Maui Business

MEDB Announces First Leader and Entrepreneur Fund Winners

October 30, 2018, 8:03 AM HST
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Maui Economic Development Board announced the winners of its new Jeanne Unemori Skog Leader and Entrepreneur Fund. The recently created fund will benefit Maui’s future leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs.


Nicolas Colon, Robert Kalei Miller, and Denmark Taroma received a grant from the JUS Fund to attend the first annual EMER-GEN™ at the AMOS Conference. PC: MEDB.

“NVMC is honored to receive the inaugural grant from the JUS Fund for preparing ‘Our Nobler Selves’ leadership curriculum for delivery in Maui schools,” said NVMC executive director, Deidre Tegarden. PC: NVMC.

The 2018 JUS Fund recipients are: Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, to prepare the “Our Nobler Selves” leadership program to be administered in Maui schools; and Nicolas Colon, Robert Kalei Miller, and Denmark Taroma for their participation in EMER-GEN™ at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference.

Awards from the JUS Fund are nominally $3,000 and are awarded to the most creative concepts for leadership and entrepreneurship. Preference is given to individuals, organizations, or programs for whom the fund’s grants will have the greatest impact.

“NVMC is honored to receive the inaugural grant from the JUS Fund,” said NVMC executive director, Deidre Tegarden. “The curriculum called ‘Our Noble Selves’ is a critical-thinking leadership program designed for junior and senior high school students based on the values of the Nisei Veterans. Students work together in groups to hear the stories of the veterans and then apply the lessons learned to decide how they would act in various situations. This spring a pilot of ‘Our Noble Selves’ was incorporated into an 8th grade social studies class. Our grant from the JUS Fund will work with the findings from the pilot and enlist the assistance of a professional academic writer to create a more streamlined curriculum that can be presented to Maui schools.”

JUS Fund recipient, Robert Kalei Miller, geospatial information analyst at the Pacific Disaster Center, said, “It is an honor to be a recipient of the JUS Fund and to attend the first annual EMER-GEN™ at the AMOS Conference. This is a great opportunity to learn from renowned space specialists, network closely with industry peers, and gain professional skills. The knowledge and experiences that I hope to gain from EMER-GEN™ at the AMOS Conference will help me with my continued career growth.”


The first annual 2018 EMER-GEN™ program is a joint initiative of the AMOS Conference and the Space Generation Advisory Council. The event is designed especially for those 35 and under who are enthusiastic about a career in space. MEDB created the two-day program with the help of advisors from industry, government, academia and non-governmental organizations. EMER-GEN™ offers mentoring and specialized development sessions on key questions and challenges that will enable tomorrow’s leaders to meet and connect with today’s leaders.


The JUS Fund was created on Aug. 11, 2017 in recognition and honor of the MEDB’s former president and CEO Jeanne Unemori Skog.

“I am very touched that the Board honored my years with this gift of giving,” said Skog. “I have appreciated the mentoring and role models who figured in my life and accomplishments, ranging from my parents to leaders and entrepreneurs within MEDB, and to those associated with MEDB that I had the good fortune to meet. It is my hope that the Fund will help take some young person to the next step—as an entrepreneur or a leader, or both—who will then, like myself, find the most unexpected path to a great career and life.”

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