Brandon Marc Higa

Brandon Marc Higa, member of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents and Kapiʻolani Community College grants development specialist, was named to the Pacific Business News 40 Under 40 Program for 2017.

Higa was selected from a field of 200 young professionals who were nominated for this honor. Through a strict vetting process, this award recognizes outstanding professionals with a strong business acumen. Candidates must show proof of contributing an overall success of his or her company or organization, must stand out among peers and colleagues, and must possess strong current and past community involvement.

Since 2009, Higa worked at Kapiʻolani as a grants development specialist and was granted honorary membership for the Kalāualani Native Hawaiian Council for his role in developing grant proposals to support the implementation of Hawaiʻi Papa o Ke Ao. Higa was elected to serve as the chairperson for Kapiʻolani’s staff council. He is an alumnus of UH President David Lassner’s President’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Higa is pursuing a juris doctor degree at UH Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law with a specialization in international law and currently serves as president of the Student Bar Association.

More about Higa

After graduating from Pearl City High School, Higa moved to Los Angeles where he graduated as a Renaissance Scholar with Honors from the University of Southern California with a BA and MA degrees in international relations minoring in East Asian languages and cultures. He has done post-graduate research at Stanford University’s Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Waseda University in Tokyo and most recently International Law at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Higa worked overseas at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the National Diet of Japan. Upon returning to the states, he worked at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington, D.C. He then received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Korean in Kyung Hee University in Seoul. Higa was selected and participated in Senator Inouye’s U.S.-Japan Council’s Tomodachi Emerging Leaders Program in 2014.

Higa is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Radio and Television Artists as professional actor and commercial model. He is a strong supporter of the Hawaiʻi United Okinawa Association and studied the sanshin, an Okinawan classical guitar. Higa is a clarinetist in the Royal Hawaiian Band. In his spare time, Higa enjoys swimming and learning about animals.

—By Louise Yamamoto