Lenny Yajima will become the president of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii, effective Oct. 1. She succeeds Ed Hawkins, who is retiring from the position after eight years.
Yajima was president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i from 2007-2012. She also held a variety of sales and marketing positions in Hawaiʻi. A graduate of Punahou School and Harvard University, Yajima brings more than 25 years of marketing and public relations experience to the position.
Her service with Hawaiʻi’s Japanese American community includes serving as chair of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce’s 40th Cherry Blossom Festival and representing Hawaiʻi’s AJA community nationally and internationally as queen of the 34th Cherry Blossom Festival. Additionally she has been spokesperson for the Honolulu Festival Foundation for several years.
“Lenny’s communication and marketing skills will serve JASH well as we begin to implement a strategic plan which supports our mission to promote understanding and friendship between the peoples of Japan and the United States through the special and unique perspective of Hawaiʻi,” said JASH board chair Daniel Dinell.
“Ed brought us more effective programs and greatly enriched our relationships in Japan and in Hawaiʻi. We are thankful for his outstanding tenure and myriad contributions to JASH,” added Dinell.
Yajima will be working closely with Hawkins to effect a smooth transition over the next two months including working together on the JASH Annual Dinner on Sept. 25, during which Hawaiian Airlines will be recognized with the JASH Bridge Award for its role in promoting understanding and friendship between Hawaiʻi and Japan.