How to best describe my Profile guest this month? How about Vivacious? Bubbling? Enthusiastic? Loving? Lovable? Funny? Caring? Beautiful inside and out? She is all that and so much more! She’s really smart! Very sharp! Extremely efficient! At a very young age of thirty-four, our Profile person was responsible for supervising a multi-million dollar operation as Regional Manager for seventy-two (72) “Big and Tall” men’s clothing stores in the states of California, Utah, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada. She was an up and coming star for the “Big and Tall” chain, so highly thought of that she was given intensive training in anticipation of her progressing up the corporate management ladder. She was so effective that she was often the person selected to help train staff at new stores; she was so efficient that she was often the one sent to evaluate/assist stores that were not meeting standards. She worked for the “Big and Tall” chain for 14 years, traveling all over the United States and Canada, spending a lot of time in places like the Big Apple (New York City), Los Angeles, and San Francisco where she enjoyed all the glamour and glitter (Broadway shows, famous night spots, etc.)as well as great pay……
And then one day, she gave up her corporate world success to follow the love of her life, Bobby Nakihei, into what has to be one of the most demanding of professions: a restaurant owner! I kiddingly asked her if we could title this Profile “How I Jumped From the Heights of Prosperity into Poverty” and with her uniquely warm and “delicious” (ono to the ear) giggle, she replied, “Not, Uncle! The first few years were difficult but Bobby and I are doing well now and I am so much happier! The corporate world was exciting but it was so “dog eat dog” stressful! I’m glad I was able to do well with “Big and Tall” but running “Bobby’s Hawaiian Style Restaurant” is where my heart wants to be!”
My Profile guest this month is Diana Kau`i Slavey Nakihei. She was born and grew up in the Kaneohe area (she calls it “God’s country”) of Oahu , one of five siblings. Her mother was Geraldine Kealiika`apuni Kahili (a Keaukaha, Big Island native) while her dad Paul Slavey is a California guy who was in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. Diane (the name most know her by) went to Castle High School graduating, as she put it, “a long time ago” and attended community colleges to earn an Associate of Arts college degree in textiles. She went to work as a buyer for “Gibson’s”, then one of the largest clothing sales stores in Hawaii . In 1989 she moved to Washington with her family and applied for a management position with “Big and Tall.” She was hired as a Store Manager and then worked up to General Manager at all the stores in Washington State and then to the Regional Manager position!
Diane met her husband-to-be (Moloka`i native Bobby Nakihei) when Bobby was coaching a volleyball team Diane was playing for in Kaneohe . Bobby’s version of what happened is that he was asked to give Diane a ride home after practice one day and his “good looks/charm just swept her off her feet.” Again, with that delicious giggle, Diane says, “Not! I swept him off his feet!” No matter…Bobby and Diane have truly been meant for each other since those long ago volleyball days. They lived in Honolulu for the first 13 years of their marriage and moved to Washington State in 1989 seeking a better financial and academic lifestyle for their family. Diane, Bobby, Bobby’s Mom Theodora Coelho (Moloka`i lady) and their daughter Psalms Hoikeana Jodi Nakihei now live in a lovely home in the Lake Stevens area. Jodi is the cute, fun-loving waitress/cashier/part-time/cook/hula dancer at “Bobby’s”! Their son Robert Nakihei Jr lives in the Everett area.
Diane says that her greatest pleasure is satisfying the multitude of customers who have helped make “Bobby’s Hawaiian Style Restaurant” so successful! As in her days of corporate accomplishments, Diane continues to achieve success by being a skillful manager! As important though is the warmth and Aloha with which Diane greets every customer who enters “Bobby’s”! It you haven’t been to “Bobby’s” yet, you have to go…the food is great……the service is good and friendly….the restaurant interior is beautiful, exotically Polynesian…..there’s live music on weekends…..p.s.: the basement level of Bobby’s restaurant is now being renovated into “Bobby’s Coconut Lounge” (a sports bar) which should be ready by June 2005….it’ll be a fun place!
Mahalo Diane Nakihei ……you are a tremendous role model for our opi`o wahine (young women), having proven that there are places high up in the corporate world/or as a restaurant owner for young wahines!
Until next time…be kind to each other….me ke Aloha pumehana…………..Danny