Since its inception, Pac Biz continues to leverage resources to inspire, promote and foster Pacific Islander businesses and professionals while serving as a unified voice for civic engagement.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Eric and discuss the impact of this growing network of professionals and social media platform.
Heather Heleloa: Pac Biz emerged as a strong and well-organized group devoted to serving PI community members. Can you explain how the idea for Pac Biz came to fruition?
Eric Scanlan: Pac Biz can attribute its name to Texas based web designer and entrepreneur Stephen Petaia who initially intended Pac Biz to be an online entity whose primary purpose was to serve as a tool in promoting South Pacific artists.Simultaneously, in Southern California around 2009, various circles of Pacific Islander professionals, business owners, and community leaders began discussions on the various needs of the Pacific Island community as a whole.Inevitably, conversations veered toward more business themed topics which prompted further discussions on the need for more resources to encourage current professionals and business owners of Pacific Islander heritage living throughout the US. In time, these discussions evolved as very specific steps were taken to move this agenda forward by forming an organization which could help to address the unmet needs of the Pacific Islander community. The love for our Pacific Islander communities (both individually and as a collective whole) and the desire to create opportunities for generational progression through professional development were the primary drivers of growth throughout the initial stages of development for Pac Biz as an organization. These drivers will continue to be vital to the sustenance and growth of this organization as it moves forward. The previous and current board members of Pac Biz all played significant roles in the developmental process of this organization.
Heleloa: Why focus on the P.I. community, rather than provide a resource for any other demographic in today’s society?
Scanlan: There are various sources one can use to benchmark our collective success as an ethnic group in the United States. Regardless of whether or not you choose to observe personal experience, anecdotal evidence or data pulled from more reliable and specific sources tracking socio-economic progress, one very quickly comes to the realization that there are several areas of opportunity for improvement within the Pacific Islander community. Certainly, professional development is an aspect where improvement is needed. This is where we hope to make a difference.
Heleloa: How would you define professional networking and why do you feel it’s important?
Scanlan: Professional networking can mean different things, to different people, across industries, and also with respect to current standing within your own professional development. As such, the goals of networking can and should vary from person to person. However, in the general sense I would define professional networking as taking an active role in optimizing or expanding your list of contacts for the purpose of creating future opportunities for yourself. By enhancing the breadth as well as quality of your network, you increase chances of success in your given endeavor. Given the climate of the economy, it is absolutely valuable that we all make the most of opportunities that are within reach.Heleloa: What type of events do you plan to host and how often are they held?
Scanlan: Our goal is to host networking mixers as well as educational workshops on a quarterly basis. As the organization grows, the goal is to adapt our approach and strategy based on the needs of our members.
Heleloa: What is your value proposition to those who attend?
Scanlan: We want to provide our members with the ability to network and meet with people with similar interests and similar experiences is valuable. However, the feedback that I hear most often from attendees is that the greatest value of these interactions is knowing that we are not “the only ones” in pursuits of achievement. These interactions provide a sense of inspiration and push us to do more for ourselves and our respective communities and families. Ultimately, this is where the convergence of professional development and Pacific Islander culture meet and create an environment which will hopefully foster increased collaboration and success as these relationships grow.
For more event photos, and to stay abreast of upcoming events, please visit the Pac Biz Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PacBiz
Check out this flyer for info on the next Pac Biz Mixer @ PIEAM in Long Beach, CA. Hope to see you there!