Page 20 - MidWeek - Oct 12, 2022
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 OCTOBER 12, 2022 MIDWEEK 19
                                     Ever since its first flight to the islands, Alaska Airlines has been a force for good for employees and passengers alike, thanks in
onboard music and compa- ny communications. It also supports community events, hosts volunteer and fundrais- ing opportunities, and orga- nizes Pacific Islander-cen- tered panel discussions. Just recently, the group sprang into action to support those affected by the earthquake in Tonga as well as partnered with Bishop Museum to cre- ate a learning series for Ha- waiian History Month.
S T O R Y B Y Ginger Keller
P H O T O B Y Anthony Consillio
cepted and celebrated, too. “I’m openly gay, but at that point professionally, I don’t think I was necessarily as free and open as I wanted to be,” he shares. “I wasn’t hiding it, but I wasn’t completely out. What really struck me was when Alaska hired me, they were going to put together an announcement and send it out across the wire nationally. I included that I volunteered and served as the executive director of the Rainbow Film Festival. When the draft came back, I was just so proud that one of the main things they SEE PAGE 22
Fpart to its “culture of care” and sustainability efforts.
ifteen years ago to the when he ended the announce- (HR technology manager). day (Oct. 12, 2007), an ment with three little words: “To P.I.A., authentic rep- Alaska Airlines pilot “Welcome to Hawai‘i.” resentation is important in
are great champions of this group — because this is an unpaid gig on top of their day jobs — and they invest their heart and soul into it to come up with programming that’s going to benefit the employ- ees and company. It’s just go- ing to make us all better when no matter who you are, what background you come from or how you identify, you see yourself in the company.”
turned on the intercom and To ensure the islands were addressing stereotypes and
said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. In 30 minutes, we’ll begin our descent to Honolulu Interna- tional Airport.” He may have even provided a weather fore- cast (partly cloudy with highs in the mid-80s).
represented accurately with care and consideration, the Pacific Islander Alliance was established ahead of the airline’s inaugural flight to the Aloha State. The group comprised 20 employees, led by Honolulu’s own Jill Tanga (training delivery specialist) and Lucy Purcell
misconceptions around Na- tive Hawaiian and Pacific Is- lander communities,” shares Purcell. “There are so many wonderful aspects about us to share and we want to be a part of sharing that narrative.”
Daniel Chun, sales, com- munity and public relations director–Hawai‘i, explains, “You find these employees that are super passionate and
That message is a person- al one for Chun, who, upon joining the company in 2011, felt the impact firsthand of what it means to be not only seen and understood but ac-
Though it may sound very routine, history was made
Now boasting more than 260 members, P.I.A. has advised on in-flight menus,
        (From left) Daniel Chun, sales, community and public relations director– Hawai‘i; Traci Ihara, station operations director–Hawai‘i; Lucy Purcell, HR technology manager and Pacific Islander Alliance founder/leader; and Jill Tanga, training delivery specialist and Pacific Islander Alliance founder/leader

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