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President’s Message – January 2021

By: Toby Taniguchi, President

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

-Alfred Lord Tennyson, poet

 As we welcome in the new year, we open ourselves up to the anticipation of what’s to come. For those who celebrate the welcoming of a new year on January 1, it’s a time to rejoice and hope…together. We’ve been overwhelmed with inspirational messages about “Alone, together” and “We’re all in this together” all year; but welcoming in the new year may just be the one thing that brings us all together mentally and emotionally, if not physically. Even more so than the other holidays — we all want what the promise of a new year offers — hope for something, anything that’s better than the year that we just went through.

 “In the New Year, never forget to thank to your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!”

-Mehmet Murat Ildan, writer

 This year, we not only welcome a time that begins to look normal again — or at least a new normal, we also welcome a new POTUS and we welcome our new mayor, Mitch Roth, as his work really begins in earnest. They’re both up against some serious challenges, and I wish them the best. The campaigns and the divisiveness that inevitably surround them are gone, and now everyone can start working together to make our communities safe and healthy and to restrengthen our economies. The things we experienced in 2020, the joys and the heartaches, will always be with us, but 2021 gives us the chance to learn and grow from them.

 “We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

-Ellen Goodman, journalist

 Our new normal gives us a chance to reflect on our own businesses and lives. Moving forward, will health and safety be more of a priority for you? Will your business leave in place programs that make doing business more convenient for customers? Will you invest in more digital and social strategies this year? There are so many things to consider moving forward to help ensure that 2021 yields the results that you need.

 “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future”

John F. Kennedy, former President

Let’s look to the future, embracing what we’ve learned this year — that shopping local shouldn’t just be a pandemic fad if we’re to strengthen our communities. That customers’ expectations are changing, and we have to change our businesses to meet them. That another day of business is never guaranteed and being prepared for the next time it happens is critical. We all have a lot to do, but let’s not allow these challenges to defeat us.

 “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

-Oprah Winfrey, media mogul

Cheers to a bright future for all of our businesses and communities here on Hawai’i Island. Let’s continue to lift one another up now and into the future. Hau`oli makahiki hou to all of our Chamber members and to our beloved Hawai’i Island. And welcome, 2021!