All that Lydia Tsui embodies is a great business person and dedicated servant leader, making her an epitome of female empowerment. In the 80s up to the 90s, Lydia has juggled between her three jobs as CFO of Panda Travel, a real estate developer/manager, and a full-time employee, working even after office-hours seven days a week.
During the mid-90s, Lydia shifted her focus to encompass involvement in the community, donating time and money to the University of Hawaii for sports scholarship and sponsorship programs. Her contributions have earned her a place in the university as a Distinguished Alumni awardee.
Greater Good Radio brings to you, Lydia Tsui, co-founder of Hawaii’s biggest travel wholesaler. Lydia talks about how keeping a positive relationship with family, employees, partners and clients can help a great deal in dealing with work-related stress. She also adds why being open to further edification may minimize work pressures.
“I keep a very positive relationship with all my family and my employee and my partners so I always go forward and just keep going and without thinking about anything negative so that would keep me going without even feeling that much stress,” she says. “I mean, it’s so exciting to learn so much in business and I don’t even have time to think about stress, I just keep going.”
Learn more about how Lydia and her travel agency has coped with such crises as SARS and 9-11 and how the internet has helped in the survival of the travel industry.
All these is just one click away. Listen now.
Lydia Tsui has more than 27 years of experience in the travel industry and property investment, management and development. Throughout her career, she has always followed two business principles: first, you must always provide the customer with value and service; and second, the best business opportunity is where all parties benefit.
As the CFO for Panda Travel, which is recognized as the largest travel wholesaler in Hawaii, Tsui was instrumental in the company’s growth. With Lydia’s and her brother Jack’s leadership, the company has grown from its humble beginnings in a 100 square-foot office, to a six-location, multi-million dollar annual sales business.
Setting the stage for her successful career, Lydia, a strong believer in the benefits of education, earned her bachelor of arts degree in accounting in 1975 from the University of Hawaii.
Prior to starting Panda Travel with Jack in 1980, Lydia was a very successful property investor, manager and developer – a career that she still maintains today. In 1976, Lydia began delving into property management, focusing primarily on the accounting and budget issues along with project operations as the treasurer for Go Properties Inc., and then Ind-Com Management Inc. Three years later, she began making her own property investments, purchasing several commercial properties in Honolulu–some of which are still in her portfolio today.
Tsui quickly built upon the successes of her earliest investments through the 1980’s and eventually purchased, managed and developed more than 25 commercial properties in Hawaii, including some located on the neighbor islands. Her management and growth of this business was done while at the same time building Panda Travel into one of Hawaii’s most well-known and successful travel agencies.
In 1980, Lydia and Jack began the process of building one of the state’s greatest success stories – in an industry that is known for its fierce competitiveness. Initially focusing on the Asia market for Hawaii-based travelers, Panda quickly became one of the best volume sales travel agencies for Japan Airlines, China Airlines and a host of other airlines. Building on this initial success, Panda then began focusing on the interisland and mainland U.S. markets. Well known through the 1990’s as the travel agency that had the best interisland coupon prices, Panda developed relationships with many airlines that remain strong and unique.
By the mid-1990’s the travel industry started going through difficult times and drastic changes. Not one to sit back and wait for things to happen, Lydia and Jack began to focus on technology and how its application could positively affect Panda’s future.
About six years ago, Panda made a commitment to upgrade its ability to sell travel through the internet with the development of Get2Hawaii, an affiliated technology company. In contrast to major mainland internet travel providers, which tried to replace small local agencies, Panda made the Get2Hawaii software available to smaller travel agencies helping them survive in the changing travel industry. In addition, Panda created online travel services, an internal department that coordinates all online sales, which account for more than half of Panda’s total sales today – all at a lower cost per transaction than traditional travel agency methods. In addition, many smaller agencies in Hawaii are able to survive because they, too, can utilize this technology and lower their cost of operations.
With these and other initiatives, Panda Travel is continuing to succeed in a radically changing travel industry. Despite the changes, rest assured that with Ms. Tsui at the helm, Panda Travel will remain focused on providing value for the customer and win-win situations in its business transactions.
In addition to being a very successful business woman, Lydia has consistently made the effort to give back to our community – with her time, expertise, and through monetary contributions.
In 1995, Lydia Ms. Tsui received a commendation by the City and County of Honolulu for her volunteer work in our community with specific reference to her leadership in making improvements throughout Chinatown. In 1996, Lydia served as a member of the Honolulu Police Commission and as a member of the State of Hawaii Travel Advisory Committee, a position she still holds today.
A long-time supporter of the University of Hawaii, Ms. Tsui and Panda Travel have donated and helped raise more than $400,000 for the University of Hawaii athletic department. In 1999, Lydia received a Commendation from then-Governor Benjamin Cayetano and another from President of the University of Hawaii for her support. In 2001, Lydia Tsui was honored as a University of Hawaii Distinguished Alumni. In addition, Ms. Tsui also supports the Aloha Medical Mission, a Honolulu-based secular, nonprofit, volunteer organization that provides free health care to underserved people in developing countries and Hawaii.
Ms. Tsui is a member of the 200 Club and the Waialae Country Club. In her spare time, she enjoys golfing with her friends and occasionally traveling to Asia.
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