Giving Aloha, Always

Written by Alec Wagner
June 9, 2020

#entrepreneurship #grit #mothers

Since 2017, Sheila B’s been the momma of the Purple Prize ʻohana!

A mother of two high school students with enough passion and grit for an entire cohort of entrepreneurs, Sheila first shared her dream for MAG Hugs with our community at the 2017 Purple Prize Demo Day. She didn’t win that year but continued her entrepreneurial journey, becoming a familiar face at many of the meetups and innovation events in our small ecosystem, and immersing herself in any opportunity she could find to level-up her knowledge and expand her network.

You could always depend on seeing her beaming smile and her approaching you with open arms, in true aloha spirit, at places where it was fairly uncommon to see mothers in more than a supportive role.

We didn’t expect to see Sheila still trying to make MAG Hugs a reality, but to our surprise she showed up at the Box Jelly in late 2018 when we announced that we’d be relaunching the Purple Prize. This was the same pau hana that also met Matt Carnes who won the Purple Prize that year. 

She ended up joining the Purple Prize Connections Phase in 2019 and with a cohort of over 80 individuals spent many Saturdays immersing in culture and iterating on her idea for a solution to mend the emotional disconnection between students and teachers. She decided not to pitch that year, but instead, helped us to hold our inaugural Kilo Hōkū in early June of 2019, sharing with us her beaming smile and warm aloha energy.

And she kept on bringing that aloha to our community time and time again, volunteering during the Building Phase of the Purple Prize, supporting teams throughout the process, and sharing her manaʻo with us when we were dreaming up 2020 programs. Always giving.

At the end of last year, we launched an experimental program that many of you who’ve been reading this newsletter remember— Ka Maka ʻĪnana, a program where we’d hold space for the community to redesign the design thinking process and create (k)new solutions. 

In late November, we saw Sheila’s name again in our inbox, this time, not to volunteer, but to participate and restart her journey in pursuit of a new MAG Hugs…and that’s exactly what she created: a new, different, better than ever, evolution of the original idea we first saw in 2017.

Sheila has come a LONG way.

During Ka Maka ʻĪnana, we saw a new Sheila, one that’s more focused, determined, and dead-set on progress than before. She worked hard, diligently, and put in the long hours it took for her to give an amazing presentation at Kilo Hōkū…

Mag Hugs | Kilo Hōkū 2020


In the presentation, you’ll see her stumble a little bit early on, but she recovers so strongly, resemblant of the entrepreneurial personality Sheila exhibits: one of grit, determination, and just a little bit of kolohe. 😉

Now, Sheila’s in the most competitive, strongest Purple Prize cohort we’ve had since its founding and is going strong. She’s currently in the process of conducting user research, standing up a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), publishing a website, and launching pilots with teachers and non-profit educators over the Summer. 

We asked her to describe MAG Hugs in her own words for you to really understand what she’s developing.

“MAG Hugs is about guiding educators to observe haumāna in a different light so they can document and acknowledge success in ways that go beyond As and Bs. For the student, MAG Hugs reinforces the truth of: I am good. I have purpose. I am enough.

MAG Hugs evokes a sense of kuleana that we must all carry for the well-being of our keiki. One that goes beyond our homes and into our classrooms to cultivate the values we need more of in our societies…From kumu to haumāna, makua to keiki, it takes a village.”

Are you a kumu interested in learning more about MAG Hugs? Let us know by clicking the button below!

*MAG Hugs is an application helping teachers to better connect with their students and track their social and emotional growth. MAG stands for Mindful, Accepting and Giving. 

Learn more about MAG Hugs

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