Lagareta spoke first about the practice
of public relations and described what PR interns or young
practitioners are expected to do at Communications-Pacific,
a company she has been associated with since she joined it
in 1986. She also had some good advice for the audience about
the kind of professionalism she expects from those who are
accepted for positions with the company, regardless of their
level of education.
Communications-Pacific was acquired, in the early 1990s by
a mainland firm, Hill & Knowlton, and renamed Hill & Knowlton
Hawai‘i. Frustrated by the inability of mainland management
to respond quickly to Hawai‘i concerns, Lagareta left the
company and in 1994 helped found Hawai‘i Online, the state’s
oldest and for years its largest Internet service provider.
In 1995, Hill & Knowlton asked Lagareta to manage the company.
She agreed, with the understanding that she had an option to
buy it. In 1996 she and her partners sold Hawai‘i Online
to a telecommunications company, and in 1998, she successfully
negotiated a buy-back of Communications-Pacific from Hill & Knowlton
and reinstated its original name.
Before joining Communications-Pacific in the ‘80s, Lagareta
was a founding board member and the first executive director
of Hawai‘i’s Ronald McDonald House. Later, she served
as vice president of the Kapi‘olani Health Foundation and
as president of the Rotary Club of Honolulu. Among the organizations
on whose boards she serves are: Enterprise Honolulu and HiBEAM
(Hawai‘i Business Entrepreneur and Acceleration Mentors),
Hawai‘i Justice Foundation, and Young CEOs and Community
Entrepreneurs. She is a past member of the board of the Chamber
of Commerce of Hawai‘i.
Pacific Business News named Lagareta its first “Businesswoman
of the Year” in 1999. In 2002, Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i
inducted her into the Hawai‘i Business Hall of Fame. In
2003, the Hawai‘i Chapter of the March of Dimes honored
her with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Award for Distinguished
Community Service, and the Pacific Gateway Center presented her
its Community Building Award. She has received numerous awards
for her work from the Hawai‘i chapters of both the Public
Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Association
of Business Communicators. In 2003 PRSA-Hawai‘i honored
her with its Gregg W. Perry Public Relations Professional of
the Year Award.
In December 2002, Governor Linda Lingle asked Lagareta to chair
the transition team for the Department of Business, Economic
Development and Tourism, and to identify top candidates for its
director. In 2003, Lagareta was appointed to a four-year term
as a Regent for the University of Hawai‘i system; she has
been elected vice chair of the Board of Regents and was active
in the board’s recent removal of former UH president Evan