I recently met with my first Ambassador, Tomoko Okazaki. She is a Japanese born surfer standing 5 feet tall, very tanned with a big smile. During the last few months, we have been emailing back and forth about how we were going to arrange our first meeting. Deciding on a meeting place wasn’t easy when the location is determined by the wind and surf that day as well as and what side of the island would be best for surf at that moment.
The meeting was finally arranged on the west side of the Maui, not far from where I was staying. We held a meeting on the back of her “Maui Van”, a dusty older bright red van with a sticker saying, “Pray for Japan, From Maui Hawaii”. What could be better than being in the Hawaiian sunshine, with a beautiful breeze, surrounded by many locals hanging out and surfing.
We sat and got to know each other in between local friends yelling, “Aloha!” as they drove into the surf spot. As we were getting acquainted, out from behind pops out of the surf my other future Ambassador Devin Blish. Both women are colorfully high-spirited with a shared love of the sport of surfing.
Sometimes, business meeting should be done in this environment- sitting on the back of a van, being relaxed with an appreciation of the great outdoors. I will never forget it.