Alumni Spotlight: Tara J. Agen ’85

Tara Agen’s Spotlight was originally featured in Regis Today (spring 2017). Read the full Q&A with Agen below.



Regis major(s): Political Science
Minor(s): European History
Current job title: Vice President and General Manager, HP Displays and Accessories
Current city: San Diego, California
Hometown: Barneveld, New York

Why did you decide to come to Regis back in 1981? 

My Dad ran sales for a special metals company called Indium. He had a manufacturers’ rep in the Boston/Rhode Island area and his daughter was a Regis grad in the ’70s. He spoke highly of Regis to my Dad. We went out for visit, and I knew this is where I wanted to go to colleg—close enough to Boston but not a huge jump for me that grew up very rurally in upstate New York.

What was your first job after graduating from Regis in 1985? 

I started my own company, Northeast Voter Contact, while waiting to get into law school. I built a database of every single registered voter in the state of Massachusetts, which sounds funny in this day in age but the 350 cities/towns in Massachusetts did not necessarily have digitized voter data. I also waitressed at Brandy Pete’s, an “institution” in Boston’s financial district. It was really was the original “Cheers” Bar.

How did your experiences and your education at Regis shape your life after college and your career path thus far?

Regis gave me intellectual confidence and heartfelt compassion to think big, challenge the status quo, defend the underserved and make an actionable difference in the communities I have lived in post-college.

What do you remember most from your time at Regis? Do you have a favorite memory or moment?

I remember having great friends who I had lots of laughs and so much fun with, especially in Boston and road trips to so many other Boston-area schools where their siblings or friends attended. I am very close to several of them to this day.

Did you have a favorite Regis professor, mentor, or class that really impacted your life or path?

I have three: Dr Leo Chang, Sister Lee Hogan, and Dr. Michelis. 

Dr. Chang changed my life by opening my mind and doors to China. Today, I actually travel frequently to both China and Taiwan for my position at HP and thankful for having early cultural, historical, and political insights from him. 

I wanted to be a lawyer since I was eight years old. When I got waitlisted, and then rejected from law school, Sister Lee was the person who told me I was meant to do bigger and better things.  She was right! 

Dr. Michelis was a terrific economics professor and I thank him for opening the doors of my mind to explore my talents in business. 

What did you learn at Regis that has served you well throughout your life?

I find it completely ironic that even though I barely made it through my COBOL programming class (to this day, thank you Sung sisters!!), I would have never thought this experience would have powered my career in data science to technology. This is the power of a liberal arts college and degree.

What one piece of advice do you have for current Regis students? Or for students who will be graduating and entering “the real world” soon?

Use your Regis network, in a sincere way, to understand the possibilities of who you can be and how each of us Regis graduates can support your career first steps.

Tell me about your career and your current job. What does a “day in the life of Tara” look like and how did your studies at Regis influence where you are in your career today?

In receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, I thought law school then life in politics was my true path to success and life contribution. While at Regis, I worked at the Massachusetts State House, New York State Assembly, and United States Senate. Post Regis, when I began my own business focused on politics, I was part of dozens of campaigns as a political campaign strategist, Get-Out-the-Vote field worker, Press Relations, Constituent Services, etc. I honestly thought that one day I would be Chief of Staff in the White House, but it has played out to being Chief of Staff to the President of HP’s $30 billion dollar Personal Systems business.

If you had to describe Regis in one word, what would it be?


How do you like living in California?

I love San Diego; it’s probably the best climate in the world, and I don’t miss the snow, sleet, or ice! I love California’s people, politics, and cultural diversity too.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

My husband is a hydroponic, organic herb and produce farmer. He has a farm in Valley Center, California, one of the biggest growing areas in San Diego County, and I spend a lot of time there when I can to check up on the basil and him! Check out his farm on Facebook: FlavoredLayers farms.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

We have a getaway place in the high desert/mountains of San Diego County, about 1.5 hours from downtown. I have an art studio there where I love to paint watercolors. My husband is a former musician and he spends hours spinning vinyl for me, especially ’70s rock and straight-ahead jazz.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

Be yourself.


  1. I still hold my high school Shot Put record (I think).
  2. I went to HP (Holland Patent High School) and now work at HP (Inc.) for the last 23.5 years.
  3. My nickname at Regis was “Scoop.” 
  4. I am still a “Political Junkie” and find these times of politics and government incredibly interesting. As part of my Politics and Government course with Sister Lee, I had to volunteer for a political campaign which impacted so much of my business life in my 20s and has kept me very active until today.  For that class, I volunteered for Mike Dukakis when he re-ran for Governor in 1982 in his Press Department and then, a few years later, I ended up becoming his Assistant Field Director of the Western U.S. States during the primary season when he ran for President in 1987/88.
  5. I have amazing six nieces and three nephews that I adore.
  6. I love living small. My husband and I have converted two unique spaces in our lifetime together to see how much we can maximize where/how we live.  Our first place was a stone cottage outside New York City and about 800 square feet. Our second place is a post-modern period apartment here in San Diego, about 570 square feet.
  7. At our getaway place, we are completely off-grid. We have our own solar (not powered by any electric company), our own water tower/wells, and our own compost toilet/composting system for food waste.
  8. I serve on an amazing board focused on kids, Barrio Logan College Institute, ( which is a 3rd to 12th grade after-school program to help underserved kids with high potential know they can get into University or College. I am hopeful I will have a few of them come to Regis someday soon. I have also served on a local Boys & Girls Club Board in San Diego and when I lived in the metro New York City area, a board that supported a halfway house for women in transition to their new, better life again.
  9. I still have a dream to write comedy for “Saturday Night Live.”
  10. When I retire, I would love to write a book about a group of dear friends my Dad had in his lifetime, nicknamed “The Animals” that I feel would be an amazing story.

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