DEBBIE ANN HALLOF
Businesswoman, professor, mentor and friend Debbie Ann Hallof died Thursday morning, April 28, after a year-long battle with a rare cancer. She is survived by her hanai family Renee Duke-Metcalf and Troy Metcalf, their two daughters, Arianne and Sidney, and a constellation of friends spanning from Canada to the Bahamas to her chosen community in Hawaii.
A wonderfully unique and inventive spirit, Debbie threw herself enthusiastically into things that caught her attention: She designed jewelry, fabric and fashion; she was an accomplished SCUBA diver and participated in ocean research; she collected books, old suitcases, kimono, petticoats and odd boxes; she was a foodie and avid chef; and an animal rescuer, most recently of her much-loved cat, Zahara.
One of her most recent projects combined her love of cooking and her business acumen. Working with Hilo-based Kua O Ka LA Public Charter School, which serves predominately Native Hawaiian youth and families, Debbie was project director of their federal grant to design and implement a comprehensive agriculture and culinary program including the infrastructure to run the programs. The students will be publishing a cookbook, dedicated to Debbie, of recipes using only locally grown items.
Debbie founded a consulting firm in Honolulu, Business Advisory Group, Inc., where she put her more than 30 years of international development and management experience in over a dozen different countries to use. Her main area of expertise was strategic development and management and her clients included some of the top names in Hawaii’s private and public sectors such as Bank of Hawaii, Castle & Cook, Young Brothers, Inc., Aloha United Way, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, State of Hawaii, all County Offices of Economic Development, Chambers of Commerce in Honolulu and Houston, TX and several Federal divisions. She was one of three private sector business representatives selected to participate in a recent State of Hawaii and Chinese Chamber of Commerce trade mission to China and Taiwan.
A committed volunteer, Debbie contributed much of her time to community projects such as the State Award of Excellence and the Small Business Resource Center. She was also active in developing and implementing economic development initiatives for entire communities through private and public sector partnering throughout Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. She was the examiner and team leader for the Hawaii Award of Excellence, the state quality award for operational and service excellence modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Another major aspect of Debbie’s life was her love of teaching. She was an adjunct professor at Chaminade University in the MBA and undergraduate Business and Hogan Entrepreneurship Programs since 1999, and held several positions at the University of Toronto including on the faculty of management, director of Special Projects and Development, director of Student Affairs & Faculty and consultant. She was also a sought after certified instructor for Motorola University, Entrepreneurial Education Foundation, Advanced Practical Thinking Training and Interchange International.
In the late 80s Debbie moved from her native Toronto to the Bahamas to work as a project manager for Peter Nygard, a Finnish clothing designer and entrepreneur, to help develop Nygard’s tropical estate into an 150,000-square-foot exclusive retreat for the very wealthy on Lyford Cay, Nassau, Bahamas. The development was featured on the show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” hosted by Robin Leach.
Her many honors include Chaminade University’s Entrepreneurial Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011, and the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), 2006 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year, State of Hawaii award.
Debbie held degrees in psychology and business from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Chaminade University.
Services will be held at 4 p.m. at Mystical Rose Oratory Chapel at Chaminade University on Friday, May 6. Classes are finished for the term and there are no parking restrictions on campus.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to Debbie’s culinary project at Ho’oulu Lahui, Inc., PO Box 2177 Pahoa, Hawaii or to the Legacy Circle in her name at Women’s Fund of Hawaii, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women and girls in Hawaii thrive. www.womensfundhawaii.org