This month, we sat down with Kim Siufanua from the Inside Sales Representative team in Honolulu for our Hosts of Hawai‘i Spotlight series. Kim’s passion for serving others shines through in her daily work. It’s reflected in the relationships she’s cultivated with external partners over the years, the care she brings to training new hires, and the volunteer work she does outside of HHG. Read her full Hosts of Hawai‘i Spotlight interview below.
You’ve been with Hawaiian Host Group for 25 years! Can you share a bit about your journey with the company?
I first started my career with Mauna Loa when the company was owned by C. Brewer back in the 90’s as a temporary worker on the Big Island. As a temporary employee, I had the chance to work in different departments including Accounting, Warehouse, and Production. Each of these were short term positions in which I helped each team solve challenges they were facing. I was then hired full-time and have now been here for 25 years!
In 2001, I relocated to O‘ahu and took on a role in Customer Service, which is now known as our Inside Sales department. Since then, I have loved working in this client-facing role as my responsibilities align perfectly with my skillset and interest in serving others.
What exactly do you do as an Insides Sales Representative?
As an Inside Sales Representative, I work with our HHG Sales Managers as well as our customers – stores and businesses around the Islands that stock and sell our Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa products. My main responsibilities include processing and fulfilling orders, following up on deliveries, ensuring products are available, helping find alternate products when needed, and setting up new customer accounts.
I work most closely with our Hawai‘i Sales Managers and Sales Representatives on O‘ahu and the Big Island. We are in constant communication with each other to make sure product is where it should be, and discrepancies are resolved quickly to ensure smoothness of our service. My work can be repetitious, but every day is still different. The challenges that come up are always unique but it’s a good feeling to know my team has my back and we can count on each other to reach a positive outcome together.
What is your favorite part about your role?
I love entering orders and typing in 10-key because I really enjoy clerical work, but my favorite part of my role is the relationships I’ve built over the years. I love communicating with our Sales Managers and customers. Being in this position, I’ve built strong relationships internally and externally, and gained many friends over the years.
Back in the day, customers would call in to place their orders with me over the phone, rather than submit them electronically. I used to actually go into the stores to introduce myself to who I’d been speaking to. I would ask them, “Do you recognize my voice?” They would say “Yes, but I’m not sure why or how…” and that’s when I’d say, “It’s me! Kim from HHG.”
It was always an awesome experience to put a face to the voice and it made my work that much more special and our relationship that much more meaningful. Thanks to years of these phone calls, my contacts and I at companies like ABC Stores and The Food Pantry know each other by name and have developed a level of care for each other that makes the work exchanges more personal and less transactional.
What advice would you give to new hires?
My advice would be to “Be the sponge,” and “Embrace the change” which are things I had to learn myself on the job. In my 25 years here, I have seen the company go through many changes and several owners – from C. Brewer to The Shansby Group, and The Hershey Company to now.
Embracing these two mindsets and learning to go with the flow, enabled me to be adaptable to the changes over the years. They helped me learn the importance of absorbing all the knowledge of any position or situation you are in and applying it. Rather than getting frustrated that things were changing, I learned to be open-minded to the good that can come from change.
I train every new hire that joins our Inside Sales team and while I’m always there to help problem solve and correct them if needed, I always try to impart these two pieces of advice during their onboarding to set them up for long-term success.
Thank you, Kim for your years of dedication and service! We appreciate the level of care you bring to your work and are so fortunate to have you as part of our Hawaiian Host Group team.
HHG Spotlight Quick Takes
What gets you out of bed in the morning? My motivation to live life another day is being in service to others. My roles in my jobs, volunteer work and events are all about service. Whether it’s making sure those I work with have what they need to do their jobs or doing what I can to volunteer and fundraise for my family’s 250+ person annual reunions, serving others is my passion.
What three words would you to describe your role? Communicate to customers and other departments regarding orders and discrepancies; Organize in prioritizing workload to meet weekly and monthly deadlines; Accuracy in entering orders and following up on deliveries.
What is your favorite place in Hawai‘i? I love the Big Island of Hawai‘i – from the Hilo rain, Hāmākua Coastline, Kohala mountains, Waikōloa beaches, Kona’s Coffee plantations, to the active Kīlauea Volcano.
What’s your life motto? Life is too short not to enjoy it.
What is your favorite Hawaiian Host, Mauna Loa, or KOHO product? I am always a fan of our Mauna Loa Roasted Salted mac nuts, and I am a new fan of Hawaiian Host’s Founder’s Collection bars, too.