Joan Lacagnina ’88CBA

Joan Lacagnina ’88CBA is a Role Model for St. John’s Students.

Joan Lacagnina ’88CBA has always known that the road to success depends on a willingness to work hard and take advantage of whatever opportunities are available along the way. For this loyal and talented alumna, that road began the day she became a student in the College of Business Administration on the Staten Island campus of St. John’s University.

“I had to work part-time while I was going to St. John’s,” she said, “which meant that I had to manage my time very carefully to be certain that I kept up with everything. It wasn’t always easy, but it was obviously worth it. Being able to handle those demands helped me to develop a strong work ethic, something that’s stayed with me for all these years.”

As graduation approached, Lacagnina wisely took advantage of the opportunities offered by the University’s Career Services staff to help her develop the skills that she would need when interviewing for her first job. She participated in the many on-campus interviews offered by companies looking to recruit graduating seniors, and then began what would become an exceptional career with a position of Senior Manager at Deloitte & Touche.

“There is no doubt in my mind that were it not for the help of Career Services, I would not have landed my first job,” she acknowledged. “Career Services taught me the importance of understanding the role I was interviewing for and how to conduct myself in a professional manner. Most importantly, however, Career Services reminded me that the interview process was not only an introduction of me to the company, but the company to me. It was equally important for me to gather enough information to determine if this was where I wanted to begin my career.” 

After nearly 10 years at Deloitte & Touche, she accepted a position at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company (KKR), a leading global investment firm. She currently serves as a Director, making her one of the firm’s highest ranking executives.

Although she graduated a quarter-century ago, Lacagnina has never lost her connection to St. John’s. She is a member of The Loughlin Society, regularly supports the President’s Dinner, and has established the Michael and Gloria Stelmokas Scholarship Fund in honor of her aunt and uncle.

“I feel a real commitment to give back to the University because it gave so much to me,” she noted. “And I enjoy keeping that commitment.”

She particularly enjoys helping current students by sponsoring and co-hosting business etiquette seminars for them, both on campus and at the KKR offices. The seminars are a way for her to acknowledge the help that she received from St. John’s when she was looking to start her own career 25 years ago.

“Soon after I graduated, I realized that young people should be taught the skills of basic business etiquette, especially since so many are seeking internships as a way of getting some hands-on experience in their future careers,” she said. “These students are meeting and talking with corporate partners and other high level executives. They need to be prepared to sit in a room or at a table with them and hold a conversation.”

The gratitude that exists between this dedicated alumna and the University goes both ways.

In May, St. John’s honored Lacagnina at the Annual Alumni Convocation with the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, presented to an esteemed graduate in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding personal or professional achievement. Coming from the University that means so much to her, it is an award that she will cherish forever.

“It’s truly an honor for me to receive this award,” she said. “Without St. John’s I wouldn’t be where I am today. The University has always been an important part of my life, and it always will be. And I have to say that whenever I come back, it feels like I’m coming home. I guess that’s just one of the many things that make St. John’s so special.”