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Workplace Wholeness & Being Integrated

Featured Spotlight - Charlene Kimura (Halekulani - Boutique Buyer/Manager)

My interview with Charlene, was one of the most integrated interviews, in terms of a true demonstration of one who brings their whole self to work, in an extremely whole and healing way. Charlene is no doubt a shining star in the industry, as her expertise, blended with her personality and spirit, transcend any trivial definition of what a "job" really is.

For many years now, there has been an increased conversation, within the resort/ hospitality industry, as to "wellness" - wellness travel, wellness in the workplace, wellness retreats, etc... The true meaning of this word, has gotten a bit "messy" and many throw this word around like they have done with many other great words.

For me, true wellness is wholeness. Wellness is not just about eating organic food, or taking yoga classes - it is about being whole and integrated as an individual. The companies that seem to flourish are the ones where the employees are happy, integrated, as well as able to authentically use their gifts and talents. Being joyful, aligned, and authentic is imperative if one is to be whole; and authenticity and joy is indeed a real aspect to wellness. We bring our consciousness to every aspect of our lives, so the integration of who we are, needs to be demonstrated in our work as well. There is immense value in understanding this.

As those who have read my past interviews already know, I started this series, as I wanted to shine a light on those who are effective, heart centered, and service oriented, as they bring their unique perspectives to their work. In the times we are in, some in the hospitality industry can feel " pressured" and possibly "overworked," but more so than not, most are super happy in their positions, and have excelled within the brands they work for. Not only that, they are appreciated and valued by their employers.

What is it about them as individuals? And what does it also say about the companies they work for that encourage, and appreciate this kind of talent?

This fourth interview is with Charlene Kimura, Halekulani Boutique Buyer/Manager:

Me: How long have you been working for Halekulani?

Charlene: I started working in 1983, as we trained before our opening in September of that year. When I started, there was not even electricity... we were all walking around with flashlights.

My take away:

When someone like Charlene stays with a company for this many years, it speaks volumes as to how one can grow and expand within a company, when given the space and opportunity to be themselves.

#integrity at work


Me: What is your favorite part of your job?

Charlene: Being able to use my creativity and vision. When I have an idea, I like to run with it.

My take away:

From the beginning, Charlene has been able to use her vision and creativity in her role at Halekulani. At the outset, she knew that even when buying shirts, whether tees or polos, they were not "uniforms," but they were to be a beautiful representation of the Halekulani brand. She has consistently focused on adding color, flair, and class to everything in her boutique. The joy that Charlene has when talking about a "winning" product that sells through, is infectious. This joy is also evident when she talks about a custom/ branded product design that she initiates with her own creative vision. With even a simple category such as "cookies," she has been able to makes the cookie category exceptional! Down to creating the box, shape of the cookie, the ingredients- super impressive and branding at its finest!



#heart into work


#creativity at work

Me: How do you stay so effective in your role as Boutique Buyer/Manager?

Charlene: I am able to make fast decisions.

My take away:

Working with Charlene for a number of years now, she has the ability to make very fast decisions. She stays true to her vision, and her creativity, and she knows the value of branding, as well as the value of a quality product.

#branding at its best

#branding at its finest

#creative decision making

#power of creative vision.

Me: The amount of self awareness you demonstrate is impressive. How are you able to remain so authentic in your work?

Charlene: I am able to use my talents and gifts, especially in the areas of creativity and vision. I am able to excel in communicating the Halekulani brand with amazing products that are unique and great quality.

My take away:

Charlene's background in fashion merchandising continues to serve her to this present day. I rarely have seen a person in her position, that understands the value of branding within a retail space. The kinds of niche products she finds, her flair for design, as well as her impeccable taste in making products "their own" - adds to the whole experience of a stay and visit to Halekulani. From teddy bears, to cookies, to soaps, she has put her heart into creating a product experience with each item. She knows what she wants, and has a vision for each category, and that makes her exceptional in her role at Halekulani.



#heart into work



Me: What do you think contributes to the longevity of many of the individuals who work at Halekulani?

Charlene: People like to stay here. For many, their job has become much of their life and in general we have a very low turnover. The pay is good, the benefits are good, and most are very satisfied and want to stay here.

My take away:

Charlene works with a great group of individuals. She acknowledges, as well as appreciates, that she shares her success with her Executive Team, Operations Manager, Inventory Clerk, as well as Sales Team who all support her in who she is. It is clear that there is not only longevity but friendship and true connections, among those with whom she works with. All great companies not only value their employees, but create environments where individuals can thrive, while being authentic to who they are.

#team loyalty

#team connections

Me: What are some of the things that you enjoy when not at work?

Charlene: I enjoy spending time with my family & extended family. Every weekend I do my own 'meals on wheels' as I cook and deliver to seniors who are unable to cook for themselves. My daughters assist me, and they have become a part of this as well.

My take away:

Charlene is married, and has three children. It is clear that whether she is at work, at home with family, visiting with extended family, delivering meals to seniors, or traveling - she is a walking demonstration of love, authenticity, warmth, and heart centeredness. The amazing example she is providing for her daughters, as well as others, speaks volumes as to the kind of individual Charlene is.


#extended family

#being an example



Knowing Charlene for many years, and being able to have this type of interview with her was a wonderful experience. As it is said, "when two or more come together".... there is a powerful energy in sharing ideas, perspectives, as well as true joy in being authentically connected with another within one's industry. This type of energy expands outward and this is how we share our divine blueprints with others.

Not only is Charlene a super spectacular person, but she is someone who anyone can learn something from. Not only does she excel in her work, but she is a demonstration of true wisdom, integrity, positivity, and joy! She exudes joy, class, heart centeredness, vision, courage, and authenticity.

Another amazing interview, and I am very grateful that Charlene took the time to chat with me!


For more information on Halekulani visit


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