Those who phish with a request to guest can take their bait to someone else. Lavagal.net is 100 percent me. If you truly want to be a blogger, then sign up for a free and basic service like I did.
I live in Hawaii Kai, Oahu, in a peaceful neighborhood that is flanked by Koko Head, which juts into the ocean, and Koko Crater, which features a challenging vertical climb on its southern side and a crater that houses stables for horses and a xeriscape garden. I write for a living. I’m a mom and a wife and those roles are the most important of all. I love living in Hawaii and raising my children here. I do what I can to keep Hawaii a lovely place by reflecting the Aloha Spirit in all that I do.
I grew up in Southern New Jersey and attended St. Peter’s School in Riverside, and Holy Cross High in Delran, class of 1976. I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1979, which took me to Texas and California before I was stationed at Hickam AFB in Honolulu in 1981. I’ve been in Hawaii ever since. I was a computer operator in the service, and worked on the first NASA Shuttle flights back in 1980 while at Edwards AFB in California.
Unlike many of my military colleagues, I embraced Hawaii and never wanted to leave. An avid swimmer and lifeguard, I learned to surf and windsurf, ate my first bites of sushi without flinching, and made many friends. When the U.S.A.F. issued my orders to Sunnyvalle, California, I opted for an Honorable Discharge and got a job working on the same computers for Kaiser Permanente. A few years later I took a casual clerk position at The Honolulu Advertiser, met my future husband, and finished college at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in journalism.
And if I may say so myself, I’m a pretty good photographer, too!
Here is my resume as of Fall 2013:
PAULA GILLINGHAM BENDER
A positively charged, enthusiastic, and empathetic writer who captures the spirit of the mission and weaves an inspiring message with a sprinkling of adjectives and a ton of spark. Comfortable in the realm of social media, I have two children whose habits insist I stay ahead of the technology wave. I am a writer, a wife, a mom, and an asset. I evolve. I add value. Every thing, every one, every event has a story. Let’s tell these stories. Let’s engage with your audience. Let’s extend your reach. And ultimately, let’s improve this world of ours.
1994 B.A. Journalism, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
May 2013: Grant writing certification program, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Presently pursuing assignments as a freelance writer.
April 2008 — April 2013: Corporate Writer II, Hawaii Medical Service Association
Research, write, and edit articles for the monthly newsletter Provider Update, IslandScene magazine and IslandScene.com. Participate on HMSA’s intranet to encourage participation among employees and to encourage the exchange of ideas between them and the executives. Promote HMSA on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to increase awareness about healthy choices, to share healthy recipes and news, and to enhance HMSA’s image as a caring and warm entity.
2008-Present: Blogger, http://lavagal.wordpress.com
Personal blog updated frequently and linked to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I blog about life, family, disappointments, victories, work, hopes and dreams.
2008-April 2010: Blogger, Honolulu Advertiser website
Submitted several entries per week on two blogs at: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/section/featuredblogs.
Your Mileage May Vary was a blog about commuting and traffic, primarily on Oahu. It was a blog where participants could let off steam about bad driving.
East Oahu Insider was about people and events in East Oahu.
1994 –2013: Free-lance Writer and Editor
Presently working on articles for Hawaii Business Magazine. Lava Mama columnist, East Oahu Sun. Researched, written and edited stories for publications such as The Honolulu Advertiser, Custom Publications for Gannett in Honolulu, Pacific Business News, Building Industry of Hawaii, Agriculture Hawaii, Hawaii Home & Remodeling, Hawaii Parent, Talk Story Hawaii, Northstar Publications, Hawaii General Contractors Association, Island Business, The Military Times, The Maui News, Chaminade University, University of Hawaii, SportsBusiness, The Chicago Tribune, Hawaii Magazine, AAA Car & Travel, Hawaii Catholic Herald, Sports Illustrated, Pregnancy Magazine, Redbook.
April—December 2007: The Limtiaco Company, Account Executive and Editorial Director
Assist CEO and President with accounts such as the Department of Transportation’s Walk Wise Hawaii program, the Hawaii Convention Center, Hawaii Reserves Inc., the Dowling Company of Maui, and Aloha Street-Wincubic.com., Inc. Conduct community and press outreach to generate positive messages about clients through newsletters, press releases, media alerts and with a speakers bureau designed to do pedestrian safety outreach.
February 2005-April 2007 – Oceanic Institute, Waimanalo, Hawaii, Public Relations Officer, Editor, Web Designer and Photographer.
Generate and disseminate news releases; founding editor of AquaBytes, OI’s quarterly newsletter; editor of Industry Briefs, the quarterly newsletter for the U.S. Marine Shrimp Farming Program; maintained the OI and USMSFP Web site; researched and written OI’s 2005 and 2006 Annual Reports; photographed people and events at OI for publishing in our media vehicles, Web sites, and for public inquiries and new releases. Software used at OI included Macromedia Dreamweaver to update Web sites, Adobe Suite for newsletter design, Photoshop CS2 for photo work, HTML code, and Microsoft Office. Pro bono: Maintain the Hawaii Aquaculture Association Web site.
July 2001 – July 2004: Dateline Media Inc., Abstractor and Editor
Monitored local news broadcasts to create abstracts and sell stories to clients and the general public.
February 1996 –1998: Pacific Business News, Business Reporter
Beats included coverage of Hawaii’s tourism, high-technology, health care, transportation and agricultural industries. Profiles covered business leaders from around the state, new small business owners, and the introduction of new industries to Hawaii.
April 1989 – January 1996: The Honolulu Advertiser, Editorial Assistant, Proofreader, Summer Intern, General Assignment Reporter, Copy Editor.
As a writer at The Advertiser I worked for every department to provide fair and accurate coverage of current events, notable personalities, and issues that interested readers. Whether it was dressage for the sports department, a flight with the Hurricane Hunters during Hurricane Iniki, or an in-depth series on deadbeat parents, I wanted to write stories that gave a thorough and balanced perspective.
April 1985 – April 1989: Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Computer Operator, Nurse Staffing Clerk.
As a computer operator, my job’s emphasis was on computer mainframes to run various in-house programs such as payroll, appointments and accounting. As a nurse staffing clerk, I assured that the staff-patient ratio requirements were met daily.
January 1979 – April 1985: United States Air Force, Computer Operator, Enlisted.
I acquired a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance-SCI to be stationed at Hickam AFB in Hawaii. At Edwards AFB in California, I helped monitor the first Space Shuttle Flights with NASA.