A son of Hawaii who brings the Aloha Spirit of the islands to you!
Robert was born in Honolulu and raised in Kailua, a small community on the windward side of the island of Oahu. He received a faith based education that provided him with strong ethics, morals, and values. Robert joined the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) in 1981 and served for the next 30 years.
During his early career, Robert was a patrol officer responding to calls for service and enforcing the law. After being promoted to the rank of detective, he was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) where he investigated major crimes which included attempted murders, assaults, and robberies. He was also trained to investigate fire related crimes and graduated from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. Robert was only the second fire investigator in Hawaii to become a Certified Fire Investigator with the International Association of Arson Investigators.
It was during his assignment in CID when Robert was invited to be a part of the HPD Hostage Negotiation Team, an assignment he was not convinced he was qualified for. He recalls thinking, “Can I do this? I mean what do you say to someone who is holding a gun to his head? Or worse, holding a gun to someone else’s head?” That’s when Robert learned, “It’s not about talking, it’s about listening.” Intrigued, Robert accepted the assignment and was trained in this field by New York Police Department Captain Frank Bolz, Jr. who was considered the father of police negotiations. Robert learned and experienced a great deal during his time as a hostage negotiator and left the position when he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Robert’s first assignment as a lieutenant was in the HPD Communications Division where he served as a watch commander in charge of civilian police radio dispatchers who took calls for service from the community and dispatched officers. After about two years, the HPD chief of police tapped Robert to serve as the commander of the Internal Affairs Criminal Investigation Section where he was in charge of investigations into police misconduct. The assignment was not as difficult as one may believe for Robert because of his strong moral background. When faced with difficult investigations, he always based his decisions on the facts, what was right and what was best for the department and the community. Before retiring in 2012, Robert served in the Community Affairs Division and managed external communications for the HPD.
Robert is now enjoying retirement but keeps busy working as a contract employee for the National Football League managing the league’s security and investigation needs in Hawaii, facilitating criminal justice courses at the Hawaii Pacific University and of course, training others to manage conflict to resolution.
Interview with Robert
How did your public speaking journey begin?
In 2005 I was invited to join Toastmasters. I wasn’t interested. At that time, I was teaching classes at the Honolulu Police Department Training Academy, I was a lecture at my Church, and I even served as emcee at a few weddings. I didn’t think I needed additional training in public speaking. Despite my mindset, I decided to join Toastmasters thinking I would help others to improve their communication skills. The first assignment in Toastmasters is to prepare an Ice Breaker Speech, a four to six minute speech about yourself. I remember my Ice Breaker Speech vividly. The Toastmasters of the Day introduced me, my fellow Toastmasters applauded, I took the podium and then I bombed! I was terrible! It was at that time I realized I needed Toastmasters! I continued my journey through Toastmasters and obtained my Distinguished Toastmaster designation. I was later selected as the Toastmasters District Governor and led all the Toastmasters in the State of Hawaii! My journey through Toastmasters may not be typical, but attainable.
What motivates you to continue on your public speaking journey?
I believe that if you have a gift, in order to keep it, you have to give it away. Confusing? Yes. But so true. I served in law enforcement for over 30 years. I learned a great deal, experienced much, and witnessed life changing events. I find value in myself if I can share with others what I’ve learned through my experiences. Life is too short to make all the mistakes. We must learn from the mistakes of others and I’m willing to share my mistakes to help others.
What do you hope to achieve with your audience?
Simple. Have fun and learn! Dr. Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters, believes we learn best during times of enjoyment. I believe that too! The perfect environment for learning contains laughter. Learning should be fun. But fun is not enough, there must be learning. The truth is I can’t teach you anything, but you can learn. It is up to you to learn from the experiences you hear during your time with me.
What is the Toastmasters Accredited Speaker Program?
Toastmasters International offers the Accredited Speaker Program to professional speakers who combine expertise with the mastery of the spoken word. There are two levels to obtain this designation. In Level #1, you must submit your application to Toastmasters with a list of twenty-five paid speaking engagements within a three year period along with a video tape of one of those presentations. Your Level #1 application is reviewed by a panel of judges. If you pass this level, you are then invited to the annual Toastmasters Conference to present on the World Stage before an audience. Your presentation is judged by a panel. If the panel votes unanimously in your favor, you are given the AS designation. Currently, there are only 81 Accredited Speakers in the world and I’m fortunate to be number 74!
Why did you chose to pursue the Toastmasters Accredited Speaker Program?
Continuing education is vital to our success in life. We should be committed to being lifelong learners. When you’re finished learning, you’re finished. The program offered me an opportunity for self-improvement. You see, it’s never about the destination, it’s about the journey. Although I’m proud to have the AS designation after my name, the true value is in what I learned during my journey. I applied at Level #1 twice and at Level #2 twice, and received the designation at the second Level #2 application. Three times I missed the mark, but continued firing at the target. Was rejection difficult? Sure. But I looked at each attempt as an opportunity to grow, and grow is exactly what occurred. Having the AS designation doesn’t make me anything special, it’s having gone through the process that has benefitted my public speaking career.
What do you want future clients to know about you?
I’m passionate about helping others and I want to help you and your team to be successful!