New Hospice Hawaii President & CEO

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Tori Abe Carapelho joined Hospice Hawaii in 2008 and most recently served as Chief Strategy Officer, overseeing marketing and fundraising, admissions, leadership, special projects and strategy development. Get to know Tori through a Q&A shared by Hospice Hawaii.

Q: What are you most looking forward to doing or changing as the new President and CEO?
A: I’m excited to build upon the tremendous legacy that Ken has built. I’ve got big shoes to fill, and it’s important to me to be really strategic and thoughtful as we look at future opportunities for this amazing organization.

Q: How have your previous positions helped to prepare you for this leadership role at Hospice Hawaii?
A: I believe every experience you encounter in life prepares you for whatever comes next. It’s what you choose to do with those experiences that are important. I try to do my best to learn from my mistakes and build upon my successes.

Q: What inspires you as a leader?
A: Passion. I’m of the philosophy that if you have a strong belief in your work and ability to collaborate with those around you, you can make anything happen.

Q: Did you always see yourself pursuing a career in healthcare?

A: Absolutely not. I’m that person who’s terrified of needles and can’t stand the sight of blood! I stumbled into this career by accident, but found it to be the most rewarding. Healthcare workers, specifically those in hospice care, are saints. It’s not just a job to them; it’s about the people that they can help and the lives that they can impact.

Q: How do you hope to change the general perception about hospice care?
A: Hospice is one of those things that people just don’t want to think about until they absolutely have to. When people are faced with end of life, more often than not they are being introduced to hospice care for the very first time. As such, they are anxious and feeling a lot of stress and, therefore, unable to think clearly. Ongoing education and early conversations are key, and it is my hope that people will eventually be comfortable enough to discuss hospice freely.

Q: Working for a hospice organization must have its emotional moments, how do you not let your feelings get the best of you when doing your job?
A: I remind myself of the positive things that Hospice Hawaii provides to patients and their families: relief from pain or suffering, support and guidance, and special memories with their loved ones.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
A: Ken Zeri. He exudes so much passion. Shortly after meeting him in 2008, he asked me to come work for him and although it took some convincing, I was ultimately sold! He taught me everything I know about hospice care and helped me to become a better person. Ken created the cornerstones of our organization: helping others and offering that unconditional love and compassion everyone deserves.

Q: What is the best thing about working at Hospice Hawaii?
A: Hospice Hawaii is a small local non-profit organization created by the community for the community. Yes, we are a business, but our number one goal is to provide the best possible end-of-life care to our patients and their families. It’s about living each day by our values and ensuring that we will always do the right thing.

Q: What do you think sets Hospice Hawaii apart from similar organizations in the community?
A: The people. Our company philosophy is “Na Hoa Malama,” which means, “The Caring Friends.” Each team member believes in that philosophy as well as our five core values: Trust, Integrity, Respect, Compassion and Collaboration. Hospice Hawaii is much more than just a business, our team truly cares about what they do and they believe in our mission.

Q: What is your favorite Hospice Hawaii event and why?
A: All of them! Hot Pursuit offers a fun and exciting way to learn about hospice, A Night to Remember helps families heal, and Na Hoa Malama pays tribute to patients who have made an impact on the community.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of working at Hospice Hawaii?
A: Knowing that the work that we have done or the care that we have delivered has made a difference in someone’s life. Our patients and their families are our priority. We understand that everyone is on their own personal journey – our role is to guide and support them through the unknown.

About Hospice Hawaii
Established in 1979, Hospice Hawaii is about helping people in life. The goal of the non-profit organization is to help patients live as fully as possible, to provide comfort and relief from pain, and to aid in symptom management. An interdisciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers strive to meet the physical, emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of patients and families in the comfort of their own homes as well as in other settings like its Kailua Home, nursing homes and other facilities. With offices on Oahu, Molokai and Lanai, Hospice Hawaii also provides bereavement support to patients, their families, and the wider community.

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