Ms. Lucy Sugiyama gave an extraordinary keynote address during the Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) 16th Anniversary Gala. While she mostly spoke of Palau Pacific Resort’s (PPR) programs and activities, Ms. Sugiyama’s speech was powerful, in that it held a strong message to private businesses in Palau: employing a majority Palauan workforce is a worthwhile investment. [/restrict]

PPR’s management team is always conscious of making environmentally-friendly decisions in its development plans. Year round, PPR conducts activities such as clam planting in the Ngerkebesang Marine Protected Area, coastal clean-ups, raising awareness of environmental issues and solutions, and continued support to PICRC, PCS, and other environmental agencies in Palau.

Finally, the highlight of her speech is the fact that PPR’s workforce consists of 80% Palauan workers. Ms. Sugiyama explains that it is a great challenge to retain the Palauan workers, but it is also their work to continually encourage them and push them to be better. Annually, PPR conducts trainings in their training facility or sends workers off-island for training. These trainings are important because it builds the workers’ capacity to work in their field.

Ms. Sugiyama’s keynote message can be summarized in two parts: (1) we must continue to support PICRC, as they also face challenges and need everyone’s help; (2) we must continue to invest in our people: “hire our people, train our people, and retain our people.”

“We are grateful for Ms. Sugiyama’s keynote address because it is a powerful message for all of us, that there is a need to invest in research, in conservation and in our people,” stated Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of PICRC. “PICRC shares the same values with Ms. Sugiyama and PPR, as one of PICRC’s core value is, Investing in People and Learning.” [/restrict]