FEBs talk back to Washington: Honolulu

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San Francisco

Gloria Uyehara
Honolulu FEB Executive Director

What’s the best part of working in your FEB area?

The diversity — Hawaii’s people are deeply rooted to our family and friends. As a matter of fact, we are home to people from every continent on earth. Land is valued and passed through generations. Hawaii’s state motto is “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono,” or “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” Land here is truly nurtured and valued to the point where many families have their own vegetable and flower gardens. It’s a place where neighbors freely share their harvest and, when on vacation your neighbor will trot over without thought and keep it watered until you return. And, proudly we are a very giving community. In 2009, it was reported that 92 percent of Hawaii households donated to charities.


Hawaii is also called the ALOHA State — Aloha means love, peace and compassion…it is our greeting for “hello and goodbye.” We are also known as the “melting pot of the world” where many nationalities have migrated to start a new beginning for their families. We’ve informally adopted our friends’ cultures and their families and they share their stories and years of experiences.

What is the biggest drawback of working in your FEB area?

Many think that because Hawaii’s weather and beaches are so beautiful, it’s been labeled “off-limits” not a place to host conferences and workshops so, federal, state, and city workers here often need to spend their meager budget to travel elsewhere. In Hawaii, the networking value is tremendous– whether it be “business to business” or “consumer to business” we are the perfect place to promote “vision for results” as it is the relationships developed here that is long lasting even after returning to work sites and thereafter.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give a fed moving to your area?

Treat all with due respect, as you would like to be treated.

In a word, describe feds in your area.

How are feds perceived in your area and how does that affect morale?

A very small population that complain about high federal taxes may choose to use the Federal worker as the scapegoat, while many would value a federal job. Overall, federal employees are well-respected, know they do their jobs well and glad they work for the federal government.

What’s the average commute for feds in your FEB area, or your personal commute?

10-20 miles.

Is the distance from D.C. a blessing or a curse?

Hawaii is the state farthest from D.C. and we find four time zones and a Pacific Ocean away sometimes challenging when attempting to respond to a short lead time report due D.C. time (six hours behind). Additionally, sharing webinars and conference calls that start at 10 a.m. D.C. time means we need to be ready to go at 4 a.m.

What’s your area’s can’t miss attraction?

Pali Lookout, Iolani Place, Arizona Memorial, Foster Botanical Garden, Polynesian Culture Center, Diamond Head Hike, and the other islands.

Check out more from the series “Talk Back to Washington.”