatives by getting Tax reform passed and firing the poster boy for right-wing radicalism, Steve Bannon. Trump has accomplished to win the graces of the GOP elite; all the while keeping his base solidly in line. In almost every aspect, Trump appears to be winning the internal GOP battle where the oddly mixed Wall Street financiers, Evangelicals, and White working-class jab and elbow each other under the Republican tent. The freakish power of Trump is not completely spellbinding. Recent special elections show his flawed leadership has moved Independents and some conservatives to vote with the political left in turning traditionally Republican districts into Democrat. While the sampling is too small to be a steady predictor at this point, the likely scenario going forward could be that Trump’s right-wing factions could be enough to win primaries over traditional GOP candidates; but fail to garner a majority in general elections. The full impact of the Trump phenomenon will be clearer after this year’s mid-term elections.

In local political weather, Djou’s exit has created a leadership void from which fringe factions have a chance to fill. We hope the Hawaii-GOP will not crowd it with former Tea party types-turned Trumpers. But instead, the party ought to move closer to center and split with national Trumpers.

As for Djou’s political career, it’s plausible that he could have improved his political standing. But his potential for success is greater if he remains an Independent and not join the Democrat party as other Republicans have done. The “opportunist turncoat” label would be too big a stain to wash off in that scenario. Other Republicans lesser in prominence could flip-flop, but as one of the most recognizable leaders in the local GOP for as long as Djou had been, Djou shedding that “R” for “D” would be too disingenuous. It’s plausible that many conservative Republicans would still entertain the idea of supporting Djou as an Independent even after his departure from the party given his reason for doing so.

Whatever transpires, Djou has already shown he is a man of character and principle by standing up against Trump’s leadership. It’s unfortunate that more Republicans aren’t doing the same nationally.

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