John Leong


Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps
Program Coordinator
High School Attended
Punahou School, Honolulu, HI
College Attended
Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

Job Description:

We run an environmental youth program that helps to provide young adults with opportunities to serve outdoors. Our programs assist conservation managers with various projects on their lands and youth learn about environmental restoration and gain job skills and life skills. My other job is a lifelong learner.

Interest in Field:

I was a YCC intern when I was in high school. This helped me to really gain an appreciation for our environment and want to do something to protect it as well as make Hawaiʻi a better place to live.

How did you get there?

I think really God’s helped to orchestrate a lot. I’ve just tried to do the best in wherever I’ve been fortunate enough to go. Whether it be school, volunteering, or work. The rest I leave in His hands!

Necessary Qualifications:

Having a good understanding of how organizations run and develop has been instrumental. As a practically new organization, we had to do a lot from scratch. I think what has helped the most is learning to be humble, ask a lot of questions, have good mentors, and be willing to make mistakes and learn from them.

Rewards of Work:

Too many to list.

Relevant Work Experience:

Internships with various conservation agencies. Developing Pono Pacific, a company focused on natural resource management. Serving at various places. This is probably the most important thing. Serving expands your heart and helps you to work for more than just yourself. You need this to be a leader that impacts others for good.

Typical Day:

No typical day. Do a combination of field and office related stuff. Seem to spend more time in the office now though. But that is fine. I get an opportunity to help develop immerging leaders in my staff. Encourage the very best in them and watch them rise up. My goal is to develop my replacements so that I become obsolete and that I help others to reach their potential so that they can utilize their God given talents and skills for the greater good.

Words of Wisdom :

You wish you knew...:

Enjoy your time in school. Take away knowledge not grades. Don’t worry about the letters that follow your name, rather be more concerned what your name means to others. Utilize each challenge as an opportunity to grow. You wish you were told...: Don’t think too highly of myself. Be humble. Remember that I am living on borrowed time and that I need to utilize the many blessings in my life to bless others. Don’t let the little things in life trouble me. Not to worry too much, God is in control and I need to focus on managing my thoughts and actions and not worry so much about things outside my sphere of influence. Have fun!

Final Comments / Advice:

Think outside the box. You don’t have to be a biologist, zoologist, or natural resource major to do something in this field. Everyone has a talent and ability and can utilize what they have to make an impact for the good of this world.