SuperCity: Choose your own adventure

Dec. 4, 2013 | 1 Comment

You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

Truth? I’m not too sure.

I mean, there is about 70% of our lives where we don’t get to pick. Most careers involve maintaining a certain level of friendliness with people you otherwise… wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, I don’t come from a huge family, so I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of what that’s like, but I do know living in a city like Honolulu that the easiest way to function is to just be cool with everyone.


Femfessionals ‘Connection Luncheon’

Presented by FemCity Honolulu

» Where: A Cup of Tea, 407 Uluniu St.
» When: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 15
» Cost: $55; $40 for FemCity Honolulu members
» Info: Email or visit

As for friends, most of us have taken a couple decades to understand the quality vs. quantity theory. They say friends are the family you choose. What about influences? Professionally, we can talk about how we want to surround ourselves with people that inspire us, who encourage us to try harder, work harder, be happier.

But how many of us actually do that? Is it just too easy to get sucked in to the negativity? I don’t think so. As hard as it is to walk away from someone who is dragging me down, it’s harder to keep them close. Life is too short and our careers are just too precious.

Sitting in on a recent Femfessionals luncheon, I was so thrilled to be able to see Tanna Dang again. She is definitely one of the women in our community I have always looked up to. She perfectly balances philanthropy, owning a business and family.

As owner of the Wedding Cafe, she has taken a cute idea and turned it in to a successful business with the help of her husband and sister. The three of them were all guest speakers at the luncheon and hearing them talk about working together was so awesome. They have such an amazing dynamic – Tanna as the idea person, her sister Tessa Gomes as the hyper-organized executor and her husband Bryson as the logical thinker.

Tanna Dang with Hawaiian Ryan in 2008. (Christa Wittmier)

Tanna Dang, right, with Ryan “Hawaiian Ryan” Matsumoto in 2008. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

They each spoke with a humble, yet incredibly content confidence that made everyone in the room who hasn’t yet taken that leap of faith seriously consider their life’s path. They have fallen in to each of their roles so perfectly, growing their business and team into what it is today.

“You have to decide what your purpose in life is and work towards that,” Dang told the group. “Once you start working for something that is in your heart and soul, everything in the world just makes sense.”

I wanted to cry when she said this. It’s so true. After working for more than a decade as a systems administrator in the Navy, I was just along for the ride, so to speak. It wasn’t until I got in to marketing that I realized what I truly loved and what motivated me.

“Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?” is a question that drastically changes from when we are young to our adult lives. When we are young, it has more to do with getting in trouble; when we are older, it takes on a more impactful meaning. It’s totally fine to keep asking ourselves that question until we are sure of the answer. Investments in education might be the biggest weight holding us down, but mingling with professional women like Tanna, who has invested everything in to what she is passionate about, proves that there will always be a way.

Anyone who could use some motivation, positive influence, or just a few new friends should look at attending a Femefessionals event and possibly joining FemCity Honolulu. It’s $100 per year to join and $300 to become a lifetime member. That may be a little steep for some, but I’m not too sure you can put a price on the satisfaction of knowing your life’s path is the right one.

  • Kevin S Oshiro

    “What do you want to be when you grow up ?” – My parents’ question was to me (it’s a hard question to answer because some people may change jobs a lot, but not career choices).