Rylan Sekiguchi has been selected as a cohort fellow for the Movers and Shakas program (M&S)—an initiative to attract remote workers, especially returning kamaʻāina (Hawaiʻi residents), to create a more innovative, resilient, and sustainable Hawaiʻi. The rationale for the establishment of M&S is based on the following.
“Brain drain” is an enduring challenge for Hawaiʻi as we lose key talent and family members to economic opportunities on the continent. M&S focuses on “brain gain” to grow and diversify Hawaiʻi’s economy so that local folks can come home and never have to leave in the first place.
A recent article, “Hawaiʻi’s Population Drain Outpaces Most States—Again,” in Honolulu Civil Beat features comments by M&S Director Nicole Lim. In the article, she notes, “The overall goal is really brain gain. How to tie people into Hawaiʻi for the good of Hawaiʻi.”
Selected from thousands of applicants, Sekiguchi is one of 50 in the second M&S cohort contributing to the community through volunteer projects and developing personal and professional relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Sekiguchi is working primarily with the PA‘I Foundation, which is led by Executive Director Vicky Holt Takamine, a respected kumu hula (master teacher of hula), well-known Native Hawaiian advocate, and valuable proponent of M&S in the local community.
The Movers and Shakas program is based on three key pillars.
Following a recent visit to the Bishop Museum, designated as the Hawaiʻi State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Sekiguchi reflected on his experience. “Though I was born and raised in Hawaiʻi, it wasn’t until I moved to the continent as a student at Stanford University that I began to truly recognize my connection to this place. After being away for 19 years, M&S has been an incredibly meaningful experience for me and an extraordinary opportunity to reconnect with Hawaiʻi. It’s also been inspiring to connect with my M&S cohort mates, many of whom also have personal connections to the state. Someday, I hope to connect my SPICE work more closely with the M&S community.”