Dee Jay Mailer, new CEO of Kamehameha Schools, believes the estate could tap its alumni to provide job advice for Hawaiian students.

New Kamehameha CEO
wants greater outreach

Just one week into her new job as chief executive of the $6 billion Kamehameha Schools, Dee Jay Mailer is developing new ideas on how to extend the trust's educational reach in the Hawaiian community.

The 1970 Kamehameha Schools graduate and former Kaiser Permanente executive said yesterday that she wants to set up internship programs for Hawaiian students at workplaces owned or managed by Kamehameha graduates.

Mailer also said she believes that the estate could tap its alumni to provide job advice and training for children in communities and schools that are heavily populated by Hawaiians.

Such programs would add to the estate's five-year strategic plan, which aims to add more than 1,000 Hawaiian students at its Kapalama Heights and neighbor island campuses and increase participation in its outreach and extension programs by more than 10,000.

"My plan will be to support what works now and find out what we have missed," Mailer said. "I think Kamehameha Schools has a responsibility to work in the communities to bring education to the children."

Mailer, 51, met with the local media to share her first impressions of the new job and her initial insights into the estate's massive educational and financial operations.

Mailer declined to disclose her annual pay, but did say that she will receive a "fair compensation." Her predecessor, Hamilton McCubbin, earned about $350,000 a year.

Mailer said that she and her husband recently moved into a home in Manoa, which they rented with the help of her cousin Rob Burns, co-founder of the Local Motions surf and apparel company.

The home is owned by Burns' longtime friend and fellow surf wear executive Leigh Tonai, who plans to return to the islands in July. That means that the couple will have to go house hunting again this summer, she said.

Mailer, who headed Kaiser's local operations until 1999 when she took a position on the mainland, said her first week at the trust was "pretty inspiring" in that she was able to reintroduce herself to people in the Hawaiian community and the local business community.

Mailer said she expects to spend much of her first month working closely with staffers "to find out what is going on and what things aren't moving forward."

Unlike McCubbin, who had an academic background, Mailer comes from a business and health-care sector and is known for fostering a collaborative environment in the workplace.

Mailer summed up her management philosophy: "I'm successful when I help others become successful. When someone else is successful and I played a part in it, then I'm successful."

Local Hawaiian activist Vicky Holt Takamine, who is distantly related to the new CEO, said she met Mailer for the first time last week and came away impressed.

"I'm excited about her being at the helm at Kamehameha Schools, and I expect her to do good work," Holt Takamine said.


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