My name is Lara Hughes and I am the fourth generation kama‘aina (born in Hawai‘i) descendent of plantation workers who immigrated from Korea in the late 1800s. I was born on O‘ahu and raised on a sailboat in Keehi Lagoon until I was a toddler. My family moved to Hawai‘i Island and I grew up in the southern distrcit of Ka‘u. I attended Na‘alehu Elementary and Pahala High School, and graduated from Konawaena High.
I received my associates of arts degree from Hawai‘i Community College. Soon after, I took off with a couple of my best friends on a four-month adventure that led us all over Europe. I found my way to a cliffside village overlooking the Italian-Ligurian Sea on the Riviera. The town was surrounded by grape covered hills, and the pastel painted buildings reminded me of an M.C. Escher sketch. I stayed for seven years.
I moved back to Hawai‘i to obtain my bachelor in business administration with a focus on management and finance at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I worked as a public information intern writing articles for a website called UH Hilo Stories, hosted by the Office of the Chancellor.
My first job in public information was with the UH Hilo student newspaper, Ke Kalahea, as an editor, and later as editor-in-chief. While there I helped lead the newspaper to a 25 percent increase in circulation.
I am the senior vice president of the international business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, a member of the international honor society Beta Gamma Sigma, the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, and the president of the Big Island Press Club.