Executive Women International

Christina O'Connor
Wednesday - August 24, 2011
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Shelley Okubo, Lois Asato, Cathy Iwai

Yolanda Domingo has had some tough times. Several years ago, she battled a heart condition. After receiving a transplant, she found her life threatened again by breast cancer. But Domingo emerged on the other side. “She survived all of that, and she wanted to go to college and get her degree,” says Lois Asato of the Honolulu chapter of Executive Women International (EWI). With the help of EWI’s scholar program Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST), Domingo received a $2,000 scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in social work.

EWI is a professional organization that connects businesses throughout the island with a mission to promote member firms, enhance personal and professional development and encourage community involvement. Members say that EWI has been a valuable skill-building tool for their careers.

In addition to ASIST, EWI also offers the Executive Women International Scholarship Program (EWSIP), which is awarded to high-performing high school juniors for college tuition. To date, ASIST has awarded a total of $157,550 in scholarships, and EWISP has awarded a total of $111,000.

Asato, Iwai and EWI chapter president Shelley Okubo say that helping students through the ASIST program is particularly rewarding. “We had one women who was a refugee from Laos ... She was an orphan and went through the foster care system. And now she’s going to graduate next year with a degree in accounting,” says Asato.

“We have had women who were homeless, or who have been living on the beach, or into drugs, or in prison, and now they’re turning their life around ... It’s wonderful to know that we are touching their lives and that we are making a difference,” says Okubo.

On Sept. 9, EWI hosts its annual Scholarship Golf Tournament, which is the primary fundraising event for the two scholarship programs, at Hawaii Prince Golf Club. The event will include door prizes, a silent auction and booths from a number of EWI member firms. There is still space available for more teams. To register, contact Cathy Iwai at 6873222.

EWI also is involved in a number of other community service activities. Later this month, EWI will help host a birthday party for children at Next Step Homeless Shelter. And recently, the group donated school supplies to Lunalilo and Kahaluu elementary schools. 

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