A Hawaiian Business View

By Layla Dedrick
Wednesday - October 29, 2008
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By Layla Dedrick

Owner and CEO for Bella Pietra

Aloha kakou. O Layla Dedrick ko’u inoa. No Ma’ili ko’u wahi hanau. No Nu’uanu mai au. O Roy a Gladys ko’u mau makua. O Andrew ko’u kane, a me La’akea a Ka’ena ko’u mau keiki. He Hawai’i au, mau a mau.

Translation: Aloha everyone. My name is Layla Dedrick. My place of birth is Ma’ili, and now Nu’uanu is my home. My parents are Roy and Gladys, my husband is Andrew, and my children are La’akea and Ka’ena. I am of this place, Hawai’i.

As the owner of Bella Pietra, Hawaii’s largest full-service natural stone company, I start every morning with these thoughts in mind.

It was traditional Hawaiian practice that when you visited or traveled to another valley or village, you would call out announcing not just your name, but your lineage. A real introductory chant would be several minutes long, giving your lineage back many generations. And your chant also stated where you were from. This gave the people there who did not know you a context in which to place you, by what family you were from and what land you belonged to. Notice I said what land you belonged to, not what land belonged to you, and that is a whole other column for another time.

In my introduction above, there was no mention of what I do, what my job is, nothing about how big my company is, how many employees I have, etc. Later in his or her introductory chant, a native Hawaiian might have mentioned a profession: farmer, fisherman, priest, weaver, seafarer, etc. However, this was not the most important information shared to let people know where your place was in the world, or what you took pride in; your connection to other people and connection to the land were the most important things. Your introduction to others starts with a recognition and pride in your roots, your history was the strength, the foundation for everything else that comes after in your life.

Bella Pietra staff: Layla Dedrick, Dawn Calpito, Luz Oliveros, Jamie Hammond, Lin-Tai Kailikea, Haunani K. Jones, Barbara Kaufman and Creighton Hartling

So how does the Hawaiian view of the world relate to doing business in Hawaii today? If you have chosen to work here in these islands, it is your responsibility to make the business community in Hawaii one of the ways you connect to other people. Your contribution to the community goes beyond your “work product,” whatever widget you make. You have chosen to live, work and play here, to establish your context for who you are, here.

What we do today to better ourselves, our families and businesses are the roots that future residents of Hawai’i will look back to as their strength. I want to be a source of pride, a part of the framework the next generation will look back at when introducing to the world whom they are and how they will make a difference in our community.

I want to be clear that my point is not about being of Hawaiian ancestry. Even if your genealogy is not of this place, you are now of this place by choice. Hawaii and your relationships to people here are now part of your introduction, your history, your responsibility.

At Bella Pietra our customers are the entire construction community, from large developers and architects building hotels and condos, to homeowners renovating a single kitchen or starting a garden project. No matter whom the client, my mission in serving them is the same, to provide them a quality product at a fair price with great customer service.

Underneath all of this is the ‘olelo Hawai’i I started with, which means every transaction will be one that I would be proud to look back at and add to my lineage, where I’ve come from.


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