PUHI — Though she’s taking a new step in her career, Beth Tokioka said her new position as communications manager for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is a bit of an old hat.
“My role here is especially similar to what I was doing with the county,” Tokioka said.
Tokioka has been working with the public and the media throughout the state for more than 20 years and she began the road to one of Kauai’s public liaisons with a degree in communications and a position in the Mayor’s Office in 1994.
“When Mayor Maryanne Kusaka was elected, she brought me in and I was her executive secretary for her first four years,” Tokioka said. “Then when she was re-elected in ’98, her PIO retired and I took that spot.”
She was in that position until 2002, when she was appointed director of economic development under Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste She went back to the Mayor’s Office in 2008 to the newly created director of communications position and was at the post until she moved to Syngenta in 2015.
“For most of the 20 years prior to moving to Syngenta in 2015, I was working directly with the media here on Kauai and throughout the state,” Tokioka said.
Tokioka’s role at communications took more of a community-outreach flavor, and much of her work revolved around “making sure the company was visible in the community and supporting the various entities in the schools.”
“It was maintaining relationships and more of a community outreach function,” Tokioka said. “For the most part, I didn’t exercise the media part of it as much.”
As the new public information officer for KIUC, Tokioka will be back to working more intensively with the media.
“I’ve always admired KIUC and the work that they’ve been doing here, it’s been such an asset to the community especially in recent years where renewable projects have started to flourish,” Tokioka said.
Though Syngenta is changing hands and that had some bearing on her decision to leave the seed company, Tokioka said working as KIUC’s PIO has been a goal for years.
“It’s rare that this position ever opens and when it did, even though I enjoyed what I was doing with Syngenta, I felt it was an opportunity that wouldn’t happen again for me in the years I have left before I retire,” Tokioka said. “The opportunity was now and I had to put my name in the hat.”
Tokioka began her new job on Nov. 7 and said she’s looking forward to connecting with the community as well as learning about KIUC’s many projects.