PBN Honors Two Maui ‘Women Who Mean Business’
By Debra Lordan & Maui Now Staff
Two Maui residents were honored last week at the Pacific Business News’ 17th annual “Women Who Mean Business” ceremony on April 16 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki.
Jennifer Brittin-Fulton, president of Exceptional Inc. dba Employers Options, was named “Businesswoman of the Year” in the for-profit category, and Leslie Mullens, president of PlayBook Consulting Group, was named as one of 15 finalists in the same category.
Kathy Clark, president and CEO of Wilcox Memorial Hospital on Kauaʻi, was named as “Businesswoman of the Year” among the 10 finalists in the nonprofit category.
Pacific Business News honored 25 “Businesswoman of the Year” finalists in two categories (for-profit and nonprofit), 15 “Women to Watch” and the “Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses.” The “Woman to Watch” category was introduced last year to recognize Hawaiʻi’s rising stars.
PBN received over 150 nominations this year, including two from Maui and four from Neighbor Islands.
Brittin-Fulton started her company, Kahului-based Exceptional Inc. dba Employers Options, after college. She has grown the human resources service into one of the largest women-owned businesses in the state.
This is the second prestigious award in recent months for Olinda resident Brittin-Fulton, whose Maui-based human resources services company has consistently ranked among the state’s top 25 women-owned businesses for over 12 years. In February, she won the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2015 Mayor’s Small Business Awards.
In 2014, Jennifer received the Small Business Administration’s “Women in Business Champion of the Year Award” for Maui County. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, she was a finalist for the “Maui County Mayor’s Lifetime Achievement” award.
In 2014, Pacific Business News named Employers Options as the sixth-largest women-owned business in the state and the largest on Maui. Her company has been on PBN’s list of the top women-owned businesses since 2002, ranking this year as the fifth-largest in the state.
“I feel surprised, proud and wonderful,” said Brittin-Fulton.
Mullens, senior strategist at the PlayBook Consulting Group, founded the business in response to a need for growth and sustainability in organizations across the state. With 20 years of expertise, Mullens is considered to be a leader in strategy and organizational development. She has developed and facilitated hundreds of strategic planning engagements and workshops. As an expert in change management, cultural transformation and cross-sector collaborative problem solving, her focus is in corporate, government and nonprofit communities.
Prior to founding PlayBook, Mullens led Cisco Systems’ global B2B Ecommerce strategy team. She recently served on Hawaiʻi’s Small Business Regulatory Review Board. She is an Omidyar Fellow in Leadership Development.
“She is a translational leader with a remarkable ability to bridge disparate views and transform conflict into productive conversation,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation.
“What an awe-inspiring group!” said Mullens. “These are Hawaiʻi’s most impactful business leaders. We all apply our talents to serving Hawaiʻi and solving the state’s most daunting challenges. I believe that success lies in relevance and impact. At PlayBook, our business is improving Hawaiʻi’s businesses. I know we’re making a huge difference in how Hawaiʻi’s nonprofits, government agencies and businesses work through the results they achieve with PlayBook’s plans in place.”