Defining Success in Hospitality

Defining Success in Hospitality

JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Feature Success Hosp 230x160

JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Feature Success Hosp Rama 93x93Dharmendra “D.J.” Rama ’90
President, 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.

JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Feature Success Hosp Coker 93x93Julie Coker ’89
Senior 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 hurt either.

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 other graduates. 

JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Feature Success Hosp Crompton 93x93Gary 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 the priority.

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 multiple stakeholders.

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.

JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Feature Success Hosp Kilimci 93x93Ahmet Kilimci ’84
General Manager, 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 workplace skill 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.