Lani Dawson Arena
Chief Advocate | Dawson
Ms. Arena joined Dawson in May of 2012. She is the Chief Advocate of DAWSON and its parent company, the Hawaiian Native Corporation (HNC). She established and administers HNC’s programs to benefit Native Hawaiians, directs the activities of the HNC, and directs Congressional outreach for HNC and its subsidiaries. In 2012, she was elected to the Board of Directors and elected as Secretary of the Native Hawaiian Organizations Association (NHOA). She is also Chair of the NHOA Legislative Committee and as such she is leading the committee in its development of a Congressional outreach program. In 2015, she was elected mid-term to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors of the Native American Contractors Association (NACA). She is also on the Policy Committee of NACA.
DAWSON is a Native Hawaiian 8(a) small business with more than 20 years experience providing innovative and cost effective solutions to its clients across the globe. DAWSON’s core capabilities include construction, environmental and munitions response, logistics, energy, and information technology/cyber solutions. HNC is a non-profit organization founded in February 2004 and controlled entirely by Native Hawaiians. HNC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense under federal statutory authority as a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration and as such is required to take a portion of the profits generated by its for-profit subsidiaries and use them to benefit Native Hawaiians.
Ms. Arena has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Stanford University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. She has 30 years of experience as an attorney and she is a member of the California State Bar. Prior to joining DAWSON, she was responsible for designing, implementing, and managing the State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR) FloodSAFE Federal Advocacy Program, which is an initiative to pursue Congressional appropriations and legislation for critical flood control projects. Her responsibilities included lobbying Congress and the Federal Administration on behalf of the State of California for Federal funding for California flood control projects. Prior to developing the Federal Advocacy Program, she was responsible for advising DWR management regarding complex human resources matters and representing DWR in administrative labor law hearings. Her areas of practice are varied and extensive, and include corporate, labor, flood control, water supply, environmental, real estate, and business.
She is a Native Hawaiian and a member of the Dawson family. Her son is a doctoral candidate in architecture at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.