By Brittany L. Moser
Lloyd Ettinger, president of Wailea Community Association and executive vice president of RGEB Employee Benefits, recently sat down with Ho`oulu to offer words of wisdom to UH Maui College students drawn from his decades of success in business and community leadership.
Ettinger has lived on Maui since 1998 with his wife, Lucy Ralphs, while also maintaining a home in Southern California. Ettinger has 30 years of experience in business and has long had an interest in education.
He’s held his current position with Canoga Park, Calif.-based RGEB since 2001. The firm provides human resources and regulatory-compliance services to businesses. He’s held management-level positions with other firms in the fields of employee benefits and insurance.
Wailea Community Association provides services to area residents and serves the greater Maui County community through charitable giving and granting of college scholarships.
Ettinger, a graduate of the University of Southern California, encourages students to take chances. “There are no failures,” he said. “There are learning experiences.”
Ho`oulu: What does the education system mean to you?
Ettinger: I equate it with painting a canvas. The education system, when you have a blank canvas, is the frame of the canvas. It gives you the ability to start the painting, the foundation to start the painting. You can choose afterwards what colors and things you want to put on the painting. I think the education system is the best way to begin the framework.
H: What advice do you have for college students?
E: Realize whatever you are doing in college does not necessarily become what you are going to be. So, get as much out of it as you possibly can, and at the same time build your foundation. Learn how to invest, balance a checkbook, read a profit-and-loss statement. They may not be important to you at this state, but they are going to be very important to you later on. So, take some classes you don’t necessarily think have the sparkle, but are basic classes and put those in the back of your mind, because they are going to be valuable to you later on.
H: What do you think about college students unsure of a degree? Do you think these students should look to narrow it down and become more focused on a route?
E: I think education should be as broad as you can make it. I think everybody should have a speech class, (and) take some sort of business class, basic business, understanding how a business works in the real world – like how do you deal with employees, bringing an idea from imagination into reality. Dealing with life’s setbacks – and there are always going to be those – and dealing with competition. Life is learning how to compete, learning from losses, to be humble with gains, and becoming a contributing member to society. If somebody can learn that in school, somewhere, some way, that is what I would suggest they do.
H: Do you feel all of this can be learned through college courses alone?
E: I think they can be learned not only through college courses, but through college life.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy RGEB Employee Benefits.
Photo caption: Lloyd Ettinger: “Education should be as broad as you can make it.”