Aloha friends, and please join us in a round of applause and a big ho’omaika’i ‘ana (congratulations!) to Chandra Bertsch, Holo Holo Charters’ co-owner and general manager, who recently graduated the Leadership Kauai program, Class of 2022.
In this blog post, we’re going to cover two things: the Leadership Kauai program and Chandra’s Awesomeness.
First: Leadership Kauai
Leadership Kauai (LK) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2003. The program’s vision is:
Inspiring leaders for Kauai’s future
And the program’s mission is to:
Ensure a source of qualified and committed leaders on Kauai through effective leadership programs
Every year, LK recruits a class of about 20 bright and motivated Kauaians for an intensive 10-month mobile program that consists of leadership development, professional skills-building, critical thinking, decision-making, and communication.
The participants discuss bridging Kauai’s inter-generational and multicultural gaps, global leadership, mentoring, collaboration, and community service.
During the 10-month period, the class breaks into three smaller groups that each identify and help resolve a specific community issue. This year the three groups addressed: Economic Diversity, Recycling, and All-Inclusive Playground.
- Chandra was in the Economic Diversity group. That group would like to see more economic diversity on Kauai and especially in the fields (pun intended) of agriculture and other aina-based, sustainable businesses. They also think it’s important that local kids and young adults have access to the education and skills needed to be hired and thrive in those businesses.
For their project, they organized a waste-free event that brought together 9 representatives of sustainably operating local businesses/organizations with several representatives from Kauai Community College, to talk about what kinds of curriculum KCC can offer to meet the needs of said businesses/organizations. Courses such as administrative skills, grant writing, project management, marketing, accounting, farming programs, lab programs, and incorporating ancestral knowledge into the curriculum
Train and educate Kauai’s homegrown kids to be the workforce our island needs? Makes all the sense to us!
- The second group was the Recycling group, here to make a dent in our island’s daunting solid waste problem. This group identified two facts– that about 10% of Kauai’s landfill waste is food scraps and that the county offers FREE backyard composting bins. Yes, it’s true friends– free composting bins! The only catch is that you have to pick them up yourself in Lihue, and they’re a bit cumbersome to move around– you can imagine those big black compost bins.
Not everyone has a truck and/or an extra set of hands to pick up the free bins, so to address that potential hurdle to progress, the group organized a day in which they brought the bins to the people via several distribution points on the island. Yes, it’s a small dent in a massive problem, but hey—every bit truly counts! Hopefully, by getting the compost bins to people, word starts spreading through the coconut wireless that the county offers free bins, and more and more people start diverting their food scraps away from the landfill and turning them into nutrient-rich soil instead. Normalizing backyard composting today helps our landfill situation right now and helps set future generations up for success.
- The third group was the Inclusive Playground group, which identified Kauai’s lack of a public playground that supported children of all developmental abilities. They wanted to see a playground installed on our island that could engage all children’s physical, social, emotional, sensory, communication, and cognitive skills and allow them to swing, spin, slide, and balance– with joy!
Their group brought together a group of parents and students that proposed the project to the County of Kauai, advocating for their family and friends who often experience feeling left out of playground activities.
Incredibly, the Kamalani All-Inclusive Playground opened on Earth Day, April 22, 2022! Go check it out anytime at Lydgate Beach Park.
Impressive stuff isn’t it??? Most of us writing and reading this blog post probably can’t say we’ve collaborated with others lately to organize projects that address specific problems in the community– the 21 members of the Leadership Kauai Class of 2022 CAN!
Chandra and her classmates are the newest members of the Leadership Kauai Alumni Network, a group of more than 300 of Kauai’s brightest business leaders and visionaries. Chandra is a natural fit among this group of movers and shakers, and that brings us to the second part of our blog post:
Next: Chandra’s Awesomeness
Let’s brag about our fearless leader Chandra for a minute.
Chandra is a Kauai girl—a west side girl!
Chandra’s whole ohana is here on Kauai: her mom, dad, stepdad, her two brothers, and their families. In Chandra’s immediate household, she and her (awesome) husband Adrian have one young son and currently, another bun in the oven—coming in November!
All this to say that Chandra’s love and passion for Kauai runs deep, and she’s not going anywhere.
After graduating from Waimea High School (go Menehune!) Chandra was off to Cal State University in Chico, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Small Business Management/Entrepreneurship and a Minor Degree in Managing for Sustainability.
It was in Chico that Chandra identified with a concept known in business circles as the Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability: People, Planet, Profit—the 3 P’s.
Fortunately for us and fortunately for the island, Chandra got her education and brought it back home to Kauai.
From day one (more than seven years ago), Chandra brought a “bigger” vision for Holo Holo Charters and under her leadership, we’ve evolved into more than an ordinary Kauai boat tour company.
Under Chandra’s leadership, we’ve achieved the title of #1 Best Boat Tour in the U.S.–all the while setting industry standards for environmental and cultural sustainability. We’re applying the 3 P’s and doing our very best to take great care of our people, reduce our harm to the physical environment, support the perpetuation of Kauai’s unique culture, and turn a profit at the same time.
Chandra volunteers as a board member of the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii, a non-profit organization focused on protecting Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources through the promotion of responsible tourism and educational programs.
Now she has completed the Leadership Kauai program too. How does she do it all?!?!
Chandra, you’re one of the brightest stars in the Kauai sky. You plot our company’s course and we’re all better for it. We’re confident and proud to have you at the helm! Thank you for making the time to further develop your leadership skills and your general awesomeness.
Big congrats to you and everyone in the Leadership Kauai Class of 2022!