Alumni and Friends

2010 Paul C.T. Loo Distinguished Alumni Awardee Profiles

Sharon GavinSharon Gavin

2010 Alumni Service Awardee

Fast Facts

HPU Education

  • B.A. Human Services ’90

Career and Community Involvement

  • Community Outreach Coordinator for the Transportation Agency of Monterey County
  • Service Member, AmeriCorps/VISTA
  • Communications Manager, PGE (Pacific Gas & Electric) Company’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant
  • Provides volunteer service and support to various community service organizations and events, including HPU

I have always felt a strong sense of duty as long: I enlisted in the Navy in 1980 to serve my country. After graduating from Hawai‘i Pacific University, I worked in public service for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services, and California’s Metrolink commuter railroad. Then in 2010, I left my six-figure job to join AmeriCorps VISTA to help fight poverty.

Giving back is about gratitude for the opportunities I have been given. In 2003 and 2004, I developed and produced special holiday events for the Los Angeles Starbright Children’s Foundation for families with terminally ill children. I have performed in the Central Coast Alzheimer’s Association’s annual fundraiser show, helped publicize the Nuclear Challenge Golf Tournament for the Tri-Counties Make-a-Wish Foundation, promoted Earth Day activities at Montana de Oro State Park in California, and organized volunteers to help with a Habitat for Humanity project for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Moreover, I was able to help these organizations because of the experiences and skills I acquired at HPU.

Paul Loo’s ethos has guided my sense of community service. He said, “Education is more than a tool for self-development; it’s an instrument for helping others.” The University has adopted this as part of its curriculum and that makes me proud to be an alumna. I credit English instructor Dr. William Kazarian for honing my writing skills, Dr. Gregory Gaydos of the political science department for challenging me to be a critical thinker, and Dr. Gordon Jones, professor of computer science and information systems, who taught me how to determine what is important and why.

HPU is high on my list of giving because the University changes lives and I would like to be part of that important legacy. Ever since I graduated, I have given to HPU. At PGE, I participated in its corporate matching gift program, which doubled my contributions to HPU. I have also registered for HPU’s Legacy Program, naming the University as my beneficiary.

To view other 2010 recipients, click here.


Gail Lerch

2010 Professional Achievement Awardee

Gail Lerch

Fast Facts

HPU Education
  • M.B.A. ’88

Career and Community Involvement

  • Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness for Hawai‘i Pacific Health 
  • Consultant, HPU School of Nursing
  • Member, Statewide Nursing Capacity Task Force
  • Board member: Hospice Hawaii, Easter Seals, and United Cerebral Palsy
  • Member, MedAssets National Human Resources Advisory Committee

Earning my M.B.A. at Hawai‘i Pacific University allowed me to rise in my career. I first came to Hawai‘i in 1982 as a traveling nurse, after earning my B.S.N. in nursing from Purdue University. My career in human resources began as a Nurse Recruiter for Queen’s in 1984, and then in human resources at Kapi‘olani Health. The reason I decided to get an M.B.A. was to learn more about health care. Looking back at a more than 20-year career, I encourage more nurses to consider pursuing an M.B.A.

In my current position with Hawai‘i Pacific Health, I wear two hats in Human Resources and in Organizational Effectiveness. In Human Resources, I oversee over 5,500 employees on three islands, four hospitals, 16 clinics, and a corporate office of 400 employees. I am also involved with working with the four unions involved with Hawai‘i Pacific Health’s 10 union contracts. Strategy, planning and management–the hands-on skills I learned in my M.B.A. program– are essential to my responsibilities. These responsibilities include workforce development, recruitment, retention, and employee benefits/compensation, which include employee wellness, volunteer services, and internal communications.

I am grateful for the opportunity to help shape the future of health care through my work in Organizational Effectiveness. It is exciting work and entails leadership development programs that include succession planning, coaching, and mentoring programs. As part of this division, I also oversee staff development and nursing education. I get to work with some of the best and brightest health care professionals in our industry, as well as nurture promising young talents. It is gratifying to know that the education I received at HPU has given me the knowledge, skills and confidence to be a part of improving health care in Hawai‘i.

I give back to HPU and the community as a way of saying, “Thank you.” I have been privileged to provide consultation to HPU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences. I am pleased to be able to support the college in finding the important clinical experiences for students. And since 2005, I have been a proud member of HPU’s President’s Fund to support its many innovative programs.

To view other 2010 recipients, click here.


Naomi GiambroneNaomi Giambrone

2010 Young Alumni Awardee

Fast Facts

HPU Education

  • M.A. Communication ’05
Career and Community Involvement
  • Co-founder, Element Media, publisher of Pacific Edge Magazine, Ko Olina Life & Style Magazine and Las Vegas Bound
  • Co-founder, West Oahu Women’s Social and Business Network (WOW Network) and co-manager, Green Drinks Honolulu
  • Board member, Hawaii Publishers Association; and member, Rotary, The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Kauai Chamber of Commerce and Hawaii Advertising Federation

I enrolled as a graduate student at HPU to hone my skills as an expert communicator with help from some of the best academic mentors in the field. HPU prepared me in so many ways: It helped launch Pacific Edge Magazine through the hands-on experience I gained crafting a business plan for my master’s practicum. I learned so much working with professors and faculty who have practical experience in this industry, either running a company or working in the field of communication, business, marketing or public relations. It was their support and guidance that led me to start networking and meeting other business community leaders.

It was rewarding to be named one of the top “Forty Under 40” by Pacific Business News, when I was only 28 years old. It is important to me that the stories we publish in Pacific Edge motivate, innovate, and illuminate the passions and inspirations of Hawai‘i’s business professionals. I am proud that it has given a voice to young entrepreneurs, that it has also become a staple for progressive business leaders of all ages—reaching over 40,000 industry-specific decision-makers in the state—and is connecting internationally through its growing online presence.

My commitment to helping others brings together my networking and outreach skills with my passion for community improvement. As an avid supporter of women in business, I co-founded the WOW Network in 2009, whose proceeds from our monthly events are donated. My husband, Jamie Giambrone, and I manage Green Drinks Honolulu, an internationally recognized network that discusses environmental issues. We also host events at the Honolulu Academy of Arts to benefit worthy local cultural organizations, many of whom are struggling in today’s economy.

Growing up on Kauai, my parents instilled in me the importance of giving back. I often return to the very classrooms I studied in as a graduate student at HPU to lecture and mentor students about journalism and entrepreneurship. I offer them internships so they can sharpen their skills in the real world, while gaining access to the greater business community through the various networking events that I host.

Receiving the Paul C.T. Loo Alumni Award means so much to me because HPU started me on my career path by giving me the resources to turn a passion for communication into a thriving business. I am proud to say that in 2009, I became a member of the HPU President’s Fund.

To view other 2010 recipients, click here.