Women in Leadership, along with BYU–Hawaii Prelaw Society, hosted a forum in the Heber J. Grant Building with Representative Val Okimoto on Sept. 25 for a speech titled “My Top Three Life-Defining Moments.”
Students and organizers for the event said Okimoto inspired them to balance their lives so they can be productive and less stressed.
Okimoto shared her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, becoming a mother of two little girls and getting involved in Hawaii’s House of Representatives were her top life-defining moments.
As an alumna from BYUH herself and born in Kauai, Okimoto shared she hopes to be an advocate for people.
Okimoto said she became involved in politics to help her daughters’ futures, to serve a greater audience with love and to give a voice back to her community.
The trials of being a missionary for the Church and being a mother prepared her for the stresses of the legislature, which she noted was the most intimidating part of becoming a representative.
Simaima Pongi, a freshman from Tonga studying political science, and the secretary of Women in Leadership, shared her takeaways. “You have your families, school, work … Sometimes that’s when you start feeling stressed and you don’t know when or how to do things. But when you try to balance them, you’ll be good.”
During the forum, Okimoto described her experience serving in the Cebu Philippines Mission and speaking the Cebuano language. She repeatedly shared her awe of how happy the people she served were. According to Okimoto, her sacrifice and hard work contributed to her testimony today.
She also mentioned how becoming a mother threw her through a whole new level of sacrifice, hard work, selflessness and love.
Throughout her message, Okimoto touched on how having children opened her eyes a little to how much Heavenly Father loves His children and Christ. She mentioned that motherhood extends over physically having children.
Manu Panuve, a senior from Tonga studying business management, is the Women in Leadership director.
She said, “There’s this special connection that you have with the speakers because you know you created these events, or you were apart of creating these events.”
The next Women in Leadership events take place on Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in HGB 273, and Nov. 20 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in HGB 135.