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Aloha ‘Aina Aims to Enhance Inclusion and Access for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

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The 2023 celebration of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month is getting a huge boost at Palo Alto Networks thanks to one of the company’s newest Employee Network Groups (ENGs).

Aloha ‘Aina was launched late last year to create a space for native and indigenous identifying people from Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Australasia and their allies. The group also advocates for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in cybersecurity by providing personal and career development opportunities.

Currently, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders represent the smallest indigenous minority group in the United States and are the smallest represented group in IT, cyber or technology across the United States.

Aloha ‘Aina strives to bolster the nurturing, community-based culture of the islands through inclusive events that include featured speakers from across Pasifika to discuss a variety of cultural and tech topics. 

The vision of Aloha ‘Aina is to embody the Hawaiian value of “kuleana” (inclusive responsibility) by creating a culture that includes Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders as an integral part of the Palo Alto Networks inclusive recruiting and hiring strategy.   

As one step toward that goal, the ENG has collaborated with the Early In Career team at Palo Alto Networks to contribute to a Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander sourcing and recruiting playbook that will help create an additional pipeline of talent into cybersecurity.

In March, Aloha 'Aina also provided a grant to support the third annual Stem Fair organized by PIEFEST, a non-profit dedicated to improving Pacific Islander representation and increasing access to STEM-related careers.

And throughout May this year, Aloha ‘Aina is connecting with other Pacific Islander employee groups at Google, Dolby, and Meta to share experiences about working in technology and explore approaches that will increase access to IT roles for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

“If you are in a STEM career and have Pacific Islander roots, I urge you to share your story,” says Wailohia Woolsey, director of Information Security, Public Sector GRC at Palo Alto Networks and among the founders of Aloha ‘Aina. “Our kids need to know there are people that look like them and share their culture in this field!”

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