Mason Chock

Mason Chock, the president of the Kupu A’e Leadership Development, has been in several leadership roles throughout his life.

The intentions and values that Chock and his organization stand on include, according to him, enriching and empowering people, living in the present, love, insight, integrity, growth, healing, trust, truth, and service with abundance.

A former Kaua‘i County fireman, Chock has worked as executive director for Leadership Kaua‘i and president of the nonprofit organization Malama Hulēʻia. He currently serves as the vice-chairman of the Kaua‘i County Council, chairman of the council’s Planning Committee, and president of the Hawai‘i State Association of Counties. He also served as chairman at the Kaua‘i Resiliency Project and many other boards.

“Leadership is my life because it has helped me grow as an individual and I’ve had the great privilege to build my professional life around teaching and practicing it within the many hats I wear,” Chock said.

His philosophy regarding leadership, he said, is believing everyone has something to contribute, and their job is to use their gifts and talents to the best of their ability to help others.

At Leadership Kaua‘i, he was initially hired as a program director for their annual adult and youth program, Pi‘ina Hoku, and later became executive director (the current executive director is Char Ravelo). Although Chock was not a graduate of the Leadership Kaua‘i program, he often says he is a graduate of the classes from 2006 to 2012 because he was a part of each of these classes’ journey.

Chock’s leadership journey, he said, is a reflection of every impactful life experience he has had that formed his perspective and beliefs.

“This includes moving away and being exposed to new places at a young age and recognizing the specialness of the place we call home, to attending a school that acknowledged my identity as a Native Hawaiian with kuleana to the place and people of Hawai‘i, to living and working in jobs that reinforced my interest in service to others and community, to having everything that I thought was important to me taken away, to recognizing that through life struggles and pain, opportunity for rebirth and positive growth lives, to always upping the ante, by challenging myself and my abilities and seeking to understand first in order to better serve others, and to dedicating my life to being a practitioner of leadership development,” said Chock, a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawai‘i.

In short, Chock said, his leadership journey has been based on interpreting his failures and adjusting along the way, but never giving up hope.

Leadership is about the roadblocks, about the struggle, he said. As a practitioner of leadership, Chock seeks out challenges and needs where he can make a difference. While the COVID-19 pandemic affected many people negatively, Chock, a self-proclaimed “overworked introvert,” said the pandemic was no problem for him.

“I thrived with the extra time to reflect and find balance in our crazy world that was unraveling before our eyes,” he said.

During challenging times, Chock gets inspired by wanting more for the planet, for the environment, our community and people, he said.

“I’ll admit, I’m attracted to complex problems I might be able to make a positive contribution to,” Chock said.

He has seen Kaua‘i’s struggle to keep its sanity, foundation and values in check with the constant influence of the surrounding world pressing on our community. Amid this struggle, he said, he has seen many leaders emerge.

“The idea that everyone has kuleana to the collective is not a new concept, especially in Hawai‘i and on our island, but over the years I do believe we have increased leaders capacity and skills by sharing and modeling the behaviors of good leadership,” said Chock, adding that emerging and future leaders, and also everyone else, should allow themselves to grow, have new experiences, fail well to learn, and be humble in the process.

He also encourages leaders to be clear about their values and willingness to challenge them often, and remember that leadership is not about knowing, it’s about doing. He urges them to take action, to be bold but with aloha, to be appreciative for their lessons, and to never give up faith in the opportunity for all of us to do better for tomorrow’s sake.

“I’ve always thought that Kaua‘i is a microcosm of the world because of our size, strength and aloha. We have an opportunity to be a model of what we can aspire to for the rest of world. I hope to help prove that statement,” Chock said.





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