HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "I always like to think the best is yet to come. When we do a project, we learn from it."
Kathy Inouye may be the most unintentionally inspiring person in Honolulu. The Chief Operating Officer of the boutique real estate development firm Kobayashi Group, Inouye has thrived in an industry once dominated by men.
"One superintendent used to kick dirt on my shoes, and get up in my face to intimidate me. I was young, I'd be shaking, but you wouldn't want to show it," she said with a laugh.
But those were the fires that forged her resolve. Her will, so strong and unbendable, is at once incredibly tender and sincere. Kathy was the Chair for Child and Family Service. She has assisted children and has mentored many women, helping them escape cycles of abuse and dependence.
"I asked them, these two women I had gotten particularly close to 'if you could do anything in your life to change your cycle of abuse, if everything was within your control?' They both said 'I guess I'd like to go to college.' I said that's great, you should do it."
And they did. One is now a social worker.
She's taken a similar approach to parenting. Since they were young, son Mike and daughter Shelby were taught valuable lessons about the world around them--like the time they were tired of feeding the homeless.
"I said it's good that you're tired and cold and hungry. Because you're only having this feeling for one night, because some of the kids and people you're going to see tonight have that feeling every day."
It's easy to see why Kathy truly didn't know why she was the one being honored, since she's so focused honoring others.
"None of us can do a lot for a lot of people. But we can each help one life at a time. I'm always telling people, just help one life at a time."