One way that we try to reach a wide audience is through our sponsorships of and participation in various conferences and programs in Hawaii and on the mainland. On average, we sponsor about 20 events each year, and our representatives give roughly a dozen speeches and presentations annually. Typically, we gear our efforts toward events in our sectors of interest -- renewable energy (including clean transportation), local food, waste management and water.
Previously, you may have seen our team members take the stage at energy conferences, such as the Maui Energy Conference and Hawaii Clean Energy Day, as well as agriculture events like the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders Forum and the North Shore Food Summit. In addition, we’ve appeared before diverse audiences at events like TEDxHonolulu and SXSW Eco Conference in Austin, Texas. For the remainder of this year, we have several appearances on tap including the Kauai Energy Conference and VERGE Hawaii, which is returning to Honolulu later this month.
Here are the five reasons why we value these types of events:
1. Providing perspective
Our efforts touch many aspects of life in Hawaii -- from investing in specific projects to making an impact on the policies and regulations that govern us. However, our work as an impact investment firm is often misunderstood, which is why we appreciate opportunities to share our messages. Our systems approach brings a different perspective to affecting change. Often times, our role on a panel at a conference is to provide that 30,000-foot view of the topic at hand. This high-level outlook can demonstrate why some things work and others do not, and why the work we’re doing is important.
2. Personal touch
Our team comes from varied backgrounds and experiences. Among our management team, Murray was a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, Kyle has extensive energy knowledge, and Amy is a seasoned communications professional with public affairs and health care experience. Together, they shape our strategies and guide our decisions. Events like conferences, forums and lunches allow Murray, Kyle and Amy, along with our other team members, to get out from behind their desks and rub elbows with others in our sectors to learn and collaborate.
3. Meet and greet
While it’s certainly a privilege to share our ideas and stories on such a grand scale, we also find value in having more intimate, one-on-one conversations. These events create opportunities for continued discussion, networking and ideation. In fact, many of our best connections are made or renewed at these events.
4. Sharing is caring
We’ve had the good fortune to be considered as collaborators for some of these events. For the past two years, VERGE Hawaii’s conference organizers have consulted with us about possible topics and potential speakers. At this year’s Maui Energy Conference in March, the organizers were open to our idea of creating an Ulupono-branded “lounge” in the lobby of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Outfitted with chairs, tables, a sofa and portable chargers for laptops and mobile devices, the “Ulupono Lounge” was a hit as attendees used it as a place to get some work done or “talk story” between sessions.
5. Advancing great ideas
Ultimately, it’s not about us, but about what’s happening in our world. We support events that are opening dialogue and taking steps to create better synergy and options for those looking to make a difference. From small events like the HIPlan Business Competition, which encourages innovative business ideas on Hawaii Island, to larger, robust gatherings like the Hawaii State Farm Fair, we see the value in providing sponsorship support to events that will help achieve our highest goal -- improving the quality of life for Hawaii’s residents through impact investment.
If you have an opportunity for a speaking role for our team, please fill out our Speakers Request form here. If you are seeking a sponsorship, please email your event details to firstname.lastname@example.org. While we accept sponsorship requests year-round, we recommend contacting us between December-March to get on our calendar for the year.