As a struggling graduate student and self-professed visionary, I have always aspired to see real tangible change in a community that I cared for. Growing up in a small island in the middle of the South Pacific, opportunity was scarce. Although it was great to live off of natural resources like fruits and vegetables grown in our backyard and seafood fished from the pacific ocean, it is still very hard to maximize your potential when living in paradise can be surprisingly limiting.
When I realized that a number of Polynesians, like myself, migrated to start new lives in the mainland, specifically in the city of Carson, it peaked my interest when I moved to California many years later. The allure of the bright lights and city life in California left an impression on me, and quite frankly many other polynesians as well. When I actually visited Carson for the first time many years later, it almost felt the same way as it did on the island.
However, that was before I met Jawane Hilton.
On the first day of graduate school our class was given the task of introducing ourselves using a powerpoint presentation. Others went before me and did a great job, but one particular person stood out the most. When he presented his slideshow and mentioned his plan for making incredible improvements in the city of Carson, I had goosebumps. After I visited Carson for the first time, my entrepreneurial mind dreamt of seeing more opportunities being built in the city. More restaurants, more jobs, more apartments, more diversity and more collaborations. Interestingly enough, my soon-to-be mentor friend, Jawane Hilton shared the exact same vision as I did.
After class that evening, we talked for a bit after we introduced ourselves. I did not tell him my aspirations for the city of Carson, but I knew we’d see eye to eye on it. Little did I know, we would become very good friends and he would be a very instrumental figure in the progress and growth of the city of Carson. On top of that, he actually lived there and was starting a church as well.
As we stayed in touch, I got to witness the literal change in the lives of thousands and thousands of people in the city. My path was always slightly different than Jawane’s but my heart never strayed away from the Polynesian people that populated a large portion of the city.
Jawane and I would often meet up at restaurants for lunch or dinner. We’d share ideas and catch up on how our families were doing and what the most exciting projects were that we had been working on. Every time he shared about the hundreds of new jobs and how gratifying it was to be helping more families, it was inspiring. From the various improvements at schools, to more families moving into their dream homes in Carson, it lit a fire in me. Each time we grabbed lunch, it became a mini mentoring session.
Those lunches left a huge impression. It has now become a way of life in terms of how I mentor others the way that Jawane has been a mentor to me. Even though I am not directly related to the massive progress in Carson, I can tell my children that my mentor has been specifically involved in the growth of an entire city, and we can enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Nowadays, I find myself scheduling time to sit down and have lunch with other people that I can pour into and share some of my entrepreneurial successes with to encourage and be a motivating factor for them to do the same.
I believe in a three-tiered mentorship model.
Every person should engage in mentorship at three distinct levels.
Level number one, everyone should be mentored by someone they admire and respect. Level number two, everyone should be mentoring themselves through personal development and continued self-assessment. Level number three, everyone should mentor someone else younger or with less experience, so they can pour into and actively engage in teaching. It is commonly known that we learn more when we teach, grow more when we are taught, and maintained when we reflect.
My family and I enjoy going to Ikea in Carson to shop and then spend 15 minutes deciding where to go for dinner. There are so many great options in Carson, it’s amazing to know there are no limits and we have a diverse set of options to choose from.
I appreciate you Jawane and thanks for being my mentor and making my dreams come true!
Written by a grateful soul 🙂