Hilo Zontians Host Virtual ‘Magnificent Me’ Conference

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The Zonta Club of Hilo is taking its annual signature service project Magnificent Me, virtual. The project exposes adolescent girls to tools that build confidence. 

Launched in 2019, the Magnificent Me conference brought 120 middle-school girls together at the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo for a suite of workshops designed to inspire a strong sense of self. 

“COVID has forced us all to pivot how we engage,” said Elyse Robinson, President of the Zonta Club of Hilo. “It’s also brought to light the importance of maintaining connection. We’re embracing virtual platforms so we can reach, connect, and empower more girls around Hawai‘i Island so they emerge from the pandemic stronger and more resilient.”

The 2021 virtual conference is open to Hawai‘i Island girls in grades 6 to 8. Between April 21 and May 26, Zonta will host a series of weekly interactive workshops aimed to empower girls to dream, set goals, and celebrate their unique qualities. 


As girls are bombarded with messages and unrealistic images of what’s successful or beautiful, Zonta aims to provide a different narrative to shift mindsets. Prominent professional women will be featured as workshop presenters including: 

  • Magnificent Me virtual kick-off 
  • Positive Self Talk by Samantha Neyland, Miss Hawai‘i USA
  • Managing Stress & Embodying Resilience by Joy Hohnstine, Dept. of Education 
  • Community Service & Engagement by Ashley Kierkiewicz, Hawai‘i County Council 
  • Assertive Communication by Julie Mitchell, Ku‘ikahi Mediation 
  • Conference wrap-up and virtual celebration 

In addition, Zonta will release more than three dozen Rapid Fire videos featuring local women from across industries sharing their story and inspiring girls to dream and do. Women such as Kealohanui Browning, local realtor and cancer survivor; Miya Tsukazaki, Executive Director of Temple Children; and Natasha Soriano, County Transportation Planner and past Zonta scholarship recipient, are just a sampling of women to be showcased. 

“We wanted to spotlight a range of Hawai‘i-grown women who are community-minded and leading in their arenas so girls can see the power and heart that exists right here in the islands,” added Robinson. 


The virtual conference kicks off Wednesday, April 21 and runs through Wednesday, May 26. 

Registration is open online at thru Saturday, April 17. Girls will be provided a custom Magnificent Me journal to support their virtual experience. A $50 gift card to locally- and women-owned businesses will be awarded upon completion of the workshop series. 

Tax deductible donations in support of the project can be made to the Zonta Club of Hilo Foundation via


Magnificent Me is part of Zonta’s mission to empower women and girls worldwide through service and advocacy. Founded in 1950, Zonta Hilo is one of four clubs in Hawai‘i. “Fashion Frenzy” is a biennial fundraising project of the Hilo club. 

Zonta International has clubs in 63 countries and envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman and girl is able to achieve her full potential.

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