Grace Under Pressure

June 29, 2017 Andrew Roberto

SHE'S CHAIRWOMAN of the Chamorro Land Trust, a board member of the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Land Use Planning Chairwoman for Imagine Guam, and one-half of the entrepreneurial team that runs Pika’s Cafe and Kitchen Lingo—and she makes it all look so easy. Taking a look at the cheerful disposition of Pika Fejeran, you would think being a gift to Guam was a breeze. Of course, that’s far from the truth, as she works really, really hard. It’s just that she doesn’t sweat under pressure. In fact it’s probably when she shines the most. After all, pressure makes diamonds. UNO recently caught up with this dynamic lady to get to know her a little bit more.

Pika, what can you tell us about your business’ mission statement?

Our mission statement at Pika’s is “island hospitality.” We’re not a business serving the community, we’re a member of the community. Lenny [her partner at Pika’s Café and Kitchen Lingo] and my philosophy are about giving. We know that with our customer, if we give, then it comes back tenfold.

As a matter of a fact, your restaurants are huge on supporting local everything. How does that fit into your business plan?

It’s at the root of Pika’s, at the root of Kitchen Lingo. It’s the obvious “why not?” We have all these great resources at our disposal, why not use it?

How do your various community roles shape your views about Guam?

With my restaurants I see we need more local small businesses. I see there’s definitely a big market for that. With the women’s chamber it’s about empowering women and letting women sit at the same table. [With the] Imagine Guam initiative, I was part of various commissions. The plans are starting to be fleshed out. It was exactly up my career alley. I have a Master of Urban Planning, and in my experience I’ve seen communities that say this is where we want to be, how are we going to get there. The whole initiative is so exciting for me.

Chamorro land trust is my favorite thing I’m doing. The mission of the Chamorro Land Trust is to take land and carve out space for Chamorros. It’s a way for us to get land that for millennia was Chamorro land, but had been taken by all these people. Now we’re saying, ‘No, we’re going to give it back to a Chamorro person so they can build a house on it or farm it. So they can make a living on it.’

How would we know that Guam is a success, in your opinion?

I think Guam is a success today. We have so many opportunities here. But I also think there’s so much more we can do as a community, deciding and saying this is what we value more than that and standing up for it.

Can we challenge you? There are people who leave Guam because they think there are no green pastures here. What do you think about that?

I see that all the time. I have a lot of friends who leave island and never return, and they never want to. That’s the brain drain—Guam’s contributing adults leave and plant their roots elsewhere. I would say it’s a much different environment now. Guam has come a long way in terms of being able to offer the same opportunities. There are markets that are reflective of what’s being offered in the states. I mean, look at Kitchen Lingo. Could we have imagined a Kitchen Lingo 15 years ago?

I think it’s a matter of an individual deciding what’s more important. For me what was more important was to come home and raise my family on this beautiful island where my family is, where there’s a strong culture of support. I took a pretty big pay cut when I moved back here, and I even had more responsibility, but it was worth it for me.

 

 


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