Our Alumni

Young alumni networking at a JWU alumni event

Young alumni networking at a JWU alumni event.

Because of our international reputation, our 100,000+ alumni have come from more than 150 countries, and are now achieving success around the globe. They, like you, started with just one thing — a desire to pursue their passion.

Here are just a few graduates who have achieved their potential ahead of schedule. Are you our next alumni success story?

Career Potential: Successful Graduates

Rob Palleschi '86, Global Head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Rob Palleschi ‘86

President + CEO, TGI Fridays

With nearly 3 decades of global operations + franchising experience — including 12 years overseeing all aspects of Hilton Worldwide’s flagship brand — Palleschi recently returned to his food + beverage roots.

Brand Vision: “When I think about Fridays, I think about that great social interaction and that social engagement that we’ve all come to know and love. That stands apart from many of the other casual-dining experiences out there.”

Growth Plans: “I especially look forward to expanding that relationship with the franchise partners, partnering with them for the re-imagining of our restaurants, but also to help grow not only here in the United States but also around the globe.”

Fridays Promise: “It’s all about taking care of guests with every interaction for the great quality product and the great service experience.”

Past branding work: Double Tree by Hilton ● Sheraton ● Radisson

Quotes excerpted from an interview with Ron Ruggless.

Emeril Lagasse '78, '90 Hon., World-renowned chef, restaurateur and TV personality

Emeril Lagasse ‘78, ‘90 Hon.

World-renowned chef. Restaurateur. TV personality. Megabrand.

Accomplishments: 13 award-winning restaurants ● 17 bestselling cookbooks ● Food correspondent, “Good Morning America” ● Host, “Top Chef” ● Hosted 2,000+ shows on the Food Network ● 2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Dirk Shaw '97, PR Expert and Senior VP at Trade NTE + Ogilvy

Dirk Shaw ‘97

PR Expert and Senior VP, Trade NTE + Ogilvy

Public relations is transforming, and JWU alum Dirk Shaw is spearheading the revolution at one of the world’s top PR firms, Trade NTE.

Select Clients: American Idol ● Microsoft ● Ford ● American Express ● Adidas ● Louis Vuitton ● Mattel

Work with Ford Motors: Prior to his position at Trade, Shaw served as group director for The Ford Content Factory, an in-house agency charged with transforming Ford Motors’ social media communications.

Career Advice: “Build your personal brand online. First step is to clean up your social profile; having compromising photos can cost you a job. Second, establish a point of view in an area you want to pursue.”

Vision for PR’s Future? “It’s going from mass media to social media to relevant media. Brands are competing for a scarce resource: attention. What sticks are things that matter and are relevant.”

Lena Kwak '07, President, Chief Developer and Co-founder of Cup4Cup

Lena Kwak ‘07

President, Chief Developer & Co-founder, Cup4Cup

“Don’t be afraid to dream big and truly believe in yourself.”

What I Do: Develop multipurpose gluten-free flours and waffle, brownie and pizza crust mixes ● Formulate new products + chef-tested recipes for Thomas Keller Enterprises ● Collaborate with chefs to make food better for all

Accolades: Forbes “30 Under 30” Honoree 2012 ● Martha Stewart Living “American Made” Winner

Creativity is an essential career skill. Answering questions in new ways requires creative thinking.

Dirk Shaw '97