Written By Gregory Fischbach

January 31, 2024
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Sarah McFarland earned her executive MBA from HPU and is currently president of Mcfarland Development

Sarah McFarland earned her executive MBA from HPU and is currently president of Mcfarland Development.

HPU alumna Sarah McFarland ‘11 has been awarded the prestigious Beacon Award in 2024 from Ellis Island Honors Society in New York City. The Beacon Award, conferred by the Ellis Island Honors Society (EIHS), stands as a prestigious recognition bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions to the fabric of American society through their leadership, philanthropy, and service. Since its inception, the Ellis Island Honors Society has celebrated the achievements of a diverse group of honorees, including U.S. Presidents, Nobel laureates, and world leaders.

“I am deeply honored and genuinely humbled to be recognized alongside the esteemed individuals who have preceded me. My conviction is strong that by applying our entrepreneurial education, we can make significant strides toward philanthropy, thereby contributing to a better world,” McFarland said. “I owe a profound debt of gratitude to Hawaiʻi Pacific University for providing me with a robust foundation in business, which has been instrumental in driving me toward these global endeavors!”

Sarah McFarland with her family at the Beacon Award ceremony in New York City

Sarah McFarland with her family at the Beacon Award ceremony in New York City.

Currently, McFarland is in Mergers and Acquisitions, where she provides expert guidance to companies navigating the complex terrain of the low to mid-market sector, with valuations ranging from $5 million to $150 million. Her journey through the business landscape is marked by significant milestones in land development, logistics, and distribution, where her role as both a visionary founder and a strategic builder of enterprises has endowed her with a depth of knowledge and experience. These ventures are reflective of her ability to not only conceive and develop a business from its nascent stages but also to steer it through the intricacies of growth and successful exit strategies.

Among her achievements is the orchestration of a comprehensive land development project, which, took three years to complete. Her entrepreneurial spirit has also led her to establish a freight forwarding enterprise, which, under her guidance as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, saw an exponential growth in annual sales, surpassing the $20 million mark in under four years.

McFarland's rich tapestry of professional experiences, marked by both triumphs and challenges, serves as the foundation for her best-selling book, "Get Up Girl, Release Your Roar!" This literary work is not merely a narrative of her business journey but a powerful manifesto that calls upon women to embrace empowerment, forge their identities, and live with purpose. Through her words, McFarland extends an invitation to women everywhere to tap into their inner strength, to stand tall amidst adversity, and to navigate the path of personal and professional growth with unwavering resolve and grace.

McFarland is involved in various humanitarian and legislative initiatives, dedicated to combating sex trafficking in Hawaiʻi, and advocating for world peace representing Hawaiʻi and the United States as delegates to prestigious events such as the National Prayer Breakfast, the Korean Prayer Breakfast and the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. Her early career included roles in the Hawaiʻi State Senate and as Chief of Staff for a State Representative, showcasing her legislative acumen and leadership from a young age. Her Legislative endeavors have been echoed at a global level, allowing her to be recognized for her efforts at a congressional level.

Her commitment to philanthropy extends to founding the Let Love Be Greater foundation, providing economic and entrepreneurial scholarships to women in need. Her endeavors reflect a passionate dedication to humanitarian causes and empowering marginalized communities.

McFarland earned her executive MBA from HPU, and her B.A. in communications and marketing from Chaminade University. She has earned continuing certificates of education from Yale University, Wharton University, and Bocconi University.

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