WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - YWCA Oahu will be recognizing four outstanding women at the 41st Leader Luncheon in Waikiki.
Julie Arigo, the general manager of Waikiki Parc Hotel, is one of this year's honorees.
She was born in Newport, Rhode Island and grew up in a Navy family that was constantly on the move.
"My sister was born in Pensacola, Florida, the other (sister) in Sacramento, California, and my brother was born here in Hawaii," said Arigo.
During her senior year at Waipahu High School, she realized that her dream of becoming a flight attendant would never take off.
"I was so disappointed. I read that the qualification to be a flight attendant was to be at least a minimum of five feet two inches (tall)," recalled Arigo. "I've always been about five feet."
The petite powerhouse found her calling at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Travel Industry Management School.
Arigo joined Waikiki Parc Hotel in 1994 and worked her way up to general manager, earning recognition for her leadership in the hospitality industry. She founded the Hawaii Chapter of Women in Lodging & Tourism and enjoys networking through professional organizations.
Arigo also dedicates time to community service through groups such as Soroptomist International of Honolulu.
"We help to empower women and young teenage girls. We do a lot of fundraising to support them by helping them further their educations," she said.
Those who know Arigo say that she's very thoughtful about choosing which causes to support.
"Julie is very passionate about the work that she does," said Karen Wataru Nakaoka, director of membership for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. "She is so authentic and genuine and that's something that I really admire about her."
Arigo loves spending time with her family, including her dog named Bear. She has finished 9 marathons, but had to walk in the last one after a skiing injury in Italy in 2017 left her with a metal plate and screws in her left leg.
"I realized, wow, it's time for me to really look at what my priorities are, and although work, I love my job, spending time with my family is very important," she said.
Arigo recently reconnected with her childhood roots in the Catholic Church. Finding faith has brought balance to her life and deepened her desire to give back.
The 41st Leader Luncheon will be on May 16, 2018 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.