Meet the

Team

that makes it happen

Our Team

When big dreams meet fierce determination, amazing things happen.

Gourmet Events Hawaii is comprised of a team of senior staff that together brings over 70 years of event management and catering experience to every event they produce. The team unites experts in every aspect of event management, from catering and menu planning, to staffing, to facilities and logistics, to vendor management, and marketing and communication. The unified vision of the entire Gourmet Events Hawaii staff is to produce exceptional events with style and taste that exceed client expectations.

Kathleen Lin-Hurtubise,  Founder & President
An accomplished marathon runner, community builder, marketing strategist and event producer, Kathleen, better known as “Kat”, has a great appreciation for delicious food and excellent service. For many years prior to her work in the industry, Kat tried out the finest restaurants Hawaii had to offer in an effort to experience their culinary craft and to learn from the very best. In 2003, she combined her passion, work ethic and talents to found Gourmet Cooking Hawaii, which quickly evolved into Gourmet Events Hawaii, the full-service catering and event planning company of today.

One of Kat’s favorite activities is picnicking in different parks throughout the island with her husband and her boys. A coffee devotee, Kat is known for her signature drink: a Grande Starbucks coffee in a Venti cup, with an extra shot of espresso and a healthy portion of heavy whipping cream!

Susan Scrivner, Office Manager & Executive Assistant

Susan Scrivner brings her managerial and administrative experience from the medical and educational fields, in which she had key roles in laboratory management, medical research, and as a biologist. She has also held various lead roles through volunteering for her children’s schools. Her educational background includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology. The passion, determination, and diligence she applied in the medical industry, she now brings to GEH! Her organizational, communication, managerial, multi-tasking, and high attention to detail skills will propel us forward as she oversees our office operations, Front Desk services, internship program, and office expansions. Susan’s favorite pastimes are reading, traveling, cooking, hiking, and enjoying nature and the beach.

CORPORATE EVENT PRODUCTION/WEDDINGS BY GEH

Tina Sparacio, Head of Event Production

Tina brings over 20-years of East Coast hospitality experience in the competitive entertainment and gaming industries. Her move to Hawaii included work in the non-profit sector enhancing special events. She contributes executive level vision and management skills with an innate awareness of critical details essential to successful event execution. Her passion for the hospitality industry including entertainment administration and cultural trends enhance productivity and nurture strong client relationships.

In her free time, Tina enjoys experimenting with recipe ideas at home, traveling to anywhere she has not yet been (but Italy anytime), hosting parties, growing her own herbs and produce, and taking advantage of the beautiful Hawaiian sunshine with her husband and kids.

Gail Nipitnorasate, Senior Event Production Specialist

Gail brings almost 6 years of event planning, catering and restaurant experience to GEH. Upon completing her degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley, she began with successful execution of fundraisers and galas. She then expanded to catering and restaurant experience in both seated dinners and buffets for corporate events, private parties, conferences and weddings, with responsibilities ranging from pastry and prep cook, server, coordinator to oversight of inventory, rentals, equipment and staffing.

Along with her passion for food and restaurant trends, Gail loves baking, traveling, running, and zumba.

Kittie Wu, Senior Event Production Specialist

Kittie graduated with a degree in Travel Industry Management (TIM) with an emphasis in Hospitality Management at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her past experience in both the restaurant business and employee relations provided the perfect combination of skills to excel in a busy catering and event-production office.

Kittie loves traveling and eating…especially trying new eateries wherever she roams. Kittie’s sincere wish is that someone in Hawaii would open up an “all-you-can-eat dessert buffet” like one she visited in Taiwan. She is also an identical twin!

Shaynee Scott, Creative Producer

Hailing from Makakilo on the West Side of Oahu, Shaynee has been instilled with a keen sensibility of her island heritage and a curiosity that has carried her past the Pacific Rim across North America, South America, Europe, and South East Asia. Growing up in a large family, Shaynee was taught the value of creativity and resourcefulness and exposed to the importance of community and power of family gatherings. A tradition of hosting such gatherings became the impetus for her career in special events.

As an Anthropology and Sociology major from Whittier College and an alumna of St. Francis School, Shaynee has always been able to incorporate her understanding of people, culture, and surroundings into her designs. Shaynee brings nearly a decade of event design and production experience with time well spent producing for boutique to multi million-dollar companies in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, and New York City.

It is with these layered experiences she comes full circle with a mission to give back to her island home that has given her so much.

STAFFING BY GEH – OPERATIONS AND STAFFING SUPPORT

Alysha Toguchi, Staffing Executive

Alysha comes to Gourmet Events Hawaii with over 8 years of experience in hospitality and sales, including managerial responsibilities supervising staff. As our Staffing Executive, her responsibilities include recruitment of our Hospitality Professionals, scheduling all of our events to 100%, and outbound sales. Her love for the hospitality industry and appreciation for our Hospitality Professionals has exponentially grown through working with our staff in creating successful teams for each event.

For the past 9 years, Alysha has also been a valued member of the Hawaii Army National Guard. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book or hiking in the outdoors!

Dennis Tanaka, Warehouse Manager

Dennis is a positive thinker, always planning for the next step. Dennis has been training and coaching employees for more than 25-years, while successfully running his own Kauai-based wholesale business for five years. Dennis’s solution-oriented experience lends to efficiency, minimizing mistakes and maximizing profitability. Daily tracking, scheduling, planning and goal setting are practices that keep his teams focused.

A positive mindset is an essential part of life, and he lives a motto instructed to him by Aikido Sensei over 30-years ago. “When you come to class you must come with your glass half full if you want to learn. You cannot learn anything if you are closed minded.”

Dennis enjoys mentoring even on his free time while training soccer referees. He loves to fish and above all values time with family.

BOOKKEEPING

Sandra Nakao, Bookkeeper

Sandra comes to GEH with over 10 years’ experience in small to mid-sized companies. Upon completing her degree in Business Management with a minor in Psychology from Whitworth University, she quickly discovered her passion for employee development, recognition and retention initiatives, employee wellness programs, organizational processes and community service.

EXECUTIVE CONSULTANT TEAM

Harriet Kirihara, HR Counsel

A veteran in the Human Resources arena, Harriet’s current focus has been in developing programs and strategies for employee development, leadership development and organizational development. She practices the “best places to work” philosophy for employee engagement, training, supervisory coaching and organizational alignment.

Harriet enjoys international travel and experiencing diverse cultures and cuisines. Recently, she has been cooking Tuscan style and an Icelandic signature dessert. To further memorialize a sense of place, she paints scenes, using oil on canvas, to capture impressions from her travels.

Iqbal Ashraf, Growth Partner

Iqbal Ashraf is the Growth Partner for GEH. As an extended team member, he assists in formulating annual/quarterly goals, aligning our key projects to these goals, and helping to execute these projects faster. He is a cofounder of www.guild.im, which acts as our gateway to outside expertise. In the past, he managed ProAccounting Hawaii, the top outsourced accounting firm in Hawaii. Prior to that, he was a finance leader at General Electric.

Bill Fotsch, Business Coach

The “Open-Book Management Coach,” Bill Fotsch has helped more than 400 companies boost employee engagement and increase business results over the past 25 years.

Bill has worked with industry majors such as Southwest Airlines, BHP-Billiton, Harley-Davidson, Roadway Express, CarlsonWagonlit Travel, Scottish Hydro Electric, and Capital One. He has also coached many small to medium-sized privately-owned businesses. As Head Coach at Great Game of Business, he spent over two decades applying open-book management principles to help companies deliver results through a highly motivated staff. In the initial years of his career, Bill gained experience in management, marketing, and consulting at organizations such as Briggs & Stratton, Bain & Company, Case International and Litton Industrial Automation. Today, as Founder and President of Open-Book Coaching, Bill’s mission is to inspire great business performance and wealth creation through the principles of open-book management.

Author or co-author of three online articles published by Harvard Business Review, Bill holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar. In the past, Bill has presented in varied speaking roles at numerous functions, including serving as a guest lecturer at University of Chicago Business School. In addition, he conducts webinar presentations on a regular basis. Since the summer of 2015, he has written a biweekly article on the Forbes website, in partnership with John Case.

Frank Haas, Marketing Consultant

Frank Haas is a marketing and sales consultant to GEH. He plays an active role in elevating GEH’s ability to communicate and share about its extraordinary services. He has a business consultancy, Marketing Management, Inc., based in Honolulu, and his career is highlighted by executive positions in higher education, tourism and hospitality, advertising, quick service restaurants and high technology. Frank has been the recipient of many marketing awards including the Wayne Lemberg Award granted by the American Marketing Association, AMA Hawai‘i Marketer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Advertising Foundation Silver Medal, Pizza Hut Franchise Marketer of the Year, Hawai‘i’s 100 Top Technology Leaders, and Honolulu Ad Federation “Ad Man of the Year.” Frank has served on many Hawai‘i non-profit boards and resides in Kailua with his wife Susan.

AFFILIATIONS

Hawaii Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber works on behalf of members and the entire business community to improve the state’s economic climate and help businesses thrive.

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA)
HLTA is a statewide trade association of lodging properties, management firms, owners, suppliers, and other related firms and individuals, who work together to provide education and advocacy to the hospitality industry.

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
HVCB is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to promote our islands to travelers throughout North America.

Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
HSMAI provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue.

Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
Meeting Professionals International, the premier global association community for meeting and event professionals, believes in the unequalled power of events and human connections to advance organizational objectives.

Oahu Wedding Association
Oahu Wedding Association is comprised of a network of industry experts in wedding planning and coordination whose purpose is to provide exceptional talent and services to wedding events in Hawaii.

Rotary Club of Honolulu
As Honolulu’s premier service organization, The Rotary Club of Honolulu is comprised of some of the region’s most prominent community leaders — men and women with diverse backgrounds in business, professions, religions, civic and non-profit organizations.

ACCOLADES

Best Caterers in Honolulu       Best Of Honolulu 2015  Best Of Honolulu 2014  Best Of Honolulu 2013   Best Place to Work Best Place to Work   Best Place to Work 2014 Pick - Wedding Wire   2013 Pick - Wedding Wire   2012 Pick - Wedding Wire Pacific Business News' Fastest 50Pacific Business News Hawaii's 50 Fastest Growing Companies 2017

Pacific Business News 2016 Best In Small Business

Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2017, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2015, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2014, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2013, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2012, Pacific Business News
Couple’s Choice 2015, Wedding Wire

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