Updated: Jul 31, 2020
I’m often asked to repeat myself when I introduce my company. Some people look at me wondering if they’ve misheard, others simply don’t understand what I’ve said. I can appreciate why. The first time I was introduced to the word pono, it didn’t initially resonate with me either, but then I got it—or more importantly, it got me. In order to explain its conception I need to recognize my family.
For those of you who know me from working alongside my brother and his company EDGE International, you’ll also likely know that Paul passed away suddenly earlier this year. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to put into words the connection that Paul and I shared, but in our 20 years working together I’ve never met another set of siblings that—despite all of the hardships we faced—were able to maintain a prosperous business relationship and strong familial bond.
Our family was from humble beginnings, our parents devoted to their children and the family run business that had been passed down from generations before. We went through years of great success, and then great loss—both financially and personally. Ours is a story like a lot of other stories and I don’t reference it for sympathy. I acknowledge my upbringing because it's one of the things I’m most proud of. No matter how devastating a situation we were in, our family always remained truthful and reliable, advocating for a prosperous and authentic life.
Prosperity to us didn’t always mean an abundance of financial wealth, but it did signify a life that was abundant in community and love. My siblings and I were taught to be grateful and open-minded in all that we do. Our parents introduced all of us to religion at a young age, and as Paul and I grew older, our reverence for spirituality, numerology, and meditation expanded as we became acquainted with the likes of Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. In moments of astonishing coincidence, Paul would always offer the comment that there was a greater force guiding us along the way. He’d insist that if we opened ourselves up to the signs around us, especially in moments of utter frustration or despair, the universe had a way of showing up—and show up it did, the day my brother passed away.
On January 18th as the minutes ticked by, I began to see Paul in everything around me. Numerology has always played a significant role in both of our lives as we share a deep appreciation and respect for the divine energy that can be expressed through numbers. Representing prosperity, the number 8 was a symbol that both of us gravitated towards, influencing countless moments in our every day lives---so it was only fitting that the number 8 would make an appearance that day, over and over again.
In the following days as I meditated on all of the signs my brother was giving me, I found myself staring at a Google search page displaying the area code for Hawaii--808. I was in awe. Hawaii is the one and only item on my bucket list. A trip to Hawaii has always represented success to me, exemplifying aspirations and dreams: a prosperous goal that I have always focused on achieving. As I continued to reflect on the connections in front of me, I discovered the word pono.
Prosperity, morality, goodness, excellence—these ideas began to jump off the page. I learned that in Hawaiian culture, to be righteous in prosperity is to “Live Pono”—a philosophy that I had known my entire life—and therein lies the meaning behind our company name. To emphasize this idea of prosperous living in a tangible sense, our logo evolved from the image of a sea turtle, symbolizing the navigator, or honu, and embracing wisdom and good fortune.
At PONO Learning, we pride ourselves in a culture that emphasizes genuine connection in all that we do. We strive to provide authentic interactions that are relevant and effective. PONO is more than just a word--it's a way of being, and my hope is that after reading this you can truly appreciate the energy that drives this company forward.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you.