July 22, 2013
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.
Read the conversation with Joan Lacagnina featured in the St.
John's University Magazine
“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
“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
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.”