Christina Poll “Kiki” Stinnett
Christina Poll “Kiki” Stinnett passed away suddenly in Chuuk at the age of 66.
She was the owner of the Truk Stop Hotel in Weno in Chuuk. Together with her husband, William Stinnett, CEO of the Truk Stop she also operated the PADI- certified Truk Lagoon Dive Center, which became famous for its proximity to the lagoon’s clear waters and historic wrecks and its private dock.
Stinnett was also the president of the Chuuk Women’s Council, which through her leadership and advocacy worked to improve the lives of women in her state and in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Those initiatives on behalf of women and her work towards conservation and climate change are recognized throughout the Micronesian region.
After working at Continental Airlines and gaining industry experience in Saipan, where she met her husband, in March 1984 Stinnett opened Truk Travel Unlimited — Chuuk’s first travel agency. “When we had enough money, I came back and opened the travel agency with my sister. The travel agency was the foundation for our business; [in those days] travel agents were getting commission from the airlines. At that time there was only the Continental Hotel here,” she told the Journal in 2008.
As with all Stinnett family businesses — which would grow through the years as part of or around the hotel — the travel agency played a community role. “If people encounter an emergency on a weekend or on a holiday, we can issue them a ticket on the spot. They [or their family] can come in and pay on Monday or Tuesday. The government seeks help from us quite often and if we didn’t exist then this humanitarian aspect of people being able to deal with emergencies and pay later would disappear,” Stinnett said.
She had studied nursing at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina before returning to Chuuk. She told the Journal, “I always believed I had a purpose. I love to work with people, so I chose nursing.”
That sense of purpose and her connection to her family would lead her to follow her mother’s example and develop her own role as a community leader. The Chuuk Women’s Council was created in the 1980s as the Chuuk Women’s Advisory Council – an umbrella organization of the presidents of the different women’s associations in the states. Her mother, the late Shinobu M. Poll, was one of the founders.
Stinnett was the president of the Truk Women’s Club and the CWC’s coordinator for diabetes awareness, in which role she secured grants and developed wider regional relationships. She became a member of the council of Papa Ola Lokai — the Pacific Diabetes Education Program in Honolulu, which conducted training and help translate pamphlets from English to Chuukese. She talked in 2008 of walkathons, educational goals at the primary school level and a five-year plan for the CWC. “I have a dream to build a multipurpose building for the women’s council …,” she said. Stinnett ensured the Chuuk Women’s Council headquarters became a reality in 2011 and the launchpad for yet more projects, and the securing of yet more grants, as well as a hub for activities and gathering.
The CWC through Stinnett’s leadership has developed into an organization that targets a huge number of issues facing women including family violence, and women’s health issues and aims to emphasize the importance of education, as well as providing training and development. It was successful in raising the age of consent in Chuuk from 13 to 18.
Stinnett also devoted time to sit on various state and national boards such as the Chuuk Board of Education, the Chuuk Conservation Society and the FSM Women in Business Network Inc. and was an attendee at regional conferences and events.
Christina Poll “Kiki” Stinnett is survived by her husband William, son Will and daughters Melba Aisek and Shinobu Courtney, as well as siblings and numerous family members. mbj