Barbara J. Tanabe
Barbara J. Tanabe has expertise in strategic communications and issues management with over 31 years of experience in public affairs, crisis management and broadcast journalism in the United States and Asia. Her sensitivity to public policy matters, the media, and cultural and ethnic diversity in our core market bring valuable insights to the BOH board, which she joined in 2004.
Ms. Tanabe has been the owner of Ho‘akea Communications, LLC since 2003. She served as president and CEO of Hill & Knowlton/Communications Pacific and her own consulting firm, Pacific Century, where she counseled executives and government officials in cross-cultural communications, crisis and issues management, and news media management.
Ms. Tanabe was among the first Asian-American woman journalists in the nation; she received recognition for news coverage of issues dealing with ethnic minorities, diversity, and civil rights during the 1970s and ‘80s.
Ms. Tanabe received her bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
In 2002, Ms. Tanabe co-founded a public policy research firm, Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs, which helped craft legislation to promote economic development in Hawaii.
She is also co-chair and founder of the Hawaii Chapter of Women Corporate Directors Foundation, and serves as a board member to Japan-America Society of Hawaii, The American Judicature Society, and the Pacific Forum. She is past board member of the East-West Center and Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, first woman chair of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, and former chair of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.