We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Hayashi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leslie, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

This quote sums up how we all feel – afraid of change. But if we trust our inner voice, we will surprise ourselves.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I became a judge at an early age and was one of the few women judges at the time. At first, I had difficulty understanding my male colleagues as they were older. So I chalked up our differences to male/female and to age. Fortunately at a judges’ conference, I learned about the Myers-Briggs personality types. By learning about different preferences and how people see and navigate the world through those preferences, I was able to appreciate my type as well as the types of others. This saved both my career and my personal relationships. Because of my preferences, I was able to accomplish significant projects which enhanced public service. By tapping into my creative side, I was able to find solutions as well as find fulfillment through writing, art, and teaching. The one thing I wish I had learned earlier is that asking for help is beneficial. Growing up, I assumed that I had to do everything on my own. Looking back, I want to encourage others to seek advice from others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hawai`i is full of amazing history. We are the only state which was once a monarchy, a provisional government, a republic, a territory and finally a state. There are a number of must do things – Iolani Palace, USS Arizona, USS Missouri, The Judiciary History Center, the Honolulu Museum of Art, Doris Duke’s Shangri-la, Hanauma Bay, Waimea Bay.

We have a diverse population with over 60 community languages. This also translates into amazing ethnic cuisine. We could spend a week just going to all the great eateries from the shrimp truck in Kahuku, to Roy’s at Ko `Olina.
To counter the food, we would swim at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world – Lanikai and hike some of the most spectacular trails from bamboo to yellow ginger to the old pillbox ridge trails.

And this is just on `Oahu. If we had a chance to get to the other islands, we could go to see a live volcano on the Big Island, a fern grotto on Kauai, take in the morning sunrise on Haleakala.

But the most important thing about being in Hawai`i, is the opportunity to relax. Not feel like you have to do something or go see something. Just grab some shave ice and enjoy life.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have been fortunate to have had strong women role models in my young life starting with my mother. A World War II warbride from Germany thrust into an unwelcoming Japanese American family in a small plantation town halfway around the world from her home, soon to be divorced, raising 3 children by working three jobs; high school teachers like Mrs. Myrna Ishimoto, who pushed me to the “edge” by making me learn extemporaneous speech; Mrs. Genevive Coleman, who ignited a love of literature and lifelong learning, Mrs. Eunice Johnson who started a 4-H club for her daughter and made me aware of a sense of community and public service. Later, friends who believed in me, encouraged me, and helped me make my dreams come true like my childhood girlfriend, Kathleen Wong Bishop. And my wonderful husband, Alan Van Etten, who has seen me at my best and my worst, and still believes in me every day.

Website: lahayashi.com

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