national student organizations

national student organizations

Student Leaders
JWU Alumni Profile NSO Ken Disaia


Kenneth DiSaia ’87, ’92 MBA
Kenneth DiSaia ’87, ’92 MBA has held a variety of leadership positions during his 23-year career with JWU. From 1999 to 2002, Ken was the university’s dean of admissions. Today, as vice president of enrollment management, he leads annual recruiting efforts for more than 5,000 new students at all four JWU campuses. He’s a member of DECA Inc., and serves on DECA’s National Advisory Board. As Rhode Island’s Delta Epsilon Chi chairperson, Ken leads collaborative efforts of six colleges and universities in the state.

Most important ingredient in life Happiness. Specifically in regards to work ... If you enjoy and feel good about what you do, it helps you to meet your full potential, and it certainly contributes to a more fulfilling personal life.

Favorite quote “Change happens. Anticipate change, monitor change, adapt to change, enjoy change, and be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again.” — Dr. Spencer Johnson, author of “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Role JWU played in your career The hands-on, career-focused education at JWU quickly guided me to my career path. I knew right away that I liked the field of marketing, and I certainly loved the university itself.

Impact of clubs and organizations My involvement in NSO (DECA specifically) was the key link to my success. Not only did it lead to my first job with the university, it remains an important element of my career responsibilities today.

Source of career passion I value the positive impact I can have on [students’] first steps into university life and their future as successful adults. The ultimate reward is watching students I welcomed to JWU cross the stage at graduation.

JWU Profile NSO Bridget Palmieri Bridget Lavery-Palmieri ’94
Bridget Lavery-Palmieri ’94 is director of marketing analytics for Macy’s Merchandising Group, using findings to guide market strategies. With more than 15 years of experience in store management, product development, buying and planning with Macy’s, Bloomingdales and the Federated Merchandising Group, Bridget is also an inspiring leader. A founding member of Young Executives for Success (Y.E.S!), Bridget champions the mission of the Dress for Success Worldwide charity.

What brought you to JWU The unique curriculum of classroom and hands-on experience. I also loved the city setting, yet always had a true feeling of “campus.”

Memorable JWU experience The one-and-one-half years I worked at the downtown bookstore as the assistant buyer of clothing and accessories. My opinions were respected and trusted.

Impact of clubs and organizations My involvement in NSO, Greek life and retail/ marketing-related clubs helped me build the skill of networking. One of the keys to success is who and how many people you know.

Book on your nightstand “Energy Leadership” by Bruce Schneider

Career advice for new alumni Do not ever pass up an opportunity to try something new that interests you. Every step may not take you forward at that moment, but it will make you that much more knowledgeable and marketable.

JWU Alumni Profile NSO John Broda 170x150John M. Broda ’83
John Broda ’83 is the executive vice president of the Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN), in Tampa, Fla. John is responsible for increasing the versatility of more than 352 financial institutions serving the United States Armed Services. He provides business development and sales leadership to enhance regional, national and international banking, credit union and retail merchant relationships. He also serves as the assistant secretary for the AFFN Board of Directors.

What brought you to JWU The DECA organization. DECA was an important component of my high school education and JWU provided me the opportunity to continue with this program at a collegiate level.

Best advice Build and protect your reputation. In your personal and professional lives, your reputation will follow you.

Qualities admired in others Honesty, integrity, dedication, humor, sincerity, compassion, loyalty, motivation and determination.

Favorite quote “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” — Mohandas Gandhi

Defining moment I created the Armed Forces Financial Network Community Support Program designed to support members of the U.S. Armed Services and their families. Since 2004 the program has generated over $1 million in direct support ... for such items as care, comfort, entertainment, emergency assistance, financial education and literacy programs.

JWU Alumni Profile NSO Robert Mellwig 170x150Robert Mellwig ’97
Robert Mellwig ’97 is senior vice president of human resources (a.k.a. “really cool people”) for multibillion-dollar real estate company, Lowe Enterprises, and its Destination Hotels & Resorts. He governs all aspects of the organization’s human resources for both hospitality and non-hospitality related businesses and their more than 8,000 employees. Before joining Lowe, Robert was in charge of corporate staffing at the home office with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and worked within the W Group and for Hilton Hotel Corp. He is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Most important lesson at JWU Working within and across diverse teams. In a rapidly shrinking global environment, the ability to interact, strengthen relationships and leverage ideas across a broad range of backgrounds, languages and experiences, is key.

Impact of clubs and organizations I was a member of an NSO, Career Ambassador Program and the men’s volleyball team. The ability to fully experience many facets of the college experience, make friendships and build leadership skills was important to my earlier career and professional development.

Best advice God gave us two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.

Future vision I envision an industry that continues to bifurcate into two major segments: brands and independents. The future will be dictated by the consumer, and what type of experience they seek and are willing to pay a premium for.

Personal response to challenge Reflect on those who do not have it as good as you do. Humble yourself. Be appreciative for what you have.