Robert Stephenson, president of the Molokai Chamber of Commerce, has been chosen to represent Maui County in the Pacific Century Fellows program.
Stephenson is one of 38 men and women chosen for the 13th class of Fellows, a program designed to identify, encourage and help develop and strengthen island leaders.
“The Pacific Century Fellows is one of the most prestigious leadership courses in Hawaii and I am honored to have been chosen to participate alongside Hawaii’s most talented, diverse and vibrant leaders,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson will begin his work in the Fellows program when he represents Maui County at a two-day retreat Sept. 23-24 that will feature a series of seminars and discussions.
After the retreat, Stephenson and the other participants will be expected to take part in at least one daylong program per month to look at critical issues facing Hawaii. Some of the areas of concerns to be investigated include crime, education, environment, quality of life, the military and the economy.
“With our 13th class of Fellows participating in this unique executive leadership program, we continue to build a cadre of bright, talented and energetic professionals who will make contributions to the betterment of Hawaii in the years to come,” said program founder, and former Honolulu Mayor, Mufi Hannemann, in a written statement. “Many of our previous Fellows already have made a positive impact in our community, and this class will be no different.”
When he founded the group in 1996, Hannemann modeled the program after the White House Fellows program. Hanneman had served as a former White House Fellow (1983-84) under the then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in the Reagan administration.
“This year’s class represents a broad cross-section of our community,” Hanneman wrote. “They come from all parts of the state, with different backgrounds and professions — all committed to making Hawaii a better place for generations to come.”
According to a written statement, the Pacific Century Fellows are chosen on the basis of written applications and personal interviews conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of judges. In evaluating the candidates, the committee considers educational background; current career responsibilities, noting any special achievements as well as the comments of superiors; involvement in community activities; communication skills; and strength of character. Chosen individuals have shown strong intellectual and leadership abilities in the early and mid-stages of their careers, and demonstrated the potential to make significant contributions to the community in the future.
The Pacific Century Fellows program will provide participants with direct contact with senior community, social and government leaders. A goal of the program is to nurture relationships among individuals who are committed to exploring creative and constructive solutions to far-reaching challenges facing the state and nation.
“I’m excited to learn more about the complex dynamics that make up Hawaii and hope to make connections and nurture new relationships that will benefit our island of Molokai as we move into the future,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson said he looks forward to joining Molokai’s Wren Wescoatt, class of 2006, as a Pacific Century Fellow alumni.