Windward’s Omidyar Fellows Jump Into Leadership Training

The burden of leadership can be heavy, but local movers and shakers are getting an assist toward that vital role from the Omidyar Fellows program.

The inaugural class of 13 Fellows – hand-picked potential leaders and problem-solvers from a field of 150 applicants – was announced in September, with several coming from the Windward side. They will participate in a 15-month leadership development course that includes a retreat (held Oct. 24-25), a monthly learning community, an excursion and a community project, which they will develop themselves, to focus on “defining possible solutions for critical issues facing Hawaii.” Graduation is set for December 2013.

Fellows program founder and local philanthropist Pierre Omidyar calls the selectees “a long-term investment in our shared future. Hawaii’s next generation of leaders will inherit huge challenges (that require) proactive measures that move Hawaii forward, all while operating in an increasingly fast-paced and transparent world.”

The director of Omidyar Fellows, Kalei Stern, also from Kaneohe, added, “The amount of energy, excitement and passion that our first class of Fellows exudes is boundless.” Meet the passionate Windward Fellows below.

* Robert Bruhl of Kailua is vice president for development at D.R. Horton-Schuler Division, charged with land acquisition, management and stewardship statewide. He’s on the board for Make-A-Wish Foundation and Pacific Historic Parks and has a finance and accounting degree from Boston College.

* Colton Ching of Kaneohe is vice president of system operation and planning for HECO, overseeing Oahu’s electric grid as well as corporate and strategic planning for the company’s three utilities. Ching has a mechanical engineering degree from UH Manoa and is on the board for Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii.

* Forest Frizzell of Kailua is deputy director of information technology for the city, overseeing tech support for 20 city agencies. He has a liberal studies degree from UH Manoa and volunteers with Boys and Girls Club and Parents and Children Together.

* Jerrod Schreck of Kailua is president of Hoku Solar and chief strategy officer of Hoku Corp. A former Navy officer, he has worked with The Nature Conservancy, has his bach-elor’s degree from Cornell and a master of international affairs from the Institute for the Study of International Politics in Milan, Italy.

* Kaiulani Sodaro of Kaneohe directs enterprise planning and sustainability for Kamehameha Schools, overseeing major repairs and capital improvements. She is vice chairwoman of the city Planning Commission and has degrees from Cornell (hotel administration) and USC (master of planning).

* Joshua Wisch of Kailua is an attorney and special assistant for sensitive investigations, training and strategy in the state Attorney General’s office, with previous experience in U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono’s office and with a Honolulu law firm. His degrees are from Carnegie Mellon (public policy and management) and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a former member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board.