Constance H. Lau
As humble as she is successful, Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) Woman of the Year Constance H. Lau takes pride in knowing Hawaii is moving in the right direction when it comes to matters of energy.
“This award is interesting because I was honored as an individual, but it is really about the whole WCEE initiative. It is a great recognition of our community-wide movement toward clean energy,” says Lau, who was featured on MidWeek’s cover April, 17 2002.
President and CEO of Hawaii’s largest public company, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Lau was touched by the congressional and senatorial support she received when the WCEE award was presented to her March 9 in Washington, D.C.
“Rep. Hirono and Sen. Akaka both sent representatives to the presentation, along with Congresswoman Hanabusa. I was struck when Sen. Inouye personally came to the event, as there can’t be any busier time for him as he is negotiating the federal budget,” Lau adds.
One of Hawaii’s most influential professionals and leaders, Lau has a balanced understanding of the importance of each employee she works with and the company they represent. “One of the things I’ve learned about being a CEO is that the most important aspect is to protect your employees, and the best way to protect your employees is to keep your company sound,” she says.
As director of American Savings Bank, Alexander & Baldwin Inc., the Hawaii Bankers Association and Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, vice chairwoman of Kamehameha Schools and trustee of Punahou Schools, among other positions, Lau can be viewed as a symbol of integrity and dedication, always keeping the community’s benefit first in her mind. “I tend to look at life in a holistic way. It is really important to me that people are taken care of, and if we don’t take care of our community who else will?” she says. “As a woman I’ve gained a lot of my experience, expertise and knowledge through working in the nonprofit sector and volunteering. That work has been very synergistic for my work in the for-profit sectors I represent.”
As an authority on energy, Lau also has her thoughts and concerns about the ramifications of the March 11 earthquake in Japan and its effect on an international scope.
“The big impact that Japan has on energy is that I believe it will now slow down any nuclear development. Nuclear has been coming back, and without a doubt there will be much more scrutiny now on the backup systems for control of nuclear energy.”
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