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Talk Story, June 2010

Who, or what, was the biggest influence of your successful career?

Keala Kennelly - Professional Big Wave Surfer, Actor, TV Host

Though I have had many influences in my life, the strongest influence came from my father who taught me how to surf and was my biggest supporter until I got good sponsorship deals. I was always most happy when I was making my dad proud. Andy and Bruce Irons would be the other major influence in my life. I grew up surfing with them and thought they were the best surfers in the world way back then. I surfed with them every day and would try to emulate everything they did in the water. On land I would do just about anything to gain their acceptance and approval.
I wanted to walk like them, talk like them, dress like them and of course surf like them. I love those guys, always have, always will.

Sig Zane - Clothing Designer


I loved a camera that my father had. It was one of those that you looked through the viewfinder from the top. My father had a great eye; he took photographs that captured emotion, energy, and great light.
Early on my father challenged me. There was a channel in front of our home that he told me that if I swam across it, he would give me that camera. I was five years old when I dog paddled across the channel and got the camera. It was the beginning of my love of photography, but more importantly, it taught me to focus!
My father has guided me through my life. He was really a Renaissance man in that he was worldly and thought big. When I was eight, we moved to Madrid and during that summer, we traveled throughout Europe visiting all the great museums, famous gardens, and the monumental buildings. Returning to Kane`ohe and then a few years later moving into Manoa Valley, it always seemed like he was seeking the best life for our family. 
Language, to Dad, whether it was English, Spanish, or Hawaiian, was a priority as the manner of expression was most important. Each of us children learned to be bi-lingual and that skill of learning was applied to anything new.
Very much like how the camera taught me to focus, today I am blessed as he continues to inspire me. His persistent search for knowledge makes me just as inquisitive. His leadership motivates and inspires!

Keahi Tucker - HawaiiNewsNow Anchor

The biggest influence of my career would be the news director at WTTG in Washington, who gave me a job in the #8 market even though I was coming from Topeka, KS (#142).

Daniel Ho - Grammy Award-winning Music Producer, Songwriter, Musician

So many people have influenced and inspired me throughout my life. Many of them I've never met, but have learned so much observing their lives and work. My family and friends are the foundation that affords me a creative existence. Here are a few individuals that have inspired me:
My father - a unselfish, gentle, generous man. I've always looked up to him and wanted to be like him.
Fedor Emelianenko - A humble, focused individual who is a master of every aspect of his craft. He is an undefeated MMA champion who lives and trains in the town he grew up in.
Steve Jobs - He has changed the way we live many times over, and continues to do so even when faced with serious health challenges. Aside from live performance, everything I've created in the last 20 years has been on Apple computers - recording mixing, mastering, CD graphics, books, etc. Thank you Steve!
I wake up every morning feeling like I want to finish the song I'm working on so I can get to the next song, then finish the CD, so I can start the next CD. I love picking up a CD for the first time at the manufacturer, tearing off the shrinkwrap, slipping it into the CD player and reading the liners as I listen to the music. That sense of completion inspires me to do it over and over again!

Sunny Massad - Founder, Hawaii Wellness Institute; Author

I was mostly influenced by my mother and my father; neither of whom I wanted to emulate. My father was a compulsive gambler who was irresponsible with money, often skipping town as a result of bad debts. My mother was a codependent who had no clear identity other than wife and mother and so was quite lost when her roles disappeared. I vowed to become a financially responsible, self-reliant woman who would live in accordance with my highest values: love, freedom, and creativity. Whenever I need direction, I think of how chaotic my parents' lives were. The memories stimulate me to stay on a path of enlightened living, grateful for the opportunity to learn from the dysfunctional role models of my past. I would not be who I am today if I had not used their personal suffering as a foundation in which to dive into a more healthy life.

Alan Wong - Chef and Restaurateur

First of all, there are so many individuals who have affected me in some way or another. I will pick a teacher and advisor, Mr. Joe Kina. I was a student at Kapiolani Community College, he taught cost control, however, he was the advisor to a club called, “Professional Cooks of Hawaii, KCC jr chptr.” There was a senior chapter and another jr chapter over at LCC. One of the primary goals of the sr chapter was to provide opportunities for advanced education in the profession by providing funds for workshops, classes and doing dinners and banquets to participate and learn from that the school experience did not provide.
I was our chapters president for two terms, and Mr Kina was the advisor. We often took one or two functions a weekend, in turn, we learned how to do catering and banquets, also learning the culinary arts by doing ice sculptures, vegetable carvings and fancy things. The hidden lessons were accountability, dependability, doing the financials, delivering a quality product. The main reason why I always thought of him, besides learning all of these things, is that he was old school, a tireless, unselfish man who gave up his time for the students, on weekends, late at night, no problem. He was always there, and every function we took or project we had, he was there from the beginning to the end. The example he set and the standards he had , were very high. Everything he was about was for the kids. We all remember our favorite teacher, they affected us, cared about us, looked after us, taught us life skills , and set the bar for us. He affected me so much I wanted to be like him and be a teacher too, of which I did that too at a much later time. Thank you Mr. Joe Kina, you helped me become who I am today.