By Kitt Doucette, Contributing Editor at Men’s Journal Magazine
The Spirit of Sharing
Our paddleboards glide across the smooth ocean in silence. It’s one of those beautiful Hawaiian magnifying-glass mornings. When the ocean is so still and clear that the reef and colorful fish below seem to rise above the sea’s surface and sliding on top of the water feels more like soaring than swimming. The sky and wispy clouds high above are a delicate shade of pink as the sun crests the 13,000-foot volcano Mauna Kea, turning everything the new light touches into a soft gold.
My paddling companion, Dan McInerny looks over and laughs, shaking his head in appreciation and awe. He takes a deep breath and whistles, saying softly, “what an amazing place.” As a founding partner of the Hawaiian footwear brand Olukai and Executive Director of the Ama Olukai Foundation, Dan is a longtime student, friend, and humble devotee of the history, culture and language of the Hawaiian Islands. His extensive and deeply respectful relationship with Hawaii imbues every aspect of his work with Olukai and his life in general.
We paddle out to the middle of the bay and sit down on our boards, feet dangling in the warm blue water. Appreciating the stillness and quiet of dawn while admiring the gorgeous view. “My first time on these islands was over forty years ago,” Dan says with a wide smile, “and they still take my breath away every time I return.” After a brief silence, he continues, explaining what the true meaning of Aloha is. “Lots of people think it means hello and goodbye,” he starts, “but it’s way more than that. Ha is the Hawaiian word for breath of life, our very essence of being. Alo means to share. So Alo-Ha literally means to share our breath of life.”
He let that sink in for a moment. “Beautiful in its vibrant simplicity. To share our breath we must come together on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. We must understand each other, respect one another and recognize our commonality as humans. It’s really all about this spirit of sharing.”
Aloha. A powerful word that resonates far beyond its island home and as I’ve come to discover, actually has a lot to do with why we’re here at the legendary Mauna Kea Resort. Sitting on our paddleboards in the crystal clear ocean looking back across the water at the stunning white sand beach and volcano above, talking about human connectivity and the Hawaiian spirit.
Besides enjoying paradise, we’re both here to participate in an executive summit focused on the future of the workplace. A future that, at its very core, has everything to do with increased human communication, connectivity and collaboration on a global scale. Hosted by the technology company Bluescape, Dan is joined by top executives from a large variety of companies representing a diverse group of industries.
Read Kitt’s next Executive Summit: Future of Work, Part 2here
Download the entire Future of Work white paper here