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About

I inspire leaders and employees to prevent lawsuits, feel compassion for each other, and create respectful workplaces through my speeches, training and writing.

Combining head, heart, and humor, I’ve facilitated 1,000+ legal compliance, sexual harassment, respectful workplace, and unconscious bias programs for executives, managers and employees of Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, international associations, governments and non-profits in 38 states. As the founder of Employment Rights Attorneys in San Jose, I represented women harassed by men, a man harassed by women, and men accused of harassment. I created Fair Measures, a national company providing legal compliance training.

I

litigated harassment cases for 10 years

performed as an improv comedian

was awarded the Certified Speaking Professional by the National Speakers Association

received rave reviews at presentations for SHRM and ATD (formerly ASTD)

consulted with CEOs and HR leaders

investigated numerous harassment complaints

ran two companies and dealt with harassment claims as a manager

authored the Prentice Hall book, Stay Out of Court! The Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits

have been harassed, assaulted, and falsely accused of harassment.

With these real-world experiences, my anti-harassment Respectful Workplace programs are highly rated by the men and women usually forced to be there. My favorite ever testimonial came from a high-tech SVP who said, “This class was better than CATS!” Better still, his CEO called a few weeks later and said the VP had completely turned around his behavior.

What’s with the name “Makana”?

People in Hawaii know me by the name Makana. The first week after I moved to Hawaii as an adult, I met a Native Hawaiian elder who “adopted” me into her family (an ancient Hawaiian tradition). A few weeks later she gave me the name Makana, which means gift, because she said I was a gift to her family. I love this name and all my family, friends and clients in Hawaii use it. But since I have a decades-long body of work as Rita Risser, I use the name Rita professionally. By the way, I got the name Chai because after she adopted me, that elder introduced me to her son. She’s now my mother-in-law!

And you also teach stress management?

Yes! I moved to Hawaii from Silicon Valley because I needed to reduce my own stress from being a lawyer and business owner. As I learned and practiced stress management, I was excited to teach it to others. I taught yoga and Pilates four times a week for eight years, became a Certified Stress and Wellness Consultant with the Canadian Institute of Stress, and became a daily meditator. I wrote a book on traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage published by the Bishop Museum. My latest stress management book is Mindful Multitasking: Timeless Techniques for a Vibrant Mind, Strong Body, Happy Heart & Light Spirit.

What are your passions?

I love my husband, Mark Chai, and his lighting design and art. I love walking on the beach and sitting quietly at home, looking out over the mountains and waters of Oahu, petting our cat. Oh, and I love boxing! I’ve been working out with a boxing club three times a week since 2014.

Have a question? Want to chat?
Call 808-282-2743 or contact us.

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