Maenette K. P. Ah Nee-Benham

University of Hawaiʻi—West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette K.P. Ah Nee-Benham has been selected as a 2018 Women Who Mean Business honoree by Pacific Business News.

Benham, whose distinguished career in education includes serving as the inaugural dean of the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at UH Mānoa, will be honored along with 36 other women during a March 15 dinner at the Royal Hawaiian.

“They are an exceptional group of Hawaiʻi business leaders from industries ranging from tech to finance to nonprofits to tourism,” Pacific Business News wrote in an online article, noting the honorees were selected from more than 100 nominations. “These are the women leaving their mark on Hawaiʻi and beyond.”

The award, now in its 20th year, honors women who demonstrate exceptional leadership and outstanding work ethic, and who have a strong commitment to making Hawaiʻi a better place through their hands-on approach to community service. Former Hawaiʻi First Lady Vicky Cayetano will also be honored for career achievement at the dinner.

About Maenette K.P. Ah Nee-Benham

A kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar and teacher, Benham began serving as UH West Oʻahu chancellor on January 1, 2017, after eight years at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Benham has taught grades K–12 in California, Texas and Hawaiʻi (Kaiser High School and Kamehameha Schools) and earned her doctoral degree in educational administration from UH Mānoa in 1992. She joined the College of Education faculty at Michigan State University in 1993 as a professor of educational administration.

Benham has an extensive record of service to the community. She serves on the boards of the Mānoa Heritage Center and Kūaliʻi Foundation, Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, Queen’s Health Systems and Queen’s Medical Center, North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation and Bishop Museum.

Benham has worked extensively with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on youth, education and community collective leadership initiatives. She served as the lead evaluation consultant for Kellogg Leadership for Community Change and led 23 people from the network in authoring a monograph/book on collective leadership. She is also the co-author of several books, including Let My Spirit Soar!: Narratives of Diverse Women in School Leadership.

With a keen eye on innovation, fiscal and budgetary implications and impact, Benham is overseeing a strategic planning process encompassing academic and student success and land and facilities long-range planning. Under her tutelage, UH West Oʻahu strives to be an indigenous place of learning, led by the core values of educational excellence, dynamic learning, community service, sustaining the health and well-being of Hawaiʻi’s place and people and support of student and institutional goals.

—By Greg Wiles