LAWE I KA MAʻALEA A KUʻONOʻONO.
Acquire skill and make it deep. This ‘Ōlelo No’eau, or wise proverb, outlines the path of success in becoming good at anything, you must immerse yourself in practice and learning until it becomes part of you. Serving as a guide on this deep journey of enlightenment, was our honored guest speaker, Kumu Ramsay Taum.
Ramsay Taum is the President and Founder of L.E.I, Life Enhancement Institute of the Pacific that provides sustainability consulting, cultural impact assessments and facilitating community engagement and planning. Taum also leads the MBA Island Business concentration program at Chaminade University. Through his work in teaching students and helping companies understand the value-impact vs. the value add of Hawaiian cultural values in the workplace, he describes himself as a community lei maker.
Lei ‘imi na’au’ao (lei of seeking knowledge; enlightenment)
And like an expert lei maker, Taum selects each piece and explains its value to the lei, starting with culture.
“Culture is important,” explains Taum. With culture in place, this moves the conversation from a values-conflict space to prioritizing what’s truly important as a business leader. To successfully navigate this we must understand that we all come with a “supply-side thought”, or preconceived notions, experiences and biases. In business management, when everyone does this they can take weight of their collective principles, values and practices towards shaping things together for deeper impact in business and the community. As Hogan Entrepreneurs, this sentiment resonates with our motto of doing business that makes social sense, and social impact that makes business sense.
Lei haliʻa aloha (Lei of fond remembrance; often said of someone cherished, such as a beloved elder)
As graduate of Kamehameha Schools, US Air Force Academy and University of Southern California, this knowledge Taum shared with the Hogan program wasn’t just given to him, it was gathered and earned. Throughout his life, key mentors such as Papa Lyman, former Bishop Estate Trustee, and Pīlahi Paki, beloved kupuna and cultural expert, pushed Taum to deepen his worldview and identity as a Hawaiian.
Today, Taum is a kumu and mentor himself. He teaches the values he has learned to help local businesses align a place-based approach of people, place, and prosperity in the context and content of how they do business in Hawai’i.
Lei pilina (Lei of closeness; a woven relationship or association)
Above all, the culture that shapes us and the values that help define us are all driven by relationships. Taum explains that culture is the lens that gives us new eyes – new eyes to see and new eyes to see how success is measured. To that he closed the evening with a simple question to measure if you are successful as a leader and business: did you eat.
If you can feed your family, if your workers can feed their families, if your community has access to food and the means to feed others less fortunate in the neighborhood, then you are successful.
Written by: Hogan Entrepreneurs Program student, Elena Farden
Speaker Session with Ramsay Taum 4/19/17