2019 LeaderLuncheon Honoree Profile: Patricia Tam

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The 42nd Annual LeaderLuncheon, YWCA Oahu’s biggest fundraiser of the year, is happening on May 15, 2019 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, 12 noon-1:30 p.m. We’re looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of exceptional women leaders and sharing our mission of “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women” with our guests.

In the weeks leading up to the event, we’ll introduce you to the 2019 LeaderLuncheon honorees. YWCA O‘ahu selected four amazing women who will be highlighted for their contributions in their fields of work and in their communities. Get to know our third 2019 LeaderLuncheon honoree below!

Q&A with Patricia Tam

Chief Executive Advisor,
Halekulani Corporation

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What types of qualities make a good leader? 

The most important aspect of being a good leader is first being a good person. These key qualities include sincerity, integrity, empathy, respect for others. A good leader embodies a culture that supports sound decision-making, good organizational skills, and a clear thought process.

What has helped you become a more effective leader?

Being an effective leader is a lifelong journey, and I haven’t discovered anything better than pure experience and challenging yourself daily to do something out of your comfort zone. Effectiveness is always in the results, so it is important to identify what successes you hope to accomplish in any initiative.

Name a woman leader who inspires you and why?

There are so many professional women throughout the world, past and present, who are inspirational in their own right (Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller come to mind), but one common denominator for me all my life has been my mother, although it is taking me all my life to realize the impact she has on me and what I am able to achieve to this day. She is my ultimate role model in her strength and incredible ability to handle any life situation. As an immigrant from China, there is no one more single-minded in trying to make life better for her children and determination to do so. I am so happy I have her DNA.


What was your dream job growing up?

As a child, I was fascinated by the concept and history of dinosaurs, so I was certain I wanted to become an anthropologist or archaeologist. My dream was shattered when I finally realized that the job included toiling in hot sun and humidity, with dust, dirt and grime as part of the everyday work environment. So I decided to become a writer and author the Great American Novel, which is still a dream in progress.


What’s one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received?

Never be afraid to challenge yourself doing new things (at the time my mom said this to me, she was 93 years old, and she is still learning).


What can you advise others to do to help each other or help the next generation of women leaders?

There is no better teacher than experience, so I would always advise others never to be afraid of hard work in any field of endeavor, especially when you are young. One of my greatest work experiences during high school was working summers at the Dole Cannery packing plant - 12 hour shifts, 6 nights a week. That job taught me, among other character building skills, work discipline, punctuality, and getting along with both young and old, all of which helped me and continue to guide me in all of my leadership positions. I also learned that assembly work could be mind-numbing, so in all of my future jobs where I could make an impact, I strived to make the work environment inspiring, engaging, and encouraging creativity and healthy discussions.

Read Patricia Tam’s full bio here.

RSVP for the 42nd Annual LeaderLuncheon today! Click here.