The HPU SIFE team was comprised of Guiherme Albieri from Brazil,
Julie Blake from California, Carrie Ginnane from New York, Benedikt
Goetz from Italy, Jason Kim and Nga Nguyen from Hawai‘i, and
Saw Ghee Hong from Malaysia.” We definitely have a very international
group,” said advisor Ken Schoolland, associate professor of
Team members Michelle de la Cruz and Kelly Harmon, both also
from Hawai‘i, were graduating and unable to participate in the
competition. “The team did exceptionally well in the Pacific
Regional Competition, and their enthusiasm showed in their [national]
presentation,” said Schoolland. “We decided to leave two days
early so we could polish our presentation,” he added.
SIFE, a non-profit organization, was founded by Sam M. Walton,
CEO of Wal-Mart Stores. The organization has student run chapters
at more than 1,000 college and university campuses in more than
20 countries. A collaborative effort of education and business,
more than 170 top corporate executives participate as SIFE directors
(and served as judges at the national competition). By learning
and teaching the principles of market economics, entrepreneurship,
business ethics and personal finances, SIFE members gain a greater
appreciation and passion for changing the world. SIFE teams
around the world have made significant impacts globally by improving
the quality of life and raising living standards in many nations.
This was followed by the keynote address, delivered by Irwin
Jacobs, chairperson of Genmar Holdings. Jacobs reflected on
his own experiences and how and why he got to where he is [at
the top] of his career. He said, “Hard work, common sense, passion
for what you do, and get up when you fail.” He also shared his
ingredients for success. “Be successfully creative, see adversity
is an opportunity and failure is an experience. Be able to take
risks and chances!” Jacobs concluded.
Each participating school was placed in one of eight leagues,
each league sponsored by a national or multi-national corporation
such as Best Foods, Georgia Pacific, Northwestern Mutual Life
Insurance, Quaker Oats, 3-M and others. The semi final-rounds
of the competition, held May 14, were the final test of perseverance
and preparation. Each student group presented its annual report
to a panel of 50 judges and detailed the projects it had completed
during the school year. HPU was in the Northwestern Mutual league
and presented in the afternoon sessions. Tom Payne, senior vice
president of SIFE, said, “HPU did a great job,” a sentiment
reflected in the judges’ comments.
“The HPU team’s cultural diversity and excitement impressed
me the most,” said Bernard Milano, president and trustee of
KPMG Foundation, who added, “keep up the excellent entrepreneur
education.” And philanthropist Norman Polsky of Norman and Elaine
Polsky Family Foundation, advised HPU SIFE to “start doing real
business and make money. Step up, be real entrepreneurs!”
The top two teams from each of the eight leagues’ were chosen
to participate in a final round May 16. HPU shared top 15 honors
Centenary College, Drury University, Elizabethtown College,
Elmira College, Flagler College, Georgia Southwestern State
University, La Sierra University, Northeastern State University,
Pittsburgh State University, Southern Arkansas University, Southwest
Texas State University, Union University, University of Arizona
and Valdosta State University. Even on the brink of temporarily
losing their voices, Ginnane and Blake were heard shouting,
“We did it! We made the final sixteen!”
“We can change the world!” Albieri shouted, dancing on the
stage in the excited exhilaration of victory.
For the final competition the entire 16 teams were organized
into four leagues. HPU was in the league sponsored by MTD Products
presented their annual report at 9 am in the final round. The
afternoon and evening were available for networking for internships
and employment at a Career Expo with companies such as American
Greeting Cards, Ernest & Julio Gallo Wines, KPMG, Manco and
more than 50 other companies recruiting potential employees.
Final results were announced at the evening awards banquet.
HPU placed third of the final four winners, behind Drury University,
Springfield, Missouri, and Butte College, Oroville, Calif. These
teams went on to represent the United States at the SIFE World
Competition in London in June.
“HPU has come a long way and has gone farther than any Hawai‘i
school has previously done!” said, Jack Kahl, former CEO of
“We want to do better next year by encouraging every student
at HPU to join SIFE, and we want to share the success with HPU.
Positively, we want to go international!” said Roderick Mak,
a SIFE at HPU alumni.
To learn more about SIFE, and about how business and education
are a perfect fit for anyone passionate about the global future
of business, visit www.sife.org.