Building On Good Foundations

The hospitality industry is in good hands because of people like Sheryl Matsuoka and Jared Higashi, and the educational foundations they represent.

They may not be household names, but Sheryl Matsuoka and Jared Higashi are among those who labor diligently in the state’s hospitality industry, playing vital parts in ensuring that this all-important sector that employs tens of thousands of people keeps humming along and growing.

Both juggle many duties in their roles — Higashi as vice president of government and community affairs at Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, an entity that serves a membership of nearly 700 hotels, resorts, airlines, banks, ground transportation companies and more; and Matsuoka as executive director of Hawai‘i Restaurant Association, which represents some 4,000 restaurants throughout the islands.

Still, much of their daily focus and passion can be found in advancing the causes of their respective organization’s educational foundations, and particularly when it comes to developing the next generation of hospitality workers. Case in point, HLTA and HRA’s partnership with Honolulu Star-Advertiser in staging the annual Hawai‘i Hotel & Restaurant Show funds scholarship initiatives for those seeking careers in the food and beverage, travel and tourism, and lodging sectors.

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