Sharon Weiner invests in the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dolly Omiya, (808) 956-5645
Public Information Officer, College of Business-External Relations Office
Posted: Jan 21, 2015

Michael Coppes, John Dean, Jay Shidler, Sharon Weiner, Susan Yamada, Vance Roley and Unyong Nakata.
Michael Coppes, John Dean, Jay Shidler, Sharon Weiner, Susan Yamada, Vance Roley and Unyong Nakata.

Retired business executive Sharon Weiner has committed $25,000 cash and a significant portion of her estate to the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at UH Mānoa's Shidler College of Business.

Weiner’s $25,000 cash gift will support the five-year PACE initiative that was launched in February 2014. The goal of the initiative is to raise $3 million to create new programs and expand existing ones. Funds raised through the initiatives will also be used to renovate and expand the current location in the Shidler College of Business.

The new center will enable PACE to create a vibrant co-working space for entrepreneurial activity at the University. Additionally, the new center will double the number of entrepreneurial programs offered, introduce an entrepreneurial curriculum to other UHM colleges, train key faculty on current entrepreneurial instruction, support the commercialization of UHM technology and innovation, and establish UHM as a leader in entrepreneurial education.

To date, $1.9 million has been raised with investments from various donors, notably Central Pacific Bank’s Chairman and CEO John Dean, First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank and American Savings Bank.

Weiner’s estate gift will support entrepreneurial education and help UHM monetize research efforts through her namesake fund, the Sharon Weiner StartSmart Entrepreneurship Endowment, which she originally funded in 2010 with a gift of $150,000.

Stated Weiner, “Our next generation of leaders has to be imbued with entrepreneurial skills. Whether a person starts a business or joins a management team, thinking creatively, independently and spontaneously, as well mastering basic business skills, are essential to his or her success. I am so proud to be able to support PACE in providing this vital course of study.”

Under the leadership of Dean Vance Roley and executive director Susan Yamada, PACE has become a training ground for future entrepreneurs and global leaders. PACE has expanded to include more than 15 programs to cultivate and support entrepreneurs, encourage entrepreneurial thinking, spawn new businesses, and rekindle ties with Hawai‘i’s business community.

Weiner joins other business leaders such as CPB's John Dean and former CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaii Allen Uyeda on the PACE Board of Directors.

"We are truly honored to receive Sharon's most recent donation to her StartSmart fund," said Yamada.  "Having a seasoned entrepreneur supporting our efforts provides validation that we're on the right track. We look forward to Sharon's guidance as we continue to provide entrepreneurial programs to the UH community."

Weiner came to Hawai‘i in 1973 and graduated from the Executive MBA program at the Shidler College of Business at UH Mānoa in 1975. She began her career in Hawai‘i at C. Brewer & Co. as a public relations manager. In 1979 she ventured out on her own to form Stryker Weiner Associates, Inc., which became the one of the largest independent public relations agencies in the State of Hawai‘i. In 2000, Weiner sold her firm and joined the DFS Group as group vice president in charge of DFS’ international global communications and government relations in Hawai‘i. Weiner is currently retired.

Weiner has an extensive and distinguished record of public service. She has served on the boards of the Catholic Charities, Hawaii Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Boy Scouts – Aloha Council, Japan America Society of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority and Aloha United Way. She was also a UH Regent from 1999 to 2002.

(Full caption, from left) Michael Coppes, director of estate and gift planning, UH Foundation; John Dean, chairman and CEO, Central Pacific Bank; Jay H. Shidler; Sharon Weiner; Susan Yamada, executive director, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship; Vance Roley, dean, Shidler College of Business; and Unyong Nakata, senior director of development, UH Foundation-Shidler College of Business.