Back to school with the Speakers Bureau
by Dan Kaneko | Dec. 13, 2022
At Hawaiian Electric, our employees find all sorts of ways to support the community. These opportunities to volunteer include beach cleanups, charity walks, emergency preparedness fairs or, as I recently participated in for the first time, the Speakers Bureau.
My introduction to the Speakers Bureau program came when I assisted Senior Community Affairs Consultant Tatiana “Tati” Quong with a visit to Ms. Legare’s fourth- grade class at Makakilo Elementary School. While we were setting up for the presentation in the school library, I remembered what it felt like when I was in elementary school, when everything looked so big, and every day was an exciting new experience.
The students made their way into the library, lining up in rows and waving to us with a look of curiosity. When I started distributing yellow plastic hard hats, they lit up with excitement, setting the tone for the rest of presentation.
Tati gave the students numerous opportunities to answer questions and win prizes throughout the presentation. I got my chance to join in the fun by sharing energy conservation tips, a topic we often emphasize on our social media channels. I enjoyed interacting with the students and it looked like they had fun while learning about electricity.
This first experience gave me the confidence to lead my own Speakers Bureau event, and I didn’t have to wait long because just a week later, I was asked to provide a similar presentation to Ms. Matsuura’s sixth-grade class at Ewa Makai Middle School. The experience was similar, except this time the presentation took place in a large cafeteria and the students were a little bit older (Side note: They still loved the yellow hard hats, proving you can never be too old for those). The school itself was beautiful (everything looked brand new) and the students were smart and well-behaved!
I’m grateful I had the opportunity to connect with these teachers and students, and I’m glad I work for a company that values community engagement. Outreach opportunities like the Speakers Bureau allow us to get to know the people in our communities and give back to these schools. It’s also worth remembering that the keiki sitting in these classrooms will eventually help lead Hawaii to a clean energy future. The Speakers Bureau is a simple but meaningful way for us to engage with our customers — and future customers!
The Speakers Bureau program has been connecting Hawaiian Electric with Hawaii’s youth for over 30 years. Our education and consumer affairs team recruits employees from various departments to interact with students through presentations on topics including basic electricity, electrical safety, energy efficiency, renewable energy, emergency preparedness, and careers. If you’d like to submit a request for a presentation or other educational materials, please visit our Teachers Resource Center.
Dan Kaneko is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric Company.