Maui Business

Maui kupuna advocate earns employee recognition

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Zilpah Kaimiola. PC: Maui Economic Opportunity

A Maui woman dedicated to helping kupuna traverse life’s changes, was honored by her employer. Zilpah Kaimiola, a Planning & Coordinating Council Senior Coordinator, was named Maui Economic Opportunity Employee of the Month for January.

“The work she does requires listening skills, patience, understanding, respect and sometimes being the referee,” said Nani Watanabe, who nominated Zilpah for the recognition. “This group she manages has gone through life changes, personality changes, hearing loss, and is experiencing culture shock because today, times are changing.”

Kaimiola leads a team that supports senior clubs in Maui County with recruitment, membership, activities and advocacy. She helps organize major kupuna events, including the Senior Fair and the Kupuna Celebration.

Kaimiola’s association with MEO actually began as a client in 1989, and then she joined the agency as a driver. She became a driver supervisor in August 2013 and was promoted to Planning & Coordinating Council Senior Coordinator in March 2016. 

Watanabe calls Kaimiola a “real self-built GPS” for MEO with her history spanning her years in the Transportation Department. 

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For being named Employee of the Month, Kaimiola earned a $150 check and an extra vacation day. Watanabe received $50 as the nominator. 

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Kaimiola was honored at MEO’s monthly staff meeting, held via Zoom, on Feb. 25.

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