This year's Asia-Pacific Career Conference (APCC) kickoff event featured Brigham Young University–Hawaii alum Sylvia Hussey, chief executive officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, as the keynote speaker.
As a student, Hussey was a junior accountant at the Polynesian Cultural Center. She received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from BYU–Hawaii and a master's degree in education foundations, and a doctorate of education from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.
Hussey began the address by sharing her childhood memories of crafting and flying homemade kites. Most of these kites were made from old pillowcases and plastic bags, as these leftover materials flew best in the sky. She now likens this process of kite flying she became accustomed to in her youth to the stages of her career.
Hussey explained this likening through three key points;
- knowing your foundation.
- strengthening your foundation.
- relying on your foundation.
Your foundation being made up primarily of one's 'ohana (family), mo'meheu (culture), and 'āina (that which feeds us, land, and sky). Hussey explained that these elements support, shape, and motivate an individual to quote, "give an honest day's work for an honest day's wage." The mindset this creates is what fuels an honest and productive work ethic that leads to success and happiness.
In parting her wisdom upon attendees, Hussey encouraged students not to discount or discredit their culture but to use it as a strength. In today's world, beliefs are constantly challenged. Your foundation must be strong to ensure your kite or career can continue to soar and fly despite tumultuous winds.
This year's APCC has brought over 200 attendees representing 40 countries to the BYU–Hawaii campus. Students will have opportunities to meet and interact with various professionals representing companies worldwide at networking events and career fairs over the next couple of days.