“RISE + DEFINE” is a new talk story breakfast series [re]defining what it takes to make it in Hawai‘i. These events showcases kama‘aina creators and doers who will share personal stories and insights on how they’ve navigated their own course to achieve success in Hawai‘i.


On July 13th, RISEHI launched the first event in the R+D breakfast series. Held at Pig and The Lady in downtown Honolulu, the event showcased two kama‘aina creators and doers – Meli James, President of Hawaii Venture Capital Association and Rob Iopa, President of WCIT Architecture.

Mahalo to all who attended as well as the team at Pig and The Lady, Ikaika Kimura, Aria Studios and Bodie Collins for making this event a success and kicking off this series right.


Rob Iopa

President, WCIT Architecture

As President of WCIT Architecture, Rob Iopa has ad the opportunity to spearhead projects such as $85 million Royal Hawaiian Hotel renovations, the International Market Place redevelopment and the newly constructed Waiea at Ward Village, to name a few.  His next big project; the redevelopment of the 53 year old Neal Blaisdell Center.

A native Hawaiian born and raised in Hilo, Iopa’s passion lies in integrating Hawaii’s culture, heritage and traditions into each one of the projects he undertakes.

Meli James

President, Hawaii Venture Capital Association

A graduate of Punahou and Cornell University, the biggest risk Meli took was deciding to leave the learned, comfortable path of traditional job success in order to find her passion in the world of entrepreneurship. Her leap would prove to pay off. She co-founded Nirvino the #1 wine iPhone app on iTunes from 2008-2013.

Her desire to create more opportunities in Hawaii for technologists, led her back to the islands in 2014. As the Head of New Ventures at Sultan Ventures and the President of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, Meli has earned her way to being one of the most sought-after minds in business innovation.

By |2018-11-01T15:16:46-10:00November 16th, 2017|Event-Past|0 Comments

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