Dina Lasky ’77

Author: Marion Weil ’60

Dina was born the 4th of 5 children to a family in Detroit, Michigan. Dad, Byron Lasky, was a self made phenomenon–a lawyer, owner of radio and TV stations, and a real estate developer who collaborated in California with Kaufman & Broad Real Estate building First Village in Westlake, California. In Dina’s early years, the family moved to Malibu, California.

Like many spirited children, Dina acted out to get attention. Happy Valley School was her third private school, but first and only boarding school. Dina thinks that her parents perceived HVS, then under Director John Gorsuch, as “strict” but when Dina arrived in 1976 for her 9th grade she discovered otherwise. The upper valley dorm was co-ed, pet animals were allowed–including her pet rats “Cling and Clang”–and culturally the 1970s were an open time for exploration. Freedom from her family was supported by her being given parental permission to spend weekends at the home of a local Ojai friend.

Horses have been a big part of Dina’s life since she can remember, and are still today.

But probably the pivotal experience of her early teen life was the trip Dad created for the family the summer of ’77, at the conclusion of Dina’s HVS freshman year. For 6 weeks, their home base was a rented villa in Valbonne, the hills near Cannes. Dina recalls her folks supporting her adventurous freedom (at age 15) by letting her ride a “motobecane” (small motorcycle) alone from their hilltop home down to Cannes. That summer the family visited Nice and Cannes, traveled in France, Italy, Switzerland, Morocco, and Spain! Her taste for traveling was undoubtedly first sparked by this experience.

Wanting independence at 16, with parental help, she moved out of the home to live with girlfriends; her first job was at Malibu Shoe Store. Never loving school, Dina’s goal was to be a D.J. so she attended Columbia School of Broadcasting in Hollywood for several years. However, except for a brief stint at a radio station on the Pepperdine University campus, she never used it. Instead in 1983 sat age 22, she joined her oldest brother Matt in Westways Travel, a travel agency then located in Westwood, now in Malibu, and her traveling and travel agency years ignited. She became a part owner and was associated with it for 24 years until 2010 when she leapt to Frosch Travel, a major travel agency with 46 offices. To this day, her travel agent career remains very active and strong. You can see her current career profile here.

Dina’s first home in Pacific Palisades was purchased in 1994, since then she has sold and bought 4 homes. For the 15 years before buying her home in Ojai this year (2019), Dina lived in Malibu Lake, Agoura Hills. “Ojai,” says Dina, “really feels like home.” She is grateful to have the freedom to work from home with a steady base of high-end clients, the time to ride her two horses, get back into a real yoga practice, and reconnect with HVS/BHS, which gave her deep friendships, a strong connection to nature and community, and her first taste of international culture (the student across the dorm hall was from Japan, and her roommate was from Ecuador). She says: “I would do my Happy Valley days again in a heartbeat!”

Besides her active Travel Agent career, Dina has had a steady stream of second/side businesses and careers, including her most recent one as organizer and travel agent for saxophone player Warren Hill’s Jazz Festivals in Cabo San Lucas, Cancun Mexico and Puntacana Dominican Republic. To hear Dina talk about these “side” careers, it’s clear to me that she definitely has some of her father’s entrepreneurial spirit!

Dina has had a 3 year and a 10 year marriage and no children. We at HVS/BHS are happy to welcome her sophisticated, delightful, and energetic spirit back home, to Ojai.