Strategic Initiative

Looking towards tomorrow … where are we going

written by James Y. Iha, President 2001

To provide a guide for setting priorities, making decisions and creating action plans that will assist the Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA) to realize our vision, purpose and objectives, the Board of Directors adopted the HUOA Strategic Initiative. The Strategic Initiative is designed to help the HUOA and our member clubs in our future aspirations to enhance our effectiveness and viability. To devise this organizational improvement process, the following commonly asked questions were addressed - Who are we? Why are we here? Where have we come from? Where are we today? And where are we going?

The HUOA is an organization with a long and distinguished history of accomplishments. The implicit vision for this organization comes from the deeply felt pride that we have for our Okinawan culture and values. Presently, the substance and strength of our organization is manifested in a network of clubs, families, and individuals that have formed an association which seeks to perpetuate this vision. As conditions within the Okinawan community and the community- at-large changes, this vision will become less clear. New interests, concerns, and priorities will compete for the time and attention of Okinawan families in areas where the clubs were most functional in the past. These societal and sociological changes that will affect our association and member clubs must be seriously addressed in a timely manner for us to remain a viable, productive and effective ethnic organization well into the future. A future that must be met with organizational changes as necessary and ever mindful of our proud legacy - keeping foremost in our future endeavors the essence of our organization which is the preservation, perpetuation and promotion of our Okinawan culture and values.

As a result of analyzing where we are today, drawn from the various workshops and conversations that have occurred over the last several years, we were able to make specific recommendations on organizational priorities, program emphasis, and required action plans. Where are we going or the future directions of the HUOA are presented in our HUOA Strategic Initiative. The following paragraphs briefly discusses this Initiative, our plan for the future.


Establishing and maintaining relationships among Okinawans and Okinawans-at-heart. (Reach out, touch someone, and stay in touch!)


The purpose of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association is to preserve, perpetuate and promote the Okinawan culture.


• Conducting cultural programs, arts and crafts exhibits, demonstrations, and athletic and social activities;

• Supporting and encouraging education;

• Encouraging and assisting our member associations to be dynamic, energetic, self-motivated and full of life so that their membership will continually grow and activities unique to the individual associations will be an inspiration to their members;

• Printing, publishing, and/or distributing Okinawan cultural and historical information and books.


• The Hawaii Okinawa Center is the home of the HUOA which serves the purposes and goals of the HUOA.

• We believe in and are committed to cultivating and perpetuating the "Uchinanchu Spirit."

• We are committed to perpetuating and promoting the Okinawan culture and the arts.

• We are committed to honoring the issei whose legacy is the foundation of who we are.

• Our strength comes from our member associations. We believe that the stronger the member associations, the stronger the HUOA will be.

• We believe that the future of the HUOA is dependent upon its youth. We are committed to encouraging the involvement of our children.

• Hawaii’s cultural diversity is its strength. We are committed to participating meaningfully in the wider Japanese and Hawaii community.

• We support and promote Hawaii’s relationship with Okinawa.

A strong and effective HUOA will only result if individual Board members are willing to take on the following responsibilities.

The Board of Directors is the steward of the Association’s mission. If the Board does not: ask questions, make policy decisions and reinforce new processes to support the plan, then no one else will.

Here are specific actions the Board must take:

• Design Board meeting agendas so that Board members are asked to exercise their responsibilities — not just sit and listen to reports

• Approve an annual action plan that is developed with input and review from clubs and is consistent with the goals identified in this initiative

• Evaluate the results of this plan every year

• Develop a leadership succession plan that insures continuity of leadership and active recruitment from clubs

The Board is also responsible for building the capacity of the organization.

Here are some specific actions that the Board can take to build this capacity:

• Incorporate training on roles and responsibilities of Board members in annual orientation or special sessions

• Develop an ongoing program of leadership development for all HUOA leaders (Board, Committees, and Clubs) to cover topics such as effective meeting management, budgeting and financial management, and fund raising strategies.

• Create and implement a five year development plan for the HUOA that specifically links organizational goals to budget items and funding sources

A strong Board is the result of strong individual Board members.

This plan asks individual directors to make specific commitments to the Association:

• I understand and am committed to the mission of the organization

• I understand the community issue that the organization is addressing

• I have and am willing to put in the time to prepare for and attend Board and Committee meetings

• I am willing to ask questions when I don’t understand a policy issue or decision that the Board is attempting to make, or a volunteer task that I have undertaken

• I am willing to contribute my experience and expertise to strengthening the organization

I have made a personal financial commitment to the organization

The HUOA Strategic Initiative places heavy emphasis on the leadership responsibilities of our HUOA elected officers, presidents of our member associations and their officers, and all who serve in a leadership position. Above all, personal commitment by our leaders at all levels is highly stressed. With this commitment by our leaders to preserve, perpetuate, and promote the Okinawan culture and values, strong, effective and productive associations will continue to grow and flourish.

Our theme for year 2001 was Yui Nu Kukuru - Uchinanchu Spirit with Hearts Together. It most aptly described the spirit in which we celebrated our 50th Anniversary. This theme embodies our proud legacy, and is a testament to the Okinawans and Okinawans-at-heart working together for the common good for all - yuimaaruu. Let us continue to reach out, touch someone, and stay in touch in unity forever grateful for what the past has brought us and look forward to a harmonious and promising future.

A copy of the complete HUOA Strategic Initiative as adopted on December 17, 2001, by the HUOA Board of Directors provided to each of our member clubs and a copy is available for your perusal in the HUOA business office.