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Priory in the City: Mentoring Monday with Pacific Business News
Elizabeth McDonnell

On February 28, Priory seniors attended Mentoring Monday, an event held by Business Journals all over the country involving over 10,000 women. The Honolulu networking event, coordinated by Pacific Business News, was held at Prince Waikiki.

“It was such an amazing experience to be in a room with supportive, inspiring, and wise women,” said Nicole Takahashi, Priory senior and Interact Club President.

Head of School Dr. Ruth R. Fletcher, a mentor at the event, had invited Priory seniors to experience the networking and one-to-one coaching sessions with distinguished women leaders.

Kira Stoetzer, Priory senior and Pacific and Asian Affairs Council President, was grateful to meet Alana Kobayashi Pakkala, COO + Partner at Kobayashi Group. “Hearing about strong and impactful women is one thing,” said Kira, “but to have a conversation and learn directly from their experience is entirely different. I learned that the Kobayashi Group is supporting affordable housing on Oʻahu through the development of Hale Kalele, a 201-unit apartment rental.” 

This experience was timely because Kira recently completed her Priory in the City internship with Pūlama Lānaʻi and learned about the process of creating affordable housing on the island of Lānaʻi.

“I am aware of the challenges women face in the field of engineering,” said Lesley Bray-Toguchi, senior and Historian of the Class of 2022. “Mentor Miki Moore-Hardisty, COO at Proservice Hawaiʻi, inspired me because she earned her Master's in Mechanical Engineering. Before I met her, I was having doubts about studying mechanical engineering, but Ms. Moore-Hardisty helped to reignite my love for engineering.”

For her Priory in the City internship, Lesley is currently engineering a vertical hydroponic system.

“Among the many brilliant, strong, and authentic women leaders I met at Mentoring Monday, I noticed a common theme: discovery and growth,” said Claire Cronin, Priory senior and President of the Japanese Club,“Throughout their professional development, these women leaders have undergone many changes in their career path to lead them to where they are today.” 

Claire is currently interning at Ashford+Wriston, learning to write legal memoranda, because she is interested in diplomacy, public policy, and legal principles.

“Ms. Robin Kobayashi, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hawaiian Airlines, talked about inspiring the next generation through field exploration,” said Kayin Bohnet, Priory High School Student Council President. “She encouraged me to take up summer internship programs with Hawaiian Airlines so I can get hands-on experience.”

Kayin is interested in aeronautical engineering. She is currently doing her Priory in the City internship with the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium, helping to provide robotics experiences for elementary school students.

The seniors were grateful for the opportunity to network with inspiring women. “These mentors’ shared experiences,” said Claire, “allowed us to appreciate the dynamism of life, and to welcome challenges that can ultimately lead us to where we want to be.”