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Sculpting the Future

Kihei business owner Leslie Mullens selected to join Omidyar Fellows.

October 3, 2013
Maui Weekly Staff , Maui Weekly

Kihei resident Leslie Mullens, president of PlayBook Consulting Group, is one of 15 Hawai'i residents tapped for the Omidyar Fellows program 2013-14 cohort. She was the only Maui resident selected and one of only two participants representing the Neighbor Islands.

The program receives its funding from the Omidyar 'Ohana Fund at the Hawai'i Community Foundation. Hosting its first group of fellows last year, the program's focus is on cultivating a specific skill set and mindset in Hawai'i's future leaders. According to a recent Omidyar Fellows announcement, it "seeks to cultivate a community of emerging executives who will collectively bring positive change to the state of Hawai'i."

As president and senior strategist of a fast growing Maui-based management consulting firm, Mullens and her team improve organizations through planning, implementation support and ongoing executive coaching. The Kihei company founded in 2006 provides strategic planning and organizational development for corporations, small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies.

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Leslie Mullens, president of Kīhei-based PlayBook Consulting Group, was selected as one of 15 Omidyar Fellows. The group will meet monthly for leadership training on O‘ahu.

Prior to founding PlayBook, Mullens worked for San Francisco Bay area-based Cisco Systems, where she led a global business-to-business strategy team. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and sociology from UCLA.

A Maui resident for 12 years, Mullens is past president of the Rotary Club of Kahului and serves on Hawai'i's Small Business Regulatory Review Board. She is also a recent finalist for Pacific Business News' Hawai'i Business Woman of the Year and its "40 Under 40" class of 2009. She is also a former Maui Weekly columnist.

"I'm so honored at being selected for the cohort," Mullens said, "especially with such an impressive pool of candidates."

She described the selection process as "rigorous," including an extensive application and multiple interviews that began with a pool of over 100 applicants. The 15 fellows selected will meet monthly for the next 15 months, beginning next week.

Each participant is assigned an executive coach and other personalized guidance to assist with the learning experience. The curriculum is delivered through meetings on O'ahu that feature guest speakers and extensive dialogue and interaction among the fellows.

"The program is such a gift," said Mullens. "It provides a rare opportunity to learn from and with a group of exceptional leaders positioned to influence Hawai'i's future."

One of the more unusual aspects of the curriculum is the learning excursion. This is an individually tailored out-of-state experience designed in partnership with each fellow's executive coach to meet his or her unique learning goals and professional development plan.

The purpose of the excursion, according to the Website, "is to engage fellows in situations that challenge their sense of self, represent some level of risk-taking and provide opportunities for reflection" that transform the fellow. A world map showing the 18 locations that hosted individual participants and their coaches this year can be found at the Omidyar Fellows Website (link at end of story).

Mullens said she is looking forward to the opportunity for guided and structured reflection with the help of coach Mary Kuentz and Maui mentor Mike Munekiyo.

"Because of the nature of my work, the program's impact will be exponential," said Mullens.

She expects to integrate what she learns into her personal and professional life.

"What helps me improve will help my clients improve, too," Mullens added.

The intensive program, she noted, will "find and address my blind spots--those barriers inhibiting achievement."

Together with the rest of the cohorts, and the many cohorts that will follow year after year, program coordinators intend to establish a profound network of values-based leaders and decision-makers. As they rise into key positions in business, labor, education, government, agriculture, healthcare and labor, etc., it will be "business as usual" for them to cede self-interest (for themselves and their companies) for greater collective benefit.

The first question they will naturally ask is "What's the right solution to this problem--for Hawai'i and for this community?"

"It's nothing short of a sea change," said Mullens. "When an entire group-- when an organization's entire leadership team operates from that mindset--the culture shifts. Amazing things will occur in that space."

Mullens expects this experience will take her business and impact on Hawai'i to the next level of meaningful service.

Additional information about those selected as 2013-14 Omidyar Fellows is posted at, as are details of how to apply for next year's program. The application process for the next cohort begins in April 2014. There is also a map and details on learning excursions.

Visit for more information about Mullens' PlayBook Consulting Group.



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