When Mark Tawara, BBA ’91, met marketing student Tiffany Tabbal, BBA ’08, at Business Night in 2008, neither University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business alum could have predicted that it was the beginning of a business relationship that would eventually end up with them working together as co-owners of a successful marketing, management and technology business several years later.
Tawara always selected the marketing and management option when he volunteered his time as a mentor at Business Night, Shidler College’s signature student event which pairs up professionals in the field with current students to provide an evening of mentoring and fun as they get to know what’s in store for their future career paths. It was at this event when he met Tabbal and was instantly “impressed by her communication skills, poise and personality.”
“She made a great first impression, and I knew she would be very successful in marketing after graduating,” Tawara said.
After completing an internship at CommPac, Tabbal reached out to Tawara and asked if there were any marketing opportunities at Belt Collins Hawaii, where he was serving as director of marketing. Tawara hired Tabbal as a marketing intern, and upon graduating later that year he offered her a full-time position with the firm as a marketing/information resources assistant.
When the company had to downsize due to the 2009 global recession, Tawara tapped into his professional network and assisted her in securing a business development coordinator position at Bowers + Kubota Consulting, where she would spend the next nine years of her career.
“It was an amazing opportunity for me to be able to meet Mark when I did as a student just before I graduated,” Tabbal said. “Making this connection helped me to get to where I am today.”
Over the years, the pair stayed in touch and served together on boards and committees for various professional organizations. After spending nearly a decade at Bowers + Kubota Consulting, Tabbal was looking for a change, and as serendipity would have it, Tawara was looking to hire his first full-time employee at Manageability LLC, a marketing, management and technology consulting company he started in 2015. Tabbal joined Tawara in 2019 as marketing/administrative manager and immediately became an invaluable and integral part of the business.
Fast forward to 2021 and Tawara (who also owns Bright Light Digital—a successful digital signage, audio-visual and technology solutions company) decided that he needed a co-owner for Manageability. He did not hesitate to ask Tabbal to fill those shoes and lead the company alongside him. Tabbal became a principal and co-owner of Manageability LLC, making it a woman owned, small-disadvantaged entity.
“I am so proud to see Tiffany’s growth from a student, to employee, to co-owner of the business,” Tawara said. “Our relationship is the epitome of what Business Night is meant to be—fostering relationships between students and local business professionals.”
For more stories, see the spring/summer 2022 edition of Shidler Business magazine.