Amy Hennessey can still recall the moment she first became interested in public relations. While taking an introductory journalism course at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hennessey was inspired by a guest speaker who offered insights into the field of public relations and encouraged students to join the Public Relations Student Society of America.

“I was hooked,” says Hennessey. “It was a great group of people—it was my people. I thought, what fun to be able to help others share their message in a meaningful way.”

When I came to the University of Hawaiʻi, I expected to get a world-class education, but what I didn’t expect was the amazing faculty and staff that I was able to interact with.

Now as Ulupono Initiative’s senior vice president of communications and community, Hennessey is doing exactly that and more. She is tasked with providing strategic counsel to Ulupono’s internal team and external partners, as well as overseeing all communications aspects of the organization including branding, marketing and public relations.

While recalling her years at UH, Hennessey remembers two individuals who had a significant impact on her. Craig Miyamoto, then assistant professor in the journalism department, introduced Hennessey to the field of public relations, while Sharon Ishida, then secretary of the journalism department, nurtured and encouraged students to come back to the university and share their experiences and expertise with students.

“When I came to the University of Hawaiʻi, I expected to get a world-class education,” adds Hennessey. “But what I didn’t expect was the amazing faculty and staff that I was able to interact with.”

—By Kapiʻolani Ching

Amy Hennessey
Amy Hennessey