Bitsy Kelley’s earliest memories are of time spent learning the ins and outs of her family’s business, Outrigger Enterprises Group.
When she was old enough, Kelley was tasked with stopping at the hotels before school to sweep out laundry rooms, re-stock soap and clean lint drawers.
“The hotels were a part of our everyday life with our family,” she says. Founded by her grandparents Roy and Estelle Kelley, it’s a mentality that has enabled Outrigger Enterprises Group to survive into its fifth generation of family members.
“It doesn’t come without work,” she says. “We work really hard as a family to have regular meetings, to communicate a lot and to educate the next generation about the business and how to work together.”
Kelley, who was featured on MidWeek‘s May 9, 2001, cover, recently returned to the Islands after living on the Mainland for a little over a decade, though she never stopped working for the company.
The decision came after a phone call from brother-in-law and Outrigger Enterprises Group president and CEO W. David P. Carey III, who expressed his desire for her to return home as the company underwent its next stages of growth. Moving home also meant Kelley would be able to spend more time with her two grandchildren.
With three locations and an additional corporate headquarters in Thailand, its newest addition is a property in Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar. Outrigger Enterprises Group will be building in Vietnam and Hainan, China, and constantly is seeking opportunities for further growth in the Indian Ocean area.
“Knowing that we were doing this strategic growth and knowing that we want to continue to grow the business with the future generations of the family, I wanted to help be a part of taking the company to the next level and perpetuating the family business for future generations of the family,” she says.
As it branches out globally, Kelley, who serves as the company’s vice president of corporate communications, emphasizes a focus on sustainability. Aside from general practices and conservation efforts, Outrigger Enterprises Group works with employees and the community to enhance each location’s culture.
“Whether it’s in music or in art, or in language or in storytelling, it’s sustaining that culture not only for the visitors to enjoy,” she says, “but for future generations so that you don’t lose your culture.”
Sustainability is a topic of personal importance for Kelley, who enjoys the outdoors, and also hunts and fishes for her meals.
Locally, Outrigger Enterprises Group is looking to update and revitalize Outrigger Reef on the Beach, a final phase of its Waikiki Beach Walk project.
“(As we are) growing out in the Pacific and Asia-Pacific, we are still dedicated to Hawaii,” says Kelley. “We are still a Hawaii-born and -bred company.”