Dharmendra “D.J.” Rama ’90President, JHM Hotels Inc.
As president of JHM Hotels Inc., a family-owned
hotel chain allied with luxury brands
Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood, D.J.
is responsible for maintaining company
standards of operational excellence and
profitability across a growing roster of
properties. He is active on industry boards
that include the American Hotel Foundation,
the Hyatt Owners Advisory Board and the
Cornell Hotel Society of South Carolina.
Role JWU played in your career JWU gave me a solid operational foundation,
which allows me to successfully
manage — and earn the respect of —
our 1,600 associates.
Biggest challenge you’ve overcome Transitioning a family-run business into a
top-tier hotel management company.
Vision for your industry’s future The hotel business cannot be exported and
will therefore remain strong, so long as
supply and demand are in balance.
Favorite guilty pleasure Even with my extensive travel schedule, I
always take a break to tour local food spots.
Julie Coker ’89Senior Vice President, Convention Division, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
As senior VP of the Philadelphia Convention
& Visitors Bureau’s Convention Division,
Julie oversees national sales of hotel packages
for the city’s convention and hotel
consortium. Julie spent 20 years with Hyatt,
most recently as general manager of a
350-room hotel located on Philadelphia’s
revitalized waterfront. She serves as chair of
the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s
Women in Lodging Networking Group
and vice chair for the Greater Philadelphia
Hospitality and Lodging Association.
Managing work and life balance Make time for things that are a priority
to you, including family, community
service projects and, for me, sports.
A little pampering now and then doesn’t
Biggest challenge you’ve overcome
Understanding that you can’t always change
people, but you can change your approach.
It’s all about influence.
Career gurus Those leaders who continue to raise the
bar and expect more of themselves each
and every day.
JWU’s role in your career Being able to work during the school
year gave me an advantage over
Gary Crompton ’87
President, ARAMARK Business Dining Division
ARAMARK’s largest division, Business
Dining, provides on-site cafeteria, catering
and executive dining operations for Fortune
1,000 companies. Gary is responsible for
the financial performance of the group’s
nine operating regions in North America,
encompassing 1,500 locations, 400 client
families and $1.3 billion in annual revenue.
Now in his 20th year with the company,
he remains focused on cultivating client
relationships and improving productivity for
this global leader in professional services.
Defining moment in your career
When I decided to leave fine dining for the
world of on-site dining. It was the first time
I decided that quality of life and family was
Your strongest asset Perseverance. Understanding that there
are peaks and valleys in every business and
every career. To survive you need to know
how to weather anything.
Most important 21st-century
workplace skill The ability to influence people without
having formal authority is a valuable skill in
a world where employees often report to
Advice for new grads Take risks when you’re starting out. Volunteer
for tough assignments; take on positions
that are outside of your comfort zone.
It’ll pay off in the long run.
Ahmet Kilimci ’84
Izmir Palas Tourism & Trade Inc.
Raised in Turkey, Ahmet was 12 when he began
working in his family-run business, Izmir
Palas Tourism & Trade Inc. Upon graduation
from JWU, he returned home to oversee
day-to-day operations of their key property,
an elegant seaside hotel built in 1927. Today
he serves as the hotel’s general manager
and sits on the family company’s board of
directors. One day he hopes to pass the
company to his twin daughters.
Most lasting impression of JWU The way faculty treated the students, always
available, understanding and very helpful.
Most important 21st-century
Understanding and using technology.
Career guru My uncle, who taught me everything and
encouraged me to study at JWU.
Advice for new grads Employment is different from
a student and amateur working life.
You have to mix what you have
learned in school with experience.
You have to work hard.