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Webinar panel includes UH West Oʻahu grad helping to lead IHS while running her business


Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

Who you surround yourself with is critical to accomplishing your goals.

“We all have destinations that we want to go to, but it’s also very important for us to pick who’s in our canoe and enjoy who we’re surrounding ourselves with … who’s in your boat really matters,” Leina Ijacic said.

If Ijacic offers advice, take heed. An exemplary alumna of UH West O‘ahu, Ijacic is the Chief Administrative Officer at The Institute for Human Services, Hawai‘i’s oldest and most comprehensive non-profit focused on ending homelessness. She oversees health services, operations, finance, grants, human resource, and community development.

Ijacic is also the clinical director and owner of Premier Medispa, which provides medical aesthetic services such as laser hair removal, fat reduction, laser skin resurfacing, and vitamin injections.

Hear how Ijacic’s experience at UH West Oʻahu helped shape her path to community stewardship and to entrepreneurial success at the webinar, “On the Horizon at UH West Oʻahu — Alakaʻina Hakuhia Wahine/Women’s Innovative Leadership,” 11 a.m. Thursday, April 22, via Zoom.

The event will focus on how UH West Oʻahu’s innovative capstone opportunities support enterprising students to become 21st century entrepreneurs and community leaders.

Words of wisdom

While a Public Administration student in Health Care Administration, Ijacic (a 2013 graduate) had an internship at Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

“PUBA was very hands on — things that I could apply to my current businesses, things that I still use today — I felt it gave me those real-life skills,” Ijacic said. “Also with the internship, PUBA really got me in the door.”

Among her words of advice to UH West Oʻahu students: Take your internship seriously.

An “internship is that bridge between being a student and being a self-sufficient adult,” Ijacic said. “That’s your chance to kind of try it out and see if it’s a right fit, so i think there’s just the importance of maximizing the internship.”

Also, elaborating on her aforementioned “canoe” advice, Ijacic said to be mindful of the people you decide to be around, wherever you are in life. If you’re going to school, choose to spend time with classmates who have good study habits. If you’re looking for a job, pick an organization that shares your values.

Finally, Ijacic advises students to find a mentor.

“If you don’t have a guide in life, go find one, go make a friend,” Ijacic said. “Or ask somebody to be your mentor because people love passing on their life’s knowledge and skills.”

More about On the Horizon

The April 22 On the Horizon webinar, moderated by UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham, will highlight two of UH West Oʻahu’s leading female faculty members — Kristina Lu, professor and division chair of Public Administration, and Holly Itoga, assistant professor of Hospitality and Tourism — and two of their successful students-turned-alumnae — Ijacic and Ilima Fisher, owner and founder of Milk Market Hawaiʻi.

Panelists for the April 22 On the Horizon event are, from left, Maenette Benham, Kristina Lu, Holly Itoga, Ilima Fisher, and Leina Ijacic.

Attendees will hear about the UH West Oʻahu programs that shaped the careers of these entrepreneurial alumnae and how the programs inspired them to contribute to the growing realm of entrepreneurship and innovation in Hawaiʻi.

The On the Horizon series, presented by the UH Office of Alumni Relations and UH Foundation, aims to showcase programmatic endeavors, campus goals, and opportunities for support at UH’s 10 dynamic campuses.

To attend the April 22 On the Horizon event, register here. Meeting ID and password will be emailed upon registration. Questions for the speakers can be submitted on the registration page.

Read more about the panelists and programs here. For questions, please contact the UH Office of Alumni Relations at

Image courtesy of Zenaida Serrano Arvman

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff