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Navigating Challenging Business Currents

AP Photo/Caleb Jones

It’s been a year of dramatic changes around the world, and that’s certainly true for the hospitality industry in Hawaii. One well-known executive has shifted her professional focus — looking to work with other business leaders in a different way.

Kelly Hoen’s hotel career started at the Ilikai Hotel as a front desk clerk in 1979, and she rose up through the ranks to become general manager at a number of properties. These include the Kapalua Bay Hotel, where she increased occupancy by 26 percent; The Royal Hawaiian, where she was the first woman to serve as the hotel’s general manager; then The Modern Honolulu which she saw through a period of financial growth.

She joined the Outrigger Hospitality Group in 2017, overseeing operations at three properties. Through the Covid shutdowns she practically camped in the lobby to help managers, staff and guests navigate the strange experience. This inspired a career change, the kind a number of Hawaii-based executives might be considering if our local economy remains crippled, and that’s reaching out, professionally, beyond the Islands.

Hoen recently joined the Mainland-based executive coaching and leadership development firm Here and Now Consulting as senior vice president. There she’ll develop and implement leadership training for individuals and organizations, here in the Islands and on the Mainland.

It’s a smart move, given that Hawaii’s hotel occupancy has been just 15% of normal and could take years to recover. Hoen believes in this lean future, consultants with experience like hers can help executives and their teams navigate through tough times.

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