Business, Hospitality + Culinary Alums Talk Power of JWU’s Network

This winter, Weller, Andrew and Ostrom, who earned degrees in Hospitality Management, Marketing and Culinary Arts, respectively, visited the JWU Providence Campus to reflect on their JWU experience and offer current students some advice.

Looking Back

WELLER: I was going from class to class and dreaming up ideas. I had a dream of doing some big and important things and making a difference, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I didn’t know the path that was going to get me there either. The only thing I did do, that I knew was right at the time, was that I tried everything I could from a work perspective, from a friendship perspective, and from an experience perspective. I think that helped shape me into who I am today.

"I found something I’m passionate about—creating things, opportunities and jobs. I went with it and went all in."

ANDREW: As a student, I was always a hard worker. What was always important for me, more than anything, was my schedule. I received a half tuition scholarship to Johnson & Wales, but [worked a number of jobs to pay the balance]. After class, I would work for continuing education from 1-9pm; then I would bartend at the Marriott; and then after that, late night, I would DJ epic parties, and return and repeat. So keeping a schedule was important to my success.

OSTROM: I knew at a pretty young age I always wanted to be involved in hospitality. I probably didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I started scrubbing pots and pans at 14—one of the best educations I have ever received. From there, I worked my way up. I was a chef for about 10 years after attending JWU until I took the white coat off and transitioned into a very different part of the business. When I was attending JWU, I was trying to figure out the right balance of social living and the experiences that come with that. Working is really part of the education process—I think if you can find the balance of life, work and education, and you keep those three principles from now until forever, you’ll find yourself having a lot of success.

Words of Wisdom

WELLER: When I was young, I was taught that when you go somewhere you wore nice pants and tuck in your shirt. You just you never know who you’re going to meet, and especially nowadays with how casual many things and people are, you could be at the airport and sit next to your next partner or next boss. Give everybody the same respect that you want and you deserve. Be open-minded to listen and hear what they’re doing.

ANDREW: As a student, I was laser focused on profit – working 80 hours a week, sometimes more. I would ask myself 20 years ago, “what’s your purpose?” There has to be something you’re working for. There has to be some sort of purpose—to help others, to change the environment, to assist others who are struggling. The lesson that I would tell myself then is it has to be about purpose as well as profit.

OSTROM: What I learned at JWU early on is if you always, always try to put a little bit more effort in than the guy on the left and the guy on the right, you’ll have a good chance of succeeding at what you do.

Alumni panel at the event David Andrew, Luke Ostrom and Mark Weller.

Pictured (left to right): David Andrew, Luke Ostrom and Marc Weller.