According to Poly Strong founder Frank Tusieseina, one goal of the Poly Strong Leadership Summit and Summer Charity Games is to challenge the paradigm that Pacific Islanders will only succeed as football players.
Non-profit organization Poly Strong and Multicultural Student Services teamed up to bring this first-ever summit to UVU for the benefit of the Pacific Islander community in and around campus.
It aims to bring successful Pacific Islander leaders and mentors together to share their personal stories of success with students and the community.
“It is our hope that the summit will provide an exciting new vision, enthusiasm and determination for our students and their communities to rally behind the pursuit of education and to become leaders in our global marketplace,” Tusieseina said.
Four-time Olympian Logan Tom, business manager of Universal Music Group Faith, Tusieseina, and NBC10 anchor/sports director Vai Sikahema, were keynote speakers at the event.
The intention is to create a strong mentorship program that includes role models for parents and youths to show them that they, too, can be successful in practices such as business, law and media.
According to the Poly Strong website, the organization is “set out to instill and empower Pacific Islanders with a new vision of who they are.” This vision also emphasizes the role of culture in shaping successful leaders within the community.
Friday, Aug. 10 was the day for learning and networking; a charity event to fundraise for Pacific Islander families battling cancer and UVU’s Cultural Envoy Leadership Program was held that night.
Saturday, Aug. 11 was a day-long co-ed volleyball tournament with Tom playing during the games.
Tom is the youngest woman to join the U.S. Olympic Volleyball Team— she was 19 at the time. She competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 olympic games, winning silver during ‘08 and ‘12.
Kyle Reyes, vice president of student affairs, presented Tom with Poly Strong’s Global Leadership Award, which recognizes Pacific Islanders who have had a global influence during their careers.
Tusieseina said that the award will be presented each year to other successful Pacific Islanders like Tom, and he hopes to make the summit an annual, national event.